The Grant Ancestral Homestead is in the village of Ballygawley, County Tyrone, Northern Island. It is the ancestral homestead of Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States on his mother's side. These were the Simpson family. Grant adopted the name Simpson (it became his middle name). The homestead and farmyard have been restored to the style and appearance of a mid-19th-century Irish smallholding.
Ulysses Simpson Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was the 18th President of the United States (1869–77). As Commanding General (1864–69), Grant worked closely with President Abraham Lincoln to lead the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy in the American Civil War. He implemented Congressional Reconstruction, often at odds with President Andrew Johnson. Twice elected president, Grant led the Republicans in their effort to remove the vestiges of Confederate nationalism and slavery, protect African American citizenship, and support economic prosperity. His presidency has often been criticized for tolerating corruption and for the severe economic depression in his second term.
Hiram Ulysses Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio, on April 27, 1822, to Jesse Root Grant, a tanner and merchant, and Hannah Grant (née Simpson). His ancestors Matthew and Priscilla Grant arrived aboard the Mary and John at Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. Grant's great-grandfather fought in the French and Indian War, and his grandfather Noah served in the American Revolution at Bunker Hill. Afterward, Noah settled in Pennsylvania and married Rachel Kelley, the daughter of an Irish pioneer. Their son Jesse, father of Ulysses S., was a Whig Party supporter with abolitionist sentiments. Grant's father moved to Point Pleasant on the Ohio River in 1820 and found work as a foreman in a tannery. Jesse soon met his future wife, Hannah, and the two were married on June 24, 1821. Ten months later Hannah gave birth to their first child, a son. At a family gathering several weeks later the son's name, Ulysses, was drawn from ballots placed in a hat. Wanting to honour his father-in-law, Jesse declared the boy to be Hiram Ulysses, though he would always refer to him as Ulysses, which became his common name. Grant was named after the legendary, ancient Greek hero Ulysses.
Grant graduated in 1843 from the United States Military Academy at West Point, then served in the Mexican–American War. After the war he married Julia Boggs Dent in 1848, their marriage producing four children. Grant initially retired from the Army in 1854. He struggled financially in civilian life. When the Civil War began in 1861, he rejoined the U.S. Army. In 1862, Grant took control of Kentucky and most of Tennessee, and led Union forces to victory in the Battle of Shiloh, earning a reputation as an aggressive commander. He incorporated displaced African American slaves into the Union war effort. In July 1863, after a series of coordinated battles, Grant defeated Confederate armies and seized Vicksburg, giving the Union control of the Mississippi River and dividing the Confederacy in two. After his victories in the Chattanooga Campaign, Lincoln promoted him to lieutenant general and Commanding General of the United States Army in March 1864. Grant confronted Robert E. Lee in a series of bloody battles, trapping Lee's army in their defense of Richmond. Grant coordinated a series of devastating campaigns in other theatres, as well. In April 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, effectively ending the war. Historians have hailed Grant's military genius, and his strategies are featured in military history textbooks, but a minority contend that he won by brute force rather than superior strategy.
After the Civil War, Grant led the army's supervision of Reconstruction in the former Confederate states. Elected president in 1868 and reelected in 1872, he stabilized the nation during that turbulent period, prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan, and enforced civil rights and voting rights laws using the army and the newly created Department of Justice. He also used the army to build the Republican Party in the South. After the disenfranchisement of some former Confederates, Republicans gained majorities, and African Americans were elected to Congress and high state offices. In his second term, the Republican coalitions in the South splintered and were defeated one by one as redeemers (conservatives) regained control using coercion and violence. In May 1875, Grant authorized his Secretary of Treasury Benjamin Bristow to shut down and prosecute the corrupt Whiskey Ring. Grant's Indian Peace Policy, incorporating Christian missionaries, initially reduced frontier violence, but it is best known for the Great Sioux War of 1876. Grant allowed the destruction of bison on the Western Plains to keep Indians on their reservations. Grant responded to charges of corruption in executive offices more than any other 19th Century president. He appointed the first Civil Service Commission and signed legislation ending the corrupt moiety system.
In foreign policy, Grant sought to increase trade and influence while remaining at peace with the world. His administration successfully resolved the Alabama claims by the Treaty of Washington with Great Britain, ending wartime tensions. Grant avoided war with Spain over the Virginius Affair, but Congress rejected his attempted annexation of the Dominican Republic. His administration implemented a gold standard and sought to strengthen the dollar. Corruption charges escalated during his second term, while his response to the Panic of 1873 proved ineffective nationally in halting the five-year industrial depression that produced high unemployment, low prices, low profits, and bankruptcies. Grant left office in 1877 and embarked on a two-year diplomatic world tour that captured the nation's attention.
The visitor can explore the cottage of the Simpson family with close ties to Ulysses Simpson Grant, the Commander of the victorious Union troops in the American Civil War. The Cottage and grounds are open all year round. For tours and the audiovisual show, booking is essential. Facilities are accessible to a wheelchair user with assistance. There is a wide doorway to the audio-visual area, entrances and exits. There is a picnic and BBQ area, children’s play area, toilets, bike rental and a wildlife garden. Coach and car parking is available. Assistance dogs are welcome, as are all dogs.
Location : Grant Ancestral Homestead, Dergenagh Road, Dungannon, Ballygawley, County Tyrone BT70 1TW
Transport: Portadown (NI Rail) then 75 bus to Dungannon then taxi. Bus Routes : No service.
Opening Times: Daily 09:00 to 17:00
Tickets : Free
Tel: 028 8555 7133