Ulysses is a Funny Name

What do I know about Ulysses S. Grant?  Ulysses S. Grant was the General who led the Union to victory in the American Civil War.  Ulysses S. Grant was a president of the United States.  And Ulysses S. Grant was buried in Grant’s Tomb.  (Although I discovered via Google that no one is buried in Grant’s tomb.)  And Ulysses is a funny name.  After visiting the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site in St. Louis, Missouri, I now know much, much more about Ulysses S. Grant.

DSC00001Ulysses was stationed at Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis when Fred Dent, a classmate from Ulysses’ West Point days, wrote him a letter inviting Ulysses to his family’s home near St. Louis.  Ulysses accepted the invitation and was a frequent guest at White Haven, the Dent family farm.  On one of his many visits he met Fred’s sister, Julia, and quickly became smitten.  Ulysses asked Julia to wear his class ring as a promise to eventually marry.  He was gently rebuffed because Julia was afraid her father would not approve.  Ulysses believed slavery was morally wrong and Julia’s father, “Colonel” Frederick Dent, was a slave owner from Missouri.  However, Julia could not resist the charms of Ulysses and despite different backgrounds the couple married in 1848.

DSC00007In 1854, Grant resigned from the Army and moved his family to White Haven where he farmed the land until he was recommissioned into the Army during the Civil War.  Ulysses purchased White Haven from Julia’s father in the 1860s.  Although the couple lived in many, many places during Grant’s military career, and they lived in the White House during Grant’s two terms as president, Ulysses and Julia continued to have an intense emotional attachment to White Haven.

DSC00006A visit to the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site includes a short film in the visitor center that provides an introduction to Ulysses, a tour of White Haven that includes a “magic” mirror demonstrating the strained relationship between Julia’s husband and father, a quarter-mile loop path leading to outbuildings such as the summer kitchen and chicken house, and a museum depicting the many love letters that Ulysses wrote to Julia during their wartime separations.  What do I know about Ulysses S. Grant?  Ulysses S. Grant was a solid man of conviction and principal.  Ulysses S. Grant was a quiet man of passion and romance.  Ulysses S. Grant was a family man of discipline and love.  And Ulysses is a funny name.




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