Select Grant Miscellany



Here are some Grant stories and accounts over the years:


Alternative Grant Origins


Grant is a Scottish clan name.  Grants themselves believe (and there is DNA evidence supporting this belief) that they are of Norse origin.  But others have suggested that the Grants may have been of Norman origin, having moved north to Scotland from England in the 13th century. 

The Grant name would then have had a French connotation, from a French-type root such as "grand" or "le grand," meaning tall or large.  The Anglo-Saxon grant, meaning crooked or bowed, has also been suggested.   In old Irish, grandha signified ugly or ill-favored, grande dark or swarthy.  .


The Grant Name and Its Pronunciation

The pronunciation of Grant was not as it is today (i.e. like the word "dance" is pronounced).  Rather it was closest to today's "ground," but with a "t" instead of a "d".  Everyone seems to agree that the earliest Grants in the 13th century pronounced their names in the Gaelic fashion. 

Grant tradition suggests that the Grant name has come from sliabh grianais - the moor above Aviemore - which was held, also by tradition, to be the first land in Scotland occupied by the Grant progenitors.  This tradition has been questioned.  How is it possible that grianais could mutate into Grant?  Then, it is argued, Stratherrick was the first Scottish land to be held by the Grant family.

In his Place Names: Highlands and Islands of Scotland, Alexander MacBain had this to say:


"Granish (Duthil) G Grčanais (Grčn-), for older Grŕniais, apparently from grŕin, abhorrence; but likely Pictish, denoting 'rough place', from the same root and stem."

Thus tradition tells us that the name Grant should mean "gravelly" or "gritty."  However, the name Grant, in early documents, is very often spelled Graunt or Grawnt.  This ties in with the Old Celtic (Pictish) of the grianais above.  Thus the connection with grianais is not a matter of pronunciation, but one of meaning.


Grant Castle


Grant Castle was the center of all clan activity, as it was the primary residence of the Chief of Grant. Elizabeth Grant of Rothiemurchus gave an interesting account of the castle in her Memoirs of a Highland Lady:

"Our great house then was Castle Grant, the residence of our Chief.  It was about twenty miles off down Speyside.  My father and mother were much there when they were first married.  My Aunts Mary and Lizzie delighted in the gaiety of a scene so new to them. 

Generally about fifty people sat down to dinner in the great hall, in the shooting season, of all ranks. There was not exactly a "below the salt" division so marked at the table, but the company at the lower end was of a very different description from those at the top, and treated accordingly with whisky punch instead of wine.

Neither was there a distinct "yellow drawing room" party, though a large portion of the guests seldom obtruded themselves on the more refined section of the company unless on a dancing evening, when all again united in the cleared hall. 

Sir James Grant was hospitable in the feudal style.  His house was open to all; to each and all he bade a hearty welcome, and he was glad to see his table filled, and scrupulous to pay fit attention to every individual present; the Chief condescending to the Clan, above the best of whom he considered himself extremely. 

It was rough royalty too, plenty, but rude plenty.  A footman in the gorgeous gren and scarlet livery behind every chair, but they were mere gillies, lads quite untutored, sons of small tenants brought for the occasion, the autumn garthering, and fitted with the suit best filled."


Grants in Devon in The 18th Century

Year of Birth
Grant
Place
Event
1693
Nicholas
Diptford
Marriage to Elizabeth Shute, 1728
1704
John
Diptford
Marriage to Agnes Harvey, 1732
1729
Elizabeth
Diptford
Birth
1730
Nicholas
Diptford
Marriage to Sarah Turtley, 1756
1733
Mary
Diptford
Birth
1734
Henry
Diptford
Birth
1736
John
Diptford
Birth
1738
Andrew
Diptford
Birth
1740
Henry
Diptford
Birth
1743
Agnes
Diptford
Marriage to William Horswell, 1768
1750
Peter
Ugborough
Marriage to Mary Andrews, 1771
1751
Sarah
Eemington
Birth
1766
Henry
Churston Ferrers
Birth
1768
Arthur
Churston Ferrers
Birth
1771
Ann
Churston Ferrers
Marriage to John Hannaford, 1797
1775
John
Ugborough
Birth
1779
Hannah
Ugborough
Birth
1783
Elizabeth
Ugborough
Birth
1785
Mary
Ugborough
Birth


Peter and Joan Grant in Maine

In 1664 Peter Grant was in Berwick court for living as husband and wife with a young widow named Joan Grant.  Her husband James Grant had apparently died, and she was “big with child.”  It is thought that James was in fact Peter’s brother, so that would have been even more of a scandal. 

Peter, whose first wife was supposed to be still alive (presumably in Scotland), was sentenced to Ł10 or ten lashes on the bare skin and ordered to “maintain the child of the said Joan Grant so soon as she is delivered.”   After a prescribed period of separation, the couple were allowed to marry.

Peter and Joan Grant eventually raised eight children together on their farm along the Newichawannock river.  But although the oldest child Elizabeth was probably raised in the household, Peter Grant always insisted that he was not her father and explicitly did not name Elizabeth in his wil
l.


A Grant from the Highlands To South Carolina

Ludovick Grant was was sometimes called thw "Highland King."  He was appointed a colonel and then a sheriff of Inverness in 1694  He had almost the status of royalty.

However, this family position was all lost after the Grants had backed the Jacobites in 1715.  His grandson Ludovic, the 2nd Baron of Dalvey, was captured after the Jacobites had lost at Preston.  After his capture his lands were confiscated and his title revoked.  He was then banished to "the American plantations" and was sent from Liverpool in May 1716 on the Susannah to the colonies.

He made a name for himself in South Carolina.  By 1725 he was an established trader in the Cherokee Nation where he had married a full blooded Cherokee of the Longhaired clan.  Being of "good" family and well educated, he became the agent and correspondent for the Governors of South Carolina.  He was one of the few traders who were honest and well respected with whites and with the Cherokees.

Ludovic Grant lived onto 1768 and died in Tellico, Tennessee.


Grant's Glenfiddich Whisky

It was recorded that three Grant brothers fought in the 1745 Jacobite rebellion and only one, Alexander Grant, survived the defeat at Culloden.  But he had to flee to Banffshire where he was hidden from the English by a clan chief.

Alexander's great grandson, William Grant, was born in Dufftown in 1839.  When he was seven he began herding the family cattle in the hills.  He then worked as an apprentice shoemaker and a limeworks employee.  He did, however, receive a good education.  Consequently, in 1866 he became a bookkeeper at a local distillery where he gained an appreciation for the production of whisky. 

He saved and saved to set himself up as a distiller.  In 1886 he quit his job, purchased the necessary land, materials and machines, and built the Glenfiddich distillery with the help of his nine children.  On Christmas Day in 1887, his distillery began operation, pioneering the single malt Scotch whisky.

By 1914, William Grant & Sons had established distribution networks in 30 countries and now the company exports to 180 countries.  William Grant himself died in 1923.  His family is today ranked the third richest in Scotland.



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