Granted, That Wedding Was A Long Time Ago

I went all through elementary, junior and high school with Wendy Grant.

But until I read a story about the 1st-ever wedding announcement in the New York Times, I had no idea she was related to Ulysses S. Grant.

That’s just one fascinating tidbit, in a piece filled with them.

Lois Smith Brady — the Times‘ longtime Sunday Styles “Vows” columnist — writes about an 1851, 1-sentence announcement describing the marriage of John Grant and Sarah Mullett. He grew up on a farm in Vermont, the oldest of 13 children. He taught himself law, became a New York Supreme Court justice, and was a cousin of the Army lieutenant who went on to become a Civil War hero and US president.

The wedding announcement of John Grant and Sarah Mullett.

The September 18, 1851 wedding announcement of John Grant and Sarah Mullett.

Today, portraits of John and Sarah hang in Wendy’s New Haven home. She’s a psychotherapist, with a 21st-century story her famous ancestors could never have conceived.

Wendy’s brother, David Marshall Grant, graduated from Staples in 1973. A Players actor who went on to the Yale School of Drama, he earned fame with credits like “thirtysomething,” “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Angels in America” (Tony nomination).

Every Christmas, the Grant family gathers at Wendy’s home. They take a family photo, underneath John and Sarah’s portraits.

Wendy Grant took his photo of her husband, Marshal Mandelkern (top left), brother David Marshall Grant (lower left), her 3 sons and their partners, and her granddaughter, all under the stern eyes of John and Sarah Grant.

Wendy Grant took this photo of her husband, Marshal Mandelkern (top left), brother David Marshall Grant (lower left), her 3 sons and their partners, and her granddaughter, all under the stern eyes of John and Sarah Grant.

The Times photo showed everyone wearing decidedly un-1851 tie-dyed scarves and shirts. David Marshall Grant was there with his husband, and their 6-year-old daughter.

They were joined by Wendy’s 3 sons. All are gay — and all posed joyfully with their partners.

John and Sarah look dour — though not because so many descendants are gay.

“It was a less joyful time,” David Marshall Grant told the Times. “I’m sure there were struggles just to get by. I can’t imagine what it was like just to make breakfast.

“I’m angry when there’s a line at Starbucks.”

(To read the entire Times story, click here. Hat tip: Ann Sheffer)

4 responses to “Granted, That Wedding Was A Long Time Ago

  1. Loved everything about this story!

  2. It was hardly a “less joyful time”. It was, however, customary to have a serious expression in formal portraits.

  3. Holy cow! I was in classes with Wendy starting at Coleytown Jr. High and I had no idea she was related to President Grant.