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Julia Dent Grant

Julia Boggs Dent was born near St. Louis on January 26, 1826.
She lived on a plantation and attended the Misses Mauros' Boarding School.

Her family had slaves.

She met Ulysses Grant when he was an army lieutenant in 1844.

Her father, Colonel Dent thought Grant was too poor to marry Julia.

They were married after a four year engagement on August 22, 1848.

Julia Grant
Library of Congress

The Grants (Grant's family) did not attend the wedding.

Julia and Ulysses lived at numerous military camps in the early years.

She supported him in his early troubles. He resigned from the army due to alcohol. He tried selling real estate and also tried farming.

Grant was only an average student at West Point.

They had four children.

He gained his popularity as a general in the Civil War.

In 1868, Grant, a Civil War, hero was elected President

Julia Grant was cross-eyed. This made her look odd in photographs.

Julia's father and Ulysses's fathers did not get along. They sometimes refused to talk to each other and would only talk through Julia.

Mrs. Grant enjoyed entertaining and threw lavish parties. Her daughter Nellie was married in the White House.

Julia was the first First Lady to be followed by the press. More women became journalist and they columns attracted female readers.

In May of 1874, 18 year old Nellie Grant married a young man from Britain. This was the first wedding at the White House since Tyler's daughter was married 22 years before this wedding. The news covered all the details of the wedding.

Julia had a mind of her home. Grant had sold a house in Washington and didn't tell her. She refused to sign the deed and Grant had to cancel the sale. The next time he checked with her before making a deal.

She wanted her husband to run for a third term as President. Grant refused.

After he was President they went for a trip around the world. They traveled for 28 months and were warmly greeted around the world.

In 1884, Grant lost his money in a bad investment and also learned he had throat cancer.

Ulysses died in 1885.

Julia continued to live in Washington on the money from Grant's autobiography.

She also wrote her memoirs. She was the first First Lady to write her autobiography. In her book she explained how Grant was taken in by some business men and had nothing to do with anything illegal.

A journalist called Julia Grant "the first lady of the land." One of the first documented accuracies that term in a newspaper.

She is buried with her husband in New York City.

 

 

 

Topics

First Ladies Home

U.S. Presidents Home

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Sources of Information:

Books:
Barden, Cindy,Meet the First Ladies, Lorenz Corp.
Gormley, Beatrice,First Ladies: Women Who Called The White House Home (First Ladies) , Scholastic Paperbacks, 1997
Smith, Carter, Editor,Smithsonian Presidents and First Ladies DK Publishing, New York, 2002

Web Sites:
The White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/firstladies/
Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/odmdhtml/

 

This page was last updated: August 18, 2017