Saturday was the day designated as “Going Where The Road Takes Us” day. The road decided to take us south, down into Kentucky! I hadn’t been in Kentucky since I was a baby. (There’s a great photo of Mom holding me in Louisville, with Fort Knox behind us.) We started to think we’d go down to Lexington – and we did, sort of. Turns out the road decided to just take us skirting the north edge of the city and turning east, then northeast. Oooh! I pointed to a road sign – Blue Licks Battlefield. “A battlefield! Can we go?” Hims was reticent, but the Jeep we were driving decided it would be good to check it out.
I wanted to go because not only do I just love history, but I had never been to a battlefield (at least not a designated one) before, and was curious to see it. I learned after we arrived and went in the museum that this wasn’t a Civil War battlefield as I sort of assumed, but a battle fought in 1782 and regarded as the final battle of the Revolutionary War. Out of all the names of settlers who fought there, two jumped out at me, for obvious reasons: Daniel Boone and his son, Israel. I soon learned that 21-year-old Israel lost his life while fighting next to his father against a British-led force of Indians – now I won’t be able to watch the old television series without thinking of that!
The museum, while small, is really cool. Okay – if you are into this part of history, it is. Many artifacts from prehistoric times all the way through the Battle of Blue Licks, including a mastadon tooth, larger than a loaf of bread and weighing about five pounds – yes, we could pick it up and feel its weight! After going through the exhibits and wandering back outside, we headed for the restaurant attached to the lodge. It looked nice, and was very clean, but as I texted my friend Dee: it was like eating at a retirement home cafeteria. The food was okay, and I was really hungry, but I wouldn’t send people to eat there.
Instead of heading straight for Cincinnati on a highway, we took the scenic State Route 52, which follows the Ohio River. It was just beautiful. We could see a barge out there, making its way up the river, and quite a few personal boats dotting the water. The road runs right through Point Pleasant, Ohio – with the birthplace of President Ulysses Grant right at the roadside.
Grant was born in this tiny frame cottage on April 22, 1822, to Jesse Grant and Hannah Simpson Grant. Though the house has been added to, with two rooms attached later on (one they now use for a reception area and a very small one they use for a few display cases), the house was originally only one room.
The straw-stuffed matress beneath the quilt rests on a rope-frame bed – I can’t imagine how uncomfortable that would be compared to matresses of today. The bed belonged to Grant’s parents, the small trunk at its foot was made by his father, who was a tanner. The cradle in the corner was Grant’s.
The china cabinet is original to the Grant family; the pots and pans in the fireplace belonged to his mother and the rifle over the mantle was his father’s. If you look at the picture hanging on the wall, you can see the reflection of the spinning wheel close to where I was standing. If I was to guess, I think this entire house (the original part) is about the size of my living room – and that’s really not big.
It had been a long day, but I was still smiling. How could I not smile – I was getting my history geek on!
I’d love to go back and explore a bit more. It’s not that far away, so maybe I will.