Family History: Hiram B. Granbury

Tom Holder


Hiram Bronson Granbury

In 1991 I embarked on a research project devoted to the creation of a family history for Civil War Brigadier General Hiram Bronson Granbury. The intent was to clarify the relationship between Hiram B. Granberry [Granbury] and the other members of the Granberry families as certain first names i.e. Hiram, George, Moses, and Loammi are frequently repeated from one generation to the next. I also wanted to provide explanations for the occasional confusion caused by family names recorded by the Mississippi census, i.e. the 1850 census for Norval R. Granberry from Madison County which records the names of his brother George B. Granberry and daughters Carey and Ella who had moved in with the surviving members of Norval's family after his death and the death of his wife Nancy McLaurin. One of the most important distinctions is that of Hiram Bronson Granberry [Granbury] who was named after his uncle Hiram Granberry who was born in Georgia in 1810 and is buried in the Rowlet Creek Cemetery near Frisco, Texas along with his son Norvell J. Granberry.

The Granbury name is derived from an old English place name crana-byrig. The first part crana means a crane or heron and byrig means an earthwork or fort. Thus an earthwork or fort frequented by cranes. Early Saxon farmers living near an old Neolithic or Roman fort would have noticed the connection and attached the place name to their name i.e. Jon Cranabyrig which eventually took on the derivation Cranberry. As these English settlers sailed to America in the 1600's their names took on different spellings based on how it was recorded -- Cranberry, Granberry, Grandberry, etc.

Around 1655 two brothers John and William Granberry arrived in Virginia and on February 7, 1656 bought 250 acres along Simon's Creek on the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River near Norfolk. They made their living as tobacco farmers. There is very little information concerning William other than his wife's name was Ann and they had a son also named William who was married to Sarah. William and Sarah are mentioned in the will of John Montgomery on August 1697 as "Sarah wife of William Cranberry of James River in Nantzium in the Island of Virginia."

William and Sarah's son Moses was born around 1700 and lived in Norfolk County, Virginia. On March 13, 1753 Joseph Ballard of Chowan Precinct, North Carolina sold to Moses Granburie 50 acres. Moses died that same year and his will named his wife Elizabeth and children -- James, William, Sarah, Ann, Elizabeth, Cloty, Mary, and Martha.

Moses Granberry's oldest son James, born around 1720, was married to Mary Manning and received from her father 50 acres including dwellings in Norfolk County near the head of the western branch of the Elizabeth River. James died in July of 1760 leaving his estate to his wife Mary and three children George, Moses, and Sarah.

During the American Revolution, Norfolk was an important seaport which was more Tory in sentiment. Because of this, there were numerous encounters or skirmishes between the Tories and the farmers along the Elizabeth River who were supporting the Independence Movement. The clashes eventually resulted in the battle of Great Bridge where the Loyalist army under Lord Dunmore was soundly defeated. In retaliation, Dunmore shelled Norfolk and it was during this time of intense trouble that George and Moses Granberry moved to North Carolina. George served in the 3rd North Carolina Regiment which was assigned to Lachlan's Brigade in Washington's Continental Army. Moses joined the Newbern militia and served locally.

With the signing of the Articles of Peace on January 20, 1783 the North Carolina soldiers were discharged and returned to their homes. George and Moses continued to live in North Carolina until 1794 at which time they took advantage of war service land grants and participated in the Georgia Land Lotteries. In 1794, Moses Granberry and his children by his first wife -- George, Stephen, and Seth and those by his second wife Betsey -- Dulaney and Moses were living in Warren County, Georgia. On May 24, 1796 George Granberry received a grant of 300 acres in Warren County along Joe's Creek. A few months later he and his wife Sarah and Children -- Elizabeth and Loammi (Hiram B. Granbury's grandfather) mover further up the river into Jefferson County.

It was during this time that the Granberry's met Norvel Robertson. They were neighbors and attended Providence Baptist Church in Rocky Springs. The connection between the Granberrys and Norvell Robertson is important because the two families united their efforts in a common goal -- establishing churches and preaching to a vast unsettled and intemperate audience. Prayer meetings were frequently held in the home of Moses Granberry and during the winter of 1803-1804 Norvell Robertson came under their guiding influence and was excepted as pastor of their small church. It would be just the beginning because Norvell Robertson was destined to become one of the most prolific Baptist preachers in the early history of Mississippi. More importantly Robertson would play a critical role in guiding Loammi Granberry to become an active church member but the most important influence would be on Loammi's oldest son Norval (Hiram B. Granbury's father).

After the deaths of George Granberry on August 11, 1804 and Moses Granberry in 1808 the Granberry's and Robertson's continued to live in Rocky Springs but soon after the end of the War of 1812 and the Red Stick Campaigns in Alabama they started to look west toward the Mississippi Territory. With the creation of the separate states of Alabama and Mississippi in 1817 vast amounts of land were opening up as a result of Indian Treaties. On November 12, 1817 the Granberry and Robertson families left Georgia and started their difficult journey west. Included in the party was Norvell Robertson, his wife Sarah Powell and nine children; George Granberry, his wife Martha Albritton and Children -- Moses, Polly, Martha, Amelia, and Susan; Stephen Granberry, his wife Elizabeth Spurlin and children -- Jeremiah, Cynthia, Phoebe, and Jane; Seth Granberry, his wife Jane Bledsoe and children -- Sarah, Jane, and Allie; Moses Granberry, his wife Courtney and son Asaph; and two young men William Albritton and Allen Count. Norvell Robertson's diary of their journey provided a rare glimpse into the numerous problems encountered along the way. They were delayed in leaving because one of the women was pregnant and they had to deal with all of the problems associated with a large group of settlers traveling through an unknown wilderness with their wives, children, and livestock. Two months later in January of 1818, they crossed into Mississippi at Reddoch's Crossing and camped on the banks of the Leaf River. Upon reaching their destination, Norvell led them in prayer as they thanked God for leading them safely to their new home. Leaving their families at the river, Robertson and the Granberry brothers traveled further south until they reached the fork of the Bowie and Okatoma Rivers in Lawrence County (now Forrest County). Exploring the region around the Old Chappel Place the Granberrys made their decisions and took the lot numbers to St. Stephens in Alabama to record. As more settlers moved into the area a small town was organized named Gordonville which would be visited some 66 years later by a surveyor for the G&SI Railroad who would rename the town for his wife Hattie or Hattiesburg.

On Saturday, October 3, 1818 the families attended a gathering to commemorate the beginning of a new church at a meetinghouse on Johnson's Mill Creek (now Providence Creek located in the town of Glendale in the north central section of Hattiesburg). The meetinghouse, which was frequently used as a school, was described as being a round log house with a stick and dirt chimney on one end providing a wide-open fire. The church was named Providence Baptist Church in commemoration of their church back in Georgia and the founding members were Norvell and Sarah Robertson, Stephen and Sally Lee, Seth and Jane Granberry, George and Martha Granberry, and elders J. A. Watts and John Tucker. Because this first church was located at the bottom of a hill and suffered constant flooding from Providence Creek, a new church was built further up the hill where it stands today. A historical marker has been placed close to the modern church, which gives credit to the Granberry and Robertson families for their work in establishing Providence Baptist Church, which is one of the oldest active churches in Mississippi.

During this time, the Granberrys began to seek out new land opportunities as their farms became exhausted. George Granberry moved to Perry County where his brother Stephen joined him. Moses Granberry moved to Marion County and Seth Granberry moved his family to Copiah County. In addition, three more Granberry families moved from Georgia to Mississippi -- Jonathan Granberry, who had served as a private in Few's 3rd Regiment during the Red Stick War, his wife Nancy Rogers and their son Simeon moved to Perry County; Amos Granberry and his wife Elizabeth Rogers and their children William and Helen moved to Marion County; and Loammi Granberry who moved to Covington County in 1819 with his wife Rachael and sons Norval R., Loammi Jr., John, Hiram, and George B. They lived on land in the vicinity of Peps Point Road and the GS&I Railroad. The area would later become known as Bryant and then in 1867 the name was changed to Lux. By this time Loammi and his family were the only Granberrys still living in Covington County as the other families had all moved away. Loammi became a very close associate of Norvell Robertson and they would often work together making calls on churches and families in the area.

It is important to note that during this time, Loammi's oldest son Norval was beginning to hear the call to preach. Norval was now 12 years old and according to Leavell's History of Mississippi Baptists: "In early life, he became a subject of converting grace." Norval's name appears as small footprints in several different churches as he moved around in the early part of his preaching career but in the latter part of 1830 he moved his wife Nancy McLaurin and their first son Loammi to the small town of Dentville some 15 miles to the west of Hazelhurst in Copiah County. This was the location of Norval's first church which stood on a bluff just outside of town a half mile east of the Bayou Pierre Creek bridge. The first church was named Hepzibah Baptist Church but a tornado destroyed the building blowing pews and timbers to the top of the hill where the current Pine Bluff Baptist Church still stands. Nothing remains of the original church but shards of glass, pieces of wood, and old nails but the ancient plantation road cut deep into the earth by constant travel which led to the church can still be found. Land deeds or tax records do not indicate that Norval owned property in Dentville or Hazelhurst but there is a small town recorded on the old maps of Copiah County to the west of Dentville named Cranberry. However, it is more likely that Norval's family lived temporarily with his uncle Seth in Hazelhurst. During this time, on March 31, 1831 Norval and Nancy Granberry's second son was born and named Hiram Bronson Granberry after his uncle Hiram.

After his birth, Norval moved his family to the small town of Palestine which was located 8 miles south of Raymond in Hinds County. On April 2, 1831 Sheriff Joseph McClennan sold the lands of John King and Isacca Millisap at auction to Norval Granberry for the sum of $25.00. The land was bordered on the south by Elda Creek not far from its confluence with Tallahala Creek. More importantly, the land adjoined the plantation of Stephen Granberry (Norval Granberry's uncle) who was the first of the Granberrys to move to Hinds County. In 1827 Stephen, often called Capt. Granberry because of service during the Creek Indian Wars, moved from Perry County to Hinds County with a land grant signed by Andrew Jackson in his possession. His picked a large lot of land near Elda Hill Creek at the junction of Parsons Road (named after the Parsons family who operated a saw mill nearby) and Dry Grove Road which travels north some 9 miles to the city of Raymond. His home was a modest wood frame house with a chimney built of bricks kilned on the property. By 1836, Stephen Granberry's hard work had increased his modest holdings into a successful plantation and work on a grander home had finished. Named for the numerous cedar trees that screened the front of the house from Parsons Road, Cedarcrest still stands as beautiful example of a "Planters Cottage." In the rear of the house a small family cemetery serves as the final resting place of Stephen Granberry and many members of his family. The majority of the headstones have been knocked over by cattle using them as back scratchers but the current owner indicated plans to restore them to their upright positions.

In 1827 Norval Granberry's other uncle Moses, his wife Courtney, and son Asaph moved to Hinds County and bought 80 acres of land in Palestine from Jacob Walker for $130.00. This meant by the time Norval Granberry moved his family to Hinds County there were two other Granberry families living within a few miles of each other. This also meant that the young Hiram B. Granberry would have six cousins living close to him, two of which were within three years of his age (George W. Granberry b. 1830, and Simon Sebastion Granberry b. 1828). His aunt and uncle and three more cousins (Hardy Franklin Granberry b. 1836, Benjamin Franklin Granberry b. 1817, and George Richmond Granberry b. 1825) lived in nearby Hazelhurst.

In January of 1835, Norval Granberry bought a large tract of land in Palestine located off Meyers Road not far from its junction with the Dry Grove Road and bordered on the south by Tallahalla Creek. The land was heavily timbered and a large pond stood near Meyers Road. In the northeast corner of the property, a short segment of the old Palestine Road turns north from the Meyers Road, crossing a steep hill before forming a junction with the Oakley-Palestine road. This was the location of Norval Granberry's farm where Hiram Bronson Granberry and his brothers and sisters grew up. Land records mention the existence of a house and cotton gin.

Located on a hill facing the old Palestine Road stands Palestine Baptist Church which served as a place of worship for the Granberry families for many years. The small-whitewashed wood frame jewel stood as a cheery herald for travelers up until the early 1960's at which time the structure was severely damaged by a fire. The church was rebuilt and the modern structure still stands as a monument to all of the early members who brought the "Good Word" to the farmers and settlers living in the Palestine area. Behind the church is a well kept cemetery where many of these early families rest -- the Granberrys, Thigpens, Gallmans, Andersons, and Holloways. Across the road from the church is a monument inscribed with the name of Judson Institute which was the result of the Union Baptist Association's commitment to education. In 1835, at a meeting of the association, the Baptist Education Society was organized to "establish a school combing manual labor with that of study." Named in honor of Adoniram Judson the institute was incorporated on February 27, 1836 and initially located at Society Hill about ten miles north of Clinton. The Board of Directors included Norval Granberry, Norvell Robertson Jr., S. S. Lattimore, and Ashley Vaughn. The location proved to be a poor location and in December of 1837 the institute was moved to Spring Hill across from Palestine Baptist Church. Here Norval Granberry and the other elders of the church could exert better control over the educational working of the school.

Two other movements were taking shape in the Union Baptist Association at this time. The first occurred in December 1836 as many of the influential members of the association met at Clear Creek Baptist Church near Washington to discuss the creation of a Baptist State Convention which had failed after its first attempt. The delegates to the meeting included Norval Granberry of Palestine Church and Ashley Vaughn of Clear Creek Church. At the meeting Norval Granberry was elected as one of the founding vice presidents.

The second movement occurred in January of 1837 with the creation of the Home Missionary Society which was an especially important project for Norval Granberry. Church records support that Norval would devote many of his most productive years to the Missionary Society which was the result of a strong desire to support and supervise the quality of preaching in the region. The society met on March 31, 1837 at Brushy Fork Church in Copiah County and Norval Granberry, Moses Granberry, Ashley Vaughn, James Thigpen, and S. S. Lattimore were chosen to draft its constitution.

On May 5 - 7, 1837, the first meeting of the reorganized Mississippi State Convention was held at Palestine Baptist Church. It was a historical day as ten of the early leaders of the early Mississippi Baptist Church met to discuss the key issues facing their growing denomination. Present at the meeting were two special guests -- Rev. George Granberry from Harris County, Georgia who was the brother of Loammi Granberry, and 71 year old Norvell Robertson representing Leaf River Baptist Church. On Sunday the delegates shared the Lord's Day service and Rev. Norval Granberry gave the sermon. Present that day was Norval's family -- his wife Nancy and children -- Loammi, Hiram B., Jemmima J., and Catherine C. It would be interesting to imagine the young 5 year old Hiram as he sat quietly with his family listening to his father Norval preach.

The 1840 census listed Norval and his wife Nancy McLaurin, Loammi J. 11 years, Hiram Bronson 9 years, Jemmima J. 7 years, Catherine C. 5 years, Norvell R. J. 1 year, and two slaves. The other females between 10 - 15 and less than 5 were nieces of Nancy McLaurin who moved in with the Granberrys after the deaths of the parents. According to church records Rev. Norval Granberry was now preaching at four different churches -- Palestine in Hinds County, Union Baptist Church north of Clinton, County Line Baptist on the border of Hinds and Madison County, and Mound Bluff Baptist Church near Flora in Madison County. It was not unusual for Baptist churches to share pastors as there was a chronic shortage and too many congregations to serve.

In February of 1842, Hiram Granberry's grandfather Loammi died. He had moved his family form the old farms near Lux in Covington County to Shubuta in Clarke County. In addition to be an accomplished preacher at Hepzibah Baptist Church he was also a very successful farmer. At the time of his death his estate included 200 acres of land, 71 head of cattle, 60 hogs, 12 slaves, and an estate worth $12,000 in gold and silver.

After Loammi's death, Norval Granberry continued to focus much of his work at Mound Bluff Baptist Church near Flora. As a result of his influence, Norval was able to attract the 1843 Baptist State Convention to his church. Many of his friends and relatives were there -- Samuel Thigpen and Moses Granberry from Palestine; and Norvell Robertson Jr. from Leaf River. In 1844 Norval was chosen as a delegate from Union Baptist Church to the annual State Convention. Norval was now pastoring at Union Baptist Church and had moved his family to Meridan Springs near Clinton.

In 1845, Norval was again chosen as a delegate to the annual State Convention which was marked by an alarming crisis. Rev. William Crane of Columbus Baptist Church in Hinds County read a preamble which resulted from a recent decision of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions located in Boston and the American Home Mission Society located in New York to exclude Southern Baptists who are slave holders of equal rights in the National Baptist Union. Elder James Rivers, a missionary from Georgia, had been refused his appointment because he was a known slaveholder as were many of the Southern Baptist preachers. Because their earnings as church leaders were so meager most of the early pastors maintained farms to support their families. It was a fact of life in the agrarian South and the pastors were no exception. Reports given at several of the Mississippi State Conventions reflected the fact that the Baptist preachers understood completely the responsibility that they faced concerning the spiritual and physical needs of their slaves so they saw the decisions of the Northern Missionary Boards as an unwanted intrusion into their lives. It was a mirror image of the same issues that was facing a country moving toward Civil War. Norval Granberry was especially displeased and it was his decision as well as the acting board of the State Convention to sever their ties with the American Baptist Home Missionary Society and to realign with the Southern Baptist Convention recently established in Marion, Alabama.

At that same time the United States was at war with Mexico and a company of infantry The Raymond Fencibles were mustered into the 1st Mississippi Regiment commanded by Colonel Jefferson Davis. Norval Granberry's sons Loammi and Hiram did not join as they were attending school at Oakland College near Rodney, Mississippi. The college was founded in 1830 as an institute of higher learner by the Mississippi Presbytery and Dr. Jeremiah Chamberlain was chosen as its president. In the spring of 1846, Hiram Granberry was admitted into the four-year college. Acceptance was based on successfully completing the preparatory school and the ability to read Cicero and Jacob's Greek Reader. As Oakland College was a Liberal Arts School the students would have studied the classical writers as well as courses in mathematics and modern geography. There is no evidence that the students received any military cadet training other then what they may have read in Caesar's Commentaries.

That same year, Hiram Granberry's family moved to Brownsville a small community located on the old Bolton-Cox Ferry Road about 8 miles north of Bolton. Norval Granberry was now the pastor at Beulah Baptist Church which was first organized in 1831 as Spring Hill Baptist Church. In 1842, the congregation built a small log house a few hundred yards west of the current modern church. So his family could live close to the church, Norval bought land from Archibald Clark and his wife which was located a few miles north of Brownsville in Madison County near Bogue Chitto Creek. It was not a town but a small dispersed community of farms that tilled the rich alluvial bottom lands of the Big Black River. The Granberry farm was located just south of the junction of Bogue Chitto Creek and Spring Creek at the intersection of modern Purvis Road and Spring Creek Road. The old Granberry Cemetery still stands a short distance from the Spring Creek Road, hidden in the woods, marking the location of the farm house which stood on the back edge of the property. A narrow plantation road ran in front of the cemetery partially following the course of the modern Spring Creek Road except for visages of the original trace which can still be seen wandering off through the woods as the lane turned west toward the Cox Ferry road. Norval Granberry was soon joined by his brother George who bought land near Bogue Chitto Creek after the death of their father Loammi in Shubuta. With George Granberry were his two daughters Carey J. and Ella J.

For Norval Granberry the move to Beulah Baptist Church was highly strategic because the Union Baptist Association had become too large to manage and had split into the Union and Central Associations. Norval's previous preaching positions had allowed him to galvanize many of the core churches for the reorganization. Many of the vibrant leaders of the older Union Association stayed as members of the Central Association which ensured its success.

From April to May of 1847 Hiram Granberry was hard at work as a sophomore student at Oakland College while his father Norval continued to preach at Beulah Baptist Church. However, Norval's life was beginning to change. The last elected position held by Norval Granberry was in 1845 when he served as a vice president and chairman of the southern board at the Mississippi State Convention meeting held at Granada Baptist Church and again as a director at the Convention meeting in 1847. That same year he served as a delegate from Beulah Baptist Church to the annual meeting of the Union Association. In 1848, Norval received only a brief mention in a report from the state education committee. It is evident that poor health was a problem as years of travel and devotion to the Mississippi State Convention, the management of the Union and Central Associations, and his many pastoring assignments had taken its toll. Norval continued to preach and minister to the families at Beulah Baptist but after 1848 he did not accept any other major church positions.

Tragedy finally struck the family in 1850. Norval Granberry died in April from consumption at the age of 43 followed by his wife Nancy McLaurin a few months later, in August.

An eloquent epitaph concerning the death of Norval Granberry appeared in the obituaries of the Central Baptist Association which read: "Another watchman upon the walls of Zion has been struck down by the hand of death. The churches of our Association are called upon to mourn the loss of one who long served his master, in preaching the Gospel of the Blessed God. We deeply lament that we see his face no more on earth, but rejoice that he has gone to join the blood-washed throng around the throne of the lamb. Bro. N. R. Granberry was born in Jefferson County, Georgia in 1807. His father moved to this state, and settled in Covington County, in the year 1819, and in a few years afterwards, moved to Hinds County. In early life, he became a subject of converting grace, and united with the Palestine Baptist Church. Soon after making a profession of religion, he was called of God to preach the Gospel and was license by the church of which he was a member. Bro. Granberry was an able, devoted, and zealous minister of Christ. During his ministerial career, he served as pastor with great success the, viz: Palestine, Hinds County; Pine Bluff, Copiah County; County Line Church; Mound Bluff, Madison County; Union Church, Hinds County; and Beulah Baptist, Hinds County, of which he was a member when he died. As evidence of his zeal and success of this devoted servant of Christ, it need only be mentioned that he baptized during his ministry not less than a thousand persons; that for a long time he was the Moderator of the Union Association, and the first Moderator of the Central. But his labors are done. He has gone to his reward. We mourn with Sorrow his loss; but our loss is his gain, and would tender to his bereaved family and friends our sincere condolence." Even though a search of church and cemetery records have not conclusively pinpointed the exact location of Norval and Nancy McLaurin's graves it is most probable they were buried in the Granberry cemetery off Spring Creek road.

After Norval's death, his brother George moved to the farm to live with the surviving family members. Norval's will written on May 14, 1849 divided his property between his children -- Loammi age 21, Hiram age 19, Jemmima J age 17, Catherine C. age 14, and Norval R. J. age 10, and Nautie N. age 2. To his son Hiram Norval bequeathed a saddled horse, eighty dollars, a bed, bedstand, some clothes, and an eight-year-old slave named Oliver. After the death of his parents Hiram continued to attend Oakland College sometimes living in Palestine with the Thigpen family where he tutored his younger cousin Stephen F. Granberry. Then in the spring/summer of 1851 Hiram Granberry graduated from Oakland College with a law degree. This should have been a defining moment for Hiram but he was to suffer one more tragedy in the form of a senseless death.

In 1850, there was much excitement in Mississippi due to the governor's election. The Union candidate, Henry S. Foote, favored the Compromise of 1850 while the Democratic candidate, John A. Quitman, favored separate state action. Delegates were elected to a convention to consider whether Mississippi should agree to the Compromise or take action against perceived Federal overbearance of power. Jefferson Davis proposed a "Convention of States" to oppose the "Federal usurption" while Foote advocated adherence to the terms of the Compromise. The result of the election held in September 1851 was an overwhelming victory for the Unionists.

It was a turbulent time but the faculty of Oakland College in their protected and serene environs continued to teach their students unaware that they had become the target of the States Rights supporters. During the election, handbills were circulated "directly charging the faculty of impropriety." Dr. Chamberlain responded by stating that "they had never authorized or knowingly allowed a political speech on any side to be declared in their hall or on their ground." A secessionist in Port Gibson further accused the faculty of expelling a student for giving a "Southern States rights speech" which was denied by Dr. Chamberlain. The informant, George A. Briscoe, was not satisfied and went to Dr. Chamberlain's house on September 6, renewed the charge, and fatally stabbed him.

It was an incredibly senseless murder brought about by violent times. For Hiram Granberry the death of his beloved college president must have been unbearable and may have remained as one of several tragic events that lurked in the background of his youth. Whether it was the combined deaths of his parents and Dr. Chamberlain or the agitated politics of Mississippi in 1851, Hiram Granberry decided to leave Mississippi and move to Texas where one 1850 visitor to the state remarked "Nowhere is the worthy stranger made more welcome." By January 22, 1852 Granberry had bought property in Seguin, Texas and changed the spelling of his last name to Granbury.

On September 7, 1853 Hiram Granbury's sister Jemima Jane wife of Thomas W. Davis died at the age of 20 years and was buried in the old Granberry family cemetery in Madison County. The inscription on her elaborate headstone reads "Thy faith hath saved thee go in peace" In the lower right hand corner is the name of the marble headstone company -- H. B. & O., St. Louis. On February 13, 1854 Hiram's other sister Catherine C. wife of Frank Davis died at the age of 18 years. Her inscription reads "My sweet Cate -- The pure in heart they shall see God." The two stones are placed side by side. Time has weathered their bases so they often lie buried beneath a thin cover of leaves and dirt. To the right of their headstones are two graves marked only by the presence of several worn bricks placed at the head. This is possibly the location of Hiram Granbury's parents. In 1857, Loammi Granberry acting as attorney for the family sold the Granberry farm near Bogue Chitto Creek containing 460 acres to Frank and Ann Davis. According to the deed two acres of land were set aside for the building of a cemetery and school but historians in Flora do not believe the school was ever built. This document is important because it records that Loammi, Hiram, and Nautie were the only remaining children of Norval Granberry. The youngest son Norval R. J. Granberry is not mentioned so it can be assumed that he had also died and was probably buried in an unmarked grave in the family cemetery.

This assertion that Hiram Granbury's youngest brother Norval had died before 1861 is important because many historical sources have recorded that Norval had served in a Texas Cavalry Regiment which fought at the battle of Mansfield in Louisiana. The answer lies in a careful examination of the Texas pension record signed by Norvell J. Granberry who was Norval's cousin. The name is spelled differently and the birth date of 1845 in Mississippi is five years later then Hiram Granbury's brother. An important hint from the pension record is that Norvell J. Granberry lived in Lebanon, Texas after the war. The death certificate from the McKinney Courthouse documents that Norvell's parents were Hiram and Elizabeth Granberry of Rankin County, Mississippi. Sometime in the late 1850's, Hiram Granbury and his son Norvell J. left Rankin County, Mississippi and moved to Texas. In January 1862 Norvell J. Granberry enlisted in Co. A, Alexander's 34th Texas Cavalry Regiment, Polignac's Brigade which did fight during the battle of Mansfield in 1864. Norvell served until 1865 at which time he was discharged at Hempstead, Texas. After the war he continued to live in Lebanon, Texas just south of Frisco and farmed until his death in 1922. Norvell J. Granberry, his wife Mollie, and daughter Nora Ann are buried in the Rowlett Creek Cemetery in Collen County. Just to the right of Norvell's headstone is the weathered marker of his father, Hiram.

Hiram B. Granbury would return to Raymond, Mississippi in May of 1863 not as a casual visitor but as Colonel of the 7th Texas Infantry Regiment, Gregg's Brigade. Granbury's connection to Raymond is significant because it meant that during the battle of Raymond he was defending the home of his youth and the honor of the Granberry families still living in the area. Granbury had also recently suffered the death of his young wife Fannie who had suffered through his imprisonment at Fort Warren only to die of ovarian cancer in Mobile. As Granbury bravely charged with his regiment into the hotly contested brawl along Fourteen-mile creek, he carried the memory of his wife with him.

After the battle, Gregg's Brigade retreated toward Jackson where they were joined by reinforcements being organized by General Joseph Johnston. Jackson fell on May 14, and Gregg's Brigade began a long drawn out movement to the west and northwest toward Yazoo City as Johnston attempted to move his army in relief of Vicksburg. On June 16, Gregg's Brigade camped near the old brick church at Mound Bluff in Flora where his father Norval had once preached; unexpectedly Col. Hiram Granbury found himself once again reunited with memories. He was now only a few miles from the old Granberry Farm and the cemetery where his sisters and most probably his parents were buried. History does not record if Granbury ever visited the cemetery but a Victorian picture of such an event would have shown the young man standing over the graves of his family recalling memories from another time, the death of his wife Fannie, the retreat from Raymond, and the futility of his attachment to Johnston's uncommitted relief army.

This would all change very quickly. With the fall of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, Granbury and the 7th Texas moved to the safety of Enterprise, Mississippi and later were reassigned to Bragg's Army of Tennessee. After the battle of Chickamauga, the 7th Texas was reorganized into A. J. Smith's Texas Brigade and Col. Hiram Granbury found himself connected with the one officer in the Confederate Army who could tap into Granbury's passion for duty, General Patrick Cleburne. It was an important union because Cleburne's strengths would propel the young Granbury now commander of the Texas Brigade throughout the bitter fighting in Georgia. Whatever glory they attained in the hard fighting at Pickett's Mill, Kennesaw Mountain, and Jonesboro in Georgia would sadly be lost in the unwanted campaigning in Tennessee. However not completely lost, because in many ways, the honor they obtained by the nature of their tragic deaths on the sad field of Franklin on November 30, 1864 has not been forgotten as their memories are still remembered today. It is to these memories that this history is forever dedicated.

Barber, Flavel C. Holding the Line, The Third Tennessee. Ed. Robert H. Ferrell. Kent: The Kent State University Press. 1994.
Buck, Jonathon. History of the Mississippi Baptist State Convention. Chapter on Mission Work. Jackson: Charles Winkly Press, 1883.
McLemore, Richard. History of Mississippi Baptists 1780-1885. Clinton: Mississippi College, 1974.


Watts, David. History of Palestine Baptist Church 1821-1885. Master Thesis, Mississippi College, 1974.


Providence Church Reaches Illustrious Age of 150. Covington County. The Baptist Record. Oct. 3, 1968. P. 3
McLemore, Richard A. History of Providence Baptist Church 1818-1973. Mississippi Baptist Historical Commission. 1969
Rogers, Tommy Wayne. Oakland College 1830-1871. The Journal of Mississippi History: 143-160.


Catalogue of the Officers & Students of Oakland College. Commencement Service April 13, 1845. Jackson. On file Mississippi Archives
Catalogue of the Officers & Students of Oakland College for the Academic Year 1850-1851. Jackson. On file Mississippi Archives.

Church Histories

Histories of Palestine Baptist Church, Palestine; Providence Baptist Church, Covington City; Hephzibah Baptist Church, Dentville; Union Baptist Church, Society Hill; Beulah Baptist Church, Brownsville. On file Mississippi College Library, Clinton.


Diary of Norvell Robertson. On file Mississippi Archives.


Minutes of the Mississippi Baptist State Convention 1836-1852. On file Mississippi College Library, Clinton.
Minutes Central Baptist State Convention Oct. 12, 1850. On file Mississippi College Library. Clinton.

Cemetery Records

Granberry Cemetery, Flora, Ms. Recorded previously by Gene & Janis B. Watkins.

Land Deeds

Lewis Seale & Susannah to N. Granberry. January 21, 1835. Raymond.
Vol. 5, #17 N.R.Granberry to Mark Gillespie. Jan. 22, 1835. Raymond
Vol. 12 #266, N.R.Granberry to James Joyce, Dec. 17, 1839. Raymond
Vol. 12, #390. N.R.Granberry to Samuel Thigpen, Feb. 5, 1840. Raymond


Norval R. Granbury, 1850. On file Madison County Court House.

Census Records

Deaths, Madison County, Mississippi, 1850. P. 21

Granberry Family History Research & Compiled by
Thomas Holder
Fort Worth Civil War Round Table
Member Co. A, Waco Guards

copyright Tom Holder, 2002

Tom Holder, born in Nashville, Tennessee, is named for his great grandfather, Thomas Wilson Long who fought with the 3rd Georgia Regiment, Ambrose Wright's Brigade, A. P. Hill's Division, and Lee's ANV. Holder's interest in General Granbury started as he grew up around the battlefields of Nashville and Franklin. The interest continued after moving to Texas where his parents now live in Granbury, named in honor of the General and the site of his final burial. Holder's initial research on Brig. Gen. Hiram B. Granbury revealed that further research was needed in order to adequately document the General's life and military career. Subsequent research led Holder to the State of Mississippi where he spent several years studying census, land, and cemetery records.

Holder, who now resides in Fort Worth, Texas, is a graduate of the University of Texas in Arlington. He holds a BS degree in microbiology and has worked in the pharmaceutical industry since 1974. He is a past member of the New Orleans Civil War Round Table and a current member of the Ft. Worth Civil War Round Table. He is also a member of the K. M. Van Zandt SCV as well as Co. A., Waco Guards in Waco, Texas.

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