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Wed Jun 3, 2020, 01:42 AM

Ulysses S. Grant Was Bankrupted By Wall Street's Ferdinand Ward; Biography By Geoffrey C. Ward

Last edited Wed Jun 3, 2020, 04:43 AM - Edit history (3)

'A Disposition To Be Rich,' by Geoffrey C. Ward. Book Review- 'Dreams of Prosperity.' By T.J. Stiles, The New York Times, June 29, *2012.

Millions of Americans loved Ulysses S. Grant, but, as so often with love, the relationship can be hard to understand from the outside. Grant did not woo the public. A rumpled man, he seemed shorter than he was. When he opened his mouth, cigars and whiskey went in, but few words came out. His critics, then and now, have disagreed over whether he should be condemned primarily as a brute of a general or a dupe of a president.

To those who adored him, he looked rather different. He and Lincoln saved the Union in the Civil War, but only Grant lived to receive the nation’s thanks. And he won without ego. “There was no nonsense, no sentiment,” wrote one private, “only a plain businessman of the Republic.” The newspaperman Charles A. Dana called Grant “the most honest man I ever knew, with a temper that nothing could disturb.”



- Ulysses S. Grant, Julia Grant & their 4 children: Jesse, Ulysses Jr., Nellie & Frederick in front of their cottage in Long Branch, New Jersey.

One man did disturb that temper. Grant would dig his fingernails into the armrests of his chair at the thought of him, and told a friend he wanted to kill him, “as I would a snake. I believe I should do it, too, but I do not wish to be hanged for the killing of such a wretch.” When Grant died a year later, on July 23, 1885, the public blamed that “wretch,” who pitied himself as “the best-hated man in the United States.”
His name was Ferdinand Ward. In 1880, when just 28, he had persuaded the former president to become a partner in Grant & Ward, a Wall Street brokerage house. Ward reported astonishing profits, occasionally doling out cash to his partners. Grant believed he was rich.

In reality, Ward was running a Ponzi scheme. In 1884, it blew up, bankrupting Grant and his family.

The author of this elegant new biography of Ward, “A Disposition to Be Rich,” is his great-grandson. For decades, Geoffrey C. Ward has told Americans stories of their ancestors. He has edited American Heritage, collaborated with the filmmaker Ken Burns and written esteemed books like “A First-Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt” and “Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson.” All this time, he has freighted about a box of letters, preserved by his grandfather, documenting the fall of his earnest family because of one remorseless son...

More, https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/01/books/review/a-disposition-to-be-rich-by-geoffrey-c-ward.html

- Author Geoffrey C. Ward, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_C._Ward
- Ferdinand Ward, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Ward ~ Known as the 'Napoleon of Finance' when young, Ward served 6 years at NY state Sing Sing Prison for fraud.

> 'A Criminal Scheme of The 1880s Brought Grant's Presidential Treasures To The Smithsonian.' (*Thomas Nast, the popular 'Harper's Weekly' cartoonist was also financially ruined by Ferdinand Ward).
https://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/criminal-scheme-presidential-treasures

- Thomas Nast painted this self-portrait following the financial scandal that ruined him. NY Trinity Church on Wall Street is in the background, a reference to the scandal. In 1958 the U.S. National Museum purchased the painting...



- The Grants with their four children.

First Lady Julia Grant, https://www.history.com/topics/first-ladies/julia-grant

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Reply Ulysses S. Grant Was Bankrupted By Wall Street's Ferdinand Ward; Biography By Geoffrey C. Ward (Original post)
appalachiablue Jun 3 OP
kimbutgar Jun 3 #1
appalachiablue Jun 3 #3
DanieRains Jun 3 #2
appalachiablue Jun 3 #4
no_hypocrisy Jun 3 #5
appalachiablue Jun 4 #12
benld74 Jun 3 #6
appalachiablue Jun 3 #8
Politicub Jun 3 #9
appalachiablue Jun 4 #10
Blue_Tires Jun 5 #14
appalachiablue Jun 5 #15
appalachiablue Jun 4 #11
benld74 Jun 5 #13
appalachiablue Jun 3 #7

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Wed Jun 3, 2020, 01:51 AM

1. Funny we Have the ponzi president of today

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Response to kimbutgar (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 3, 2020, 02:42 AM

3. At least Nando Ward got 6 years in Sing Sing

One of many psychopaths, when will experts discover more about this lethal condition that carries on thru time.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Wed Jun 3, 2020, 02:18 AM

2. Sam Clemens Helped Grant Out After He Was Robbed

I do think he smoked a few too many cigars though..... Him and that hate radio dude.

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Response to DanieRains (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 3, 2020, 02:52 AM

4. That was good of Clemens, yes. With the

major stresses and responsibilities Grant endured during the war, the smoking was possibly a kind of relaxation or relief, nicotine dopamine chem.

Not an excuse, and tobacco's cancerous effects weren't acknowledged until the early decades of the 20th c. at the earliest from what I know. The Nazis, fanatics about health and fitness explored it in the 1930s or 1940s.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Wed Jun 3, 2020, 03:19 AM

5. Grant furiously wrote his autobiography, in hopes that the advance and posthumous sales

would support Julia and his family, before he died. It was his only means of climbing out of the abyss into which he had fallen.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #5)

Thu Jun 4, 2020, 12:03 PM

12. Tragic story and what a terrible stress while

ill and at the end of his life. Grant had borrowed a large loan from tycoon Wm. Vanderbilt to try to save his son's firm, and repaid him with Civil War artifacts and items from an overseas tour. The possessions ended up in the Smithsonian as noted in the article linked above, and in my post #11.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Wed Jun 3, 2020, 03:21 AM

6. History Channel Grant mini series

Stated Grant’s oldest son informed Grant of the huckster. Yes Grant believed it all, as did everyone.
Writing his book saved his family. Supposedly earning $500K. He died shortly thereafter.
Enjoyed the series immensely

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Response to benld74 (Reply #6)

Wed Jun 3, 2020, 04:32 AM

8. 'GRANT' 3-Part Series, History Channel TV, New*



Official trailer. The series is based Ron Chernow's acclaimed biography of the general and 18th president of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. Exec. producer Leo DiCaprio.

> The series aired over Memorial Day weekend; if you missed it here's a link suggested by a DU poster.
*Watch online, https://play.history.com/shows/grant/season-1/episode-1

**Review, https://www.newsday.com/entertainment/tv/grant-review-1.44857608

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #8)

Wed Jun 3, 2020, 09:15 AM

9. This was excellent

I learned a lot.

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Response to Politicub (Reply #9)

Thu Jun 4, 2020, 11:34 AM

10. I've heard great things about the Grant

series and want to watch it online. Author Ron Chernow's book was influential in the making of the film.

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #8)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 01:03 PM

14. damn, how did I miss that?

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #14)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 02:18 PM

15. A huge hit & long overdue portrait of Grant

with some of the material from Ron Chernow's excellent biography. Kudos to exec. producer Leo DiCaprio.

I haven't seen it yet, but there's an online History Channel link to watch noted above.

*In post #7 here is a good, brief Video covering Grant's massive funeral tribute in NYC, and Frederick Douglass' high regard for him and what he did in terms of Emancipation and freedom for over 4 million people.

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Response to benld74 (Reply #6)

Thu Jun 4, 2020, 11:57 AM

11. The memoirs & Grant giving Wm. Vanderbilt

personal Civil War memorabilia and items collected from an overseas tour to settle the debt for money borrowed to try to save his son's firm.

Grant's artifacts ended up in the Smithsonian collection as noted in the SI article posted above. I haven't seen the series yet and don't know how much of this unfortunate story was covered in the film.

..After Grant's death in 1885, Vanderbilt gave the artifacts back to his widow, Julia Dent Grant, strictly on the condition that they be donated to the National Museum, which had opened to the public in October 1881.

..The group of objects became known as the Grant-Vanderbilt Collection here at the Smithsonian. The collection includes Grant's gifts from Japan and a ceremonial cane made out of scraps from the famous Civil War ironclad, the Merrimac. This massive donation helped establish the National Museum as a place for people to donate their historical objects.

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #11)

Fri Jun 5, 2020, 12:12 AM

13. Nothing in your post made the series.

His after office travels, bankruptcy, illness, book writing & death covered small part of last episode

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Wed Jun 3, 2020, 03:54 AM

7. The Funeral of Grant & Memorials: well done report



Grant died in July 1885 and the funeral for the popular and respected soldier, Civil War general and president was held on Aug. 8, 1885 in New York City. The solemn occasion drew over one and a half million observers. The procession along Broadway was over 7 miles long and many mourners who wanted to participate had to be turned away.

Frederick Douglass who was a confidant of Lincoln, held Grant in high regard and credited him for freeing four million slaves. 'Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but Grant made Emancipation fact,' Douglass said.

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