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Monday, August 5, 2013

Grigsby Bluff letter Dec. 9, 1861

Yesterday I mentioned the George Grangers.

Even my grandmother, Ada S. Rogers asked if this was George W. Granger's father (who was George Tyler Granger.  The answer was that this picture was "his great Uncle"...but I'm letting all the Georges share it until I have confirmation as to which one it is.)

George Tyler Granger was father to Mary Hull Granger Phillips (1829-1861) my grandmother's grandmother.  His other children (according to were: George W. Granger ( 1830 – ?)  Elizabeth Pulsifer Granger Sweet (March 27, 1835 – 1911,) Joseph Granger (May 3, 1835 – 1850,) and Lucy Ellen Granger Wakelee (1837 – 1876.)

I am not going to go into the problem of both Elizabeth and Joseph having different birth dates in the same year.  I never heard anything about Joseph, but Elizabeth was the recipient of the sad letter from her father below.

This letter gives me great substantiating information about George Washington Granger, George Tyler Granger's son who apparently has just left the area where his (GTG's) daughter, Mary had recently died. Grigsby's Bluff is not yet identified to my satisfaction.  It could have been in Tyler,Texas or maybe another area overlooking a river, which has since become oil fields or flooded for a reservoir. It's not in Sabine Pass nor Beaumont, which are mentioned in the letter. It did have steam ship access to Sabine Pass and then to Galveston.
(Notes throughout the letter in italics and parentheses are by the author. This letter is on 3 pages, as photographed GeoTGRangerEliz.001, 002 and 003)
                                        Grigsby’s Bluff             Dec. 9, 1861

Dear Elizabeth

        A few days after George left here for Galveston, (NOTE: George is assumed to be his son) I was shocked with a report of Mary’s (his daughter) being dead.  I could not believe it, until I was inform (sic) by Abel Coffin who obtain his information from Mr. (Ward?) who saw Mr. Phillips in Houston. (This was Mary's husband, William Phillips.)  I was then obliged to believe it.  I then afterwards saw Mr. Ward (?) Capt. Clements Clerk who saw Mr. Phillips, but could give me no particulars – The ways of God are always right, yet it is hard to us to think and feel so.  When the most useful are taken from us and those spared or permitted to live until they are useless and a burden to themselves and others.  We must however submit to the desires of Him “who doeth all things well” without a murmur only we can mourn.  He has given us that privilege with a blessing attended to it –

        I have been very well since George left.  I went down to the House and stayed there a week (this is probably where William and Mary Granger Phillips had lived) and found some one had broke in and broke open the Desk and Chest.  Yet I did not miss anything from them.  The rats have made more damage than the Burglars.  I stopped up their holes and put things to rights and left for this place on the 8th and I got George’s letter of the 17th on the 5th from Beaumont.

        I was about writing George when Capt. Clements came up from the Pass (Sabine Pass, Texas was a major port at that time) with another story of an addition to (end page one)
(Page 2 letter from Grigsby Bluff, Dec. 9, 1861)

the Blockade and everybody was moving from the City (probably Galveston, which had a large population at the time) and Gen. Hebert had removed the cannon to Virginia Point saying the city was untenable.  I told Capt. C. I did not believe any story Pass (?) could get up  they were all the time getting something to frighten the Citizens.

        If George is still with you tell him Mr. Mosley will move out of his house this week & move to Beaumont. (Note: George W. married a woman named Elizabeth Mosley in 1864)  And says you can on the can (?) have his house which belongs to Parvell (?) who ask 12$ per month  Mr. Pemley and Mr. Mosley both say it is not worth much more than half that sum 5$ or 6$ is all its worth unless considerable is done to it.  It’s terribly infested with rats and leeks (sic) a good deal and is not so good as it looks but still with some small repairs it will do for us very well.  George knows the place well it is almost a new House, Painted outside but inside only half finished.

        My love to all.    I have not time to write more in (sic) I shall lose my chance to send the letter to Beaumont
                                        `      Your affectionate Father,
                                                        Geo T. Granger
(end of page 2)

(Page 3 letter from Grigsby Bluff, Dec. 9, 1861)

A. B.  Tell George Mr. Hughes has answered his letter & says he will pay the balance due on the $808 Debt deducting the amt paid by sale of Beaumont lots.   Allowing interest from Dec. 14, 1854 on the amount, i.e. provided the Boys wont (sic) pay it.  He will pay it himself.  This will give us something more perhaps $250 instead of $704               G.T.G

(end of page 3)
Here are the photographs of the Xerox copied letter. (more comments below)


GeoTGRangerEliz 002

GeoTGRangerEliz. 003

I think the patience of George T. Granger was being tried when considering his son-in-law who apparently disappeared. No one knows why William took off for Houston when his wife died, but GTG saw it as pretty irresponsible.  We also don't know how the two young daughters (about 3 and 1 year old) got to Galveston, but other letters do refer to them later.  Their father, William Phillips soon joined the Alabama Cavalry and went off to die for the South.

Elizabeth Granger, to whom the letter is addressed, is 26 years old, and her brother George W. is 31 at the time of this letter.  It sounds a lot as if George is working for his father's interests, probably seeing to the welfare of the orphaned granddaughters, Ada and Zulieka Phillips.  As the war swung into action, many more children would be cared for by relatives.

Of interest to historians is the reaction by General Hebert to Galveston and Sabine Pass to soon be blockaded by the Union. 

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