James Thomas GRANT (known as Jim T.) was born 13 Mar 1879 in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. He was second of the five children born to Henry Harrison GRANT (1848-1886) and Sarah Ann Rebeckah THOMAS GRANT (1852-1937). As was common in those days, Henry was a farmer and Sallie (Sarah Ann) was a farm wife.
Henry died in 1886. At that time of his father’s death, Jim T. was seven. His older brother was 9; and his younger siblings were 1, 3, and 5. You can imagine the burden this was for Sallie.
Sallie’s brother, Jeremiah Daniel THOMAS, came to her rescue. Their father sent Dan (Jeremiah Daniel) to Sallie to help her out. According to another cousin, Dan walked the 80+ miles from Richland County, where Sallie’s parents and siblings lived, to Chesterfield County where the widowed Sallie and her children lived.
Dan was 28 when he arrived in Chesterfield County. He immediately went to work helping his sister run the farm and raise her young ‘uns. Dan married Margaret Ann (Maggie) GRANT, sister of Sallie’s late husband, in 1887; but he continued to work on Sallie’s farm and take care of his sister and her family even once he and Maggie started a family of their own.
Jim T. and his siblings grew up with their mother and their Uncle Dan and their many GRANT relatives looking out for them. One grown, three of the children went to Texas looking for better opportunities. Jim T. and his sister, Annie Jane, stayed in Chesterfield.
In fact, Jim T. spent his entire life in Chesterfield County, living in the towns of Cheraw and Chesterfield.
He started out working as a railroad laborer and a carpenter, but went to work for the sheriff’s office in his 30’s. Over the years, he worked as a jailer, a deputy sheriff and as the sheriff. He was also the chief of police for the city of Hartsville, South Carolina and the mayor of the town of Chesterfield, South Carolina.
Jim T. married Essie BRIM around 1926. Jim T. was in his 40’s and Essie was in her late 20’s. They had children right away – Tommy in 1927 and Sarah in 1930. Tommy died young, but Sarah grew up and married and had children and grandchildren.
The family lived in a large house on Main Street in Chesterfield. On the 1940 census Jim T. was listed as unemployed but their house was a boarding house, so I expect there was plenty for 61-year old Jim T. to do right there at home!
Also on the 1940 census, Jim T.’s beloved Uncle Dan and Aunt Maggie (now 81 and 69 years of age) are listed as living next door. Dan and Maggie had moved to Richland County around 1905 to be near Dan’s family. They often visited Chesterfield and Cheraw, though, so the families remained close through the years.
Jim T had built a little house for Dan and Maggie behind his own house for them to live in. It didn’t have a kitchen, though. Jim T said, “I am not putting a kitchen in it because that’s too much work for you.” He didn’t want Maggie to have to cook, so their meals were brought over to them from his house three times a day. Essie, Jim T’s wife, cooked for her boarders anyway, so she just added in more food for Dan and Maggie.
Dan passed in 1946, and Maggie moved back to Columbia with her daughter, Aggie Nora THOMAS JEFFORDS.
Jim T. passed on 25 Nov 1953 at the age of 74. Essie passed four years later.
Jim T. was well-known in Chesterfield County and well-loved. Besides serving the community by working in law enforcement, he was also a mason and a shriner. He was an active member of his church, and he took care of his Uncle Dan and Aunt Maggie in their later years. My grandmother (Jim T.’s first cousin) and my mother always spoke very highly of Jim T., too.
It seems his was a life well lived.