Peter Grant, USG’s paternal uncle

Peter Grant of Maysville, Kentucky

Jesses Grant’s half-brother, Ulysses Grant’s uncle

Peter Grant (1781-1829) and his older brother, Solomon (c. 1779-1798+) were born to Noah and Anna (Buell) Grant in Coventry, Connecticut. Noah fought in the Revolutionary War, and returned to find that his wife died c. 1787-1789. Solomon remained in Coventry with his grandfather Buell. Solomon was well-educated there, and at 20 year of age went to the island of Demerara as overseer on a sugar plantation. Solomon wasn’t heard from again, and presumed to have died by 1798.

Peter traveled with his father, Noah, to Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and his father remarried there in 1792. There were four more children added to the family, including Jesse Grant (Ulysses’s father) in 1794. After nine years near Greensburg, the family moved West via the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers to towns in Ohio (see Google map).

In 1806, after his step-mother Rachel (Kelly) Grant died, the family dispersed, and Peter Grant settled in Maysville, Kentucky, marrying Permelia Bane in 1807. Peter was industrious, owning Armstrong, Grant & Co. salt manufacturer, a tannery, and a mine. Armstrong, Grant & Co. had a contracted monopoly on the salt from Kanawha salt mine and used the monopoly to raise the price of salt from 30 cents to 50 cents per bushel. This created a boycott on their salt by some counties. The salt supplied local counties and the plantations in the South. His company submitted a memorial to the 20th Congress on January 21, 1828 against the repeal of the duty on imported salt.*

Peter and Permelia had nine or ten children. The first child was born in 1808 and the last in 1829, the year of Peter Grant’s drowning.

Peter’s father, Noah Grant, and the two youngest children lived with Peter in Maysville from 1811 to his death in 1819. His half-brother, Jesse Grant (Ulysses’s father) apprenticed in Peter’s tannery from 1812 to circa 1814.

Peter was good friends with antislavery leader, John Rankin, as described by Rankin’s son: ” [John Rankin] had…several warm antislavery friends in Maysville, among them were…Mr. Grant, an uncle of Gen. U. S. Grant.” †

Peter died on 10 Jan 1829 by drowning where the Ohio River meets its tributary, the Kanawha River at Point Pleasant, West Virginia. He may have been visiting his sister Rachel, who married William Tompkins, and lived in Charleston, West Virginia on the Kanawha River. Ulysses was only seven when his uncle Peter Grant died.

Ulysses’s cousins later favored the Confederates, and lost much of their property in the Civil War.

Peter Grant went early to Maysville, Kentucky, where he was very prosperous, married, had a family of nine children, and was drowned at the mouth of the Kanawha River, Virginia, in 1825, being at the time one of the wealthy men of the West.

–Memoirs, by Ulysses S. Grant, 1885

Marshall, Edward C. “Ancestry of General Grant” Sheldon & Co., New York, 1869, pg 171.

Richardson, Albert G. “Personal History of U. S. Grant” American Publishing Co. 1868

Dayton, Ruth Woods “Pioneers and their Homes on Upper Kanawha” 1947, pgs. 176-177.

* Collins’ historical sketches of Kentucky: History of Kentucky, Volume 1 By Lewis Collins, Richard H. Collins, page 34.

* National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – Cincinnati, Ohio

* Salt Pioneer Chemical Industry of the Kanawha Valley, E. T. Crawford Jr., Ind. Eng. Chem., 1935, 27 (12), December 1935, pp 1411–1417.