San Diego has always been good to the Grants — the family of the Civil War general and 18th president of the United States.
Two of President Ulysses S. Grant’s sons lived here in the late 19th century, and one of them built the grand downtown hotel that still bears the president’s name, U.S. Grant. President Grant’s wife, Julia, spent winters here after her husband’s death, and their granddaughter moved to La Jolla and never left.
At least three of Grant’s great-great grandchildren still live in the county. This weekend, one of them, La Jolla animal behaviorist Terry Rothwell, is shedding many of the inherited possessions that link her to the military hero whose nickname was “Unconditional Surrender.”
A Massachusetts auction house will attempt tomorrow to sell a batch of Grant-related items owned by Rothwell, including a painting of the president’s father, a tea box (for storing tea bags) presented to Grant by the emperor of Japan, and dozens of books, photographs, letters and postcards. Together, the auction house estimates the more than 50 lots in the auction are worth tens of thousands of dollars.
“At some point, I’ll be moving and downsizing. It’s time most of the stuff went somewhere else,” said Rothwell, who hopes the items will land in a collection that’s open to the public.
Frank Kaminski, chief executive officer of Kaminski Auctions, expects as many as 300 to 400 people will attend the auction tomorrow, with more viewing (and bidding) online.