Ulysses S. Grant’s 120th birthday celebration by Boy Scouts of America, the Sons of the American Revolution and residents of Point Pleasant (photo courtesy of Ohio History Connection)
Ohio Life

Ulysses S. Grant’s 120th Birthday Celebration

In the spring of 1942, residents of Point Pleasant joined the Boy Scouts of America and the Sons of the American Revolution to recognize the life of Ohio native Ulysses S. Grant.

It had been less than six months since the United States’ entry into World War II, but in April of 1942, the state of Ohio still set aside a day to honor one of its most famous sons. Two decades earlier, a 100th birthday of the former Civil War general and U.S. president brought about commemorations across the country, including in Grant’s hometown of Point Pleasant, which spearheaded the 120th birthday celebration on April 27.

“Plans for a pilgrimage, April 26, to the birthplace of President U.S. Grant at Point Pleasant, Ohio, in observance of the one hundred and twentieth anniversary of that event have been announced by Justin A. Rollman, Chairman of the Ohio Development and Publicity Commission,” The Cincinnati Enquirer reported in its April 17, 1942, edition.

The report added that Rollman would lead a party of people making their way to Point Pleasant by way of the Island Queen steamship. Further details about the event were reported in the newspaper’s April 26, 1942, edition. 

“A memorial service will be held at Grant Memorial Church, near the house in which Grant was born,” the article noted. “A parade will be staged by the Clermont County Boy Scouts and members of the Sons of the American Revolution.”

Notable guests that day included 96-year-old Civil War veteran Frederick Pfeister and the former chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court Hugh L. Nichols of Batavia. Judge John W. Haussermann of New Richmond served as the event’s principal speaker, referring to the worldwide conflict the United States was engaged in throughout his remarks.

“The difficulties today are not unlike those of Grant’s days,” Haussermann said. “Our enemies were better prepared than we were, and we need the spirit of Grant to overcome the obstacles.”

“I hope that when the time comes, we will be as broadminded as Grant in the making of peace,” he continued. “When we get rid of the foe’s leaders, we must deal with the mass of humanity in a civilized manner.”