1836-1837 Winter in Maysville, Kentucky

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W. W. Richeson and Jacob W. Rand

From Autumn 1836 to Spring 1837, Ulysses Grant attended the school of Richeson and Rand in Maysville, Kentucky. Richeson recollects Grant in this 1879 New York Times article.

Ulysses’s father, Jesse, had lived with Peter Grant in 1812 when apprenticing at Peter’s tannery. Now, while he attended Maysville Academy run by Richeson and Rand, Ulysses was staying at the same place with his aunt Permelia (Bane) Grant, widow of his paternal half-uncle, Peter Grant. Peter Grant had been close friends and supporter of abolitionist John Rankin from Ripley, Ohio (across the river); and that could be why Ulysses attended the Presbyterian Academy in Ripley the next winter. Although Peter Grant supported the anti-slavery cause, during the Civil War his offspring sided with the Confederacy.

While Ulysses was there, two of Permelia Grant’s children were setting up their own households in Maysville. Clarice (1808-1875) married James Hewitt in 1826 and Lawson (1810-1887) married Martha in 1834.  It is unclear if the new families continued in the house where Ulysses was staying. Three of Ulysses’s older cousins from the household were soon to be married: Solomon (1812-1851) married Elizabeth Thorton in May 1837, and Orvil (1815-c. 1850) would marry Marian McFarland in October 1837. The children older than Grant in the household were Peter (1817-1895), Anna (1819-1858) and Permelia (1822-1845) 3 months older than Ulysses.  She would eventually marry Dr. Volney Spalding* of New York City and move to Fort Madison, Iowa. The younger children in the house were Noah (1824-1867) and Rachel Maria (1829-1853).

“I was not studious in habit, and probably did not make progress enough to compensate for the outlay for board and tuition. At all events both winters were spent in going over the same old arithmetic which I knew every word of before, and repeating: “A noun is the name of a thing,” which I had also heard my Georgetown teachers repeat, until I had come to believe it–but I cast no reflections upon my old teacher, Richardson. He turned out bright scholars from his school, many of whom have filled conspicuous places in the service of their States. Two of my contemporaries there–who, I believe, never attended any other institution of learning–have held seats in Congress, and one, if not both, other high offices; these are Wadsworth and Brewster.”

–Memoirs, by Ulysses S. Grant, 1885


An aside: Grant was probably too young to attend horse races at Maysville jockey club, but as an adult Grant enjoyed participating in horse racing and attending races at Saratoga Springs in New York.

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Maysville Kentucky blog (now offline)
* The Spalding memorial : a genealogical history of Edward Spaulding of Virginia and Massachusetts Bay (7th generation, pg 435)

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