Blue Star Museums Blog (Archive)

1,800 and Counting...

A marker outside of Grant's Birthplace. Photo courtesy of Ohio Historical Society, www.ohiohistory.org

This weekend, Blue Star Museums officially registered its 1,800th museum! The honor went to Grant's Birthplace, a one-story, three-room cottage in Point Pleasant, Ohio, where Ulysses S. Grant was born on April 27, 1822. These were humble beginnings for the man who led the Union Army to victory during the Civil War, and later served as the 18th president of the United States. The house was built in 1817 for a tannery worker, but Grant's parents, Hannah and Jesse, moved in after their wedding in 1821. After Ulysses' birth, the family only stayed for another year before moving to nearby Georgetown, Ohio.

Grant's Birthplace. Photo courtesy of Ohio Historical Society, www.ohiohistory.org

Jane Mason of the Ohio Historical Society, which administers Grant's birthplace, provided us with a few fascinating facts about Grant and his clapboard home.

  • The president's given name at birth was Hiram Ulysses Grant.The name "Ulysses S. Grant" emerged from a mix-up during Grant's nomination to West Point. He decided to keep the moniker.
  • In 1885, Grant's birthplace was lifted from its foundations, and traveled across the country for state fairs and expos. From 1896 to 1935, it lived on the Ohio State Fairgrounds. The house was returned to its original location in Point Pleasant in 1936.
  • At one point early in his career as a tanner, Jesse Grant went to work for and live with Owen Brown and his family in Deerfield, Ohio. Jesse became friendly with one of Brown's sons, John, who would make quite a name for himself as a vigilante abolitionist in Harpers Ferry, Virginia.
  • Although Grant's father worked at a tannery, Ulysses abhorred the trade, largely because he couldn't stand the sight of blood. Ironic for a man who helped lead the bloodiest war in U.S. history!

Have you visited a Blue Star Museum this summer and would like to write about your experience for the blog? E-mail Rebecca Gross at grossr@arts.gov for details.

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