Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Family Life

By any measure, the marriage of Ulysses and Julia was a successful one. The two met through her brother, Frederick Dent, who was Grant's roommate at West Point. Letters between them throughout their lives together reveal a bond that was both strong and touching. Julia stood by her husband through hard times before the outbreak of the Civil War and told friends that she believed in Ulysses. She was convinced he would make something of himself one day.

From all accounts, he was a doting, devoted father. Ulysses and Julia Grant had four children, three boys and a girl. He missed much of their upbringing due to his army duties, but tried to make up for it in later life. Grant's elder sons, Frederick and Ulysses Jr., attended West Point and Harvard; the youngest, Jesse, ran about the White House and gave his beleaguered father much-needed cheer. His daughter Ellen, known as Nellie, was married at the White House in 1874, a grand social occasion that captured the fancy of many Americans.