|First Lady of the United States|
March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877
|Preceded by||Eliza McCardle Johnson|
|Succeeded by||Lucy Webb Hayes|
Julia Boggs Dent
January 26, 1826
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||December 14, 1902 (aged 76)|
Edgerton, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Ulysses S. Grant|
|Relations||Frederick Tracy Dent (brother)|
|Children||Frederick Dent Grant|
Ulysses S. Grant, Jr.
Ellen Wrenshall Grant
Jesse Root Grant
|Occupation||First Lady of the United States|
Early life[change | change source]
She was born at White Haven plantation west of St. Louis, Missouri. She was the daughter of Colonel Frederick Dent, a slaveholding planter and merchant, and Ellen Wrenshall-Dent.
Engagement to Grant[change | change source]
After her schooling, she and Ulysses S. Grant got engaged in 1844. At that time, Ulysses S. Grant was a Lieutenant in the US Army. In the meanwhile, Mexican War began. Ulysses went to war. He returned from the war after many years. They married in 1848.
Children[change | change source]
The Grants had three sons and a daughter:
- Frederick Dent Grant (1850–1912)
- Ulysses Simpson Grant, Jr. known as "Buck" (1852–1929)
- Ellen Wrenshall Grant known as "Nellie" (1855–1922)
- Jesse Root Grant (1858–1934)
First Lady[change | change source]
She entered the White House in 1869 to begin, in her words, "the happiest period" of her life. With Cabinet wives as her allies, she entertained extensively and lavishly. The social highlight of the Grant years was the White House wedding of their daughter in 1874. Contemporaries noted her finery, jewels, and silks and laces. After four years of war, an assassination, and an impeachment trial, Washington was ready for a little levity, and Julia obliged. She offered a full array of events and became a popular hostess. She planned lavish state dinners, where guests enjoyed expensive wines and liquors.
As First Lady it was suggested to her that she have an operation to correct her crossed eyes, but President Grant said that he liked her that way.
After the Presidency[change | change source]
Upon leaving the White House in 1877, the Grants made a trip around the world. Julia proudly recalled details of hospitality and magnificent gifts they received. A highlight of the trip was an overnight stay and dinner hosted for them by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle in England. They also enjoyed a swing through the Far East, being cordially received at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo by the Emperor and Empress of Japan.
In 1884 Grant suffered yet another business failure and they lost all they had.
She became the first First Lady to write a memoir, though she was unable to find a publisher, and had been dead almost 75 years before "The Personal Memoirs of Julia Dent Grant (Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant)" was finally published in 1975.
She had attended in 1897 the dedication of Grant's monumental tomb overlooking the Hudson River in New York City. She was laid to rest in a sarcophagus beside her husband. She had ended her own chronicle of their years together with a firm declaration: "the light of his glorious fame still reaches out to me, falls upon me, and warms me."