Tour Stop

Sign at the entrance to the The Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site

Directions: The The Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site [ Waypoint = N38 33.059 W90 21.125 ] is located at 7400 Grant Road in St. Louis, Missouri 63123. The site is open daily from 9 – 5 and admission is free.

The The Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site Visitor Center Map of the White Haven Plantation

Description: This tour stop is located on the former site of White Haven, the plantation of Frederick Dent situated along Gravois Creek just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. Here you will learn the history of White Haven and how Ulysses S. Grant came to live there. Next to the Visitor Center is an interpretive museum whose displays tell about the lives of Ulysses and Julia Grant. And of course there is White Haven, itself, restored to its 19th century grandeur. There are numerous interpretive signs on the grounds that tell the story of White Haven.

Brevet Second Lieutenant U. S. Grant at the Age of 21 Years, from an old Daguerreotype taken at Bethel, Clermont County, Ohio, in 1843.

Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant was assigned to Jefferson Barracks in Missouri in 1843. Grant's roommate at West Point had been Fred Dent, whose father owned a plantation just outside of St. Louis and only five or six miles from Jefferson Barracks. Fred Dent invited Grant to come to visit him at White Haven and later wrote about these visits: [143]

At the Academy in our last year [Ulysses and I] roomed together and I never had a pleasanter companion—After we graduated I visited him at his home in Ohio. He then promised me to visit me at St. Louis . . . My people had heard me talk about him a good deal; they were glad to see him.

Julia Boggs Dent

It was on one of these visits, that young Ulysses met Julia Boggs Dent, the seventeen year old daughter of Frederick and Ellen Wrenshall Dent. A long courtship ensued, interrupted by Grant's service in the Mexican War, and Ulysses and Julia were married at White Haven on August 22, 1848. Julia remembered fondly their courtships at White Haven: [144]

Mr. Grant passed the next ten or twelve days at White Haven, and such a two weeks! It was May, and the country was beautiful. The days were passed in reading, walking, and riding, and full of such pleasant, pleasant memories to me.

After the Civil War ended, Ulysses S. Grant acquired the White Haven plantation with the intent of breeding horses. While still in Washington, Grant wrote the following letter of instruction to his caretaker, William Elrod, on April 28, 1868:

Have all three of my mares put to a blooded horse.... If [my horse] Legal Tender is standing I think it would be well to try him . . . I have two colts here, one of which I hope to raise for a stallion to put on my farm.

TThe restored White Haven main house at the The Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site TThe restored White Haven main house at the The Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site
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