Ulysses S. Grant - Son of a tanner, West Point graduate, Four-Star and Commanding General of the Union Army during the US Civil War and the 18th President of the United States - was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio on April 27, 1822.
Nearly 100 years later, in 1921, the Ulysses S. Grant Centenary Memorial Association was formed to honor and perpetuate his memory. Among its activities was the sponsoring of gold and silver commemorative coins, along with a commemorative medal, to mark the centennial of Grant's birth. The coins (silver 50-cent piece and gold $1.00) and bronze medal each features a portrait of Grant on the obverse and a depiction of Grant's birthplace on the reverse; different artists created each. Laura Gardin Fraser was responsible for the coins' designs; I am unaware of the designer of the medal. Ulysses S. Grant Birthplace House, Point Pleasant, OHImage Credit: James Grant Wilson, ed., The Presidents of the United States, 1789-1914, v. 3. Published in 1914. Public Domain.Note: The man in the photograph is not Grant, it is Dr. J.G. Rogers, the family's physician.
Regarding the Grant commemorative coins, the Annual Report of the Director of the Mint
for 1922 stated:"The Ulysses S. Grant centennial half dollar bears on one side a strong profile portrait of General Grant and on the other side a sketch of the historic log cabin in which he was born.
The Ulysses S. Grant centennial gold dollar is a reproduction in miniature of the half dollar, the only change being the value of the coin."
The problem with the Mint's description is the fact that Grant was not born in a log cabin (Don't believe the web sites that sell modern log cabins!), and the house depicted on the coins is not a log cabin! (For the record, neither is the house depicted on the medal struck by Whitehead and Hoag; it is the same house as shown on the coins.)
The Mint's description was incorporated into multiple early reference works on the US commemorative coin series (e.g., Woods, 1922; Bullowa, 1938) and was thus planted in the minds of many mid-20th century numismatists - outside of numismatics, the log cabin myth persists to the present (though I don't believe the US Mint is responsible!). (Note: After Grant completed his terms as President, he moved with his wife to Missouri and built a log cabin as his home. Might this be the cause of the confusion?)
The coins and medal accurately depict the small, two-room clapboard house that was the actual birthplace of Grant. Grant did not live in the house for very long, however. He was just one year old when his father moved the family to a larger house in Georgetown, OH in 1823. He lived in Georgetown until leaving for the US Army Academy at West Point in 1839. The Point Pleasant house still stands today and can be visited. Learn more here: http://www.usgrantbirthplace.org/
Ulysses S. Grant died of mouth/throat cancer on July 23, 1885 at his home in Wilton, NY. Today, the house is known as the "Grant Cottage" and it has been restored and opened as a museum. Learn more here: https://www.grantcottage.org/ 1922 Grant Birth Centenary Half Dollar, Star Variety 1922 Grant Birth Centenary Gold $1.00, Plain Variety 1922 Grant Birth Centenary Bronze Medal
You can find my previous posts about the Grant coins, here:
- 1922 Grant Birth Centenary Half Dollar, Plain Variety
- 1922 Grant Birth Centenary Half Dollar, with Star Variety
- 1922 Grant Memorial "Cousin"
- 1922 Grant Birth Centenary Coins - Beards
Other of my posts about commemorative coins and medals can be found here: Read More: Commems Collection