1823: William Grant to George Grant

William Grant's silversmith mark

William Grant’s silversmith mark

This letter was written by William Grant (1800-1836), the son of Capt. Joshua Grant (1767-1810) and Lois  Guild (1770-1857) of Wrentham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts. William was a clock and watchmaker. He partnered with Nathaniel Kimball in Boston in the mid-1830s. He wrote the letter to his brother, George Grant (1798-1865) who married first, Joann Spooner Shaw (1795-1825) and second, Miranda Cutler Craig (1802-1872).

William gives his brother an interesting description of a sham battle fought between the militia and costumed Indians in the town of Beverly, Massachusetts, on election day.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Mr. George Grant, Wrentham, Massachusetts

Salem [Massachusetts]
June 24, 1823

Dear Brother,

I take the present opportunity of answering your favor of May 10 to 25, having a chance of sending directly to Wrentham by Dr. Prince’s wife.

The Mason’s celebrate this day at Danvers and I have been to see them and returned. We expect to have great times here on the 4th of July as they are making great preparation. An oration will be delivered and after that a dinner will be prepared and eaten and in the evening splendid fireworks.

I think I have not informed you how we passed Election Day and I will inform you now. There was a sham fight at Beverly which commenced about 1 P.M. between a company of militia and about 50 men dressed in the Indian Costume. First the company began their march towards the field of battle, when in sight they halted and sent forward their baggage waggon with a guard. A party of Indians who were lying in ambush rushed upon them by surprise and tool their baggage, but the guard escaped unhurt and retreated to the main body.

The militia then proceeded on their march in pursuit of the common enemy. After repeated skirmishes, they were driven back in to the woods. Their fort was taken with one prisoner. The rest retreated farther back into the woods. While at the Fort, the Commander in chief sent a small detachment in pursuit of the Indians, some of whom had been skulking about through the bushes. While in pursuit, the Indians came upon them suddenly and surrounding them, took them all prisoners. The news coming to the Fort, the Commander mustered all his forces and began their march to rescue their brethren from the hands of these cruel savages. Happily they were overtaken and all the savages taken prisoners of war. Their arms were taken from them all excepting their knives and tomahawks, then enclosed in a hollow square and marched in triumph through the streets of Beverly to Head Quarters, while they performed their dance war-whoop yell, and pow-wow and flourished their tomahawks and hunting knives in the air making all the savage gestures peculiar to the tribe. Then after enjoying their pleasing warlike scene, I returned to Salem highly satisfied with the day’s exhibition.

I have heard nothing of late from Thomson to trouble me and have had considerable to do, and business increases. some weeks I have charged 17 or 18 dollars and some not so much. I think if I am successful and meet with no mishap, I shall have enough to do to encourage me to stay.

You make no mention in any of your letters of receiving my last letter with a couple of books and another bundle of myrrh & therefore I cannot tell whether it reached you. It was sent from Boston by cousin Albert Fisher. I wish you to inform me whenever any of you write when you received the last letter that I may know whether my letters arrive or not.

Capt. Joel Grant's grave marker; father of William & George Grant

Capt. Joshua Grant’s grave marker; father of William & George Grant

According to the latest accounts, there is a great scattering among you. I expect it will take me as much as a fortnight to find all my old acquaintances when I come again, but I hope they will not scatter so much as to forget each other’s friendship. I wish some of you to write soon and tell me the news. To have some one of you write often would be much better than all at once though any way letters from you are very acceptable and pleasing.

I wish you to collect a good lot of medicine if you can, viz: poplar bark-root, Emetis, Cancer Plaster, March Turnip, Skunk Cabbage — the large root split in slices and dried, Butternut Physic, Nerve Powder, &c. My health is as good as usual but not so good as I should like to have it.

My thanks to mother, Joann, Clarence & all for their letters and respects to all. Remind Friend Silas of a letter “good for God” which is not received. Tell June to write soon — immediately.

Your brother, — Wm Grant


2 responses to “1823: William Grant to George Grant

  • Chris Kam

    Stumbled onto this page while googling and procrastinating. What a wonderful find! George Grant is my great-great-great grandfather. An ancient grandfather clock made by a Grant ancestor (which probably means William) sits in my parents’ living room. It’s really great to know that this letter/documentation still exists.

    • Griff

      Chris, glad you were able to find this and that it was interesting and/or useful to you. Send me a picture of the clock if you’d like to share it with other Grant family researchers & I’ll post it here. — Griff

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