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Grant, George W. (1814–1889)

Mary S. Estill, rev. by Brett J. Derbes Biography

George Washington Grant was an early advocate of education in Walker County. He was born in 1814 in Madison County, Alabama, relocated to Texas in 1831. The census of 1850 shows a George W. Grant, age thirty-six, living in Walker County, working as a mail contractor, and married to Mary J. Grant. Grant and his wife adopted two children, a boy and a girl. Grant operated a semi-weekly United States Mail coach from Houston to Austin. He worked as a successful trader worth $20,244 in 1860. On August 8, 1863, Grant enlisted as private in the 17th Texas Infantry for six months in Walker County. On January 30, 1864, he re-enlisted in Company E of the 4th State Troops of Texas at a camp near Cedar Lake. Following the war he renewed work as a trader worth $16,500 in 1870. Grant took an oath to become the sheriff of Walker County on April, 27, 1871. That year, Grant began holding classes within the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville. He wrote to the Legislature of the State of Texas in 1873 regarding the development of a Mechanical and Normal College in Walker County, and in 1876 regarding compensation for a penitentiary cemetery located on his property. Grant is credited with originating the idea of establishing Sam Houston Normal Institute (now Sam Houston State University) in that town in 1879 and was a member of the first board of directors of the institute. Grant leased farmland to freedmen and donated land to Mount Moriah Methodist Church and Good Hope Baptist Church. He and his brother operated a stage stop thirteen miles from Huntsville, and he served as county sheriff of Walker County from 1876 to 1878. In 1880 we worked as a farmer and operated a small lumber mill community, known as Grant Springs, on nearly eight thousand acres in Walker County that employed six people. He welcomed white farmers and recently enfranchised African Americans to Harmony Settlement (later Grant's Colony), was located five miles east of Huntsville to induce members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) to come to Walker County. He built farm homes and a meetinghouse for school and religious use. He died in 1889, but his place of burial remains unclear. There is speculation that he was buried at his residence in Huntsville, or possibly at Blackjack or Harmony Cemetery.

A History of the First Christian Church . . . Huntsville, Texas, 1854–1936 (MS, Estill Library, Sam Houston State University, 1936). Huntsville Item, March 6, 1941. A. C. Green, Sketches from the Five States of Texas (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1998).

Categories:

  • Education
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Advocates
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Prison Administrators and Reformers

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Mary S. Estill, rev. by Brett J. Derbes, “Grant, George W.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 27, 2020, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/grant-george-w.

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