Hiram Ulysses Grant was born April 27, 1822 in Pt. Pleasant, Ohio, a small town roughly 25 miles southeast of Cincinnati. The first child of Jesse and Hannah Grant, his family called him Ulysses, or Ulys for short. When Ulysses was one year old, his family moved to nearby Georgetown, Ohio. His father supported the family as a tanner who owned his own factory, where they made animal hides into leather. Ulysses did not like working at the tannery and instead helped take care of the family farm, especially horses. He attended several grade schools in Ohio and in Maysville, Kentucky, and at one point thought about becoming a math teacher. His father wanted him to work in the tannery, but when Grant stated that he would like to go to college, Jesse got him an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
Grant did not want to become a military officer, but his father convinced him to go. By mistake, his name was listed on the roster as Ulysses S. Grant, and although he tried to correct it upon entering the Academy, they informed him it would require a new appointment. Knowing this would upset his father, Ulysses accepted the change. His classmates soon nicknamed him United States or Uncle Sam Grant, and then called him Sam Grant.