Presidential First Lady. She was the wife of 18th United States President Ulysses S. Grant. Her father was a fur trader operating along the Mississippi River. He became quite wealthy and developed a copied southern plantation named "White Haven", outside of St. Louis. Julian Dent was born in St. Louis one of seven children. Using slave labor the plantation became a very profitable enterprise. Julia attended the Misses Mauros boarding school in St. Louis which catered to daughters of other affluent parents and graduated at the age of seventeen. Her oldest brother was a friend of Ulysses S. Grant from his days at West Point. They were both stationed at Jefferson Barracks, near White Haven and a romantic relationship developed as he was a frequent guest at the plantation. A long courtship ensued, First by separation as a result of the absence of Grant who was called away by the Mexican American War and then the lack of consent by her father who considered Ulysses simply to poor. Finally they were married at the Dent House. Grant's family refused to attend because of the presence of slaves owned by her father. Julian endured hard times, not being accepted by Grant's family and years of poverty after Grant resigned from the Army and being unable to find work. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Julia and Ulysses lived in a small house in Galena, Illinois where he worked in his father's leather shop for small wages while trying to support four children. The Civil War saw Grant returning to Military duty. Their fortunes brightened. Through out the War, Julia Grant was a familiar sight joining her husband near the scene of action and often staying in his tent. She rejoiced in the fame showered upon her victorious husband for his exploits during the conduct of the war. At the War's end, Julia traveled with Ulysses throughout the North, where they were showered with gifts from people desiring to see the War hero. They were even given a house in Galena. Grant was nominated and won election to the presidency. Julia gave lavish parties and receptions. Upon completion of two terms, They went on a two-year world tour which resulted in a state of insolvency. He tried being a stockbroker which resulted in a more dire financial strait. Ulysses stricken with cancer and heavily in debt was convinced to pen a book about his life. He completed this work just four days prior to his death. This book produced the largest cash advance ever recorded in the publishing field at that time. This along with a widow's pension enabled Julia Grant to live in comfort, surrounded by her four children, Frederick, Ulysses, Ellen and Jesse and many grandchildren. It was unusual to be survived by your children in these times as many died young as a result of simple childhood inflictions.
Ulysses S. Grant
1822–1885 (m. 1848)