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Nellie Grant and Algernon Sartoris Marriage Profile

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Image courtesy of The Library of Congress

Mr. and Mrs. (Nellie Grant) Sartoris, between 1865 and 1880.

Image courtesy of The Library of Congress

The marriage of Nellie Grant and Algernon Sartoris started as a shipboard romance and ended in unhappiness. Considered a bit of a cad, Algernon was known as a gambler, womanizer, and alcoholic.

Here is information about Nellie and Algernon's White House wedding, marriage, children, and more.

Born:

Ellen "Nellie" Wrenshall Grant: July 4, 1855 at Wish Ton wish, near St. Louis, Missouri.

Algernon Charles Frederick Sartoris: August 1, 1851 in London, England.

Died:

Nellie: August 30, 1922 in Chicago, Illinois. Nellie was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.

Algernon: February 3, 1893 in Capri, Italy of pneumonia.

How Nellie and Algernon Met:

They met on the steamer "Russia" on a return trip from England to New York. Nellie had just turned 17, and Algernon was almost 22 years old.

Wedding Date and Information:

Nellie and Algernon were married on May 21, 1874 in the East Room of the White House.

"Although less than two hundred guests witnessed the marriage of Nellie Grant and her British husband, it was a most distinguished company that gathered at the White house on the May morning nearly thirty-two years ago, and the marriage was an event of international interest ..."
Source: "Roosevelt Nuptials Recall Grant Wedding", NYTimes.com, February 5, 1906.

"During the ceremony, the bride and groom stood under a huge floral bell, with a background of flowers filling a window behind them. There were six bridesmaids, and General Grant gave away his daughter with ill-concealed emotion. The East Room, it is said, was decked for the wedding with real orange-blossoms from the South. The lace alone on the bride's dress cost $1,500. The young couple advanced to the embrace of the great eastern window (where hung an enormous floral bell), along an aisle formed by army and navy officers in glittering uniforms. There were six couples in attendance. The bride's friend, Miss Annie Barnes, daughter of the then Surgeon-General, was maid of honor."
Source: "Romance of Nellie Grant", OldandSold.com, 1908.

Children:

Nellie and Algernon had four children.
  • Grant Grenville Edward Sartoris: Born July 11, 1875 in Elbernon, New Jersey. Grant died from convulsions on May 21, 1876 in England.
  • Algernon Edward Sartoris: Born on March 17, 1877. Served as a Captain in the American Army and as Consul to Guatemala. In 1904 Algernon married Cécile Noufflard in Paris, France. He died in 1907.
  • Vivien May Sartoris: Born on April 7, 1879 in London, England. Vivien married Frederick Roosevelt Scovel in 1903 in Ontario, Canada. She died in 1933.
  • Rosemary Alice Sartoris: Born on November 30, 1880 in London, England. Rosemary married George H. Woolston on October 29, 1906 in New York City. Rosemary died in 1914.

Occupations:

Algernon: Diplomat and property owner.

Residences:

Nellie and Algernon had homes in England, Ontario, Canada, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin.

Quotes About the Marriage of Nellie Grant and Algernon Sartoris:

Walt Whitman, 1874, for Nellie Grant: "O bonnie bride! Yield thy red cheeks today unto a Nation's loving kiss."
Source: "An Unusual Ceremony", Time.com, 8/12/1966.

Sheboygan City News: "Algernon Sartoris, is very near his end somewhere in France, from delirium tremens, vulgarly know as snakes, also jim-jams. He owns much land in this state especially about Green Bay and some in this county ... Why the Genl. then President Grant, ever permitted it is a mystery. Not long before the wedding, Sartoris stopped at the Beekman House here for some weeks. The writers sat as his left at table. Taking him all in all, he was the blackest sheep we ever met ... The family home was one of the most beautiful in England, it is said. Algernon proved anything but a nice husband but the family did all they could for Nellie and the two or three children. For several years he has been at home very little."
Source: Sheboygan City News, "Items of Interest." CrystalLakeWi.org. 01/29/1891.

About Algernon: "He [Algernon] established her [Nellie] in a handsome country place at Cadogan, England, but their married life proved unhappy. Mr. Sartoris died after she had borne him three children."
Source: "Mrs. N.G. Sartoris to Wed F.H. Jones", NYTimes.com, June 22, 1912.

Margaret Truman: "Sartoris was rich, good-looking, and well-educated, but in spite of these recommendations, the Grants were less than thrilled with the match. They would have preferred that Nellie marry an American. Moreover, she was only seventeen, and she and Algernon had not known each other long enough to be sure they were making the right choice. As usual Nellie got her way, although her parents achieved a victory of sorts by making the couple agree to wait a year before announcing their engagement."
Source: Margaret Truman, The President's House: 1800 to the Present, the Secrets and History of the World's Most Famous Home, 2003, page 177.

Christopher Gordon: "Within a few years of the wedding, Nelly and Algernon Sartoris's relationship had badly deteriorated and togetherness was rare ... On both sides of the Atlantic, rumors were circulating about the Sartorises' marriage ... By 1880, two more children had been born to Algy and Nelly, but we was spending a great deal of time away from home ... The arrangement broke into scandal in 1883 when shortly after his arrival at the [Wisconsin] farm, he was seen in the company of another woman."
Source: Christopher Gordon, "A White House Wedding: The Story of Nelly Grant", MoHistory.org. Summer 2005. page 18.

Second Marriage:

After announcing their engagement on June 21, 1912, Nellie married Frank Hatch Jones on July 4, 1912 in Coburg, Ontario. She suffered a stroke several months after their wedding and lived as an invalid until her death.
Source: "Mrs. N.G. Sartoris to Wed F.H. Jones", NYTimes.com, June 22, 1912.

Nellie Grant Sartoris Jones Timeline

Was Nellie Grant Sartoris Widowed or Divorced?

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