Sunday, December 28, 2008

PARENTS OF PRESIDENT ULYSSES S. GRANT - Above are photographs of Grant's father, Jessie Root Grant, and Grant's mother, Hannah Simpson. The Grant genealogy is an example of how we define a President as being from one state or another, but often their family genealogies show a continuing westward migration that parallels the growth and expansion of the United States. The story of the Grant family genealogy also demonstrates how compressed history actually is (i.e. the periods of our history only vary from one or two generations) and often our Presidents share a common ancestry. In Grant's case, his father was born on January 23, 1794 (during the presidency of George Washington) in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. His father migrated to Ohio where outside of Cincinnati he operating a tannery that, for a time, employed John Brown (of John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry). Ironically, John Brown was to be captured by U.S. army troops led by future Confederate General Robert E. Lee (whose wife was a great-granddaughter of Martha Washington) after John Brown had taken Augustine Washington, another relative of George Washington's, captive. As further irony, it was then Ulysses S. Grant that led the Union Army that defeated the Confederate Army led by Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. After the Civil War, the Grant family continued its westward migration with one of Grant's son, Jesse Root Grant Jr., migrating and dying is Los Altos, California while a granddaughter of Grant married became a princess when she married a Russian nobleman (see below). To demonstrate how often the U.S. Presidents have shared a common ancestry, Ulysses S. Grant shares a common descent from Jonathan Delano and Mercy Warren with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Like many other Presidents, Grant is also descended from Charlemagne and William "the Conqueror." He is also a Mayflower descendant, being descended from Mayflower passengers Francis Cooke and Richard Warren. When we think of Mayflower descendants, I think we often think of fairly well-to-do and/or prominent families from New England. But many of these families moved to Ohio and other parts of the Midwest to seek other opportunities and land. There, they often encountered hardship in settling this new wilderness. This is the story of Grant's father, Abraham Lincoln's ancestors, and ancestors of many of our Presidents, including the ancestors of Barack Obama on his mother's side, who migrated from both New England and Virginia to the Midwest.