Papa Report #7


Grant's Farm:
Ulysses: Hurrah! It's my turn -- finally! Now, than, no interruptions, please. I have a lot of important things to tell you.

Robert E.: (To himself) I wonder if Ulysses thinks he is campaigning for President again.

Ulysses: On June 19, we crossed the mighty Mississippi and once again entered the great state of Missouri. We were on our way to visit Grant's Farm, a wildlife preserve owned and operated by the Busch family of Saint Louis. Photo: Postcard of Grant's hand-made cabin, Hardscrabble at Grant's Farm with a company of re-enactors from the 8th Missouri Volunteers who served under Grant during the Civil War.

Not only does the huge parkland have herds of deer, elk, zebra, yaks, and buffalo roaming freely among the trees, but my old cabin still stands near the original site where I built it in 1856, on the land that was once owned by my father-in-law, Frederick Dent. It is the only house still standing that was hand-built by a President of the United States. Photo: The four of us on one of the wagons at Grant's Farm. Note: we are sitting on the wagon, not climbing on it.

The cabin wasn't much -- a stone foundation with rough-hewn logs, but it did have a door and glass in the windows. I was proud of that piece of work, though my dear wife, Julia Dent Grant, was less so. She later wrote in her memoirs that our first home was "so crude and homely I did not like it at all, but I did not say so. I got out all my pretty covers, baskets, books, etc. and tried to make it look home-like and comfortable, but this was hard to do. The little house looked so unattractive we facetiously decided to call it Hardscrabble." Photo: Mary and the four of us in front of a life-sized statue of the famous Busch Clydesdale horses. We could have used those horses in the artillery during the war.

Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site (St. Louis, MO):
Fortunately for Julia's peace of mind, we only lived in Hardscrabble for three months before moving across the road to live with old Frederick in the family house, White Haven, after Julia's mother died.

White Haven was where I first met my wife when I was stationed in St. Louis after my graduation from West Point in 1843. White Haven was our home and place of our best memories until 1885, when I sold all the Dent property to cover my debts. Photo: Ulysses in front of White Haven.

Sacagawea: (To Robert E.) Why does he call the house White Haven when it is painted such an odd green color?

Ulysses: I heard that! The name "White Haven" was traditionally the name the Dent family gave to all the homes they owned. The color is not odd, but quite pretty and very fashionable in the Victorian era. The color is called Paris Green as it originated in that city, first as a color used in candy making. That didn't last very long because some of the ingredients used to make Paris Green are lead and arsenic, a poison. The color may not make good candy but it looks fine on a house.

Postcard of Grant's Home; note the Paris Green paint.

A photo of the house to show it is really that green color.

The Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, across the street from Grant's Farm, is owned and operated by the National Park Service. I invite everyone to come to St. Louis and visit my home!

Jefferson Barracks:

Five miles down the road from White Haven was Jefferson Barracks, located on the high bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River on the Missouri side. In the 1800's, Jefferson Barracks was the largest and most important army post west of the Appalachian Mountains. From this post, all the military business of the Westward Expansion was conducted. This was the headquarters for the later Indian Wars in the west. Photo: Robert E., Mary, and me in front of an old building at Jefferson Barracks.

Sacagawea: Oh, my general of the North! Please do not bring up that most distasteful subject.

Ulysses: Sorry, I plum forgot about that. Just about every graduate from West Point was assigned to Jefferson Barracks at one time or another, including all of the West Point-educated generals on both sides of the Civil War.

Robert E.: I was also at Jefferson Barracks, though I served there a few years before you arrived, Ulysses.

Ulysses: It was nostalgic to revisit the old place on our way back from Grant's Farm. Nowadays, the Missouri National Guard uses the Barracks. The place sure doesn't look like it did in the old days. Photo: Robert E., Mary, and me in front of an old building at Jefferson Barracks.

Robert E.: But they have made a mighty fine park out of the grounds. Now the good citizens of St. Louis can picnic and hike where the old cannons were once mounted.

Ulysses: Sigh! It's not what it used to be.

Next Week, It's Back to Virginia:
Abe: Cheer up, Ulysses. We're headed back to Virginia next week, the state where you had your greatest victories.


Papa Was A Boy in Gray Book Tour

with Prize-Winning author Mary w. Schaller


Report #7 from Ulysses S. Grant June 23, 2001

Greetings From Missouri