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Bride's wish for wedding dress comes as a quilt

POSTED: January 4, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Some of the old roads around North Georgia whose names end in "ford" likely led to places in streams that could be crossed on foot, horseback or wagon.

Shallowford Road and Goddard's Ford, which led to the Chattahoochee River, are examples, as well as Cherokee Ford, which runs into the Wahoo Creek arm of Lake Lanier today. Another is Grant Ford Road in northwest Hall County, which crossed the Chestatee River into Dawson County. That road today dead-ends into Lake Lanier.

Such roads usually carried the name of the first settlers or major landowners. The Grants owned considerable property in that Chestatee River area, and some descendants still live there. Barbara Kerby of Cornelia compiled a thick book relating the history of the Grants, Taylors and other pioneer North Georgia families.

She and other Grant descendants traced the first Grants to Humphrey, who is buried in the family cemetery in the Grant Ford Road area. He was a minister who founded Prospect Methodist Church, later becoming a Baptist church. Born in South Carolina in 1767, he is believed to have come to Hall County about 1833 from Union District, S.C., settling in the Bark Camp/Cool Springs area with his children.

William Sidney Grant was born in Hall County in 1839 and attended a subscription school, in which a group of parents would pay a teacher to school their children. He became engaged to Julia Ann Campbell when he joined the Confederate Army. He fought at Chickamauga, Stone River and Kennesaw Mountain, where Union forces captured him.

At a prison camp during a bitter winter on Lake Michigan, Grant suffered greatly from the cold and hunger. While he was away, Julia Campbell spent her time spinning and weaving her wedding dress from cotton in a small blue and white plaid pattern. When her fiancé returned from the war, they married in Hall County in 1865 then moved to Texas in 1869. The new Mrs. Grant made a wish that the dress stay in the family 100 years.

After a time, she made a quilt from its fabric so it could be passed down more easily. She died in 1905, and Sidney Grant kept the quilt until 1914, leaving it with his great niece, Ruth Taylor, shortly before his death.

The wedding dress-turned quilt is now in the hands of her twin daughters, JoAnn Waldroup Stanberry and Janell Waldroup Wright, who live in Texas. Julia Grant's wedding day wish long ago was fulfilled and would reach a century and a half in another eight years. Julia and William Sidney Grant's only child, Egbert, died in 1887 on his wedding day. William and Julia farmed in Lumpkin County before moving to Texas with other relatives.

William Grant's Texas home burned while he was away on a trip. When he returned to see it in ashes, he asked if his treasured old gray Confederate Army cap survived the fire. But it burned with everything else in the house. His father, William B. Grant, also was lured to Texas because of poor farming conditions in North Georgia. But he contracted yellow fever on the way and died at his son's home near Pottsboro.

The Grant family produced numerous prominent citizens, many of whom were successful in business or farming and fought in all of the country's wars.

Footnote: There were two Anderson Grants in the family, one called "Big An" and the other "Little An." Big An was so called because he was a large muscular man, and because he was the older of the two Anderson Grants. Family members say he was ambushed by law enforcement officers during that 1884 raid on a liquor still. In those days of Reconstruction, they say, times were hard, and jobs were scarce, leading many to make a living any way they could, including whisky-making.

And, they say, there was a reason he and Josiah Prater, who also was killed, were buried on the family homeplace instead of the church cemetery at Cool Springs. The family wanted to bury the men at the exact spot where they were killed, and they also feared Big An's body might be taken and sold for scientific research, which was a real possibility in those days.

Therefore, they buried them close by to guard the graves. Josiah's brother, Aaron, who was arrested in Tennessee in connection with the case months after the incident, died of measles in the Fulton County Jail in March 1885.

Johnny Vardeman is retired editor of The Times. Originally published Sunday, September 30, 2007



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