Ulysses S. Grant & White Haven
Second Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant was assigned to St. Louis' nearby Jefferson Barracks following his graduation from West Point in 1843. Soon after arriving in the city, he visited the family of his former roommate, Frederick Dent, at their plantation on Gravois Creek. There he met Fred's sister Julia, and afterward his visits became quite regular. Upon learning of his regiment's impending transfer, Grant proposed to Julia in 1843, and the couple eventually married in 1848.The White Haven property was a focal point in Ulysses' and Julia's lives for four decades. The Grants lived here off and on during the 1850s. Although the family moved to Galena, Illinois, in 1860, the Grants continued to think of White Haven as their family home. By 1870, President Grant owned nearly 650 acres of the White Haven farm and began readying the property for a relaxing retirement. Although circumstances caused him to abandon those retirement plans, Grant retained ownership of the property until a few months before his death in 1885.
Did You Know?
Ulysses Grant freed the only slave he is known to have owned, William Jones, in March 1859. It is unclear exactly when or why he acquired Jones from his father-in-law, Colonel Frederick Dent.