The President and…

…His First Lady.

The phrase is common now. But for the first portion of United States history the honorarium was not used. For example, you would have heard President and Mrs. Lincoln instead.

According to the home tour guide, the newspapers began to use the phrase in the 1870’s. Then it was President Grant and his First Lady. Her name was Julia and from what I’ve read about her, she was a strong and patient woman. And after seeing some of the furnishings which the family owned, I’d add a lady of excellent taste.

In the years between the Civil War and Grant’s election to president, the family lived in Galena, IL. They were gifted a fine, brick house on the hill. (Or one of the hills — the town has several.) While the house is open as a museum now, it’s easy to see how a family with four children would have lived comfortable here. It had all the modern conveniences. At least two of the bedrooms had stoves. A copper lined bathtub sat off the kitchen.

The lawn today is large and extends to the edge of the slope. It’s easy to imagine the area hosting a vegetable garden, flower beds, and of course, the privy.

Today the hostess looks out with an excellent view of the river and the main business district on the other side.


First to be known as “First Lady”

Julia Dent Grant

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