President Grant has Ohio roots, is buckeye native

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 7, 2010

A few weeks back we journeyed down river on an Underground Railroad — themed tour to Old Washington and Maysville, Ky. then over to Ripley.

I finished my tour in Ripley and headed back to I-town but on an April departure I’m planning on spending the night in Brown County. I’ll continue my explorations of this area tomorrow.

The plan is to experience the previously described Underground Railroad tour on Friday April, 23 then on Saturday, April 24 visits Georgetown and Point Pleasant. The theme for April 24 is Presidential with a “Land of Grant” tour and festival.

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I had hoped to spend Friday night in Georgetown at the Bailey House Bed and Breakfast but I waited too long in making reservations.

This quaint place only offers three guest rooms and sadly they’re already booked. What attracted me is its history; it was built in 1832 and has not been structurally altered since 1876.

The other draw is its location confidently close to quaint shops, historical landmarks, the Ohio River and walking distance to Grant festival activities. Maybe there will be a room available next time!

Hiram Ulysses S. Grant was born Hiram Ulysses Grant on April 27, 1822, in Point Pleasant. In 1823, his family moved to Georgetown, Ohio where his father operated a tannery. During his youth, Grant helped in the family business and he also became an outstanding horseman, a skill that served him well throughout his military career.

Grant attended primary school in Georgetown and later attended a boarding school in Maysville and a Presbyterian academy in Ripley, Ohio.

On March 3, 1839, Grant received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. When he arrived at West Point, he discovered that the name on his appointment was a combination of his middle name (Ulysses) and his mother’s maiden name (Simpson).

Thus, he became Ulysses Simpson Grant.

Today his birthplace In Point Pleasant is a restored one-story, three-room cottage that was built in 1817.

Originally it stood next to the tannery where Grant’s father worked and is now furnished with period items.

At one time the birthplace made an extensive tour of the United States on a railroad flatcar and was also temporarily displayed on the Ohio State fairgrounds.

Continuing to Georgetown you’ll discover Grant’s Boyhood Home and School House. Georgetown was the home of Ulysses S. Grant, 18th president of the United States, from 1823, when Grant was one year old, until 1839, when he left to attend West Point. Ulysses Grant lived in this home longer than any other during his lifetime.

Jesse and Hanna Grant, the parents of young Hiram Ulysses Grant, built the original two-story brick section of the Grant Boyhood home in 1823, when they moved to Georgetown from Point Pleasant in Clermont County, where Ulysses had been born the year before.

A large kitchen was added the following year and five years later they built a new two-story home connected to the front of the original structure.

Ulysses lived with his parents and four siblings at the home until 1839 when he left to attend West Point. It was at West Point that, through a bureaucratic error, his name was listed as Ulysses Simpson Grant.

During his youth in Georgetown, Grant attended school, worked in his father’s tannery, and spent hour upon hour in his favorite pastime — working with horses. A Georgetown couple purchased the Grant Boyhood Home in 1977 to prevent its demolition.

The home was restored and furnished, with one room which is dedicated to Grant and Georgetown memorabilia.

The site has been open since 1982 when it was put on the National Register and declared a National Historic Landmark.

In 1996 the site was put into the U.S. Grant Homestead Foundation by owners John and Judy Ruthven. The next year the site was opened for public visitation under the auspices of the foundation.

The Grant Boyhood Home was donated by the Ruthven’s to the State of Ohio and, in turn, to the Ohio Historical Society in 2002.

Another Grant attraction is the old School House. The building, built in 1829, consisted of only one room at that time. The teacher was John White, whom Grant mentioned in his memoirs.

Later Grant attended an academy in Maysville, for a year, and then John Rankin’s academy at Ripley for a year. His father then succeeded in getting him appointed to West Point where, through a bureaucratic error, his name was listed as Ulysses Simpson Grant.

Today all three of these Grant sites are operated by the Ohio Historical Society and available for touring. You can obtain hours of operation and admission fees by visiting

As mentioned earlier I’ve timed my travels to coincide with the annual U.S. Grant Celebration that is the fourth weekend of April in Georgetown. The Inaugural Ball starts off the two day event on Friday evening and has a reenactment of Morgan’s Raid as a main feature on Saturday.

Nearly 1000 spectators come out and enjoy the event produced by local citizens and civil war reenactors. For an event schedule visit www. or call 937-378-1970.

It’s time to load up and head to the Central Ohio Home and Garden show. After this winter I’m looking forward to the colors of spring and summer.

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