Mementos of a Family's Time Together

Mementos of a Family's Time Together

 Ulysses Grant and Family at Mt. McGregor

Ulysses Grant and Family at Mt. McGregor

Many people think of Grant Cottage as the location where Ulysses S. Grant completed his memoirs and died. However, it is also a special place where a family spent their patriarch's precious last days together. At this mountain-top retreat, Grant was more than a General and President. He was a husband, father and grandfather fighting his final battle, surrounded by the family who loved him. To emphasize the importance of family, items which were not recently displayed are now on exhibit for the 2018 season.

 “Tell Jesse to come down in fifteen or twenty minutes and play cards with me.”

“Tell Jesse to come down in fifteen or twenty minutes and play cards with me.”

Since it was hard for Grant to speak during his time at Mount McGregor, he wrote notes to communicate. Some of the original writings can be seen at Grant Cottage. In one note, Grant asks that his son Jesse join him to play cards. This illustrates that although activities surrounding the memoirs took up most of the family's time, casual time together was still important.

Additional items now being showcased include games which were used by Grant and his sons, including a cribbage board with ivory plackets and pegs, travel chess board of ivory inlay and wood, and a chess set. This set is thought to be mid-to-late 19th century Chinese, carved from Indian ivory. The white set appears to represent Han Chinese of the Ching Dynasty (17th cent). The red set has been dyed with a vegetable dye and appears to represent Manchurians. The objects are said to have been gifts to Grant and his family, probably during his world tour. On exhibit, the chess men have been arranged as a game in play, based on a well-known game from the 19th century.

Grant Cottage opens for the season on Saturday, May 26.