New York Graphic, September 16, 1879
Hannah Simpson Grant (1798-1883)
Not much is known about the mother of Ulysses S. Grant, Hannah Simpson Grant. She almost never discussed her son with anybody, especially the press. Below is one of the only newspaper interviews she ever granted:
GENERAL GRANT'S MOTHER
An Interview with Mrs. Jesse Grant at Jersey City
This morning a Graphic reporter called upon Mrs. Jesse Grant, the venerable mother of of the ex-President, who makes her home with her daughter, Mrs. Corbin, in Jersey City. The Corbin residence is a pleasant frame house with a broad veranda, looking down upon beds of brilliant salvia and scarlet geraniums. It stands on Pavonia avenue, not far from the old courthouse. In response to a card, Mrs. Grant soon entered the handsome parlor into which the reporter had been ushered, and seated herself in an armchair of crimson velvet, which threw into strong relief her slender figure draped in black, and the pale, rather delicate features framed in puffs of silvery white hair, shaded by a dainty cap of lace.
In response to an inquiry as to when she expected her son, Mrs. Grant said: "Indeed, the newspapers seem to know more about it than we do; at least, so Mrs. Corbin says. For myself, I never read any paper but the Christian Advocate, published in Cincinnati."
"And is that because the paper is religious or from Cincinnati?" the reporter ventured to inquire. "Well" said the lady smiling, "principally because it is religious, though I am very much inclined to like anything from Cincinnati. You know I have lived in Ohio most of the time since I was a girl of twenty and so many of my old friends live there that my heart clings to it," she concluded with tear-dimmed eyes. "But most of your family is here?"
"Yes," answered Mrs. Grant, brightening up, "and now I have ten grandchildren, one great-grandchild and my own four children. Once I had six, but the son next to Ulysses died a number of years ago, and when he was prospering finely, and then my dear daughter Clara passed away. There is a picture of her," continued the old lady pointing with pride to a portrait in oil of a young girl, a perfect brunette, and though not beautiful in figure, having a strong, expressive face. "Then," resumed Mrs. Grant, "there is my daughter, Mrs. Cramer, who lives in Denmark; her husband occupies a government position, you know. She has a lovely little daughter and here are some her of (Mrs. Cramer's) paintings." The paintings were landscapes of foreign and home scenery, some of them with considerable merit.
"You are very proud of your children?" remarked the reporter. "Yes," said the old lady with a satisfied smile, "they are pretty good, take them on the whole, but it's no easy thing to bring up a family." The writer, having only made the experiment theoretically, agreed, and inquired what sort of baby Ulysses was.
"Well, very fair, though I don't know as he was any different from the rest of them, but people seem to think I'll say so now. He was always a steady, serious sort of boy, who took everything in earnest; even when he played he made a business of it." "You expect to see him too?" the reporter asked. "Yes, my grandsons Ulysses and Jesse have gone to San Francisco to meet him. They think he will arrive on Saturday. Then he is coming through East. I have that they have got his house in Galena that the folks there gave him, all in readiness, even to the servants, but," she continued, bridling up a little, "I know he will come first to see his mother." (Note: he didn't.)
The reporter asked, "Where will he reside this winter?" "Maybe in Washington, maybe in New York, maybe in Philadelphia, maybe - but dear me, there are lots of places to live in, and there's no telling what he will do. One thing I do know, though, and that is he and Mrs. Grant will be glad to have a rest. You see, the Europeans like fighting men, and they have been feasting and dining him until I expect the poor boy is clear worn out." "Then you won't approve of any demonstrations here?" "No, indeed, we are not a demonstrative family," the sweet old lady said. "None of us care a penny for all the demonstrations in the world.