Last great-grandson of Ulysses S. Grant dies
Monday, March 7, 2011
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The last surviving great-grandson of Ulysses S. Grant has died in a southwest Missouri home brimming with artifacts from the nation’s 18th president and commander of the Union forces in the Civil War.
Ulysses S. Grant V spent part of his youth in the home of his grandfather, Jesse Grant, who was the late president’s youngest son. Jesse Grant’s wife, Elizabeth, is credited with helping to save the artifacts.
As an adult, Grant V became a custodian to the items — including his famous relative’s letters, his will, his China and even the flag said to have flown over the Appomattox Court House when Robert E. Lee surrendered. Some of the items have been sold.
“It was everywhere growing up,” said Grant V’s grandson, Ulysses S. Grant VI. “It was an everyday part of our life.”
Grant VI said his grandfather died Wednesday at age 90 at his home near the Springfield-area town of Battlefield, which received its name for its proximity to a Civil War clash. He had suffered a stroke previously.
Grant VI said Grant V was “proud of his heritage” and “the smartest man I ever met.” He said they had a special relationship because he was born on his grandfather’s 50th birthday.
Grant V called him Sam — a nickname the late president’s West Point classmates gave him because his initials, “U.S.,“ reminded them of “Uncle Sam.” In reality, the general was actually born Hiram Ulysses Grant, but the congressman who submitted his name to West Point mixed it up. Grant adopted the new name.
His great-grandson, Grant V, followed in his great-grandfather’s footsteps, serving in World War II and Korea. He later owned an avocado-growing operation in California and designed buildings before moving to Missouri to be closer to family.
Keya Morgan, who collects Grant memorabilia and is writing a book and making a film about the general, struck up a friendship with Grant V. Morgan called his death “the end of an era.”
“He was a historian,” said Morgan, who also is serving as a spokesman for the family. “He kept his family’s history intact.”