Notes by Malcolm Grant, 28
Responses by Hugh Campbell are in italics.
of Lewis is the statement:
“With the help of his uncle James Grant, who was a friend
of John Graves Simcoe, he arranged to come to Canada”
The statement is based
on family lore. I have found no contemporary record of a friendship
between “uncle James Grant” and Simcoe. The lore may well have arisen from
a cursory reading of this group of letters. By looking closely at all the
James Grant references, the following discussion will perhaps clarify
The letter written 31 August 1791
seems to suggest that General James Grant of Ballindaloch was the
“helper”. Could he have been an uncle to Lewis?
William refers to him in
this letter first as "General James Grant," later as "General Grant," one
of "the two gentlemen that applied," and finally, as one of "your two
friends". This does not sound familiar enough to represent a close family
brother James appears to have already been in America at the time the
letter was written in 1791: “Should this be the road you just pass by your
Uncle James & you can see him.” Would this exclude him?
our next James Grant, an uncle (with no indication yet whether paternal or
maternal), and likely not General James Grant of Ballindalloch. The date
of the Simcoe letter to General Grant is 10 August 1791, and William had
it in his hands a few days before the date of his own letter to his son,
31 August. It is unlikely that General Grant could receive the letter,
pass it on, and then travel to America in the three intervening weeks.
An “Uncle James” appears
in the next letter,
dated 15 February 1794:
have not heard from your Uncle James but once since you left us. I am
told from good authority that he is married though he dos not mention
that to me and has a family he gives this as a reason to Isaac Grant
Esq., writer to the Signet of Edinburgh for taking our Father's money to
himself but Carron shortened it for him, you ought write to him often.
He is friendly enough. You may sometime or other fall in with one
traveling that way. Is there no post from you by Albany and New York.
Mr. Addison from Washington was last seen over at New York. He heard of
James, he was well so he writes to his Father-in-law the minister of
This establishes one
“Uncle James” as the brother of William, and residing overseas, so he is
likely the Uncle James referred to in the previous letter.
“Sir James Grant of
Grant” appears in the same letter, in some broader news from home:
reported that there is several new regiments to be raised the Marquis of
Huntley one, Sir James Grant of Grant one, who is to have the rest I do
not know. It requires money as every Captain names his officers and is
bound for the men. Do not see where the men is to be got. The great town
is the place most likely. John Grant the minister of Elgin has asked to
be Chaplain to Sir James Grant of Grant his [???] is my opinion that he
will not succeed it would be [???] give it him he has enough for two and
so [???] fellows that has nothing.
This is the Good Sir
James, son of Sir Ludovick Grant and founder of Grantown. An article
entitled Continuity by Peter Grant in the Summer 2005 issue of
Standfast, the journal of Clan Grant Society, mentions this military
Good Sir James, Sir James Grant of Grant, raised the First Highland
Fencible Regiment in 1793 in the first flush of patriotic endeavour
engendered by the horrors of the French Revolution. He seems to have
forgotten that the government still owed the family large sums of money
for raising troops on previous occasions. The Fencibles were disbanded
in 1799 after a rather checkered short lived history of mutinous
“Sir James Grant of
Grant” appears in the next letter, dated 16 August 1798:
it is thought that he will be ellected Member of Parliament for Banff
County which will be vacant by Sir James Grant of Grants having got a
place in the Customs.
... which provides only
political news to us. And then paternal Uncle James in America reappears:
weeks ago, I had a letter from your Uncle James dated New York 2d Aprile
last, he was then [wile?] says that he had not seen you I wrote him and
I asked the favour of him to write to you; how happened it that you did
not call for him.
[Another] James pops up in
the letter of 24 March 1808:
Grant, Son to you uncle James Grant that sold Wester Elchies [...]
At first I thought this had to be a reference to James
Grant of Carron because of the entry in Fraser’s Grant genealogies and
also an entry (I think from Burkes Landed Gentry). An extract from
Fraser’s “Chiefs of Grant”:
Captain James Grant of Carron, succeeded his father in Carron. He served
a considerable time in the army as ensign and lieutenant and was present
at the battle of Fontenoy in 1745 when only eighteen years of age. He
was baron of Muldery in Moray in 1767 and in 1774 a commissioner of
supply for Elgin and Forres. He inherited the estate of his Uncle Dr.
Patrick Grant of Antigua who died in 1770; but in 1783 his failure is
referred to in the testament of Lewis Grant of Wester Elchies to whom he
was a debtor. He sold Carron in 1786 or 1787 to Robert Grant of Elchies.
James Grant married “Mrs. Grant of Carron” known as the authoress of
”Roy’s Wife of Aldivalloch” She survived him, and married secondly, Dr.
Murray, a physician in Bath. He died in the Abbey of Holyrood house on
14 March, 1790, and at the giving up of his testament his estate was
valued at L5, 4s. He had five sons.
“Burkes Landed Gentry” says:
Robert Grant, a London Merchant, purchased the estates of Wester
Elchies, Carron and Knockando in 1783 from James Grant of Carron. b.
1720 m. Isabella (d. 17 May 1835) dau of James Campbell in
Kirdells by his wife Jane Grant and d. Dec. 1805 leaving issue.
You might also be interested in these entries from Fraser:
General James Grant of Ballindalloch
distinguished soldier in the West Indian Service. With an inferior
force, he defeated the French General, Count d’Estaing, conquered St
Lucia in 1779, and was for many years Governor of Florida. On the death
of his nephew William, 1n 1770, the succession of the family estates
devolved upon him, and he was served heir to them on 29 January 1772. In
1804 he made an entail of the estates of Ballindalloch etc., in favour
of George Macpherson his grand nephew, and others. He was appointed
Governor of Stirling Castle. He left no issue and at his death on 13th
April 1806, the estates passed to the grandson of his sister Grace,
George Macpherson of Invereshie.
(The letter of William to Lewis dated 24 March 1808 states:
“General Grant of Belendallach is [???] his grand nephew has got the
estate George [???] of Inverressee now George McPherson Grant of
George Macpherson Grant, First Baronet of Ballindalloch
was born of 25 February 1781. He was retoured heir taillie and
heir-general of provision to his father’s maternal uncle General James
Grant, on 28 April 1806. For many years he sat in Parliament as Member
for Sunderlandshire. In 1838 he assumed the surname of Grant, and was
created, on 25th July of that year, a Baronet of the United Kingdom. He
matriculated his arms in the Lyon Office on 5th June 1806. He married,
on 26th August 1803, Mary eldest daughter of Thomas Carnegie of Craigo,
Forfarshire and died on 24th November 1846. She survived her husband
dying on 31st August 1854. They had issue.
Fraser claims that James Grant of Carron sold Carron and
Burke claims that He sold Wester Elchies, Carron & Knockando, however in
the pedigree of the Second Grants of Wester Elchies we find:
Grant of Wester Elchies
was a minor in 1757 when his father died. On 6th April 1767 he was
retoured heir to his father in Wester Elchies. He died in April 1783
leaving a son and only child, also in his minority.
Grant of Wester Elchies
child of James Grant of Wester Elchies. On his father’s death the
testament was given up by the factor loco tutoris for Lewis. He
died in September or October 1783
If the commentary on the second house of Wester Elchies is
correct then they were possessed of Wester Elchies in 1783 the year Burke
suggests that James Grant of Carron sold it. It also raises the
possibility that James Grant of Carron may have been the factor of Wester
Elchies who gave up Lewis’s testament loco tutoris (“in place of a
guardian”) for Lewis.
A comment in the letter
of 20 May 1792 appears relevant, but I still don't quite get the picture:
Grandmother died here the 7th of Aprile last and was In tered in the
Church of Aberlour The family buriale ground She died poor and her
effects was sold to pay funeral expence Ms Smith and family have not one
shilling for there mantenance and I am not able to give them any aid God
only knows how they are to get bread the interest of the F1100 that paid
the jointor go's to her grandson Lewes Grant the heir of Elchies [??]
and the years of age
If I can summarize, you are
suggesting that “Uncle James Grant that sold Wester Elchies” may be one
Captain James Grant of
General James Grant of
James Grant of Wester
And the likelihood is that
he is Captain James Grant of Carron?
Lewis Grant, PLS, certainly had an Uncle James, his
father’s brother, in America. The letters make this clear. It seems
probable that he had an Uncle James on his mother’s side as well.
Agreed. “Uncle James
Grant that sold Wester Elchies” is used in clarification, and establishes
there was more than one Uncle James Grant. If this second Uncle is of the
same generation as the first, and William has used "Uncle James" more
casually in the past when referring to his own brother, this second must
be a brother to William's wife and is possibly Captain James Grant of
Moving on to the final
letter with a reference to “James Grant,” the luckless Lachlan Grant wrote
to his brother, Lewis Grant, PLS, on 22 February 1823, providing us with
no further clues:
Father must have died rich. He owed nothing had a farm well stocked,
with F900 in Sir Jos Grant's hands & a few years before his death
received F1760 by the sale of the estate of his brother Lachlan, & yet
Mary has nothing & lives on the bounty of Thos Grant who is said to
possess F20,000. This astonishes every body here. Capt. Alex Cameron &
all my friends have endeavoured to persuade me to institute an inquiry
respecting the state of our Fathers affairs at his death, but it is what
I never shall do without your concurrence. I never suspected unfair play
until I found they had not written to you & reported you dead --- Now I
am convinced all has not been right. I heard of his death by mere
accident near four years after. With respect to the Estate I alude to
the sale of, it was left to me but the will being supposed bad, I was
sent to our uncle James to confirm it, which he did, being heir at law.
During my absence our father represented himself to be heir at law & got
it. By virtue of his Power of Attorney I managed it four years & put it
in a way to pay its debts in time. Tom persuaded the old man to see it
for a trifle, when had he kept it seven years it might have brought
F10,000. I lost six years time looking after it which prevented me from
being now a Post Captain, & received for all my trouble F140. It was our
Father's intention, no doubt to have given me the property according to
his brother's wish, but Tom overpersuaded him in his dotage.
Lewis Grant, PLS, was
assisted by General James Grant of Ballindalloch and Robert Grant of
His paternal uncle James
Grant resided in America
His maternal uncle James
Grant was (possibly) Captain James Grant of Carron
A further note: the
headstone of Lewis Grant PLS says that his mother, Catherine Grant, was
the "daughter of Lewis Grant, Esq, Wester Elchies". My guess is that this
grandfather Lewis Grant was a son of Lewis Grant, Laird of Wester Elchies,
as shown in the Moray LIBINDX
Ref. No. NM075158, where his children are listed as James, Lewis,
Elizabeth, Katherine and Anna. Of these children, only James (as "Capt.
James Grant of Carron & Wester Elchies, born 1727") and Elizabeth are
shown on The History of Antigua chart. Or have I slipped a generation?
Perhaps grandfather Lewis Grant is the Laird himself, and mother Catherine
is the Laird's daughter Katherine. Time for a wee break ...