“My birth name is Hiram Ulysses Grant.”
“I graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1843.”
“The S in my name didn't stand for anything.”
“Mark Twain published my memoirs.”
“I was the youngest president elected at the time.”
“I once received a speeding ticket for driving my horse too fast through the streets of D.C.”
“I loved to eat pickles for breakfast and my steak cooked well-done.”
“Find my picture on any $50 bill printed after 1913.”
Jesse Grant, father of Ulysses S. Grant, opened the J.R. Grant leather goods store in 1853. Ulysses humbly worked at the store as a clerk. Once famous, townspeople would peer in to try to figure out which of the Grants was the victorious General. In 1863, Orvil, brother to Ulysses, formed a partnership with C.R. Perkins and opened the Grant & Perkins leather store, now home to a retail shop, one can browse modern-day items at 103 N. Main Street.
In April of 1860, Grant, Julia, and the four children arrived in Galena aboard the Mississippi steamer Itasca. The newcomers fell in love with the affluent town and established residence at 121 S. High Street, perched above the Galena River and bustling business district. Grant and Julia rented their new home for $100 per year.
Explore the Galena and U.S. Grant Museum to learn about Grant's relationships with his fellow Galenians. See one of Grant's boots, a bowtie, his cigar and a mock-up of the leather goods store in which he got his start. Make your way to The Old Market House State Historic Site, home to the largest display of Grant memorabilia...in the world!
The oldest Methodist church in Northern Illinois, Grant and his family worshiped here from 1859 through 1863. The historic church features 12 original stained-glass windows, a restored 1880s Moline pipe organ and the pew that the Grant family occupied is noted with a plaque and an American flag.
Once the plea for volunteers reached Galena, a band of soldiers was recruited by John Rawlins, Elihu Washburne, William Rawley, and lead by Grant himself. The regiment, named the Jo Daviess Guards, was celebrated with an outpouring of patriotic ardor, as they marched to the train station, bound for Springfield. The Old Train Depot still stands today, at 101 Bouthiller St.
The only destination home to nine civil war generals! Discover more history on Augustus Chetlain, John Duer, Ely S. Parker, John Rawlins, William Rawley, John Carson Smith, John Eugene Smith, Jasper Maltby, and Ulysses S. Grant with a visit to the Galena and U.S. Grant Museum.
In March of 1864, President Lincoln elevated Grant to the rank of Lieutenant-General, a rank previously reserved for George Washington.
On August 18, 1865, the citizens of Galena greeted the return of its victorious General with a grand celebration. "After a glorious triumphal ride around the hills and valleys, so brilliant with smiles and flowers, we were conducted to a lovely villa exquisitely furnished with everything good taste could desire." - Julia Grant Discover more with a tour of the beautiful home or explore the historic district via Trolley Tour.
On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant in the Village of Appomattox courthouse. This pivotal moment in history was depicted by Thomas Nast in the 9'x12' Peace in Union painting, a must-see in the Galena and U.S. Grant Museum.
Elihu Washburne was a prominent Galena attorney, a U.S. Congressman, and political advisor and friend to Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. Tour his home located on 908 Third Street to discover where Grant learned he had won the Presidency!
Being the oldest operating hotel in the State of Illinois, the DeSoto House Hotel packs a punch when it comes to history. Not only has the hotel hosted notable guests such as Mrs. Tom Thumb and Abraham Lincoln, but Ulysses S. Grant ran his presidential campaign from rooms 209 and 211.
On March 4, 1869, Grant was sworn in as the 18th President of the United States. He served two consecutive terms and is most celebrated for his fight for civil rights and the ratification of the fifteenth amendment.
In 1904, Grant's children gave the house to the City of Galena "with the understanding that this property is to be kept as a memorial to the late General Ulysses S. Grant, and for no other purpose." The home, featuring mostly original furnishings, is now owned by the State and is open year-round for tours.
The first First Lady to ever be filmed and defender of human rights is one of few First Ladies to have a statue. Find Julia's statue at 500 Bouthillier St., overlooking the beautiful city of Galena.