Yesterday I needed a break from writing, and with only a couple of days left on our stay here at the Wilmington Thousand Trails preserve, we decided it was a good day to play tourist again.
We left the campground about 10:30 and traveled south on U.S. Highway 68 to Georgetown, Ohio, a friendly little town with a lot of history attached to it. Established in 1819, by 1833 Georgetown was described as having a printing office, five stores, a grocery, several mechanic shops, two taverns, two doctors, four attorneys, and about 400 inhabitants. Among them was a young boy named Hiram Ulysses Grant.
Born April 27, 1822 in nearby Point Pleasant to Jesse and Hannah Simpson Grant, the young boy who would become our 18th President and his family moved to Georgetown a year later. Known to his family and friends as ‘Lys, Grant lived with his parents and four younger siblings in the brick home his father built in Georgetown until 1839, when he left to attend West Point. That would be longer than any other house he resided in during his lifetime.
Today the boyhood home is a State Historic Site decorated with period furnishings, including a few original Grant family items. We took a tour and learned a lot about the boy from the Buckeye state who would one day help win the Civil War and go on to the White House. Among the interesting bits of trivia we picked up was that a clerical error when he entered the U.S. Military Academy identified the new cadet as Ulysses Simpson Grant (Simpson was his mother’s maiden name) and he was forever after known as Ulysses S. Grant.
The future president slept in this small room on the second floor.
A few blocks away the school house where young Hiram attended classes is also a State Historic Site, so we stopped there to learn even more about his early days. Teacher John D. White said that young ‘Lys was the best student that he had ever had, and he was popular with his fellow students and adults alike.
At Point Pleasant, 23 miles east on a bend of the Ohio River, we stopped at the U.S. Grant Birthplace State Historic Site, a single-story wooden frame house that was considerably less spacious or comfortable than the Georgetown home the Grant family moved to.
A sign at the home says that Grant may have been the first U.S. President to be born in a “mobile” home. After Grant’s death in 1885, the house became a traveling memorial to the hometown boy who made good. It was put on a towboat and moved downriver to Cincinnati for public exhibition. In 1888, it was moved to Columbus and put on display in Goodale Park during the centennial celebration of the Northwest Territory. From there it was put on a railroad car and traveled the country, drawing crowds wherever it stopped. Eventually it was put on display at the State Fairgrounds in Columbus, Ohio, where it remained until 1936, when it was moved back to Point Pleasant and erected back on its original foundation. I’ll have more on the early life of U.S. Grant and other historic attractions we discovered in southwest Ohio in the next issue of the Gypsy Journal.
Don’t forget to enter this week’s Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Blizzard, the fourth book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – Men in denim built this country. Men in suits destroyed it.