Saturday, April 27, 2013

us grant bd

Today is the birthday of former President US Grant.  Like most presidential birthdays it hardly remembered but since there is a Mayberry connection I felt he deserved a nod.

Grant's West Point roommate was a St. Louis boy named Frederick Dent. During their off hours Dent would regale Grant with stories of his family and home in St. Louis, he called it the land of plenty.  Grant was more interested in stories of Dent's sisters.  Grant's first military posting (1843) was to Jefferson Barracks,a cavalry outpost overlooking the Mississippi River in St. Louis, less than a 10 mile ride by horseback to Dent's home, Whitehaven Plantation.

Grant visited the Dent's often when stationed in Missouri, especially after meeting Frederick's sister Julia.  In 1844 U asked for her hand, they married in 1848, after his time in the Mexican War.  They moved into the cabin shown above, which was on the Dent plantation.

The Dent farm has been divided over time by suburbanization and by Anheuser Busch which has long owned the property Grant's once lived on.  Known now as Grant's Farm it was the longtime home of the Busch family, as well as a AB tourist attraction.  Over my lifetime the attractions have improved and now include a large zoo, the Busch family carriage collection and stables for some of the Clydesdale draft horses.

The Dent Farm is mostly suburban neighborhoods now.  Whitehaven House, the Dent and Grant family home and an acre or two of land  is now a national park while Anheuser Busch stables and trains Clydesdales on what was Julia Dent's back yard.  

If you find yourself in town, its a fun stop, free too (except for parking) and they even include a couple of glasses of beer.  


Anonymous said...

NYT is running a Civil War series, "Disunion" with yesterday's entry concerning the enigmatic Mr. Grant.


Karen Albert said...

So interesting Toad, I love stories like these! Is there a book about his life in this time period?

Art by Karena

Toad said...

I am unfamiliar with any other than the general Grant biographies. My favorite is Grant's autobiography, The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant published by Mark Twain of all people. Grant finished the works days before his death. It is available as a free download from most of the usual sources