Alexander Grant was not on the initial passenger list for the Blenheim, but was on the embarkation list as a mason of 30, and the arrival list as a quarrier of 30.
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Alexander Grant and Mary Cameron
The Old Parish Register for Urquhart and Glenmoriston in Inverness, records that on August 12th 1808 John Grant and Catherine Grant, Balnacarn, had a male child born and baptized this day called Alexander.
Alexander Grant was 31 when he emigrated to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.
According to New Zealand BDM records, Alexander Grant and Mary Cameron were married on 29 January 1841, barely a month after the Blenheim’s arrival in New Zealand.
Alexander Grant worked initially as a surveyor for the New Zealand Company, which included a move to New Plymouth for a period, then undertook an exhausting trip to the Wairarapa with a survey team in 1842. In 1850, the family headed to the Rangitikei district where they purchased land and established a farm called Tullochgorum. The property continues to be farmed by the Grant family today.
The Cyclopedia of New Zealand (Wellington Provincial District), 1897, included the following in its section on Turakina:
Grant, Alexander, Sheepfarmer, Turakina. At the time of writing—1896 this old colonist was in his eighty-ninth year, having been born on the 12th of August, 1808, at Glen Morison, Inverness, Scotland. He landed in Wellington per ship “Blenheim” in 1840, and ten years later settled in Turakina, purchasing 700 acres of land, on which he resided for the best part of fifty years. Mr. Grant considered New Zealand the best country in the world and held the opinion that all who have health, and are careful and industrious, may make a fair living in the Colony. He enjoyed robust health till just before his death, and in 1894 paid a visit to a married daughter in Gippsland, Victoria, with whom he remained three months. Mr. Grant was married in February, 1844 [sic 1841], to a daughter of Mr. D. Cameron, of Argyllshire, Scotland, and left three sons and four daughters, a great many grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. (Mr. Grant died in January, 1897).
The Wanganui Chronicle of 4 February 1891 reported, “Mr and Mrs Alexander Grant, of Tullachgorum, Turakina, celebrated their golden wedding on Thursday last, when a large number of children and grandchildren, as well as a host of friends were present to do honour to the occasion. We are glad to hear that Mr and Mrs Grant are in the best of health and likely to enjoy a good many more years of a happy contented life.”
Mary (Cameron) Grant died on 21 April 1895, aged 82. The Feilding Star of 23 April 1895 contained the Death Notice: “Grant – On the 21st instant, Mary (Cameron) Grant, beloved wife of Alexander Grant, of Tullochgorum, aged 82 years.”
Alexander Grant died on 10 January 1897, aged 88. The Feilding Star of 12 January 1897 contained the Death Notice: “Grant – At his residence, Tullochgorum, Turakina, on the 10th of January, 1897: Alexander Grant, aged 88.” The newspaper also reported, “Mr Alexander Grant, whose figure has for many years been one of the best known in Rangitikei, died on Sunday at his residence, Tullochgorum, near Turakina. Death was due to old age and failure of the heart’s action. Mr Grant took an interest in public affairs to the last, and was Mr Bruce’s seconder at the recent election for Manawatu.” The Evening Post of 12 January 1897 included the following report:
ANOTHER OF THE PIONEER BAND GONE.
Marton, This Day. Mr. Alexander Grant, of Tullochgorum, Turakina, who died on Sunday at the age of 88, was one of the earliest settlers in the Provincial District. He arrived in Wellington in 1840, and was for some time inspector of works for the New Zealand Company. Mr. Grant led an exploring party through the Manawatu Gorge, and after an absence of ten weeks returned to Wellington via the Hutt River, he and his followers being in a half-naked state. One of the incidents of the journey was an attack by Maoris, who fled wildly in terror on Mr. Grant feigning uncontrollable madness. The deceased has lived on his estate at Turakina for 50 years.
Alexander and Mary had nine children, not all surviving infancy:
- John Grant, born in 1841, died in 1843.
- Catherine Grant, born in 1843, died in 1918, married Robert Kirkpatrick Simpson in 1863.
- John Archibald Grant, born in 1845, died in 1845.
- Ewen Grant, born in 1846, died in 1920.
- Mary Cameron Grant, born in 1848, died in 1938, married James McDonald in 1874.
- John Grant, born in 1850, died in 1942, married Mary Shove in 1885.
- Elizabeth Grant, born in 1851, died in 1878.
- Duncan Donald Grant, born in 1853, died in 1900.
- Betsy Grant, born in 1857, died in 1947 in Australia, married Alexander Fraser McRae in 1891.
- Blenheim passenger lists at FamilySearch website
- Family trees on Ancestry.com
- PapersPast website
- NZ BDM records
- J G Wilson, Early Rangitikei, 1914, available online at The Internet Archive.
- Paul Melody, The Beach Highway, 2004
- Grant Family