Ulysses S. Grant, Jr. (1852-1928)
One of San Diego’s most distinguished residents was Ulysses S. Grant, Jr., [second]* son of the famous military president. Mr. Grant was born in Bethel, Ohio, on July 22, 1852, at a time when his illustrious father was a lieutenant in the Fourth regiment, U.S. Army.
Mr. Grant attended Emerson Institute, prepared for college at Exeter and took his A. B. from Harvard University in 1874 and his LL.B. from Columbia two years later. He was admitted to the bar in New York in 1876 and was for a time assistant U.S. attorney in New York, southern district. He married Josephine Chaffee in 1880. His wife was the daughter of Senator Chaffee of Colorado.
Forced by ill health to seek a milder climate, Mr. Grant and his family selected San Diego and came here in 1893.
In San Diego, Mr. Grant became interested in real estate. His faith in the future of the then sleepy hillside town was shown when he launched construction of the U.S. Grant hotel. Construction of the hotel was held up two years because of the financial difficulties caused by the San Francisco fire in 1906, but the project was completed, partially through funds obtained by the sale of Grant’s memoirs. Mr. Grant had an intimate knowledge of his father’s experiences in the White House inasmuch as he was secretary to his father, President Grant, for eighteen months during his second term.
Mr. Grant was very active politically. He was a delegate at large to the G.0.P. conventions of 1900 and 1904 and a presidential elector in 1904 and 1908. He ran for U.S. senator in 1904 but was unsuccessful.
An omniverous reader and traveler, Mr. Grant never lost his love for strange lands. It was while returning from one of his many journeys that he died at the age of 77 [on September 25, 1929]*. When he died, Mr. Grant owned half interest in the U. S. Grant hotel.
Mr. Grant is remembered by his associates as a kindly man who never spoke a harsh word about anyone, even during his political controversies.
Three daughters and two sons survived Mr. Grant. They are: Mrs. John Rice; Chaffee; Julia (Mrs. E. C. King); Ulysses, third; and Fanny Chaffee (Mrs. I.H. Purdy).
[from Heilbron, Carl. History of San Diego County v.2: Biography. San Diego: San Diego Press Club, 1936. (pages 295-296)]
* Heilbron stated Ulysses S. Grant, Jr. was the President’s first son but the first son was Frederick Dent Grant. Heilbron also gave 1928 as the year of death for Ulysses S. Grant, Jr., who died in San Diego, California, September 25, 1929.
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