Below is a collection of information derived from published books, interviews with family
members, and genealogical research by a number of descendants of the Thomas Grant family. It
represents a little bit of genealogical history through four generations of Grants to me. If you
have anything to add or change, please send me an e-mail message.
to view Thomas Grant descendants as a family tree.
There is very little known about the Grant family prior to Great-Grandfather,
James Davis Grant. The earliest history indicates that his father was Thomas
Grant may have been born in Scotland about 1778 and may have come to America
with his two brothers, with a strong suggestion that they were indentured for
passage to the new country. According to a Deposition taken in July, 1838, in the
case of Dunnell vs. Hill, 1841, Thomas Grant was age 60. Ironically, all the
named persons in the Deposition were noted with ages that ended in a "0", so his
actual age at the time may have been different by a few years. Since there have
been no other records found listing his age or birth date, one can easily
challenge his year of birth. According to the 1820 Federal Census, Thomas was
reported to be between 26 - 45. That would indicate he was born between 1775 and
1794. Since his wife Sarah was born about 1784, Thomas' birth in 1778 appears
plausible. He was believed to have died in Marshall County, Tennessee in late
1838, as Marshall County Court Records regarding the settlement of his estate
are noted beginning in January 1839. Thomas actually lived most of his life in
Maury County; however, the creation of Marshall County in 1836 took in part of
the county in which he lived.
1778 - 1838
There is very little known about the Grant family prior to Great-Grandfather, James Davis Grant. The earliest history indicates that his father was Thomas Grant may have been born in Scotland about 1778 and may have come to America with his two brothers, with a strong suggestion that they were indentured for passage to the new country. According to a Deposition taken in July, 1838, in the case of Dunnell vs. Hill, 1841, Thomas Grant was age 60. Ironically, all the named persons in the Deposition were noted with ages that ended in a "0", so his actual age at the time may have been different by a few years. Since there have been no other records found listing his age or birth date, one can easily challenge his year of birth. According to the 1820 Federal Census, Thomas was reported to be between 26 - 45. That would indicate he was born between 1775 and 1794. Since his wife Sarah was born about 1784, Thomas' birth in 1778 appears plausible. He was believed to have died in Marshall County, Tennessee in late 1838, as Marshall County Court Records regarding the settlement of his estate are noted beginning in January 1839. Thomas actually lived most of his life in Maury County; however, the creation of Marshall County in 1836 took in part of the county in which he lived.
According to information handed down by Talley Grant of Franklin, TX (date unknown), Thomas and two brothers came directly from Scotland. One brother apparently settled in Maine, one in Pennsylvania and the remaining brother moved to Ohio. According to the story, Thomas ended up in Kentucky, possibly as the result of being orphaned and indentured to a farmer to learn the farming trade.
Another story circulating through the family is that the three brothers fled Scotland when England took over the lands and took everything the Scots owned, leaving them with only pieces of land to live on. Their traditions and clothing attire were considered treason by the British and the Scots could be thrown in prison for such displays. As a result of the oppression, many Scots fled their country for America. Because they were virtually poor at that point, they indentured themselves for seven years to other families to gain passage to America. Thomas and his brothers were believed to have been indentured. They may have arrived on the Carolina Coast and migrated west, however, most suggest that those coming from Scotland landed around the Upper East Coast. We know that he later moved to Tennessee and settled in Maury County.
And, more recently, another story has surfaced that Thomas was killed by Indians while on the road to or from his home. I am trying to gather more information, as my source thought it was mentioned in a court record in Marshall County, TN.
Thomas married Sarah Glover in Maury County. They had nine children, all born between 1800 and 1825. Thomas' father was said to have been born in Scotland, supporting the suggestion that Thomas was also born in Scotland. Though Sarah has been reported as having been born in Northern Ireland, it is possible that it was Thomas' mother who was born in Northern Ireland. Some census records suggest that Sarah was born in the North Carolina in 1784 . She died in Robertson County, Texas on January 7, 1860, at the age of 76 and was buried in the Owensville Cemetery just outside of Franklin, Texas.
Sarah had a sister, Christina, who married James Davis. I am suspect that Thomas' son, James Davis, was name after his brother-in-law. In the 1850 Federal Census records for Marshall County, TN, it indicates that Christina was born in North Carolina. According to notes written in 1979 by Kathy L. Anderson who lived in Michigan at the time, Christina Glover Davis was born in 1789 in North Carolina and died August 30, 1854. Her husband, James Davis, was born about 1784 and he died January 20, 1840. If the information bears out, it suggests that sister Sarah may have been born in North Carolina and her mother may have been the one born in Northern Ireland. The 1850 Federal Census for Rusk County, Texas and the 1880 Federal Census for Robertson County, Texas for James Davis Grant said both parents were born in Tennessee. More to do here.
Thomas Grant was referenced in a number of county records. One such reference occurred in 1823 and is referred to in the following lawsuit and a subsequent land purchase of 200 acres. The Tax Records from 1823, pages 214 and 224, show Thomas Grant as owner of land in Maury County.
MCHQ Vol. V #III Fall 1974.
NC Grant 51- 5000A- John Nelson
5-1-1809 William Davidson grants power of Atty. to friend Samuel Polk, to redeem a tract of 5000A originally granted to John Nelson which was sold for taxes by the Sheriff of Williamson County.
Maury County, TN Chancery Court Record 1810-1860, Vol. 1 page 135 Davidson Vs Davidson - 1822
May 10 1823 John H. Davidson, Samuel W. Davidson, Thomas Crawford & wife Mary et al vs. William Davidson, John Cockrell, Alexander Osburn, John Sturgeon, Cyrus Alexander, Isaac Williams, Thomas GRANT, Thomas Nix, John FOWLER, Richard Hill, Josiah Duncan, Abraham TALLY, William McGregor, Ebenezer Elliot, Peter Phifer, John Weaver, Joseph Weaver, Spratty Turner, Josiah Alexander, Robert Marsh, Uriah Stone, William Shehane, Jordan Vincent, James Vincent, Jonathan McManus, William Emerson, Philip Miscar, Daniel Bills, Nancy
Boon, Elijah Mays, Levi Cochran, Margaret Davidson, Sarah Harriett and William Davidson. The Complainants were found not entitled to the 5000A and the bill was dismissed.
The following bought parts William Duncan- 165A; Richard Hill - 161A; William Shehane- 275A; Peter Phifer - 160A; James Osburn - 492A; Jonathan McManus -175A; Thomas GRANT - 200A; William McGregor - 200A; Josiah Duncan - 208A; Alexander Osburn - 200A.
May 28 1831 Josiah Duncan bought 208A for $720. It being the same land that D. W. McRee contracted to sell to Duncan & executed a title bond July 10, 1816.
Among those tracts for which no deed were registered were the following William Emerson 165A bounded on the N by Alexander Osburn, E by William McGregor, S by Jonathan McManus, W by Alexander Osburn.
In Early Looney in America, by Leroy W. Tilton, there is a reference to Thomas Grant and a James Davis (believed to be connected to the Grant by marriage) in an account wherein he purchased 23 acres of land from John Looney
Riflemen, West Tenn. Volunteers under Col. N. T. Perkins on the expedition against the Creek Nation. They proceeded from Camp Carroll to Emuefou (?) and back, a distance of 314 miles. Less than two weeks after discharge, John (4) Looney entered the 2nd Regt. of West Tenn. Militia as Captain of a Company under Col. Lowry and Lt. Col Hammons and served from 20. Sept. 1814 to 20 April 1815 as part of General Taylor's Brigade on the expedition to Mobile during which they traveled 614 miles and were as far east as Pensacola. On 11 Jan. 1815 he was a superannuary at a general court-martial at Mobile.
Following his return to Maury County after these three tours of service he sold, on 5 Nov. 1815, land on Smith's Fork, Smith County, to Samuel Lake (Smith Deeds D. p. 281) and on 18 Nov. sold 210 acres on Globe Creek, six miles southeast of Columbia, to John Brown, in trust. (Maury Deeds F, p. 278) Then in 1816 he sold 215 acres, where he then lived in Maury County, to James DAVIS. (Maury Deeds F, p. 326)
His application for a pension is dated 15 Aug. 1817 in Maury County and the physicians certified to total disability. On 15 Feb. 1818 he sold to Thomas GRANT 23 acres beginning on John Brown's northwest corner. (Maury Deeds H, p. 401)
In 1831, Thomas signed a note for $3.43 1/4 to Richard G. Grant (something) received of him as witness my hand and seal this 23rd, December 1831.
In the Dunnell vs. Hill 1841 Deposition mentioned early, references to this case are found in 1832 and 1838 in the Maury County, TN Chauncey Court records, Vol. 1 1810-1860, pages 95, 96 and 147.
In another reference, Thomas Grant bought 101 acres from John Radford, and is found in Book P, page 237 (no date so far). Richard G. Grant bought 56 acres from Thomas and was in Book Q, page 221 (again, no date found so far). The following land maps show a few of the locations acquired by Thomas Grant between 1818 and 1833:
The Court Historian of Maury County, TN, probably around 1979, could not find any record showing that Thomas Grant had ever paid property taxes. However, other information I have may dispute this statement (am pursuing). There was a reference to a Thomas Grant being appointed overseer in 1822 of a road in Rutherford Creek area far removed from the Rock Creek area now in Marshall County, TN. This may not have been the same Thomas Grant. The source of the above mentioned findings was Sid D. Jackson.
The next account of his life is found in the Marshall County - County Minutes. On January 8, 1839, the Coroner presented a bill to the county in the amount of $5.00 for summoning a Jury of Inquest over the dead body of Thomas Grant. Two days later, a Security Bond for $800 was presented to the county by one of his sons, Richard G. Grant, and William P. Boatright in regards to the Estate of Thomas Grant. Then, on February 4, 1841, an Inventory of the Estate was presented to the county by Early T. Reasonover, Administrator of the Estate. On March 1, a settlement was made by Gideon Black, John Elliot and E. Campbell with Mr. Reasonover. On March 2, the Court ordered a correction of error on the setting the Estate of Thomas Grant. Finally, on April 5, 1841, the Court accepted settlement with Gideon Black, John Elliott and E. Campbell, commissioners with E. L. Reasonover, administrator of the Estate of Thomas Grant. Sarah Grant, his wife, was to receive one year's provisions.
One might surmise that Thomas Grant could have been buried in a now unmarked grave in the Marsh-Davis Cemetery located on the land that James and Christina Davis once owned. The cemetery is located on private property at the top of a hill just off Old Globe Road, several miles west of Lewisburg, TN.
Some research by Sid Jackson, a distant relative through marriage, indicated that Thomas Grant and Sarah , along with James Davis and Christina, were in Maury County years prior to 1816. The earliest record I have found of Thomas Grant was in 1817, wherein he was noted as having witnessed a land transaction in Maury County. Thomas, James and Christina died in Marshall County, TN in 1838, 1840 and 1854, respectively. The latter two are buried in the Marsh-Davis Cemetery west of Lewisburg and noted as Marker #94 to the left.
If Thomas taught his children only one thing, it was to acquire and sell land. Richard G. and James Davis Grant were well known for their land dealings.
Beyond these facts and presumptions, there appears to be little, if any, other historical information.
One note of special interest. I became very interested in the possibilities of new genealogy research through DNA projects. I suggested to the Grant Usergroup that we might want to start one if there was enough interest. I got a fairly good response and convinced one participant to take the lead in selecting a research team and being the administrator of the project. To date, we have 22 participants.
I found an exact match using the 25-marker test, with a genetic distance of 3 when compared to the 37-marker test. We are definitely related. We have a 50% probability of being related within 5 generations, but more likely fall into a 90% probability of being related within 16 generations. This is because the mismatched markers are in the less volatile group and therefore do not mutate as frequently. Therefore, there is a greater probability that we are related within a couple hundred years, rather than within 100 years.
The other Grant indicates that his oldest Grant ancestor
is probably John Grant, who was born probably before 1755, was a private in the
King's American Regiment in the Revolutionary War, and died in 1783 in New York,
New York. His widow Elizabeth (_____) Grant and their children left with the
Loyalist fleet for New Brunswick, Canada. She married as her second husband
Henry Cronkhite in the fall of 1784. John and Elizabeth's son William Grant was
born in about 1774, married Ann Maidstone Hillman on Nov 4, 1795, at Woodstock,
York County (now Carleton County), New Brunswick, Canada, and died on Mar 26,
1847, at Carleton County, New Brunswick, Canada. His family has been unable to
find much about John Grant.
We have determined that John Grant was 7 generations removed from the other Grant, and Thomas Grant is 5 generations removed from me. So, there are two generations on my side that need to be identified.
Both of us have been in touch with an Ashley, who is a match at 24 of 25 markers. Ashley's ancestors were in Lancaster County, Virginia, during the 1700's and England before that, the period we think that the earliest connection might have been made. We have not been able to find anything that identifies who that common ancestor with John might be.
If you are interested in participating, check out www.FamilyTreeDNA.com/public/Grant
James Davis (J. D.) Grant
James Davis Grant was born in Maury County, Tennessee (became part of Marshall County in 1836) on January 6, 1818. His parents were Thomas and Sarah Glover Grant. J. D., as he often was called by his friends, married Sarah E. Talley on July 14, 1840. She died on January 4, 1865, in Robertson County, Texas, sixteen days after her 10th child had been born.
Following the death of Sarah, and inventory and appraisement of community property was filed with the Probate Court on August 28, 1866. It included in part the following:
- six tracts of land, 2415 acres - $4,423
- 10 horses - $500
- 80 head of cattle - $320
- 10 head of oxen - $200
- 300 sheep - $750
- 75 hogs - $75
- 7 featherbeds - $210
- 2 US History Books - $8
Subsequently, J. D. remarried, to Sarah's half sister, Tennessee Caroline (Tennie C., as some have suggested) Talley in 1869. Together, they had four additional children. J. D. died June 10, 1892, in an area known as Grant Prairie, where their family farm was situated. They lived in Robertson County, Texas, very near Owensville. Owensville was four miles north of Franklin.
As previously stated, J. D. and Sarah had ten children, one of whom was James Polk Grant, my grandfather.
Sarah E. Talley, who was born on February 19, 1825 in Maury County, Tennessee, was the daughter of Abraham Talley and Mary (Polly) Dunken (or Duncan). The Tally's were married on September 17, 1810. Polly Dunken was born in 1793. Sarah's grandfather, William Duncan, was born in Scotland about 1744. Sarah's grandmother's name is unknown, but believed to have been Patsy West. Detailed history of the Duncan Family can be found in many genealogical libraries in a book titled "William Duncan of Scotland, Chatham County North Carolina , Maury and Marshall Counties in Tennessee, and His Eleven Known Children," compiled by Olive and Joe C. Harris in 1979. CLICK HERE to view a summary of the information that leads from William Duncan of Scotland to Sarah E. Tally, the first wife of James D. Grant.
After the death of Thomas Grant, in the latter part of 1838 in Marshall County, TN, the remaining members of the family decided to migrate south to where James' brother John with wife Martha Shannon, their two sons David and Jackson, as well as James' oldest sister Mary and husband David R. Looney, were already living in Pontotoc County, Mississippi. Mary later died there in 1857. James Davis Grant and Sarah, his mother Sarah Glover Grant, Early T. Reasonover and his wife Lavinia (sister to James D.) and family, as well as Richard G. Grant with wife Adeline C. Fowler and daughter Malinda Elizabeth , all arrived in Pontotoc County, Mississippi, just prior to the Federal 1840 Census. In 1846, they moved to Harrison County, Mississippi. Apparently, the family heard that Texas, the land of opportunity, had been received statehood into the United States, as they began their migration west to Texas.
Below is a chronology of the places James Davis Grant and some of the family lived and the years they were in the various parts of the country
Maury County, TN 1818-1836
Marshall County, TN 1836-1840
Pontotoc County, MS 1840-1846
Harrison County, MS 1846-1847
Rusk County, TX 1847-1852
Robertson County, TX 1852-1892
It is hard to decipher exactly who move where after that, but notes and letters suggest that in 1847, Richard G. and family moved from Mississippi to the Clarksville area in Red River County, Texas, with mother Sarah. One of James' daughters, Elizabeth and husband Posey P. Weaver, were already living there. Several months later, they moved to Rusk County, Texas to be near her sister, Nancy, and husband William Whitehead. The Reasonovers stayed in Rusk County for several years before moving on to Grayson County near Sherman, Texas. Richard and family then uprooted again and moved to Peugh Branch in Coryell County, Texas in 1850. Later, they decided to move to Ft. Gates in the same county.
Richard was probably the only financially successful sibling of James Davis Grant. Richard moved there with 700 head of cattle and 200 hogs and began selling stock to the military soldiers at Ft. Gates and subsequently set up a trading house near the fort. Later, in 1853, he moved to an area called Stillhouse Creek (an area now within the city limits of Gatesville). Having been so successful and very liberal with his wealth, he donated funds and land to establish a number of important needs of the community, including land for the establishment of Gatesville, the county courthouse, a school, and the First Baptist Church and cemetery. In the years prior to his death in 1858, he had been the County Treasurer and the Postmaster. And, he was an attorney, who handled the estate of James Coryell. Richard was survived by his wife, Adaline, and three children, Malinda, Martha and John.
To digress a bit, John Grant, believed to have been the first born to Thomas and Sarah, may have been named after a relative of Thomas. I have not been able to confirm the possibility, but new DNA findings mentioned below may support the theory. The earliest written record of him was a land transaction wherein he purchased 40 acres of land from William B. Germany and William B. Ginnings in Marshall County, TN in 1837. His marriage to Martha Shannon occurred on January 1, 1838 in Marshall County, TN. Later that year, on October 20, he sold the 40 acres to Robert McAteer. As mentioned above, John, his wife Mary (Martha) and their children moved with the remainder of the family to Mississippi, probably in 1840, when the rest of his family began to migrate. According to the 1850 State Census for Pontotoc, County, MS, John was 45. Mary was 30. Their children were David, Jackson and John S., ages 4,2,and 2, respectively. Shortly after the census was taken, Levinia was born.
While I have not been able to determine the date they left Mississippi, they show up in Mitchel TWP, Poinsett County, Arkansas on the 1860 Census records. By that time, another daughter, Jane, was 2 years old. Daughter Sarah was born in 1861. In the 1870 Census, the records were absent of John, suggesting he probably died sometime after 1861, but before the census was taken. At that time, they were living in Scott TWP, Poinsett County, AR. The oldest child, David was not listed, suggesting that he had either moved on or died. I have not pursued that issue.
The 1850 Census showed James and wife, Sarah, living in Rusk County. He was 32 and she was 25. Elizabeth J., age 8, Sarah Paralee, age 6, and Nancy S., age 5, were listed in the household. All three were listed as having been born in Mississippi. That same year, the 1850 Rusk County Mortality Schedule indicated that Elizabeth J., age 2, died in July of that year of Bilious Fever. Due to the conflict in age, I am not sure it is the same person, though both were born in Mississippi and there were no other Elizabeth J Grant's listed in the 1850 Census.
In 1852, notes indicate that James Davis Grant and family moved to Robertson County, where he spent the rest of his life. At that time, he owned oxen teams and hauled freight between Robertson County and Houston. Later, after he had become a surveyor, he taught his trade to two of his sons, Thomas J. and William Talley.
In 1855, a contract was issued by the Robertson County Commissioners for the construction of a courthouse and a jail at Owensville, Texas. James Grant and Alexander Calvert (a descendant of the family for which the town of Calvert was named) received the contract to build a 141'x181' jail for a sum of $1,349.45. The jail was completed and accepted on October 15, 1855.
Among other things, James D. was Raised as a Master Mason on May 8, 1857 in Pierce Lodge No. 144, which moved to Calvert, Texas in 1869. He Demitted from the Calvert Lodge and became a charter member of the Patrick Lodge No. 359 in 1871 located in Franklin. He became the Treasurer in 1877.
On September 10, 1855, James purchased and received through a transfer document a 640-acre section of land, a part of the H. W. Beeson Tract. This tract was the largest one he purchased. James received from Governor E. M. Pease the Title to the property on December 23, 1868. The delay in receiving the Title appears, based on survey notes and court records, to have been the result of some boundary or ownership disputes for part of the land. I have a copy of the Title. At first, I thought this property was the homestead for the family for many years; however, that turned out to be incorrect. From 1855 until his death in 1892, Robertson County Deed Records show that James Davis had 262 land transactions. The homestead property was 474 acres carved out of the James M. Love Survey and was purchased on March 21, 1874. Following his death, his son James Polk Grant, and family lived on the property. The land was sold on August 20, 1948 to the Lorent family.
During the 14 years that Owensville was the county seat, it became the business, cultural, as well as political, center of the county as a result of the rail line which ran from Waco to Houston through Owensville. The town was also on the stage line which followed the same route across the state. At some point, a few of the state politicians decided to move the county seat to Calvert. James Davis Grant and some of the other city fathers were not pleased with the decision. So, under the cloak of darkness, they secretly went into Calvert, confiscated the county records and returned them to Owensville. The town was a thriving community with two colleges for boys and girls schools. During those days, James Davis had a large general store located where the Oak Grove Grocery currently exist. The family always said that, in the basement of the store, he had a distillery and was known to make a pretty tasty, but stout peach brandy.
In 1860, some of the leading citizens of Robertson County assembled at Owensville to express their concerns for the impending election of Abraham Lincoln. Rumors in the county indicated that Lincoln would free the slaves in the South if he were elected. Out of this meeting came a recommendation that should any of the southern states secede from the Union, Texas should also follow and join the Confederacy. This recommendation was unanimously approved ,and William Hamman, an attorney and orator, was appointed a delegate to the State convention that would be called in the event Lincoln should be elected.
Following Lincoln's election in November 1860, a special session of the State Legislature was called for February 1, 1861 to discuss secession. At this session, Sam Houston made a strong plea to Texans, asking them to remain loyal to the Union. He was ignored and the State Legislature voted to bring the issue before the people of Texas. On February 23, 1861, the majority of the citizens of Texas voted to leave the Union and join the Confederacy. Governor Sam Houston's refusal to swear allegiance to the Confederacy virtually resulted in him being driven from office.
After the vote to secede, officials of Robertson County met in Owensville met to address the issues related to the call for a new government. Instructions given included the need for plans to organize and equip men joining the Confederate Army in the event a war broke out between the South and the North. Among these officials was the county tax assessor-collector, James D. Grant, who had been elected to office in 1860.
One and one-half months later, on April 12, 1861, the Confederate soldiers began firing on the Union Army. The war had started, and many of the men in Robertson County went off to fight the battle to protect the South and the new Confederate government. By that time, James D. had become known as the "Colonel" by all his friends. This was thought to be an honorary title because of his dedicated and unselfish work for the Confederacy. He did assist in recruitment, selection of officers, financing and equipping five Robertson County companies for the Civil War.
In January, 1870, P. W. Hall, senator from Robertson County, sponsored a bill in the Legislature to move the county seat from Owensville to Calvert. In July of the same year, the bill was passed. Subsequently, in August, 1870, James D. Grant, then one of the four Robertson County Commissioners, moved his office and belongings to Calvert.
In 1878, James D. Grant was elected to the Texas Legislature and served two terms, the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Legislature. His term of office ended in 1882, about the time the new State Capital was dedicated. An interesting tidbit is that during J. D.'s first term , he was shown to be from Hearne, Texas, whereas in the second term, he was from Franklin. I have not found any land records to show he owned any land around Hearne. Nor, can I find any records that his family ever moved to there. According to the Sixteenth Legislative Records, one significant action that came from the session was the passage of a bill establishing the University of Texas in Austin. The library in Houston does not have the Seventeenth Sessions records.
A composite photo of the legislators was taken during one or both sessions, however a fire at the Capitol in 1881 destroyed all copies of the photos at least during that period. The Austin History Center happened to have a copy of the picture taken during the 17th Legislative Session. I have obtained a copy of it, which includes James Davis Grant's name below his picture. Only one other picture of James has surfaced and I received a copy of it from a distant relative in West Texas.
Following the death of J D, an inventory and appraisement of the community property was filed with the Probate Court on March 23, 1893. It included, among other items, five tracts of land - 770 acres - valued at $3,220. Patrick Lodge read a memorial to the the passing of J. D. pointing out his deeds and accomplishments to the state and the community to which he lived, as well as his dedication to his family.
The International Railway Company constructed a line from Hearne, Texas, to the Navasota River, bringing about a number of very small settlements along the route. Among those settlements was a village named Morgan and another called Englewood. Between 1872 and 1879, Morgan's population grew to about 200 people. All during the Seventies, many of the people in Robertson County complained of the location of the county seat. Several attempts were made to have the county seat moved from Calvert, but lack of majority support prevented this action. One such vote took place in 1874 when an attempt was made to move the county seat to Englewood. However, in December, 1879, a vote of the people moved it from Calvert to Morgan.
In 1880, the Commissioners of Robertson County learned that there was another Texas town called Morgan. So, the town was renamed Franklin in honor of the landowner on which the settlement was established. Since the original county seat was a settlement called Franklin back in the 1830's, the decision was made to rename the towns, Old Franklin" and "New Franklin." When the small settlement "Old Franklin," died and became a ghost town, the "New" was dropped and "Franklin" became the name identified today.
Franklin was laid out in a rectangle with 88 blocks of lots, two town squares (one on each side of the railroad), and a five-acre cemetery on the south end of town. The streets and avenues were named to honor some of the neighboring towns and settlements, as well as for some of the first and prominent citizens in the community. One such citizen was James Davis Grant.
With the growth and prosperity of Franklin, eventually Owensville became a "ghost town", with only the memories and a crossroad to remind us of it's once thriving heritage.
The following link will take you to a list of land acquisitions and sales
by James Davis Grant and his son James Polk Grant mentioned below. Click
Purchases and Land
James Polk Grant was born at Grant Prairie on December 5, 1855, to James Davis and Sarah E. Talley Grant in Marshall County, Tennessee. He was the sixth child and the third boy in the family. James Polk married Lida Smith on January 17, 1883. Lida died on December 26, 1883, the day following the birth of their first child, James Davis. James Polk remarried four years later on November 3, 1887, to Carrie Elizabeth Perkins. They had ten children. James Polk died in Franklin, Texas on March 4 , 1919, at the age of 63.
Carrie Elizabeth was born in Cuthbert, Stewart County, Georgia on November 3, 1865. She died in Houston, Texas on August 26, 1935, three years before my birth.
James Polk was a cotton farmer most of his life, but held the office of County Treasurer for two terms, from 1912 until 1916. Like his father, James bought and sold land… According to the Robertson County Deed Records, James Polk had 71 land transaction between 1870 and 1923, though some of them were handled by the Executor of his estate. In his latter years, he owned a livery stable. With the advent of the automobile, he found that people wanted transportation other than the horse and buggy. He started a jitney service, transporting people via the automobile, much like the taxi services of today.
The family lived on the homestead seven miles north of Owensville until 1912, but decided not to sell the property until August 20, 1948. I am not sure who lived on the property until it was sold. Carrie Elizabeth, his widow, had passed away in 1936. According to family members still living in Franklin, their family lived on property that currently has the old library and an elementary school. Carrie and some of the younger children moved to the northwest corner of town and had a house and barn on 7 acres of land. The south portion of the property is now occupied by two houses and the back portion is where the local retirement home is located.
Carrie moved to Houston with daughter Ruth in the early 1930s and lived in a duplex on Westheimer Street until her death. Shortly after arriving in Houston, daughter Katherine also moved in with Carrie. I am in search of records in Houston to locate the exact address. As the story goes, Katherine and Ruth married on the same day. Carrie lived with Ruth and her husband, Burke, for a short time.
Another tract of land believed to have been owned by James P. was actually owned by Davis Grant. He and his family lived on the property for some period of time. The land is now where the elementary school and old library exists.
Like his father, James Polk was a member of Patrick Lodge 359 in Franklin at the time of his death.
Stephen Allen Grant was born at Grant's Prairie, about four miles from Franklin, Texas on April 9, 1902. Steve was born to James Polk and Carrie Elizabeth Grant and was the ninth child of eleven. On July 14, 1937, Steve married Dorothy Estelle Dunlap in Jackson, Louisiana. They had two children. Allen was the first born and Eleanor came along four years later. Steve died at M D Anderson Hospital on April 30, 1970, at the age of 68, after suffering two massive strokes. Dorothy passed away on July 22, 1991, at Methodist Hospital, following a three-month illness with cancer.
When Steve was seventeen, his father died. He had just finished school, which ended at the eleventh grade. Upon his father's death, he work in a local grocery store in Franklin. After a few years, Steve went to work in the oil fields. He spent his entire life working in and around the oil business. His job took him into Louisiana, where he met his wife to be. She was teaching school in Vinton, a small town just east of the Texas state line. Shortly after their marriage, Steve and Dorothy moved to Houston and took up residency in a four-unit apartment house at 1607 Francis Street. They were living there when Allen was born. Four years later, the family moved to Mason Park in the East End, at 7549 Elm Street. Eleanor was born soon thereafter.
During Allen's youth, Steve worked for York Oil Field Supply Company. During his tenure, Steve was a tool pusher (foreman) on oil field rigs and was vice-president of the company for a period prior to the company being sold. When he was in his 30's, he played baseball and their company team was in a semi-pro league. In about 1995, Allen had the opportunity to meet the famous firefighter, Red Adair. Allen asked him if he was familiar with York Oil Field Supply Company and he said "yes". Allen also asked him if he knew Steve. Red replied, "Yes, I remember him. He played baseball and was a very good pitcher." That discussion brought back memories Allen had retained for many years -- remembering that his father had told him that he had pitched on a semi-pro team. Being a rather modest man and probably Allen's young age, he never mentioned it again. However, Allen did remember his dad taking him to see the Houston Buffs at Buffalo Stadium and showing him some different ways to hold the ball when pitching. Unfortunately, Allen never made the connection until he had his visit with Red Adair. Too many years had transpired.
Steve left York Oil Field when it was sold and went to work for several other companies. For several years, he was the warehouseman for a oil field supply company that had an office off Mykawa Road in southeast Houston. Behind the warehouse, Steve had a number of chicken coops where he raised chicken from chick. On one Saturday morning, he took Allen to the warehouse where they wrung the necks of about 50 chickens, dipped them in hot water and pulled off the feathers. Steve gutted them. Allen could not remember what they did with cleaned 50 chickens. Steve finished his career in the oil industry with The Cavins Corporation, a company that rented oil well bailing equipment, to which, they held a patent.
When Allen was in high school, the family would visit his cousin's family. They lived in Bellaire on the very last street south. The house now backs up to Beechnut, a major east/west thoroughfare. It was on those Sunday afternoons that Allen learned drive, from Bellaire Boulevard to his cousin's house down. Allen recalled an instance when he turned the corner and ran over the neighbor's flower bed across the street from his cousin's house.
For a number of years prior to these Sunday visits in Bellaire, family reunions were held on Sunday afternoons at the home of Joseph Reagan's house. Reagan was Steve's brother. These visits were like reunions, as many people would be there for food and fellowship. Those domino games got pretty wild! The house was very near where Westbury High School was built in the Sixties and only a few blocks from Allen's first family home purchased in 1964. Reagan had two sons who lived on property adjacent to the house.
Ironically, there was five acres of land adjacent to one of the son's property that Steve could have bought for $1,600. He turned it down, as he thought Houston would never grow out that far! Oh, would he be surprised today at the size of Houston.
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Copyright©2004Stephen Allen Grant, Jr.
Revised: August 17, 2007