Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DENT, Frederick F., lawyer, born in Cumberland, Maryland, in 1786; died in Washington, D. C., 15 December 1873. He was trained in commercial pursuits, and became a merchant in Pittsburgh and subsequently in St. Louis, accumulated wealth, "rod had a wide reputation for hospitality. He was the father of Mrs. U. S. Grant. In politics Mr. Dent was a rigid and aggressive democrat, his views coinciding with the Benton Jackson School, and he held these opinions tenaciously to the last of his life. John W. Forney, in his "Anecdotes of Public Men," refers to him as a very interesting old gentleman, kind, humorous, and genteel, indicating an independent spirit in his views, and exhibiting a wonderfully retentive memory for bygone days." Mr. Dent was a member of his son-in-law's household after General Grant became commander of the National armies, and his farm, "White Haven," near St. Louis, became the General's property.
His son, Frederick Tracy Dent, soldier, born in White Haven, St. Louis County, Missouri, 17 December 1820. He was graduated at the U. S. military academy in 1843, made brevet 2d lieutenant, and served on frontier duty and in garrison prior to the Mexican war, which he entered in 1847. He was engaged in the siege of Vera Cruz, the capture of San Antonio, and the battles of Churubuseo, where he was severely wounded, and Molino del Rey, receiving for gallant and meritorious conduct the brevets of 1st lieutenant and captain. He served thereafter on the Pacific railroad survey, on frontier duty in Idaho, in removing the Seminole Indians, and at various points in Texas, Virginia, and Washington territory, until he joined the Yakima expedition in 1856. He participated in the Spokane expedition in Washington territory, being engaged in the combat of "Four Lakes" in 1858, in that of Spokane Plain in the same year, and in the skirmish on that river. After frontier duty at Fort Walla Walla he became g member of the Snake River, Oregon, expedition, to rescue the survivors of the massacre of Sahnon Fall (1860), at which time, 1863, he was promoted to the rank of major, and was in command of a regiment in the Army of the Potomac in 1863, in New York City called to suppress anticipated riots, from September 1863, till January 1864, serving as a member of the military commission for the trial of state prisoners from January till March 1864, becoming then a staff officer with Lieutenant General Grant, having the rank of lieutenant colonel. Aide-de-camp during Grant's whole time as lieutenant general, he was present in the battles and military operations of the Richmond campaign, and as military commander of the City of Richmond, and of the garrison of Washington, D. C., in 1865, and on the staff of the general-in-chief at Washington after 1866, as colonel, aide-de-camp, and secretary to President Grant during his first term. For his gallant and meritorious services in the field during the civil war he was brevetted brigadier general U. S. A. and brigadier general of volunteers. He was transferred to the 14th infantry in 1866, was made lieutenant colonel of the 32d infantry in 1867, colonel of the 1st artillery in 1881, and at his own request, after forty years of service, was retired in December 1883.His brother, Louis, lawyer, born in St. Louis in 1822; died in Washington, D. C., 22 March 1874, received a liberal education in his native City, and studied law. About 1850 he went to California, where he engaged in business, afterward holding the office of judge. In 1862 he returned to St. Louis, and from 1863 till 1867 was engaged in cotton planting in Mississippi and Louisiana. He afterward practiced law in Washington. During the reconstruction period he drifted into southern polities, having removed to Mississippi, and in 1869 was nominated for governor of that state by the National union republicans, a new party, organized on the basis of equal rights, general amnesty, and reconciliation; but, contrary to his own expectation and to those of his friends, he did not receive the support of the administration in the canvass. Prior to his nomination, President Grant wrote to him: " I would regret to see you run for an office and be defeated by my act; but, as matters now look, I must throw the weight of my influence in favor of the party opposed to you." Judge Dent replied, defending the claims of his party. Although the democrats made no nomination, but gave their votes to Mr. Dent, he received only half as many as his opponent, Governor Alcorn, the regular republican nominee. After this he settled in Washington. In December 1873, he became a Roman Catholic.
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