Ulysses' hometown of Georgetown, Ohio, was a prosperous town, and his father Jesse did better than most men in it. Jesse was able to expand their house to accommodate Ulysses and his younger siblings. While there was lots of work to do around the family tannery, there were also plenty of books to read, rivers to fish and swim in, and horses to ride.
Although many kids never went to formal schools in the early 19th century, the Ulysses was lucky to go to school more than most of his peers. Ulysses's father believed in education, and he knew a U.S. Military Academy degree would give his son some advantages in life. As for Ulysses, he wanted to travel, and a military career would offer plenty of opportunities to see the world. But he was terrified he might fail his classes. After an exciting trip through the Midwest, Philadelphia and New York City, a nervous Ulysses arrived at West Point in May 1839.
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A look at the poor Scottish emigrant boy who built a fortune in telegraphy, railroads and steel, and then began systematically to give it all away.