The Grant-Burr Families by Daniel Grant Tear

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The Deacon Grant Farm is located in Connecticut on the Norfolk-Colebrook border. Deacon Elijah Grant (1728-1787) was the great grandson of Matthew Grant (1601-1681) who immigrated to America in 1630 on the Mary and John. Matthew was a first settler of Dorchester, Massachusetts and, in 1635, was a founder of Windsor, Connecticut. In 1676, during King Philip's War, Matthew’s youngest child John Grant (1642-1684) led a contingent of 20 men to the relief of Westfield and Springfield. John’s son, Josiah Grant, (1682-1762) left Windsor for Litchfield, Connecticut where he was an active civic leader. In 1761 Deacon Elijah Grant, the tenth of Josiah’s eleven children, established the farm which remained in the family until 1944.

Upon Deacon Grant’s death the farm was run by his eldest son Joel Grant (1756-1796). Joel was killed when he was struck by a wellsweep which had come loose during a storm. Joel’s eldest son, Elijah Grant (1782-1867), then ran the farm as well as serving his community in numerous town offices and as Deacon of the Congregational Church.

Elijah’s youngest son James Marcus Grant (1827-1868), (referred to as Marcus) tried his hand as a gold prospector with his brother, Daniel Grant (1818-1892). Neither had much success in the venture and when Marcus returned to Connecticut he assisted his father in running the farm. He inherited the farm when his father died. Marcus had no children. The farm was purchased from Marcus’ heirs by his niece Jane Munro Grant, daughter of his older brother, Elijah Phelps Grant. The full interest was later purchased by Jane’s sister, Mary Grant wife of William Wallace. Mary’s daughters, Janet (Jennie) Munro Wallace Curtis and Mary (May) Raynolds Wallace were the final family owners of the farm.


The Children of Joel Grant (1756-1796) and Zilpah Cowles (1762-1824) were:

Elijah Grant (1782-1867) Deacon of the Congregational Church and “filled nearly every office in town.” He married (1807) Elizabeth Phelps (1784-1866).

Jerusha Grant (1785-1867) She married first (1801) Cyrus Walter, second (1808) Roswell Griswold a farmer in New Marlborough.

Nancy Grant (1788-1833) She married (1811) Deacon Amos Pettibone.

James Grant (1790-1826) a farmer. He married (1812) Jerusha Phelps.

Zilpah Polly Grant (1794-1874) married (1841) the Honorable William Bostwich Banister (1773-1853). She was one of the most influential of the pioneers in the higher education of women. She opened the Adams Female Academy in Derry, New Hampshire in 1824 and the Ipswich Female Seminary in 1827. During her 15 years in Derry and Ipswich sixteen hundred young women had come under her care. One hundred and fifty-six were graduated with diplomas. Her assistant, Mary Lyon, left to found the Mount Holyoke Seminary in 1837. For the life of Zilpah Grant see Guilford, L.T. The Use of A Life. American Tract Society, New York. 1885.

Children of Elijah Grant (1782-1867) and Elizabeth Phelps (1784-1866) were:

Elijah Phelps Grant (1809-1875) Yale 1830. Participated in cooperative communities in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Some of his papers may be found at the Yale Library. He was a lawyer and banker in Nebraska. He married (1836) Susan Jenkins Boyd (1815-1887). Their children were:

Elizabeth Grant (1838- ) She married (1858) Thomas Jefferson Hurford (1828- ), a hardware merchant. Their children were:

Charles Grant Hurford (1861-1886) Dubuque College. physician.

Alice Martha Hurford (1863- ) Dresden (Germany) Art School. artist.

Mary Crusen Hurford (1866- ) She married (1888) George Lewis Nichols (1858- ). lawyer.

Edward Clarke Hurford (1867- ) railroader. He married ( - ) Della E. Wills.

Ralph Stanley Hurford (1872- ) chemist.

Phelps Grant Hurford (1874- ) bookkeeper and stenographer.

Helen Elizabeth Hurford (1879-1879).

Susan Boyd Grant (1841-1841).

Mary Grant (1842- ) She married (1866) William Wallace (1841- ) Banker. 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Their children were:

Ellen Raynolds Wallace (1867-1867).

Janet (Jennie) Monroe Wallace (1868- ) She married Curtis ( ). She and her sisters were last family owners of the Deacon Grant Farm.

Ruth Wallace (1869-1872).

Mary (May) Raynolds Wallace (1870- ) Owned Deacon Grant Farm with her sister Janet (Jennie) Monroe Wallace.

William Grant Wallace (1873-1874).

James Grant Wallace (1876- ) Williams College, Banker.

Martha Alice Grant (1849-1859).

James Boyd Grant (1853- ) Yale. Banker.

Mary Zilpah Grant (1811-1842) Student under her Aunt Zilpah G. Banister and Mary Lyon. She married (1839) Rev. Ebenezer Burgess (1805-1887) Died of cholera in India as did their son Edwin Burgess (1840-1842).

Elizabeth Grant (1813-1885) She married (1836) William Burton (1789-1858). She was principal of a seminary at Granville, Ohio. He was a graduate of Dartmouth College and a minister in Presbyterian and Congregational churches. Their children were:

Mary Elizabeth Burton (1838-1924) She married (1864) Giles Waldo Shurtleff (1831- 1904). She was Assistant Registrar at Oberlin College. He was an investment banker and Professor of Greek and Latin at Oberlin and later Treasurer of the College. During the Civil War he became a General of the 5th U.S. Colored Troops. Their family papers are held at the Oberlin Library. Their children:

Laura Elizabeth Shurtleff (1871- ) Oberlin College 1893 teacher.

Mary Grant Shurtleff (1876- ) Oberlin College.

Philander D. Burton (1840- ) He married first (1886) Rubie Ann Merriman (1840-1893), and second (1894) Mrs. Kittie Elizabeth Hyatt Sears (1849- ). He was a farmer and Clerk of the Circuit and District Courts. He served in 14th Ohio Battery (1861-1863).

Edward Burton (1842- ) He married (1867) Hannah Elvira Borden (1848- ). He was a wholesaler. Served as a “squirrel hunter” when Cincinnati was threatened in the Civil War.

William Burton (1844- ) He married (1881) Mary Pamelia Matthews (1853- ) A.B. 1875, A.M. 1878 Iowa College, Civil Engineer 1877 University of Michigan U.S. Deputy Surveyor, 15th Ohio Battery 1862-1865.

Theodore Elijah Burton (1851-1929) A.B. Iowa College 70, A.M. Oberlin College 1875. U.S. Congressman. See Harper’s Weekly, Nov. 16, 1907 and Time, June 29, 1925.

Joel Grant (1816-1881) was a graduate of Yale University, 1838. He attended Andover Theological Seminary 1842-43, Yale Theological Seminary 1843-1848. He taught at Berlin, Maryland, was a professor of Mathematics with the United States Navy sailing on the USS Potomac for three years. He was pastor of the Congregational Churches at Lockport, Illinois; West Avon, Connecticut; Bristol, Illinois; Cambridge, Illinois and Downers Grove, Illinois. He served as Chaplain for the 12th Illinois Volunteer Infantry from 1861 to 1865 and the 113th United States Colored Infantry 1865-1866. See obituary at AAS. He married (1845) Abigail Fidelia Cowles (1820-1881). Their children were:

John Cowles Grant (1848- ) Yale A.B. 1869, A.M. 1872. He married (1878) Susan Rae Henry (1847-1883) and (1886) Anna Foote Coffin (1857- ). He was Principal of the Harvard School in Chicago.

Mary Hannah Grant (1851-1853).

William Elijah Grant (1852-1869).

Robert Stuart Grant (1857-1858).

Daniel Grant (1818-1892) He married (1842) Caroline Benton Burr (1820-1892). They homesteaded in Wisconsin in 1843. He went overland to California in 1849 sending his family back to Norfolk, Connecticut. He returned 1856 but continued to seek opportunities elsewhere. They finally resided in New Marlborough, Massachusetts. Their children were:

Abigail Elizabeth Grant (1845-1920) She attended Mt. Holyoke and Beloit College. She married (1869) Rev. Almon Whitney Burr Oberlin 1868, Oberlin Theological Seminary 1871, Andover Theological Seminary 1874. He was Principal of Hallowell Classical Academy and Professor at Beloit College. Their children were:

Caroline Lynette Burr (1870-1963) Unmarried. Librarian at Beloit College.

Harold William Burr (1872-1950) Unmarried.

Arthur Edmonds Burr (1883- ) married, four children.

Edward Burr Grant (1848-1896) He married (1881) Lucy Churchill Baldwin (1853-1936). He attended Oberlin College and was a farmer in Southfield (New Marlborough) Massachusetts.

Abigail Grant (1820-1835).

John Grant (1822-1878) A.B. Yale 1845, Teacher in Virginia, New York and New Jersey. Served at New York Customs House. Deacon Congregational Church in Newark. He married (1857) Susan Gertrude Day (1837-1881). Their children were:

Gertrude Elizabeth Grant (1858-1860).

William Marcus Grant (1860- ).

Martha Grant (1824-1847) She died while attending Mt. Holyoke.

James Marcus Grant (1827- ). He followed Daniel to the gold fields. He married (1868) Harriet Lucy Root (1835- ). He inherited the Deacon Grant Farm and resided there throughout the remainder of his life.


Levi Grant (1817-1864) Daniel Grant’s second cousin once removed was born in Norfolk, Connecticut. He was the great grandson of Daniel Grant’s great grandparents Elijah Grant and Mary Andrews. Levi Grant's grandfather was Moses Grant, the brother of Joel Grant (1756-1796). Levi’s father, Harvey Grant (1794-1863) moved from Connecticut with his family to Ohio in 1834 and to Wisconsin in 1846. There he was a farmer and grain warehouseman. A deacon and elder of the Presbyterian Church he was town clerk, mayor, member of the Wisconsin Assembly several terms and Senate one term. His wife, Experience Norton, was said to be noted for her beauty and mildness of disposition. Levi Grant married Lucinda Octavia Tryton. He was a farmer and carpenter, attended Oberlin College, was a Justice of the Peace and deacon of the Baptist Church.


The person most responsible for the Grant Farm Letters collection is Caroline Benton Burr, the great, great, great granddaughter of Benjamin Burr who immigrated to America in the early 1630’s, probably as part of the Winthrop fleet that settled first in the Boston area. In 1636 he married in Roxbury, Massachusetts Ann (whose last name is believed to be Hannah). He was one of the original settlers of Hartford, Connecticut in 1635. He was not active in public affairs but was known as an “energetic and thorough” businessman. He is recorded as being well-to-do. He was admitted as freeman in 1658. Benjamin Burr was a veteran of the Pequot War. His properties were in Hartford and East Hartford. Other properties were in adjacent locations northwest of Hartford and in Windsor, Connecticut. Benjamin died at Hartford in 1681. His son, Samuel Burr, inherited the properties in Windsor.

Samuel Burr was born in Hartford in 1643. He became a freeman at Hartford in 1658. In 1666 he married Mary Basie, daughter of John Basie, an original proprietor of Hartford and his wife, Elizabeth Freeman, both of Wethersfield, Essex, England. Samuel Burr died in 1682 leaving a significant estate to his heirs. His son, John Burr, received 100 pounds.

John Burr was born in 1670. He married Sarah Nichols at Hartford in 1696. In about 1712 they settled in Farmington, Connecticut. They raised 16 children. John Burr died in 1741 while Sarah Nichols outlived him by 26 years, dying in Bloomfield, Connecticut at the age of 93.

John Burr ’s son, Ebenezer Burr, was born in Farmington in 1712. He was a farmer and a member of the Presbyterian Church. He married Hepsibah Brown, a descendant of Peter Brown of Duxbury, Massachusetts believed by some to be the son of Peter Brown of the Mayflower, although this connection has not been substantiated.

Ebenezer Burr became an early settler of Norfolk, Connecticut, incorporated in 1758. At that time there were 27 families residing there. The inhabitants who were legal voters assembled December 12, 1758 and organized their first town meeting. Forty-seven citizens of the town attended. Of these there were several whose families are associated with the Grant Farm Letters. These include: Cornelius Brown, Josiah Barber, Samuel Cowles and Ebenezer Burr. Ebenezer Burr served as Treasurer for the town of Norfolk. He was a grand juryman. He served on a commission to procure preaching for the town. He was also on a commission to lease a lot for the school. In the town records he was listed as a teacher. In 1793, a year before his death, he advertised himself as a post rider from Litchfield through Goshen, Norfolk and Canaan to Salisbury.” He also served as the county surveyor. Ebenezer Burr died in 1794. His wife, Hepsibah Brown, predeceased him in 1772.

Ebenezer Burr and Hepsibah Brown’s son Daniel Burr was born in 1747 in Norfolk. He was a farmer and a member of the Congregational Church. He married his first cousin, Betty Brown, in 1773. He died in 1808 and she died in 1832.

Daniel Burr and Betty Brown’s son Ebenezer Burr, whose documents are found among the Grant Burr Papers at the American Antiquarian Society, was the sixth generation of the family in America. Ebenezer Burr was born in 1791 in Norfolk. In 1817 he married Pamela Benton of New Marlborough, Massachusetts. He died in 1855.

Pamela Benton was a direct descendant of Edward Benton, one of the original proprietors of Guilford, Connecticut. Her mother’s family was the Rodgers, descended from William Rodgers, an original settler in Huntington, Long Island and Branford, Connecticut. Both Ebenezer Burr and Pamela Benton died in 1855. Their children, Caroline Burr and Mary Burr, figure prominently in the letters.

The children of Ebenezer Burr (1791-1855) and Pamelia Benton (1794-1855) were:

Mary Burr (1818-1884) attended Mt. Holyoke and had additional education in Philadelphia. She married (1849) William Hill (1822-1895) a farmer, potter and prominent citizen of Farmington, New Jersey. Their children were:

Samuel Burr Hill (1851-1921) married (1902) Elizabeth M. Jarrett ( - ).

Laura Kannard Hill (1853-1856) Died of Scarlet Fever.

Mary Pamela Benton Hill (1855- ) She married (1891) Albert Allen Wright.

Alletta Van Nest Hill (1856- ) She married (1882) Abraham Chamers Hulsizer (1855-1941).

Caroline Roby Hill (1862- ).

Caroline Benton Burr (1820-1892) She married (1843) Daniel Grant (1818-1892) See The Grants.

Erastus Burr (1823-1908) A farmer he married (1847) Nancy Potter ( ). Their children were:

Mary E. Burr (1848 - ).

Ralph Christopher Burr (1854- ) He married (1879) Julia Warner Munson (1856-1929).

Frank E. Burr (1863 - ).

Eben Erastus Burr (1867- ).


Susan Jane Benton, was Caroline Benton Burr Grant’s maternal aunt and the daughter of Jesse Clark Benton (1766-1812) and Susannah Pardee Rogers (1772-1812). She married (1845) John Wallis. A number of her letters are found in the collection.


Samuel Cowles (1735-1815) was the head of the family in Norfolk, Connecticut. His daughter Zilpah Cowles (1762-1824) married (1782) Joel Grant (1756-1796). The couple were the grandparents of Daniel Grant.

Samuel Cowles’ son, Samuel Cowles (1771-1845), Zilpah Cowles brother, had a large family, a number of whom are referenced in the Grant-Burr Papers. He married (1800) Olive Phelps. They purchased a tract of land in the Western Reserve. When the family arrived to settle they found the land very desirable but Samuel felt the educational facilities were inadequate. He sold the property and returned to Connecticut.

The couple had eleven children, two of whom graduated from Yale. Many of the children had albino characteristics. John Cowles had white hair and pale eyes and skin. He became blind yet continued to teach. Henry Cowles and Eliza Cowles were white-haired and Roxana Cowles was very blond. Martha Cowles was distinctly albino as were Helen Cowles and Olivia Cowles. The eleven children of Samuel Cowles and Olive Phelps were:

Louisa Cowles (1802-1885) She married (1822) Amos Corbin.

Henry Cowles (1803-1881) He was a professor at Oberlin College and member of the Board of Trustees. Graduate of Yale (A.B.) and Hillsdale College (D.D.) He married (1830) Alice Welch.

John Phelps Cowles (1805-1890) He was ordained at Princeton, Mass. and later became Principal of the Ipswich Seminary. A classical scholar and linguist. Yale M.A. 1826, valedictorian. He married (1838) Eunice Caldwell (1811- ).

Maria Jane Cowles (1806-1843) Unmarried, she taught at Oberlin College in 1837 and 1838.

Eliza Cowles (1808-1895) She married (1833) Augustine Austin Smith (1806-1891). He was the president of Northwestern College for 21 years.

Roxana Cowles (1810-1904) married (1834) Raphael Marshall ( - ). They resided in Painesville, Ohio.

Rachel Cowles (1812-1858). She married (1835) Lysander Mix Cowles ( ). Their only child died in infancy.

James Cowles (1815-1904). He graduated Yale A.B. 1837. He taught vocal and instrumental music in Ohio, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. He was a staunch abolishionist. He married (1842) Rhoda Barnum (1821- ).

Mary Ann Cowles (1817-1874). She married (1838) Ebenezer Benton Chamberlain (1810-1882). He was a minister in Connecticut, Ohio and Pennsylvania. He graduated from the Oberlin Theological Seminary in 1838.

Helen Keziah Cowles (1819-1903). She married (1839) Francis M. Leonard.

Olivia W. Cowles (1822- ). She married (1844) Henry Emerson Knapp.