Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, January 21, 2001, pg. 4

There are two soldiers of the Revolutionary War buried in Riverside Cemetery. They are: Dr. Isaac Grant (1759-1841), and Nathan Wood (1760-1846). This week we’ll feature Dr. Grant. A native of Litchfield, Connecticut, Dr. Grant was one of the first physicians to practice vaccination in this country. He enlisted in his brother’s (Captain Elihu Grant) company and served at Valley Forge, Brandywine, and Stoney Point. Grant was taken prisoner at Ft. Washington in 1776 and was imprisoned on the prison ship "Jersey," in the New York City Church prison, and in the Grosvenor prison, the latter from which he escaped. He was one of only four of his company who survived the imprisonment.

At age 15, Grant served as Orderly Sergeant to General "Mad" Anthony Wayne. Regarding Dr. Grant’s feats in the War, one source states, "At the storming of Stoney Point Fort, General "Mad" Anthony Wayne, observing the little sergeant struggling to remove the abatis (sharpened tree branches used for defense), seized him by the seat and collar, and threw him over." Grant was thus able to clear a path for the invading troops.

In his autobiography, son Charles Grant (who lived in Lyons) wrote this rambling sentence: "The remarkable cold winter that Washington’s army lay at Valley Forge--my father on going there was overtaken alone and barefoot being otherwise poorly clad by Baron DeStaben who, seeing him in such plight and having pity for him took him into his barouche and wrapping his great Dutch mantle round my father and placing him between his knees with his dog, drove on to Valley Forge for his own winter quarters, giving my father on the way as good fare as he himself had, while on the way the old Baron was as familiar as he would have been with one of his neighbors."

There is another side to Dr. Grant’s life however that is often overshadowed by his participation in the Revolutionary War. Religiously, Dr Grant had been raised in a staunch Calvinist church. The "History of Protestantism in Michigan" states (pg. 402): "He had settled at a place called Whitney Farm, in Vermont. Here the Methodist preachers visited him, and put into his hands some of the standard works against Calvinism. These he read and embraced the truth as it is in the Bible and expressed in the Methodist articles of faith."

Dr. Grant became active in the Methodist church and held a lay-minister’s license for about 30 years. The aforementioned source continues (pg. 403): "Methodism was such a new and strange thing that a man was regarded as losing caste if he became connected with it. But Dr. Grant had really become a Methodist. Now, having embraced the truth, he had to set himself to its defense, and this brought him at once into collision with ‘the standing order.’ Many a hard contest he had to engage in, but such was his success in them that it really seemed as if God had raised him up, in that day of Calvinistic theology, to battle for the truth every day and almost everywhere. This contest he sustained most nobly." Two of his sons, Revs. Isaac and Loring Grant subsequently became itinerate Methodist ministers. Loring came to Albion in 1835, and Dr. Grant and wife soon followed. They lived here in the "Bell House" at the fledgling Wesleyan Seminary, and Loring supervised the erection of the "Central Building" on campus.

Dr. Isaac and his wife Hannah (Tracy) Grant had nine children, but just two (Julia and Loring) are buried here. There are numerous descendants however. Special thanks to one of them, Charles Loring "Bud" Grant IV, who lives in Kewadin 20 miles north of Traverse City for supplying some of the information for this week’s article. In a genealogical sidelight, the Grants share a common ancestor with U.S. President Ulysses Grant. Their common ancestor Matthew Grant came from England to Boston Harbor in 1630. He helped found, and mapped out the city of Windsor, Connecticut.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a snowy January photograph of the tombstone of Dr. Isaac Grant, and his wife Hannah (Tracy), after whom our local D.A.R. chapter was named. The small 9-inch bronze plaque on the stone was placed there on June 17, 1906 by the local D.A.R. Unfortunately, the Grant tombstone was broken by vandals a decade ago and now lays in pieces on the ground. Perhaps the D.A.R. could raise funds as a project to have it restored.

Tombstone of Dr. Isaac Grant


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