I am trying to tease apart the different families of GRANTS who were listed on Sir John Johnson's rent rolls in Johnstown, New York in the Mohawk Valley right before the American Revolution. Most of the Scots who were tenants enlisted in the British army and re-settled in the Glengarry area.
I have the following heads of households listed in the rent rolls:
Donald Sr and Donald Jr. Grant
Multiple sources of information suggest that one family grouping was:
Donald Sr. came from Glen Moriston with his family and two sons old enough to hold land as tenants: Donald Jr and Archibald. All three have UEL claims on file. I have two puzzles associated with this group.
The first puzzle is whether the Donald Sr. from Craskie, Glen Moriston was REALLY born in 1744 and his son Donald born abt 1768. That would make Donald Jr. only 5 years old when he went to New York. Does anyone know more about the general practice of land tenancy? Could Donald Sr. have taken on land for his 5 year old son? This doesn't seem likely since each claimant had to testify and there was evidence of multiple acres of cleared land. Or is the Donald born in 1744 really Donald Jr., which would suggest Donald Sr. may be a brother of John Grant of Craskie (b 1722).
The second puzzle is whether the John Grant on the rent rolls is indeed "Big John the Robber." There are two conlficting stories about when Big John came back to America:
one version is...After the Battl e of Culloden (The '45) he spent 14 years as a prisoner in Barbados, returned to Sc otland in 1773. Came to Canada 1784 with wife, sons Angus and Peter.
another version is..John was taken prisoner with 81 Grant Clansmen after the Battle of Culloden in 1746. They were shipped to Barbados to work as slaves on the sugar plantations. Fourteen years later (this would be 1760) Big John was set free and returned to Scotland with seven other survivors. In September, 1773, John with his son Angus and Angusâ€™ wife Ellen MacDonnell sailed from Fort William for New York on the ship Pearl with 125 Clansmen, 100 women and 200 children to form a colony in upper New York State.
If the first version is true, then this group of Grants probably does not include Big John. If the second is true, then the John on the rent rolls is almost certainly Big John.
The ages of Big John's kids are also a puzzle. Angus (1747-1817) seems to be the only one that was born in Glen Moriston before he was shipped to Barbados that there are good records for. The others, including Peter, appear to have been born between 1770 and 1777. That would make them too young to be tenants (unless, again, Big John could take out land in their name). Here's my guess:
"Big John the Robber" Grant, his sons
Allan and Angus, both children of Mary McIntyre, his first wife, born in Scotland on or before 1747.
and three of Big John's brothers:
Patrick Peter b. 1745
Alexander b. 1745
Duncan b. 1750
all of whom were sons of Angus Grant of Duldreggan, Glen Moriston.
That would leave Finlay Grant as the only unmatched person. We know that a Finlay Grant filed a UEL claim saying he had come from Scotland "14 years ago" which I am estimating to be about 1770 (I think the claims were heard in 1784). If that date is right, it would be likely he was a soldier in Fraser's Highlanders who had not been able to secure land for his service and settled on Sir Johnson's lands. If not, he could have come with the other Grants in 1773.
I have found a Finlay Grant b. 1723 in Glen Moriston, m. Caroline McLeod. Had John Grant b. abt 1761 in Scotland. All three appear to be buried in Williamstown, Glengarry, Ontario, although I have conflicting information on Finlay's death. One source says he died in 1806. Another says that the actual gravestone for Finlay Grant in Williamstown says that Finlay lived between 1784 and 1806.
I would appreciate any information folks have that can help me sort this out!