Daniel Laban GRANT, Jr. was born in Texas City, Galveston County, Texas on 28 October 1913. His father, Daniel Sr. (1881-1954), left Chesterfield County, South Carolina to work in the oil business in Texas. Daniel Sr. met and married Mary Alice McKAY GRANT (1883-?) in Texas. Daniel Sr. and Alice, as she was called, also had a daughter named Verna.
How is he related to me? Daniel Jr’s grandmother, Sallie THOMAS GRANT, and my great-grandfather, Jeremiah Daniel THOMAS, were siblings.
Life in Texas and maybe Mobile
The family lived in Texas City for several years. Daniel attended school there, as did Verna. From looking at city directories, it appears the family left Texas City and moved to Mobile, Alabama for a time or at least Daniel’s father did. City directories show Daniel’s parents both in Mobile in 1938, 1941, 1943, and 1949.
Census records, though, show Alice and Daniel (the son) living in Texas City at 428 6th Avenue, North, both in 1935 and 1940. Daniel (the father) is not anywhere to be found in the 1940 census. Click here to see where Alice and Daniel lived in Texas City.
Perhaps they maintained two residences with Daniel (the father) traveling between the locations because of his job in the oil refinery business.
Coast Guard Reservist
In July 1942, Daniel enlisted in the Coast Guard Reserve. Two years later, in 1944, he was transferred to the USS Serpens which was sent to the south Pacific.
At some point, he married Doris Coleen something. I have no idea what her maiden name was, where he met her, or where he married her. Perhaps it was a whirlwind romance that took place before his ship launched. Her address in 1945 was Hayward, California.
The Serpens stayed in the south Pacific transporting dry provisions, general cargo, and rolling stock between ports and anchorages. She could be found in New Caledonia, Bora Bora, the Solomon Islands, and several other places.
An accident takes Daniel’s life
On 29 January 1945, the Serpens was anchored off Lunga (or Lungga) Beach in the Solomon Islands, northeast of Australia.
Several crew members went ashore while the rest remained on board to load depth charges into the hold. While they loaded, the Serpens exploded. After the explosion only the bow of the ship remained, and it sank soon after that.
Only two crew members on board survived. Daniel was not one of them.
At first the enemy was suspected as the cause of the explosion. But after a thorough investigation, the navy determined it was an “accident intrinsic to the loading process.”
The servicemen’s remains (including Daniel’s) were initially buried at Guadalcanal, but later exhumed and laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
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