Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Helped Build the First Harvard – Christopher Grant

B. about 1608 in England
M. unknown
Wife: Mary
D. 6 Sep 1685 in Watertown, Massachusetts
Emigrated: 1634

Christopher Grant was born in England in 1608, but the exact details of his origins are unknown. He migrated to the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1634 and settled in Watertown, with the occupation of glazier (someone who worked with glass). Christopher married a woman named Mary and they had nine children born between about 1635 and 1649. In 1644, the family settled in the northeast corner of the town near the eastern border.

As a glazier, Christopher was "employed in the construction" of the first building for Harvard College. Harvard was founded as the first college in America in 1636. The school was located in Cambridge, but functioned out of houses until a permanent structure could be built. The construction of the first Harvard Hall was complete enough so it could be used in 1642; the finishing of the building continued for three more years.

The original Harvard Hall was replaced in 1670 and no drawings exist of the what the structure looked like, but through descriptions we know that it had two stories plus a garret and was sheathed in clapboard, like houses of the time. There was a main hall inside that was used for group functions, holding about 60 people, and this had "large banks of windows." The window casings were made of iron. The building was first used on September 23, 1642 for a commencement banquet.

Christopher died on September 6, 1685 in Watertown. His estate was valued at £296 including a house and several tracts of land, but he left no will and his children appealed to the court to divide up the estate.

Children:
1. Abigail Grant – B. 6 Feb 1636, Watertown, Massachusetts; M. Roger Rose (~1638-?), about 1661

2. Joshua Grant – B. 11 Jun 1637, Watertown, Massachusetts

3. Caleb Grant – B. 8 Sep 1639, Watertown, Massachusetts; D. 18 Nov 1694, Watertown, Massachusetts; M. Mary _______

4. Benjamin Grant – B. 6 Sep 1641, Watertown, Massachusetts; M. Priscilla _______

5. Sarah Grant – B. 1 Feb 1643, Watertown, Massachusetts; M. Thomas Sylvester

6. Joseph Grant – B. 27 Sep 1646, Watertown, Massachusetts; D. 12 Feb 1722; M. Mary Grafton (1664-?), 24 Dec 1684

7. Mary Grant – M. Daniel Smith, 27 Feb 1668

8. Mercy Grant – M. Samuel Daniel, 10 May 1671

9. Christopher Grant – B.1649, Watertown, Massachusetts; D. 4 Nov 1694

Sources:
Genealogies of the families and descendants of the early settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, Henry Bond and Horatio Gates Jones, 1860
Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts, Vol. 4, Ellery Bicknell Crane, 1907
Harvard, an architectural history, Margaret Henderson Floyd, 1998

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