Friday, January 16, 2015

HISTORY OF THE GRANT FAMILY 1831 to 1964 flood

John “Johnny” Francis Grant. (1831-1907)
The Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, Montana.
Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell
Coordinator of Métis Heritage and History Research Louis Riel Institute
John Francis Grant was a Métis rancher and entrepreneur born January 7, 1831, at Fort Edmonton, the son of Richard Grant, a Hudson’s Bay Company trader from Montrealm, and Marie Ann Breland, the Métis daughter of a onetime Company employee and Freeman. Johnny was thus related to two famous Métis families, those of Pascal Breland and Cuthbert Grant Jr. 
Shortly after his birth, Johnny’s mother died and he was sent along with his siblings to Quebec to be brought up by their grandmother and aunt. He remained there until at age fourteen (1847), then he and brother Richard returned to the North West to join his father at Fort Hall, Idaho. He learned to trap and hunt, and in 1849 his father sent him to Fort Vancouver to be trained in the fur trade. 
On returning to Fort Hall his father set him up with a trading outfit. He initially lived with a Shoshone woman, partly to cement trading relations with that group. This became a pattern with him and he is known to have had relations with four different Native women who bore him at least twelve children. In 1861, he built a permanent ranch site at Cottonwood (Deer Lodge Valley) and recruited a number of Métis trading families to join him (Louis Descheneau, Leon Quesnelle, Louis Demers, David Contois, and Michael LeClair).
John Francis Grant

Grant was quite successful in the Deer Lodge Valley of Montana. In winter he traded with the neighbouring Blackfoot, Shoshone, Bannock, and Flathead Indians, and during spring and summer he went up the Oregon Trail to trade cattle with the immigrants. By the late 1850s he had over 1,000 head of cattle and by 1863 had over 4,000 head and some 3,000 horses. He supplied beef and horses for the Montana gold rush of 1861, and by 1863 his holdings were valued in the neighbourhood of $150,000. He expanded his businesses by opening a store, saloon, dance hall, gristmill and blacksmith shop as well as a freighting business. Along with the Gold Rush came a criminal element and the advent of taxes in Montana, therefore Grant decided to pull up stakes and move to Manitoba. It is also noteworthy that the year he decided to leave the United States revenue officers seized his 700-gallon stock of alcohol. 
Grant sold his ranch and herd to Conrad Kohrs for $19,000 in 1867. The ranch is currently a park: the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site.  [The Montana writer Patricia Nell Warren grew up on this ranch as part of the Kohrs family.]
Upon arrival at Red River, Grant bought real estate in Winnipeg and bought land for a ranch in the Parish of St. Charles at Riviére aux Ilets des Bois (Carman, Manitoba). He brought a herd of 500 horses, 62 wagons, 12 carts and 106 men with him to Manitoba. He subsequently bought a large herd of cattle from the American Territories to start his ranching operation. He surrounded himself with Métis employees and his closest friends and relatives the Brelands, McKays, Leveilles and Rowands as he had done in Montana. It was here that he entered into his first formal marriage to Clotilde Bruneau, the Métis daughter of a former Judge in the Red River Settlement. 
As with the Breland and the other Grant families, Johnny did not join the Riel Resistance movement. After 1870, he entered into land speculation with Donald Smith (of the HBC) by buying Métis scrip and by 1882 he owned 13,000 acres. Unfortunately this was bought on credit and when the land boom collapsed in the mid-1800s he was ruined financially and had to sell off most of his holdings.
Grant sold his remaining cattle in 1891 and moved to Bittern Lake, Alberta in 1892. He homesteaded and lived there for eight years then went to Grande Prairie where he re-entered the fur trade. This did not go well, so he moved to Athabasca Landing and then to Deep Creek. In 1899, when Treaty Eight was signed in northern Alberta he was living in the ceded territory. He then became a spokesman for the children of the Manitoba Métis who had been disqualified from taking scrip because their parents had taken scrip earlier. His petition was not successful however.
By 1907 Grant was quite ill and he and his wife moved to Edmonton to live with their daughter and son-in-law. He died there on May first of that year. Before his death he dictated his autobiography to his wife Clotilde. The manuscript, “Very Close to Trouble,” was completed in 1909 and is held at the Montana historic site that used to be his ranch. Part of the manuscript has recently been published by Lyndel Meikle (editor) Very Close to Trouble: The Johnny Grant Memoir (Pullman: Washington State University Press, 1996). The title of this book “Very Close to Trouble” is a reference to Johnny Grant’s attraction and marriages to numerous women. He was devoted to his children and also adopted many abandoned or orphaned children. He ensured that all of his children eventually obtained their Métis scrip.
Pouch. Northern Shoshone. 1854-1867. This small pouch, with its delicate beaded embroidery, belonged to Métis trader, rancher, and merchant John Francis ("Johnny") Grant. It may have been made by his Shoshone wife, Quarra. 

Children of Johnny Grant:
Children with Aloysia Larpantis, also called Louise (b. 1833), a Shoshone woman.
  1.   Marie Agnes b. 1851 Marie married William Dease 
  2.   Jane b. August 1854 
  3.   Aloysius or Louise b. c. 1855 
  4.   Mary b. 11/28/1855, d. 1/25/1933 
  5.   Richard b. c. 1858: Richard married Rosalie Hogue in 1881 at St. Charles
    Children with Quarra (b.c. 1840, d. 2/24/1867). Quarra was a Shoshone, the sister of the noted chief Tenday. She died of tuberculosis at age 27. 
    1.   William b. 10/1/ 1856 
    2.   David b. 10/17/1858 
    3.   Julienne b. 1/7/1860 
    4.   John b.c. 1862 
    5.   Ellen b. c. 1863, d. 1/19/1868 
    6.   Charles Henri b.c. 1866
      Child with an unknown woman who worked at the settlement of Cottonwood, located in the Deer Lodge valley in Montana. Quarra objected to Johnny bringing this baby home and he asked John and Mary Dempsey to adopt her. 
Mary Dempsey b. November 28, 1854. Robert Dempsey and his wife Margaret adopted Mary as a baby. Margaret was John Grant’s sister-in-law, being the sister of his wife Quarra.
Children with Isabel Lucier (also Ruis) (described as a Blackfoot Half-Breed). She later married Captain D.W. Buck.
  1.   Emma b. 1862, married Isaac Cooper. 
  2.   James or Joseph b. 3/6/1869 James married Marie Sarah “Jane” Delorme at Red River. 
  3.   Isabella married Philip Carr. 

  1. Children with Clothild Bruneau (b. 1850 at St. Boniface) married May 7, 1868. 
  2.   Charles Alexander b. 5/30/1869. He married Annie Sparks in 1907 at Edmonton. 
  3.   Marguerite Marie Anne b. 12/15/1870, died as an infant 
  4.   James b. c. 1871, died as an infant. 
  5.   Sarah b.c. 1874, married Colin Fraser Lennie. 
  6.   Maria, b. 1874, married Frank Nutt, in 1894 at Edmonton. 
  1.   Alice b. c. 1878, d. Feb. 1951 
  2.   Marie Corinne d. 3/23/1883 
  3.   Francis baptized and interred 5/9/1881
    Child with Cecile Boyer. 
Cecile Welsh b. c. 1867
Children with Lily Bruneau, sister of Clothilde.
  1.   Sara b. c. 1870 
  2.   Clara b. c. 1872
    Adopted children: While in Montana Johnny adopted an orphaned Bannock Indian boy and brought him to Manitoba, he ensured that the boy got Métis scrip. Johnny also adopted three Afro-American Métis children, a boy and two girls, the orphans of Phil Barnes and his Shoshone wife. He left the oldest girl in Montana when he moved to Manitoba. It was John/Jack and Annie Barnes who came with him. In Montana the La Vatta family (Thomas and Angélique) had worked with Johnny Grant. They were one of the many families who accompanied him on his move to Manitoba. Thomas LaVatta was known as the “Red Headed Spaniard,” he was a freighter and trader. His wife Angélique was called Poor-Oh-Ge in Shoshone. Ultimately, they did not like Manitoba and returned first to Idaho and later moved to the Fort Hall Reservation. Their children Laura Delores LaVatta and Edward LaVatta remained in Canada with Johnny Grant and were educated at St. Boniface. Laura married Johnny’s nephew, Joseph Richard Grant, however she died in 1885. She applied for Métis scrip (attested to by her adoptive father Johnny Grant) and the application was approved. Edwards' scrip application was not approved, he likely returned to join his family in Idaho before this could happen.
Philip Vasquez-Grant was another adopted child who accompanied Johnny to Manitoba. Philip was the son of Emilie Langie Grant; Johnny's widowed sister-in-law, who had married Pike Vasquez in California. The marriage did not last long. Philip used the Grant surname almost exclusively. John F. Grant successfully applied for scrip on Philip’s behalf. Philip left Manitoba for Philadelphia in 1910.

Edited and Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell 
Coordinator of Métis Heritage and History Research Louis Riel Institute
James Cuthbert Grant

GRANTJames Cuthbert  (Son of Richard Grant & Sarah aka Indian Woman At Oxford House)               
Following the death of his first wife, Richard Grant was assigned from 1837-1840 as Chief Trader to Island Lake, York Factory and Oxford House, respectively. During that period Richard and a woman known until recently only as Indian Woman At Oxford House were married 'according to the custom of the country'. By the time their son, James Cuthbert Grant, was born, c1836, the tradition of marrying according to the custom of the country had fallen out of favour with the Hudson's Bay Company and considerable pressure was put on Grant to end his relationship with the Indian Woman from Oxford House. In 1842 Grant was promoted to Chief Trader of Fort Hall, necessitating his move to what is now Idaho.  He left behind his second spouse and the very young James.  So far, no records have been found indicating Richard and his spouse had other children.

Following the separation, James' mother married a John Slater. For the company to avoid the increasing costs of supporting 'abandoned' country wives and their children, yet insure the spouse and  any children were cared for, the HBC, in some instances, 'married off' the wife and paid a maintenance type fee to the new husband, another company servant.  In other instances, the leaving husband would arrange his spouse's remarriage, thereby attempting to secure her well being and that of any children involved. In this instance, it's unknown which, if either, of these practices was used. What is known is Grant spent ten years attempting to have the company bring his Oxford House son to Fort Hall.  

James was about ten years old when he rejoined his father.  The intervening years are a mystery. A search for a Baptismal record which might have provided an accurate date and place of birth and the name of his mother was unsuccessful. A search for his step father is incomplete. There were a number of James and John Slaters who were employed by HBC but none with records recording a marriage. One John B. Slater, however, was employed as a HBC Slooper and Labourer from 1846- 1851 in the York District.  In 1851 he was a labourer in the Columbia District. In 1852 his contract was cancelled and he was discharged. In 1853, however, he was rehired under "Sundries", and re-employed in the Columbia District.  The connection with this John B. Slater is completely unproven, but it does suggest the possibility that James may have been brought west by family or someone other than the HBC.  Some credence is given to this possibility by the book, 'Blackfoot Heritage' which contains the genealogies of those original families of the Blackfoot Reserve at Browning, Montana. In it, some of James' children identified his mother as "Sarah" and as "a full blooded Chippewa."  Also, census records identify Sarah's birth place as Montana and Jimmy's place of origin as Canada; one even has him originating from British Columbia.  Continuing research may or may not add clarification to James' early history.

Jimmy Grant married Marie Cadotte, c1864, probably at or near Deer Lodge, Montana.  Jimmy would have been about twenty-six years old and Marie would have been about sixteen years old. Marie's father, Pierre or Peter Cadotte, (variously: Cadot, Cadat, etc.) is identified in the same Blackfeet Heritage as a "Half blood" from Canada, but the names of his parents or other family members are unknown. By the time land allotments were received by persons of the Blackfeet Reservation in 1907 and 1908, Marie's father was already deceased. Her mother has been identified as "Many Kill" or "Last Kill" aka "Kills Last", and by the same time, also deceased. One story states Marie was abandoned in infancy (reason unknown) and adopted by Martha Cadotte Robart or Robare aka "Old Mrs. Robare", possibly a paternal relation. 

The couple had the following children:
1.  Julia Grant:  
b.c.1865:   m(1) Alec Red Head (Howling). Children: Joseph Magee, Mary Magee
m(2) Tom Magee.  Children: Thomas B. Magee, George F. Magee, Walter G. Magee, Henry L. Magee, Dewey H. Magee.
2.  Mary Grant: b. c1869;  m. Rides At The Door
3.  James Grant Jr.: b. c1871; m. 1887; Josephine Chocquette; no children.
4.  Richard Grant: b. 1876; m. Rose Teasdale, Jan. 1, 1899, at Holy Trinity Mission. Certificate fr. Blackfeet Indian Agency.
5. John Grant: b. c1878; d. 11 years old.
6. Emma Grant
7. Maggie: d. 8 years old [duplication?]

During the 1850s and '60s, Jimmy's half brother, Johnny Grant, was heavily involved in the cattle business. At least part of that time, Jimmy worked with or for Johnny Grant in the ranching business. Jimmy was shot and killed in August, 1883.  The story of Jimmy Grant's death and information about his life and burial place are related in the following two newspaper articles.

Following Jimmy Grant's death, Marie Cadotte married:
1) Black Face Man; no children
2) Little Skunk. Children: Maggie Cold Body, Cecile Cold Body
3) Cold Body; No children  [were these Little Skunk's children adopted by Cold Body???]

Photos of Jimmy Grant and some of his children may be viewed under Photos-Surname Grant, and under Photos-Unidentified.

1) Newspaper: New Northwest - August 17, 1883 (Deer Lodge)
    James C. Grant Killed
    Shot Through the Heart by His Wife's Paramour
    Special to Independent, Depuyer, Choteau Co., Montana, August 8, 1883
     James C. Grant, the pioneer of this valley was killed last night by the Indian paramour of his wife.  The latter, a half-breed, and the Indian were coming from Birch, and at a point three miles from Dupuyer had gone a short distance from the road to rest.  Grant, having come home from the bay field heard the situation by one who saw them.  He armed himself with a Winchester and sixshooter, and mounting a felle horse, repaired to the scene.  When within eight feet of the Indian he opened fire, the bullet taking effect in the fleshy part of the man's breast, and striking a rib, glanced off.  The Indian returned the fire, hitting Grant in the wrist and shoulder.  Each fired twice and the Indian's second shot penetrated Grant's heart.
      A party of six citizens of Depuyer started this morning at daybreak, separating into three squads, and scouted the adjacent country.  They returned at about nine o'clock and did not renew the search.
      By a squaw just from Birch Creek, the report comes that the Indian Residents in that valley have all left for the agency for protection; also that the murderer was found completely riddled with bullets.
     "Jimmy Grant" was a half breed about forty five years old, a son of Capt. Grant, an old Hudson Bay trader, and a resident of Montana before its settlement by whites.  James Grant's brother, "Johnny" was for a long time a resident of Cottonwood, now Deer Lodge City, and was quite wealthy, but left with a number of Indians for the Red River of the North in '67, when white settlers began to locate in Deer Lodge.  Jimmy Grant lived for a long time in Deer Lodge where he was highly regarded as an honest, industrious and sober citizen.  At the time of his death, he had charge of W.J. McCormick and Capt. C. P. Higgins cattle.  His many friends will be sorry to learn of his tragic death.

2)  "Article From Conrad, Montana; Local Paper 20-22 Nov. 1991"
Jimmy Grant buried along with two children
by Dorothy Floerchinger
      Just east of the Sheep Creek bridge north of Dupuyer are graves of Jimmy Grant and two little children that died of measles.
      For years these graves were unmarked until an old timer pointed them out to Paul Bruner and he placed a stone marker on them.
      Few people are aware of this Grant family's plot in early Montana history.
      In 1843, Jimmy's grandfather, Richard Grant, was a factor in charge of the Hudson’s Bay Company at Fort Hall in Idaho on the Oregon-California Trail.  Grant was married to a convent educated Red River metis; that is a part Indian woman.  Also his two sons James and John were married to Indian women.
      When the wagon trains on their way west stopped at Fort Hall with their worn-out oxen teams they would trade several for one fat one from Grant's herd.  Soon he and his two sons had large herds being taken north into the Beaverhead and Ruby Valleys.
      They established a ranch near Deer Lodge, one of the oldest in Montana in the 1850s.  The Grant sons' sister Julia was married to C. P. Higgins, one of the first men to be involved in a settlement to become Missoula.
     Higgins and McClain had large cattle herds that grazed west of Dupuyer and Higgins' nephew Jimmy Grant was placed in charge of them.  He lived in a cabin not far from where he is buried.
      It is reported that he was gone for a few days and on his return had reason to suspect that his squaw had been too intimate with another Indian buck.  Jimmy shot him in the arm.  The Indian went off and returned with his gun and shot poor Jimmy in the heart.
      His wife moved to the Blackfoot reservation with her other children.  Mrs. Rose Grant, age 84, wife of Jimmy's son Richard, died in the 1984 flood with eight members of her family.
      The home of James and John near Deer Lodge dating back to the 1850s was sold to Conrad Kohrs, a German immigrant in 1866.
      In 1872, it was acquired by the federal government for the purpose of interpreting the western livestock industry and designated as a National Historic Site.
      Many places carry the name Grant in memory of this family.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this because I think it's good that the genes of a person such as he have been so widely and generously dispersed

Elaine Lingnau said...

I enjoyed the read. Thank you. Johnny Grant is my 2x great grandfather. I am a descendent of JFG and Eulalie Bruneau. I am very proud to have such an amazing family, and a friend that found them for me.