The Corner

What Was Grant’s Name

You have no idea how much I would like us to move on from the issue of Grant, his tomb, his means of everlasting disposal etc. But I can’t extricate myself.

From a reader:

Jonah and Derb –

Not to be too technical, but Grant’s name was NOT Ulysses Simpson Grant. It’s a common mistake, first made by Grant’s local Congressman, Thomas Hamer. When appointing Grant to West Point, the Congressman only had the name Grant went by, Ulysses, which was actually his middle name. (Grant’s mom and dad differed over the name, but she won out in the end, raising him by his middle name, Ulysses. Believe it or not, as a boy he went by Lyss.) Hamer assumed the general custom had been followed and Grant’s middle name was his mother’s maiden name, Simpson, so he put that on his papers. When Grant showed up at West Point, they had him listed as Ulysses S. Grant, and he stuck by that the rest of his life. He’d never gone by Hiram anyhow, and I believe he rather liked the initials U.S. Grant.

You could win some bar bets on this one.

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