James Grant "the Drummer"

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James "the Drummer" Grant

Birthplace: Scotland, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Kittery, York County, Maine, United States
Immediate Family:

Husband of Unknown 1st Wife of James Grant and Elizabeth Grant
Brother of ... Grant

Managed by: Justin Swanström
Last Updated:

About James Grant "the Drummer"

He was not the same person as James Grant of Auchterblair.

James Grant was captured at the Battle of Worcester in 1651 and deported to New England. He came to York, Maine as early as 1662. He was called James Grant "the Drummer" to distinguish him from his kinsman James Grant "the Scotchman". He made his will in 12 November 1679 (or 19 March 1683) at Kittery. It was probated 2 April 1684. His estate was valued at £154 10s. 0d. He left his "fyrelock, muskett, sword, and belt" to James Grant, son of Peter Grant, and his "best cloth suite and cloak and searge suit, and my great broad axe and narrow axe, and square axe, and compasses, and ads, an an inch and an half auger and inch auger" to Peter Grant. He also left property to his foster daughter Elizabeth Grant, daughter of James Grant. He and his wife Elizabeth Everell were childless. Genealogists differ as to whether he was the father of Peter and James Grant by an earlier marriage, or whether he was a more distant kinsman of theirs.

A tradition in one branch of this Grant family claims that the surname was originally MacGregor and that an ancestor adopted the surname Grant, as did many of the MacGregors when that surname was outlawed in 1604 after the Battle of Glenfruin in 1603.

Some American sources relate that Peter Grant family was probably from the Glenmoriston area of Scotland because only the Grants of Glenmoriston are said to have participated in the Battle of Dunbar at which Peter Grant was captured. However, Prof. Gordon Donaldson of the Scots Ancestry Research Society states that there is no authority for a particular part played by the Grants of Glenmoriston in that battle. In fact James of Freuchie, the 16th chief of Grant, raised the entire clan for Bonnie Prince Charlie. The confusion probably arose from events 100 years later. After the Revolution of 1688, the Grants of Freuchie supported the new regime, while the Grants of Glenmoriston supported the exiled Stuarts. During the Rising of 1745, the Duke of Cumberland's men ravaged the lands and burned the house of Grant of Glenmoriston. After the Battle of Culloden ended the Stuart hopes, Grant of Freuchie persuaded 70 of the Glenmoriston Grants to return to Inverness and surrender their arms, promising them their freedom. Instead, the government captured them, convicted them, and sold them as indentured servants in the colonies. In 1746, when the Young Pretender was in hiding in the Highlands, he took refuge in a cave with a band of robbers who have gone down in legend as "The Seven Men of Glenmoriston." One of those men was a "Black" Peter Grant.

Instead of Glenmoriston, it is more likely that this family of Grants came from Strathspey. In 1650, 140 Grants fought at the Battle of Dunbar under the command of the chief's brother. A year later, 150 Grants from Strathspey, the area ruled by the chiefs, Grant of Freuchie, fought under the chief at the Battle of Worcester. Because three different Grants in this family were captured and deported after these two battles, it seems likely that all three came from Strathspey. The early generations in America do not appear in Scottish records relating to heirs in America. Further, parish registers in this area do not begin until well into the 18th century and record material for this part of Scotland is scarce overall for the first half of the 17th century. This family were probably related to the chiefs of Clan Grant, and were probably among the gentry of the clan, because one of them served as Drummer in the Grant contingent at Worcester. However, they were probably not closely related to the chiefs, because neither Peter nor the two James were recorded as having been officers at Dunbar or Worcester.

A Peter Grant is said to have emigrated from Inverness-shire in May 1630. Dictionary of American Biography 7:487, 492.


In the 1990s Justin Swanström suggested that James Grant, the prisoner of 1651, might be identical with James Grant of Aucterblair who disappears from Scottish records about the same time. However, the advent of DNA testing in the early 2000s disproved the theory. The yDNA signature of the American Grants of this line does not match the yDNA signature of the Grant chiefs.

Coat of Arms

Grant of Freuchie: Gules three antique crowns Or. Crest: A burning hill proper. Supporters: Two savages proper. Motto: Stand fast. Note: the hill of the crest is Craigeleachie (opposite Rothemurchus), and the fire was lighted to call the whole clan together in Strathspey, the seat of the Grants in Morayshire.

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James Grant "the Drummer"'s Timeline

Scotland, United Kingdom
November 6, 1683
Age 78
Kittery, York County, Maine, United States