Historical notes for Captain James Grant and wife Mary Hayes

Descendant Melvyn Jones historical notes on the life of James Grant and his wife Mary Hayes. 

As the story has been told, James Grant was an immigrant from Ireland to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He and his family moved there sometime in early 1800 to escape the potato famine and starvation.

 

As a young boy James would hang out at the boat docks and became friendly with the sailors. Seeking adventure and surely trying to escape a life of poverty James convinced some of his sailor friends to allow him to stow-away on a ship bound for Mexico.

 

The story has also been told that perhaps James worked on this ship as a cabin boy in exchange for passage.

 

Once the ship reached Texas and somewhere around Port Aransas or Corpus Christi James was obliged to leave the ship. As our uncle Jack told the story the ship was wrecked along Mustang Island thus bringing an end to his trip.

 

Once in Texas James went to work around the docks and the ships. He learned the trade of helping guide ships into the port of Corpus Christi, helping them avoid the sand bars.

 

In 1852 James traveled to New Orleans. There he met Mary Hayes, or orphan who was being raised and cared for by the nuns at a Catholic Church.' The two fell in love and were off to Texas to be married.

 

In Texas they ranched, farmed and began raising a family. We know that they lived in Brownville for a while for census records show that they baptized three children there. From Brownsville, they ended up back on Mustang Island where James and Mary built a ranch house and ranched goats, cattle and sheep.

 

During the Civil War James helped the southern cause by "running" Northern shipping blockages and bringing needed supplies to the citizens of Corpus Christi.

 

Together James and Mary had eight children. Two of their children, John Grant and his twin bother Edward, were born on July 19, 1870 in Corpus Christi.  John Grant and wife Blanche had a daughter Helen Grant. Helen Married Luther Jones and they had four children, Grant Jones, Luther Jones, Melvyn Jones and Janice Jones.

 

Mary Hayes died February 12, 1899.3 James Grant Died November 6, 1900. When he died he left the Mustang Island Ranch to his sons Edward and Jack. Edward and Jack ran cattle on the island for many years past their father's death.

More hstorical notes on Captain James Grant and Mary Hayes, Corpus Christi Texas by Melvyn Jones son of Helen Grant.  

 

According to relatives Captain James Grant was born in 1825 somewhere in Ireland.  As Betty Armstrong tells the story his family left Ireland to escape the potato famine and move to Halifax, Nava Scotia.   James did not like having to moved and as a young man would hang out at the shipping docks.  There he made friends with some of the crew members.   Wanting adventure he convinced his new friends to allow him to stow away on a ship bound for Mexico.  Once discovered by this Capitan as a stow away is was put to work as a cabin boy.  He told the captain that we wanted to go to Mexico.  The Capitan instead left him off somewhere in the Port Aransas area of Texas.  Somewhere into the trip he was discovered and was placed off the ship at Port Aransas, Texas.  

 

Another version of the story is that the ship was wreaked on Mustang Island where all members of the crew were forced to depart.  What ever the story James Grant ended up in in the Corpus Christi / Port Aransas  area at age 14 around 1839. 

 

Once in Texas he again began hanging out with the sailors and ship captains. For the next 12 or 13 years he  most likely worked in the shipping industry thus learning his skills as a sailor and ship captain.  As the stories go he  learned  where the sand bars were and was able to help guide ships into and out the port of Corpus Christi.    

 

In 1850 on the census of Cameron County, James was listed as a single person at the age of 26.  

 

As a sailor he frequently sailed to New Orleans.  There he met Mary Hayes who was living in a Catholic Convent.  They were married on June 5th, 1852.  As the story goes Mary had lost her parents to a bubonic plague was raised in a Catholic orphanage in New Orleans. 

 

Sometime between 1860 and 1880 James and Mary moved to Mustang Island.  There they were ranchers raising herds of goats and cattle. 

 

Their first child Edward was born August 19, 1853 and died shortly thereafter.  

 

Their second child William was born April 30, 1855 and baptized in Brownsville on May 20, 1855.  

 

Their third child, Mary, was February 27, 1857 and baptized in Brownsville April 8, 1857. 

 

The next census was in Cameron County in 1860 and listed the following:

1. James Grant, age 33, mail carrier, born in New York. 

2. Mary Hayes Grant, age 30, house wife, born in Ireland. 

3. William Grant, age 8, born in Ohio.

4. Mary Grant, age 4, born in New York.

5. Bridget, age 2, born in England. 

 

The next census was in Nueces County in 1880.

1. James Grant, age 60, occupation: boatman, born in Nova Scotia

2. Mary Hayes Grant, age 53, born in Ireland. 

3. William Grant, age 25

4. Mary Grant, age 19.

5. James Grant, age 16

6. Margaret Grant, age 14 “also called Maggie”

7. John and Edward Grant (twins) age 11

 

Around 1870 William and James Grant took a herd of cattle to the Corpus Christi Pass.  The pass was not deep enough for the schooner to pass and the cattle refused to be driven into the water.  The Grants slaughtered their herd on the beach, packed them in salt and shipped them to Panama.  

 

During the civil war James smuggled supplies from New Orleans to Corpus passed the Union blockages.  It was common knowledge in Corpus Christi that if  you needed supplies check with James Grant.  

 

After the Civil  War the Union sent black solders to the Corpus Area to maintain the law and order.  The citizen and the confederate solders their did not like this new order to events.  So most of the that the soldiers were transferred out to a new post. It was told that  Captain James Grant was the person who was hired to transport these troops out of the area on his ships.  

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My Grant Heritage by Melvyn Jones, son of Helen Grant

James Grant

1825 - 1900

________

Mary Hayes

1827-1899

William Grant

1855-1931

Mary Grant

1857-1915

Bridget Grant

1858-1899

James Grant

1864-1925

Helen Grant 

Married

Luther Jones II 

1914-1999

Helen Grant

1916-2003

Margaret Grant

1868-1956

Edward Grant

1970-1921

John Grant

1870-1944

John Grant Married

Blanche Peek

Grant Jones

1943

Luther Jones III

1946

Melvyn Trenton Jones

1948

Janice Jones

1944

This is a 1995 interview conducted by Melvyn Jones  of Mary Grant referencing the life of Capt. James Grant.  Mary Grant was the daughter of Edward and Ada Grant.  Mary lived in Corpus Christi Texas and was very much involved in recording the family history.  

John Grant and wife Blanche Peek 

John Grant was the son of Capt. James Grant and Mary Hayes, one of the early pioneer families of Corpus Christi.

 

John and his twin brother Edward were born on their parent’s Mustang Island ranch on July 19, 1870.

 

A Rancher and Real Estate man John also served as Corpus Christi’s City Commissioner (1919 to 1921) and was active in the development of Corpus Christi. As a real estate developer John built one of the first brick buildings in Corpus.

 

John and Blanche had four children, sons Roy and Jack and daughters Zatella and Helen. Roy died as a baby.

 

John and Blanche Peek were married on May 4, 1897 in Corpus Christi.

 

Blanche’s parents were James W. Peek and Sally Sowders. Sally’s family came from Tennessee and James’s family from Georgia. They were farmers and ranchers and lived near Sharpsburg, Texas. The Peeks had nine children.      The story is told that James Peek fought in the Civil War for the South. Once the war was over he returned home, yet died from the injuries he received in the war.

 

Blanche was very active in civic and church affairs and was the oldest member of the First Presbyterian Church.

 

Blanche died at her home on Del Mar Street on January 21, 1961.

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Blanche Peek Grant with Daughter Helen Grant 

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Betty Armstrong (Betty Grant)  talks about her great grandfather  Captain James Grant.  

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Helen Grant / Helen Grant Jones Daughter of John Grant and Blanche Peek Grant 

When Helen Grant was born on January 28, 1916, her father, John, was 45, and her mother, Blanche, was 39. She married Luther Edward Jones on May 21, 1942, in Nueces, Texas. They had four children in 11 years. She died on August 7, 2003, in Corpus Christi, Texas, at the age of 87.

Helen Grant Jones remembered 

Notes from Family Member about James Grant. 

The following notes were collected by Trent Jones, from family members 

 Part 1. From the notes of Mary Grant daughter of Edward Grant son of James Grant 

Captain James Grant was born in 1825 in Halifax, Nava Scotia.  He left home at the age of 14 as a cabin boy on a ship.  

In 1850 on the census of Cameran County, James was listed as a single person at the age of 26.  

James Grant and Mary Hayes were married June 5th 1852.  (see Mary Hayes) 

Their first child, Edward, was baptized in Brownsville on September 5th.

Edward died a short time there after. 

Thier second child William was baptized in Brownsville on May 20, 1855.  

Their third child was, Mary, was baptized in Brownsville April 18, 1857.

The next census in Cameron County was in 1860 and listed the following:
1.  James Grant, age 33, mail carrier, born in New York.
2.  Mary Hayes Grant, age 30, house wife, born in Irland.
3.  William Grant, age 9, born in Ohio
4.  Mary Grant, age 4, born in New York
5.  Bridget, age 2, born in England.

The next census was in Nueces Count in 1880.

1.  James Grant, age 60, Occupation: Boatman, Born in Nova Scotia
2.  Mary Hayes Grant, age 53, born in Irland
3.  William Grant, age 25
4.  Mary Grant, age 19
5.  James Grant, age 16
6.  Margaret Grant, age 14 "also called Maggie"
7.  John and Edward Grant (twins) age 11

Some time between 1860 and 1880 James and Mary moved to Mustang Island.  

Records show that William Grant served at the Life Saving Station around this same time.    

Around 1870 William and James Grant took a herd of cattle to the Corpus Christi Pass.  The pass was not deep enough for the schooner to pass and the cattle refused to be driven into the water.  Grant slaughtered his herd on the beach, packed them in salt and shipped them to Panama.  Ada Grant and John Grant brought suit to get part of the land back.  

After his wife died in 1899 he stayed for awhile on the ranch and later lived with his daughter Margaret in Corpus Christi until he died in 1900. 

The ranch was sold to Edward Grant who had been helping his dad run the ranch.  James Grant had never put a home claim on the ranch land.  Edward, however did this after this father's death. 

The State of Texas gave Mr. Little most of Mustang Island in payment for surveying land in east Texas.  Ada Grant and John Grant brought suit to get part of the land back. They were able to recover it in 3 parts with oil rights. 
 

Edward died in 1921 just a few months before the homestead was final.  

Part 2.  Notes from Betty Armstrong, Daughter of Douglas Grant, son of James Grant.

As Betty heard the story James Grant was born in Ireland and came to Nova Scotia with his family to escape the potato famine.  James did not want to move.  As a young boy he would hang out at the boat docks and made friend with the sailors.  These friends would later allow James to stow away in a ship bound for Mexico.  When discovered James was put off the ship at Port Aransas.  

During the Civil War, when the north was blockading the port of Corpus Christi to prevent supplies get in and out, James would sail up to New Orleans and smuggled supples back to the citizens in Corpus.  

Part 3.  James and wife Mary are now buried at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Corpus.  One of the relatives moved their graves their.

The head stone states that James died in 1901.

The news papers states he died in 1900.