Julia Dent Grant
Born: St. Louis, MO
Ulysses S. Grant, 1848
Children: Fred, Buck, Jesse, Nellie
First Lady: 1869-1877

The wife of Ulysses S. Grant could hardly have been described as a great beauty. She was the sister of one of Grant's West Point classmates and she was strongly cross eyed. But Ulysses fell in love with her and withstood her father's opposition for four years. Colonel Dent objected to Grant because he thought his delicately reared daughter was not suited to the life of an army wife. In his first incarnation as a soldier, Grant did not fare very well; he resigned his commission after being reprimanded for drinking. But with the coming of the Civil War, Grant had another opportunity to succeed-- and he did. The hero general was nominated for the Presidency of the United States and won the election. Julia Grant greatly enjoyed her husband's two terms as President. She loved the social whirl and made remodeling the White House her special concern. Although she spent extravagant sums of money, she was not reviled for her excesses. Cleverly, she asked the glitterati of Washington society to assist her at White House events, thus winning their unswerving loyalty (even when the Grant Administration was rocked by scandal). When the Grant Presidency came to an end, she spent two years traveling the world with her husband. They were received by royalty and treated as if they were still the occupants of the White House. Upon their return to the U.S., the Grants lived in grand New York mansion (paid for by wealthy friends of the couple). For the rest of her life, Julia Grant savored her recollections of the White House as "a garden spot of orchids."