Tuesday, March 15, 2011

US Grant in Galena, Illinois

From the Fall/Winter 2010-11 Galenian.

The small town of Galena, Illinois, is a real step back into history, essentially looking the same as it did when US Grant walked its streets. It is truly a town that history forgot and set amid some of the prettiest terrain you'll ever see. I say that the drive on US-20 (the US Grant Memorial Highway in Illinois) from Elizabeth, through Galena and to Dubuque, Iowa, is one of the prettiest in the US.

Some people think Union General US Grant was born in Galena because Grant's Home is there and that he spent a lot of time in town. But this isn't true.

Grant was born in Ohio, just east of Cincinnati off US-52 and didn't move to Galena until 1860. He was married at the time to Julia and had four children. He got a job at a leather goods store which was owned by a relative.

They weren't in Galena long as war broke out and President Lincoln issued a call to suppress the the Confederacy and West Point graduate Grant offered his services and left. Wife Julia and family stayed in galena until November 1861 when they joined him at his headquarters in Cairo, Illinois.

When he left, the family stayed with her father in St. Louis, or his father in Covington, Kentucky.

After Grant's victory in the Civil war, the grateful citizens of Galena gave the Grants their own Italianate home on the east side of town. But, they didn't stay there long as his next home was in the White House.

Today, the home in Galena is a State Historic Site with that infamous statue of Julia Dent Grant or Mrs. Butterworth standing on the grounds.

So, that's the Grant of It. --Old B-Runner

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