Letter, 1792 MAY 20

Letter from William Grant to his son, Lewis Grant, 20 May 1792
Transcription by Hugh Campbell, 31 May 2003
Assistance from Richard Hodgson
Last modified 12 August 2006

Dear Lewes
Yours dated at Quebec the 16th February last received
upon the 24th Aprile --- It gave use infinite pleasure to learn that
you was well after such a long disagreeable journey. Nothing
can give us more pleasure then hering of your wellfair and
hapiness --- Yours from New York is not yet arrived we long much for a
sight of it as well you use a detaile of what happened there Likewise
wish for a journal of the occurances that happened since you left
London It would be entertaining of assome knew that much.
Annie Grant[1] Daughter to the Minister of Elgin[2] go[??]
to America Washingtown County Pensalvania I suppose that she sets
of this month Addison is said to be in a prosperous way £500 a year I am
apt to think that when you get to the back Country & higher up that you
distance from there Mailer [3] may not be so long by half what it is at present
did you write Adison from New York you ought to write him often ---
Your 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 £1100
that paid the jointor go's to her grandson Lewes Grant the heir of Elchies
[??] and the years of age
Lachlan is at school at Heversham near Kandal West
moreland old England I thought it was not adviseable to let him return
to this Country as I was afraid that it might make him still more un[??]
then he is tho in reality I cannot afford to keep him at the expence of F[??]
a year and I am affraid that it may cost me more
The harvast was so [??] with Servants removing
that your Mother and sisters did not get to Forres until the first
of Marche Your sisters well Mother also [??] and thoughtfull
about you and Lachlan
The cattle did not sell in the end of last year which made
the cash and straw scarce. The straw was high priced 20/- and 25/-
the boll I bought upwards of Bolls [4] 2/ and I have not this day 20
[shieves??] the been seed not sown and the weather cold this is the
coldise month that we had since Feb the winter was hard & the spring

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when you left the country Gordon of Embo was prosecuting General
Grant as Gordon said that the General's Election for the County of Suderland
was unfair the General has gained his point before the House of Commons
And he keeps his seat in parliament It is thought that it cost the General
£180 or upwards. Judge what might be Gordon's expense.
Some time in the beginning of Nov last Capt Thomas Grant
of Tambreak Belentomb [5] maried his House keeper Libby Fordyce and the
marriage was acknowledged before Peter Cameron as notary publick in
order to legitimate the children and the Capt died some Sunday there
after he has left about £300 to his family but he had more triffleing debts
then you could immagine the marriage gave offence to the Sisters &
John Clerk has married the oldest daughter you can judge of the bragain.
The Wife of Mr Innes of Garmouth has left him and she is suing
for a jointor some aledge that she went of[f] without cause and that she
has no right to any jointor others say otherwise and that they can
prove that she meets often with the worst of usage obliged to borrow the foot
man to do her du[?]ly --- Ms Campble at Elchies was brought to bed of a
in end of March last named Isoble when I returned from Aberdeen
[??] [?]last [?]nd Ms Campble eating at the table of Elchies with the
Laird Ms Donaldson her Daughter Miss Thomson and all the gentle
men that came to the House untile Elchies left the Country in the
end of Dec last --- The day that I arrived at Carron after parting
with you at Aberdeen Mr Peter Cameron was married to Miss
Donaldson of Bush at the House of Wester Elchies[6] It is said that
Elchies gave them £300. Mr Cameron attends the Courts of Banff
as a procator. It is reported that they have taken an egelante House
at Banff where they mean to reside. He dos not attend better than
he did last winter It will not answer the child that they were said
to have formerly is reported to be at Archestowne [7] there is no doubt
but there is a child there with the woman that nursed Ms Cameron
it is only said to be Camerons by another woman but there is
news enough flying about them How it is I do not know ---
My Sister Ms Major Grant[8] came to London from Halifax
last Nov with her family 7 children 5 with her and two at Antigua whether
she is to reside in England or come North I do not as yet know Have you wrote

[Page break]

wrote to her Son your cousine Dr Alex Grant at Antigua if
you have not done it already you ought to do it without loss of
time His Wife died the 4th of February last by the drawing of a toothe
and left him one sone His father in law is riche and I suppose that
my Grand Nephew may get the fortune as his mother was an only
child [Dandee?] is gone to the Est Indies all joine
in offering love [??][??][??][??]
my health is bade the piles torment me
and I am your affectionate
father and Humble Servant
Wm Grant

Carron 20th
May 1792

* * *


Was Annie Grant’s mother, Anna Grant, a sister to Catherine Grant, wife of William?



Reference No.: NM046215
Surname: GRANT
Forename(s): JOHN
Date of Birth: 15 AUG 1731
Place of Birth:
Mother’s Name: JEAN ROSE
Date of Marriage: 11 JAN 1760
Place of Marriage:
Married by:
Marriage Narrative: REMARRIED ANNA SUTHERLAND ON 12 OCT 1767
Date of Death: 22 OCT 1814
Age: 83
Place of Death: ELGIN
Parish Register: MF A EL3
Reference No.: NM046226
Surname: GRANT
Forename(s): ANNA
Maiden Name: GRANT
Date of Birth: c. 1736
Place of Birth:
Mother’s Name:
Date of Marriage: 11 JAN 1760
Place of Marriage:
Married by:
Date of Death: 20 APR 1764
Age: 28
Headstone Ref:
Place of Death:
Parish Register:
Death Narrative:



“[…] many spots throughout the Highlands, formerly yielding nothing but heath and moss,
were, by the exertions of those who were deprived of their farms, brought into a state of
cultivation. Those who occupied ground of this kind were known as mailers, and, as a rule,
they paid no rent for the first few years, after which they generally paid the proprietor a
shilling or two per acre, which was gradually increased as the land improved and its
cultivation extended. For the first season or two the proprietor usually either lent or
presented them with seed and implements. In the parish of Urray, in the south-east of Ross-
shire, about the year 1790, there were 248 families of this kind, most of whom had settled
there within the previous forty years. Still the greater number of these, both tacksmen and
sub-tenants, who were deprived of their farms, either on account of the raising of the rents
or because of their conversion into large sheep-walks, emigrated to America. The old
Statistical Account of North Uist says that between the years 1771 and 1775, a space of only
four years, several thousands emigrated from the Western Highlands and Islands alone.”


1 boll: 6 imperial bushels



“[…] The family in question were the Grants of the Haugh of Elchies, a farm still to be
seen today just across the Spey from Aberlour. Nowadays we may yet learn of their exploits
by hearsay from the descendants of their relatives in Edinvillie or Aberlour, but the most
detailed record of their lives is “The Story of the ‘Cheeryble’ Grants” by the Rev. W Hume
Elliot. That book which was published in 1906 is the source of this article.

“William Grant and his wife Grace (nee McKenzie of Tombrek, Ballindalloch) occupied the Haugh
as tennants from the time of their marriage in February 1767 and 7 of their 8 children were
born there. They may appear to have been a cheerful, hard-working couple, generous, fond of
company and in character complementing each other nicely. […]”


Richard Hodgson, son of Peter Cameron’s great-great-granddaughter Jill Cameron, writes:

“I have since solved the question of James Donaldson’s residence, again thanks to you, as you a gave link to the Moray Heritage Service website, and there, lo and behold, was the gravestone of James Donaldson and his wife Janet Grant, mentioning their dau Anne, wife of Peter Cameron, Provost of Banff. And it said he was of “Mains of Kirdels and Bushe of Edinvillie”. I see that there is still a Bush Farm at Edinvillie, Aberlour.

“I have also since seen, on your site, the Entail of Robert Grant (“Elchies”). If I read the ” marks right, it says that Ann Donaldson was Elchies’s niece. Therefore Ann’s mother Janet Grant was his sister, which explains why he gave money to “Miss Donaldson of Bush” and Peter Cameron on their marriage, and hosted their wedding at his house, as reported in William Grant’s letter.”



“Founded in 1760 by Sir Archibald Grant of Monymusk in an attempt to improve the desolate
Moor of Ballintomb, the Moray village of Archiestown lies to the south of Elchies Forest, 4
miles (6 km) west of Craigellachie. It comprises a main street with a square at its centre.
Many of the houses were destroyed by an accidental fire in 1783 and while the village never
grew to any great extent it is today a Conservation Area and is regularly well placed in the
Moray Best Kept Village Competition. There is a village hall, post office and hotels in
addition to furniture making at Burnside of Ballintomb to the west.”


The Gentleman’s Magazine, July 1824 (Courtesy of Rod Giddens)


Feb. … At Paddington, aged 80, Penuel, relict of the deceased James Grant, esq. of Linchurn (clan Duncan), Major in the King’s American Regiment, daughter to the last Alexander Grant, esq. of Auchterblair (clan Allen), and grand daughter to Grant of Ling-all of Strathspey, N.B. In life she was respected by her friends, beloved in her family, and in death is honoured and lamented by all her acquaintance. In the endurance of peril and privation through a course of warfare, few passed more arduous ordeal than Mrs. Grant, having with an infant family accompanied her husband from the Highlands of Scotland to America, where, previous to the rupture with our colonies, he purchased land, and settled inAlbany County; from whence, on the breaking out of the war, Major Grant (then an officer on the half-pay of Kieth’s Highlanders, with which and the Black Watch he had served many years in Germany) joined the British standard, leaving his wife and children without the lines; who after his departure were confined to their farm, from which on hearing her two elder boys were commissioned in the English army, from regard to their safety, the mother was impelled to escape with them in disguise. Under the guidance of Tailor, the celebrated spy, sometimes walking, at other on horseback without saddles, they pursued their way, till near Nackinsack Ferry they were observed and hailed by the scouts, on which the party endeavoured to push forward, when a sentinel presented his piece at Mrs. Grant, which missed fire *three* time; no other alternative offering, they were obliged to surrender to the Americans, by whom Tailor was thrown into prison, and Mrs.Grant and her children placed under restraint, from which they seized the first opportunity to free themselves. The mother and sons (the elder eleven years old), after a walk of 49 miles through woods and by-paths, with much difficulty succeeded in making their way to New York, near which Major Grant was stationed in command of the King’s American Regiment. During this hazardous journey of 170 miles fromAlbany to Long Island, when in durance at Nackinsack, Mrs. Grant had in her possession the silver token that passed between the British commanders; she was thus the means of having it safely conveyed to the hands of Gen. Sir Henry Clinton. Having united with her husband, and placed her young soldiers under a father’s protection, Mrs.Grant had time to indulge the fears of a mother anxious for the safety of four infants left at the farm in charge of servants, and committed to the protection of Congress and Ismael Van Tambrooke, the proprietor from whom the Major had purchased land, and for whose tender care of and attention to the welfare of their helpless pledges, Major and Mrs. Grant could not sufficiently express their gratitude. At an early subsequent period, that great man Washington sent the children to their parents, with all the comfort which his benevolent nature could provide them.

July 1782, after an honourable and distinguished service on the continents of Europe and America, while campaigning at the Savannah, Major Grant lost his life, leaving a beloved widow and eight orphans; *their sole* provision *his* gallant achievements; the eldest child was a youth of about sixteen; the youngest, a posthumous boy born six hours after his father’s death. On the peace of 1782, the two elder sons, Lieutenants Alexander and Joseph, from the reduction of their regiment, were placed on half-pay, and ultimately they proceeded to the island of Antigua, where, under the auspices of a maternal uncle, Lauchlan Grant, esq. they settled as planters till 1792; then called in, they joined the army under General Sir Charles Grey, were at the capture of the West India Islands; and at Guadeloupe, led on by Brigadier-General Symes, whilst attacking the enemy, both brothers were killed, most unfortunately for their family, as they had afforded a liberal support, which ceased on their fall.

A third son, Lieutenant James Lauchlan Grant, lost his life in an engagement, heading a party of seamen from his Majesty’s ship Inconstant, to attack a French settlement on the coast of Africa, 1802, acting as a volunteer under the command of Captain Edward Stirling Dickson, Royal Navy.

Major Grant, five sons and two grandsons, have served as officers of British artillery and infantry, in a continued series from 1739 to this date, a period of 85 years. Mrs. Grant had three brothers and three uncles, all of the clan Grant, officers of reputation in the native Highland corps, of whom some fell in the fields of Germany, others in the plains of America, and of them severally Colonel David Steward (Garth) has made honourable mention in his well-known work.


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