In my research, I had a hard time determining whether or not James Grant was really one of John Grant’s sons. His date of birth in 1802 fits nicely between his brothers Rolin born in 1800 and Gregory born in 1806. Since early census records do not capture the names of family members it is hard to be sure. However I have accounted for all of the Grants in Abbeville County, SC and feel certain that my James Grant is a member of this family. I found even more proof as the family history unfolded.
James was born in Virginia just as all of his older siblings. His younger brother Gregory was born in South Carolina in 1806 so that says that the family moved from Virginia to Abbeville County between 1802 and 1806.
The 1810 census is important as it has information about John Grant’s neighbors. John is living close to Mordica Shackleford, James Carlile, James Campbell, Abner Strickland, Hugh Maxwell, and Nathan Strickland.
James’ mother, Mary, died in 1815 when he was about 9. James’ father, John, remarried immediately in the same year to a widow, Isabella Paxton. When his father John died in 1819, James would have been 17. John appears to have had a significant estate as his will was probated. John’s son William Grant was one of the Administrators along with Frances Carlile. Sons Mager (Major) and Rolen (Rolin) were also mentioned in the records. Also mentioned was Mordica Shackleford one of his neighbors and Abner Strickland another neighbor. We will learn more about Abner and Nathan Strickland later.
In the 1820 census, his step-mother, Isabelle Grant was listed still living in Abbeville County along with 2 males under 10 (likely her two sons with John Grant), 1 male between 10-15 (possibly the youngest son of John and Mary Grant), 2 females 10-15 (likely her daughters from her marriage to Pliny Robbins) and 1 female 26-45( Isabelle). It does not appear that James is living with his step-mother. Isabella moved back to Carroll County Georgia with her children and is found there in 1830 census. I am not sure if her move was a catalyst for the rest of the children, but by 1830 both Edna and Gregory had moved to Elbert, Georgia. By 1840, Major, Edna, and Rolin were living in Meriwether County, GA. Betsy had married Francis Carlile in 1815 and the couple then moved on to Randolph County, Alabama by 1840. Rolin followed his sister to Randolph County, Alabama by 1860 and Major followed to by 1870.
James apparently never left Abbeville County. The reason for that is likely very simple. He met a neighbor girl, fell in love and got married. That girl was Mary Elizabeth Strickland who was the daughter of Nathan Strickland. Nathan and Abner Strickland were related and were both closely associated with John Grant. James and Mary Elizabeth were married before 1827 in Abbeville County.
The couple had their first child Mary Elizabeth Grant on November 11, 1827. Mary Elizabeth did not marry until in her late 20s. She apparently lived with her maternal Grandparents, Nathan and Mary Polly Oliver Strickland and took care of them in their old age. For those efforts her Grandfather Nathan Stickland left her in his will dated 6 Oct 1852 several things. He leaves Mary
Elizabeth “a walnut cupboard, a loom, and the tacklings belonging thereto, now in the possession of her father James Grant”. Also Negro slave, Hannah, at death of his wife Polly if Mary continues to live with them and care for them. The grandparents apparently passed on before Mary married Thomas Robert Lee Pettigrew in about 1855. By 1860 the family was in Carroll County, GA where they lived the rest of their lives.
The second child and the first son was John A. Grant who was born in 1829. John married Jane Crenshaw sometime before 1848 when their first child was born. They had a daughter, Margaret born in 1848 and a son Alexander born in 1849. It is possible that John’s middle name was Alexander since he named his first son the same. John was five years older than Jane who was born in 1821. It appears that John served the Confederacy during the Civil War, but I have yet to determine the specific unit under which he served. However he was lucky and lived to return home after the war as we see him as late as 1880 in Abbeville County.
The next son was my ancestor, William Nathan Grant, born June 23, 1831 in Abbeville County. It is likely his middle name was taken from his Grandfather Nathan Strickland. His birth was followed by the birth of eight more children. Much more about William in a separate story. He appears to be the only one of the children who moved away from South Carolina.
The second daughter, Eliza Jane Grant, was born in 1832. It appears that Eliza Jane never married but perhaps did have one son William “Willie” Milton Grant who appears with Eliza Jane on the 1880 census living with James and Mary. He is listed as James’ Grandson on the census report and is listed just under Eliza Jane, however this is still not definitive evidence.
The next two children, Martha Lucretia and Cinthia Grant, both born in 1833 and appear to have been twins from the census record. Interestingly, Martha Lucretia Grant married a Thomas Duncan Sutherland. Thomas is not related to my father’s Sutherlands, but I have seen this Sutherland family in Abbeville County many times. Funny how our paths cross. Thomas Sutherland served in the Confederacy
as a Reserve in the McCalla Rifles in the 14th Regiment South Carolina Infantry like his younger brother Jasper. He appears to have survived the Civil War but perhaps died of injuries he sustained. He is buried in Abbeville rather than in the field which speaks to that possibility. Martha was a widow at age 31 and apparently pregnant with her last child Nora V.L. Sutherland who was born in 1865.
Martha’s twin sister, Cinthia Grant married another local Abbeville County resident named Thomas A. Daniel in about 1850. They had one son for sure, William Elbert, born in 1851 who was named after Cinthia’s husband’s Father. In addition to being a farmer, Thomas was a Postmaster in Abbeville County until his death in 1892. Cinthia lived in Abbeville until she died in 1899.
James Jasper Grant born in 1835 and also served as a Private in H.H. Harpers McCalla Rifles in the 14th Regiment South Carolina Infantry, like his older brother-in-law Thomas Duncan Sutherland. He was killed at the Battle of Gaines Mill, Virginia on June 27, 1862. While the Confederacy won this battle, they lost 42% of their forces doing so. This battle was part of the Peninsula Campaign (Mar-June 1862). Defeat at Gaines’ Mill convinced McClellan to abandon his advance on Richmond and begin the retreat to James River. Gaines’ Mill saved Richmond for the Confederacy. There is actually a memorial to James Jasper Grant in Abbeville, SC, but it is not likely that he was actually buried there, but was likely buried in Virginia near the battlefield as the Confederacy did not have an effective process for returning fallen soldiers to their homes for burial. Like many soldiers killed in the Civil War, James left behind a wife and three very young children. His widow, Martha remarried John Crawford and they had two daughters, Nancy and Martha Cornelia Crawford.
Martha died when Martha Cornelia Crawford was 9 months old. John Crawford gave the three children to their uncle Jesse A. McAlister to raise in South Carolina and relocated to Cobb County Georgia where he married Amanda Berry.
The next sibling was son, Yancy C. Grant born in 1839. I have found record of him living with his family in 1850 but not on the 1860 census. I have not been able to find any other records of Yancy so it is possible that he died sometime after 1850. He would have been old enough to have fought in the Civil War, but so far I have not found a record for him. However this is the most likely scenario.
Robert A. Grant was born in 1843. He is shown living with his family in both 1850 and 1860 census. One researcher has determined that he died in the Battle of Lynchburg in Virginia in 1862. I have not verified this but there is a Robert A. Grant in the Civil War Soldiers list who served as a Private in the 1st Regiment, SC Infantry (Butlers) (1st Regulars), Company E. The Battle of Lynchburg was fought June 17-18, 1864, creating a time discrepancy. Regardless, I have not found any further records of Robert in my research.
The last son was George Pinkney Grant who was born in January 2, 1847 and lived until July 26, 1925. George would have been only 13 years old in 1860 at the start of the Civil War, but would have been old enough to serve by the end of the war in 1865. He married Mary Samantha Harkness in Abbeville in 1868 and they had six children. Interestingly, he names his fifth child who was born in 1879, Ulysses S. Grant. He named his last child who was also born in 1879, Robert Lee Grant. Looks like George was honoring both the Union and Confederate leaders at that point in time. In 1879, the brutal Reconstruction era was over (1877) and the South was beginning to heal the wounds left behind by the Civil War.
James and Elizabeth Grant must have suffered great joy and great sadness during these years. Five and possibly all six of their six sons fought in the Civil War. I believe that at least three of those sons died in the War along with one of his son-in-laws. Abbeville was both the birthplace of the Civil War when on November 22, 1860 a meeting was held there at a site now called “Sucession Hill” to launch South Carolina’s secession from the Union. One month later South Carolina
became the first state to secede. At the end of the Civil War, Confederate President, Jefferson Davis fled Richmond, Virginia and headed south stopping of a night in Abbeville at the home of Armistead Burt. On May 2, 1865 Jefferson Davis officially acknowledged the dissolution of the Confederate government in the last official cabinet meeting in the front parlor of what is now known as the Burt-Stark Mansion.
So what about William Nathan Grant and his Civil War service? William married and moved to Mississippi before the start of the war. His story and the story of his son, James are a fascinating glimpse into the Confederate “Boy Soldiers”.