We were talking about his boys, Cliff and I. It led into a new subject
for me to research. He had suggested in the 1800’s, President Ulysses
S. Grant had been one of the founders of the idea for National Parks.
We had had a few recent conversations about President Theodore
Roosevelt, his past and the post I had written. This was the one about
his personal tragedy of losing his wife and mother on the same day.
Which took Theodore out West to find an ‘escape’ and tranquility. The
area he had chosen to find refuge in, led him to his pursuit of natural
wonders and supporting National Parks.
Hiram Ulysses Grant was born on April 27, 1822 and lived until July 23,
1885. He had throat cancer and died at age 63 years old. He was born
in Point Pleasant, Ohio. He met his wife from a classmate during the
years after he attended military school. He had four children and his
legacy as President and during the times of Civil War and following
peaceful times, is with mixed reviews.
Time has slowly improved and healed some of the negative aspects
of President Grant’s memories. Historians and biographers have
become kinder over the years.
As a boy, Hiram’s father had Abolitionist sentiments. The family
did not have slaves. Later on, wife’s family did. When there were
times of financial hardship, Grant released his wife’s slaves. This
was despite the fact he could have made money by selling them.
He had enlisted their services on the farm they had owned and they
participated in helping to care for the land. Grant named his family’s
While young, Grant did not attend the family’s Methodist church,
since apparently he was the youngest and did not have to. He chose
to pray privately all his life. He had a sensitive nature, shown in his
taking art courses from Robert Walter Weir. This artist’s paintings
were from the Romantics period. There are nine artworks of Grant’s
Hiram had a knack for handling and training horses. He was what
we would now call a, “Horse Whisperer.”
Another aspect of Grant’s softer side was when President Abraham
Lincoln was assassinated, he stood alone at the funeral and wept.
He said of Lincoln:
“He was incontestably the greatest man I have ever known.”
The only quote I could find from Lincoln of Grant was during the
Civil War, while Grant was very rough on his troops, trying to keep
them in line and some of the bloodiest battles were ones he led,
Lincoln said when others complained of Grant’s determination
“I can’t spare this man, he fights.”
Going back to how Grant got his name accidentally changed. . .
When Hiram was only 17 years old a congressman who knew his
father, nominated him for the U.S. Military Academy in West
Point, New York. The friend knew his middle name was Ulysses
and his mother’s maiden name was Simpson, so he chose to write
his letter of recommendation for “Ulysses S. Grant,” to become
a military student at West Point.
At school, since his initials were U.S., some of his friends started
to call him “Sam” as in “Uncle Sam.” What a patriotic name this is.
Just imagine how it came to be and I like to picture him so much
more as the boy named, “Hiram.” When he went off to school at
West Point there are records of his weight and height:
He was 5′ 1″ tall and he weighed 117 pounds.
He was an average student who liked mathematics and geology.
A good friend and classmate at West Point introduced him to his
sister, Julia Dent. They became engaged and four years later,
“Sam” and Julia married.
At the time after the Civil War, Grant and his family traveled to
Washington, D.C. He was in Cabinet meetings and was given the
authority to be in charge of cotton and its sales in the district
where he and his wife’s family lived.
Grant was invited to join President Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd,
for an evening at the theater. Instead, Grant and his wife and family
went to Philadelphia for entertainment and a vacation. When he
was called back to Washington due to the assassination, Grant
Some of the negative reports about Grant include that he may have
had a drinking problem during his academy and military career.
Grant also made a ‘bad decision’ in judging the Jewish people who
were involved in the district he was responsible to monitor cotton
sales in. He “threw all the Jewish cotton dealers out” and this
Anti-Semitic decision has been often listed as one of the worst ones
Positive relationships with the African Americans post-Civil War
and the Native Americans have made President Ulysses S. Grant’s
memories and tributes less harsh over the years. When he threw
himself into the Civil War battles, Grant “found renewed energy in
the Union cause.” He led volunteer army he tried to rally and
discipline the Northern troops the best he could.
While President, Grant chose to create a position in his Cabinet
and nominate someone to be the “Commissioner of Indian Affairs.”
He wanted Peace among the tribes and Grant publicly ‘castigated’
Custer for his massacre of the Indians in the battle known as,
“Custer’s Last Stand.”
Cliff is my coworker who has two sons who are on the precipice of
being teenagers. He is struggling to find ways to continue family night
and enjoying all sorts of activities together. His wife is often ‘left at
home’ but he insists she prefers her personal space and encourages
the boys to spend time with their Dad.
Cliff has been trying to capture their attention by taking them to
parks, renting canoes, hiking in various places around the four states
of Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana. He has been considering a
trip to Pennsylvania, but has not decided if this is where they will go
for a summer vacation.
Cliff is the one who told me about Grant’s positive decisions to help
Native American relations and also, the Gold Rush. While people
were out West, panning for gold, some stumbled upon the lovely
Geysers and other notable natural beauties.
Cliff was also ‘sure’ that Grant helped to denote the land around the
Geysers out West, as National Park. He was also ‘sure’ that Yellowstone
Park was part of President Grant’s plan of becoming a National Park.
Cliff is a ‘simple guy,’ but an extraordinary father. I give him plenty
of positive encouragement, while not flirting or trying to take too
much time away from my order filling. He is in Cycle Count, so is
often ‘in my way’ and by talking to him, he follows me while I pick
the warehouse products and place them in the bins or hampers.
I had written a post some time ago, last winter I believe, talking about
his interest in the cartoon which had content for young people, “Johnny
Quest.” There were no copies of the series in his local library. He found
some, I believe on YouTube. He ended up showing his boys several
episodes and getting them hooked on “Scooby Doo.”
So was Cliff right? For someone who admits he only got “C’s” in his
high school Geography and History classes, he has come a long way!
On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant passed the legislation
for National Parks in an area about the size of Rhode Island and the
state of Delaware combined. “Yellowstone Park” and all of the area
is intended to be held as a National Park, preserved and protected
by the United States Government. This law that was passed into a
Bill made the Northwest Corner of the Wyoming Territory part of
the beginning of many other areas known as National Parks.
Some quick facts about Yellowstone National Park of note:
~Home of 1/2 the World’s geysers.
~Large mountainous region.
~High elevation lakes.
~Numerous species and abundant game and wildlife.
All are protected and preserved, due to President Ulysses S. Grant.
Just for extra information, Cliff shared with me that in Ohio we
only have one National Park. It is called Wayne National Forest
and is located in the Southeastern part of Ohio. It is an area of
240,101 acres. It is located on the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau
and is part of a ‘reforestation program.’
Isn’t it amazing the things you can learn from a coworker?
Hope the research and information about President Ulysses S.
Grant showed you a different picture than the Civil War leader,
making him a more well-rounded character.