Clan Grant in the New World

My first actual record of who I believe to be my 4th Great Grandfather, John Grant, was his marriage in June of 1785 to a widow named Mary Cameron in Charleston, South Carolina.  Mary was the widow of a William Cameron and at the time of her marriage had one son, Richard Cameron, born in 1785.  Apparently John married Mary shortly after the death of her husband.  We find a record in the General Assembly Records in 1791 when Richard would have been six years old.  I believe this petition was in the Virginia or possibly the South Carolina General Assembly Records.   After their marriage, John and Mary moved back to Virginia where their first son Major Grant was born in 1789 (died 1870).Barrel Maker

In the petition, John Grant and Mary his wife (widow of William Cameron) are petitioning on behalf of Mary and her son Richard Cameron, aged about six years. The petition continues the efforts of the Grants to have the Cameron property not only removed from the Confiscation List, but also free from any fine or amercement (a discretionary penalty or punishment).  William Cameron was a cooper, which was someone who made wooden, staved vessels, bound together with hoops and possessing flat ends or heads. Examples of a cooper’s work include casks, barrels, buckets, tubs, butter churns, hogsheads, firkins, tierces, rundlets, puncheons, pipes, tuns, butts, pins and breakers.  William had his property confiscated because he signed an address to the Crown following the British occupation of Charleston.  We have to assume that this correspondence was in support of the King.  We do not know if their petition was granted or not.

Note:  While dates and names match indicating that this John Grant and Mary Cameron may have been the parents of the Abbeville County Grants, I have not yet found absolute proof.  If anyone has anything to share regarding the Charleston, SC John Grant and Mary Cameron, I would love to hear more.

The family lived in Virginia for many years and many of their children were born there.  Following Major, their next child was Mary Elizabeth “Betsey” Grant who was born 30 March 1792 (died 1846).  Betsey later married a Francis Carlisle.  Francis served as an Administrator on the estate of John Grant when he died in 1819.

The next children were:  Edna (1795-1860) who married Humphrey Davis Tucker; William (1797-1820).  William also served as an Administrator of his father’s estate and died shortly thereafter.  Next was Daniel (1799-1820); Rolin (1800-1860); James (1802-1880), who is my ancestor; Gregory (1806-1888); Robert (1810-); James Samuel (1813-1870).Abbeville CountyThe family moved between the birth of James in 1802 and the birth of Gregory in 1806.

They moved to Abbeville County, South Carolina.  Both Abbeville County and the county seat Abbeville, SC, get their name from the town of Abbeville, France.  The county was originally part of Ninety-Six District, South Carolina, but was designated Abbeville County in 1785.   Abbeville County was settled by mostly Scotch Irish and French-Huguenot farmers in the mid-18th century.

Mary Cameron Grant bore 10 living children before she died in about 1815.  With so many young children to take care of, John quickly remarried in 1816 to Isabella Paxton who was born in Georgia in 1775.  Isabella was 41 when she and John married so it is likely she was a widow.  She and John had at least two children together.  John P. Grant was born in 1817 and David Milton born in 1818 (died 1903).  Isabelle was previously married to Pliny Robbins (1781-1812) in 1801.  They had four children together, the last born in 1811.  Pliny Robbins died in Elbert, Georgia in 1812.

Sadly for the new family, John died on September 28, 1819 in Abbeville County.  He left a considerable estate to be settled.  His son-in-law Francis Carlisle and his son William were appointed Administrators for the estate.  In the Probate papers, his other sons, Rolin and Major are mentioned.  We do not know why his oldest son, Major was not listed as an administrator of the estate since he was still living in Abbeville County at the time of his father’s death.  William died before the estate was fully settled and therefore Francis Carlisle was required to complete the disposition on his own.

We see Isabella still in Abbeville County on the 1820 census.  She is the head of the household and shows that there are five children living in her home.  Two boys under 10, likely John P and David Milton or maybe David Milton and James Samuel; one boy 10-15, likely  Robert or Gregory and two girls 10-15.  We do not know who the girls are.  However Isabella took her children and moved back to Georgia sometime after 1820 where she lived until her death in 1850. It is possible that she moved to Meriwether County.

Warn SpringsMeriwether County, Georgia is in the western part of Georgia about halfway between the state boundaries.  Meriwether is known for its mineral springs and is the location of Warm Springs where President Roosevelt built his second White House to take the mineral waters.  The county was established in 1827 and the county seat of Greenville was established, named after patriot Nathanial Greene.  It must have been a lovely place because by 1840, Major, Edna, and Rolin had moved there from Abbeville.  In 1840 the only child still living in Abbeville County was James.  We see Gregory in Meriwether in 1850 along with his other siblings.  Gregory and Edna stayed there until their deaths in 1888 and 1860.  However, many of the other siblings followed Betsey and her husband William Carlisle and moved on to Randolph County, Alabama.  Betsey was there by 1840, Major by 1870, Rolin by 1860, and Samuel by 1860.

James stayed in Abbeville County until his death sometime after 1880.  So why did he not move south with the rest of his siblings?  This is still a great mystery to be solved.  Sometimes genealogy is a process of choosing the best fit and based on the large number of Grants in Abbeville County in the early 1800s as well as their common history in Virginia, we have to assume that they were all related.  In those times, families migrated together rather than as separate groups.  However, that is not always the case.  Some members of a family stayed behind due to other familial and economic factors.  We are going to pick up next time with my third Great Grandfather, James Grant and his brood in Abbeville County and follow the trail west.


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I am a retired government employee who has spend the past 35 years doing genealogy research. I am now trying to capture the stories behind all of the facts to share with my daughter and family.

2 thoughts on “Clan Grant in the New World”

  1. Thank you so very much for your blog post! I descend from a John Grant who was born around 1760 & passed-away in Darlington County, South Carolina, I have been trying to find which Grant branch he belongs to & unfortunately people on Ancestry will add your Mary Cameron in as my John’s wife without doing their own research, of course Ancestry does not help for your John & Mary’s marriage record appears in the hint section so people take it as gospel.

    I hope you do not mind but I have your blog post to the link section of my John Grant in hopes that at least one person will read it instead of just assuming your John & Mary Grant are the same as ours.



    1. Lena,
      I appreciate your comment on this Blog. After I wrote this story, I began to doubt that this John Grant/Mary Cameron are the same John Grant couple moved to Abbeville County, SC and raised their brood. I have never been able to actually prove this lineage. John was such a common name that without more evidence, it is hard to know for sure that this is the correct ancestor. My John Grant’s first wife was named Mary, but I cannot know for sure that she was Mary Cameron. There are scarce records for that era that are on-line and I believe a research trip to SC will be needed at some point. I will make a note in my Blog that the relationship is not proven. Thanks again for writing.

      Sharon Sutherland Roberson


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