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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Julia Dent Grant



Photo taken by Matthew Brady Studios
Julia Boggs Dent Grant (1826-1902) = Army wife and First Lady of US President, Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885). Daughter of Col. Frederick and Ellen Wrenshall Dent, she grew up on a plantation called White Haven near St. Louis and attended the Misses Mauros' boarding school there. She wrote in her memoirs that her childhood was idyllic: "one long summer of sunshine, flowers, and smiles."

She met her future husband "Ulys" at her home. He, son of Jesse Root and Hanna Simpson Grant, was a West Point classmate of her brother Fred, Jr. She fell for him, dreamed about him, and felt lonely without him. They became engaged in 1844, but the Mexican war interrupted their plans to marry for four long years. Finally, on August 22, 1848, she was swept off her feet and carried over the threshold into the life of a army wife. "Dearest Julia" lived with her handsome husband wherever he was stationed except in the remote west and near Civil War battlesites . After many years of adversity and anxiety, she, the encourager, rejoiced in his fame as a victorious general.

Meantime, several precious children were born to Julia and Ulysses-- in 1850, Frederick Dent Grant; in 1852, Ulysses (Buck), Jr.; in 1857, Ellen "Nellie"; and Jesse.

On the arm of the new President (1869-1877), she entered the White House and entertained on a presidential scale, dressed in the  finery of the day -- jewels, silks, and lace. Upon leaving Washington, D.C., the Grants made a trip around the world and were welcomed warmly wherever they went.

Considered a business failure by some, Ulysses, dying of cancer and yearning to provide for his family beyond the grave, was barely able to complete and have published a two-volume autobiography. Julia, his ever devoted and loving wife, died seventeen years later.

More to Read:
1. Mathew Brady Photograph, Library of Congress.
2. Bufton's Universal Cyclopaedia. Edited by Wm. Colledge, Paul Neergaard, Samuel MacClintock, Earl Jeffery, Ulysses G. Alexander, Elmer RUSH, Charles Higgins, & C.W. Crampton. Illustrated by Mr. & Mrs. Walter Bailey. Mutual Pub, KC; 1925. Vol. 2. 3. Our First Ladies: Martha Washington to Pat Ryan Nixon. Jane & Burt McConnell. Thomas Y. Crowell Co, NY; 1969.
4. Julia Dent Grant's Memoirs, unpublished until1975.
5. The Presidents in American History. By Charles A. & William Beard. Julian Messner, NY; 1977.
6. The First Ladies. Margaret Brown Klapthor and The White House Historical Association. Washington, DC.; 1979.
7. Heart & Soul of the Nation: How the Spirituality of Our First Ladies Changed America. Cheryl Heckler-Feltz. Doubleday. 1997.
8. Memoirs and Selected Letters, Ulysses S. Grant, New York; The Library of America, 1990.
9. US GrantTrail: Missouri's Civil War Official Trail Guide. Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation, 2012.
10. Homes and Libraries of the Presidents. By William G. Clotworthy. McDonald & Woodward, 2008.
11. Missouri: Day by Day. By Floyd C. Shoemaker, Editor. Mo State Historical Society, 1942.

Places to Visit in MO.
1. Ulysses S. Grant Monument. 350 S. Main St. Ironton.
2. Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site (White Haven). 7400 Grant Road, St. Louis.
3. Anheuser-Busch's Grant's Farm (Hardscrabble), 10501 Gravois Road, St. Louis

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