On this day in history, July 23, 1885, Ulysses S. Grant died at his family cottage in New York.
The 18th president of the United States had a complex and compelling upbringing and time in the White House.
Grant was a West Point graduate — later to become president of the United States, according to information from The White House.
Born in 1822, Grant grew up in Georgetown, Ohio, in a family of tanners — those who transform animal skin to leather, according to the New York State Museum.
In June 1843, at age 21, Grant graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point as an officer in the U.S. Army.
“Of those who survived the rigorous four years at West Point in the class of 1843, Grant graduated 21st out of 39 cadets,” according to the National Park Service.
“Long before he was the famous general who won the Civil War, Grant was known in the Army as a brilliant horseman,” the NPS also noted.
“Before his class undertook its graduation ceremonies, Grant was offered the chance to show his riding skills to the Corps of Cadets as well as spectators during the graduation proceedings. One cadet remarked, ‘It was as good as any circus to see Grant ride,’” the same source said.
After marrying Julia Dent, the sister of a West Point classmate, in 1848, Grant moved between various Army posts across the United States, according to History.com.
Six years later, he resigned from the military and reunited with his wife in Missouri at the plantation where she grew up.
By 1860, the Grants had four children.
They moved to Galena, Illinois, in an effort to find success in Grant’s father’s leather goods business, according to History online.
When the Civil War began in 1861, Grant helped recruit, train and guide troops to the Springfield, Missouri, capital — acquiring the title of colonel and later brigadier general, according to Britannica.
Over the next few years, Grant earned enormous respect for battle victories throughout the Midwest.
In 1864, he was appointed lieutenant general by President Abraham Lincoln — and was given full command over all U.S. armies, as History online reported.
(For his strategic planning, Lincoln would call Grant “self-reliant and vigilant,” the NPS said.)
By April 9, 1865, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia surrendered — ultimately ending the Civil War, as The White House website indicated.
By 1868, Grant was nominated for president of the United States with strong ties to the Republican Party, according to Britannica.
The 46-year-old won the election against Democrat nominee Horatio Seymour.
He became the youngest president-elect in U.S. history at the time, according to History online.
During his first of two terms, Grant brought in many leaders from the Army — a fresh start needed for the country during the Reconstruction era, Britannica noted.
“The final resting place of President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia, is the largest mausoleum in North America.”
He also ratified the 15th amendment, which gave Black men the right to vote.
In addition, he signed legislation to limit the activity of White terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, according to History online.
He was also the president who made Yellowstone National Park America’s first national park.
Grant won re-election in 1872 against democratic nominee Horace Greeley and continued his presidency for another four years.
Although various scandals swirled around Grant during his time in the White House, most did not involve the president himself.
After leaving the White House, Grant worked for a financial firm before learning he had throat cancer, as The White House website indicated.
He died at the age of 63 in Mount McGregor, New York, where he and his family would spend their summers, according to History online.
He was laid to rest in New York City’s Riverside Park — where his wife Julia would join him roughly 17 years later.
“The final resting place of President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia, is the largest mausoleum in North America,” the National Park Service said.
“It testifies to a people’s gratitude for the man who ended the bloodiest conflict in American history as commanding general of the Union Army and then, as president of the United States, strove to heal a nation after a civil war and make rights for all citizens a reality.”