As a Southerner with ancestors who fought with him and against him, I’m always intrigued by the man. I personally admire his absolute determination, and am quite fascinated when I find hints of him in the history of my home county (Page County) in Virginia. Just a few examples of how he left another sort of legacy in the South…
As one who studies Southern Unionism, it’s something to find Southern children named Ulysses, Ulysses Grant or something similar. I’ve found a few instances in my home county and I consider it somewhat similar to a bread crumb trail, telling where sympathies may have really been in that family during the war.
There was also once a restaurant in Luray, that was in business from 1904-1922, and was named for the owner… Ulysses Simpson Grant Fry, a son of USCT soldier, Wesley Fry*; the use of Grant’s name in the name of the restaurant went over quite well with Union veterans when visiting the Luray Caverns.
Then too, I think about the tribute paid to Grant by Confederate Veterans from my home county. The following article is from an August 1885 edition of the Page News, published soon after Grant’s death. As stated in the article, most of the men named to the committee to honor Grant were local Confederate veterans, some of whom had been present at the Luray-Carlisle Reunions that had taken place in 1881.
The Grant Memorial Meeting
A meeting of the citizens of the town and county, including a number of ex-Confederate soldiers, assembled in the Court House at 2 o’clock p.m., Saturday, August 8th, and was called to order by Maj. A.J. Brand, who stated that in response to the request of the Governor of Virginia [Confederate Veteran and Democrat William Evelyn Cameron], we were here to pay tribute to the memory of General Grant.
Upon motion of Maj. J.G. Newman, Judge James E. Stewart, was elected Chairman, and E.A. Wilson, Esq., Sec’y, paid a high tribute to the character of the distinguished dead.
Upon motion a Committee was appointed to draft suitable resolutions. The Chair named the following gentlemen: Maj. J.G. Newman, Dr. H.J. Smoot, Andrew Broaddus, Esq., Maj. A.J. Brand, Col. W.O. Yager, Messrs. T.R. Campbell, Sr., Solon T. Kite, W.W. Hampton, T.C. Strickler, William H. Somers, S.K. Wright, Jno. N. Mauck, and
The Committee submitted the following resolutions, which were adopted:
Resolved, That the Southern soldiers and citizens of Page County deeply deplore the death of the distinguished soldier, patriot, and statesman, General U.S. Grant, whose memory will ever be cherished by them for his magnanimity in their darkest hour.
Resolved, That the firm and courageous stand of General Grant, by which he prevented the arrest and prosecution of that illustrious Confederate General, Robert E. Lee, and other Southern soldiers, entitles him to the lasting gratitude of every American patriot.
Resolved, That as a warrior and statesman, General Grant gained a renown which elicited the admiration and applause of all mankind, yet his demeanor and bearing was always that of modest and unpretending citizen.
Resolved, That we unite with all patriotic citizens of the Republic in lamenting the death of the eminent soldier, statesman, and patriot, yet we rejoice that he lived long enough to receive assurances of the sympathy of all brave men, who had antagonized him in war, and to realize the most earnest desire of his heart – a restored and happy union of fifty-five millions of American freemen bound together by fraternal ties which we ardently hope will ever remain indissoluble and imperishable.
Resolved, That the newspapers are requested to publish these proceedings, and that the Judges of the County and Circuit Courts of Page County are requested to have them entered of record in the minute books of their respective Courts.
Pathetic and eloquent speeches were delivered by Maj. J.G. Newman, Maj. A.J. Brand, Dr. H.J. Smoot, Andrew Broaddus, Esq., and the Chairman, Hon. James E. Stewart.
So, again, from this Southerner, here’s to the legacy left by Genl. Grant.
* Off-topic, but take note of the story of Wesley Fry. A slave, and once a teamster with the Confederate army, he ended up in the USCT.