FORGOTTEN TRAILS: Granberry family history revisited

Published 1:02 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2007

By Staff
I received this email this week and thought I would pass it along. In July I wrote a couple of articles about the Granberry family for whom a Brewton street was named.
On the chance you’re saving responses to columns for future work or for the local historical society, I’m including info (below) to correct a few mistakes in Mrs. Waters’ work and to add a bit of info. I believe the info I’m supplying is correct, based on “received tradition” from my family and, more importantly, on research I’ve done. My sources include census information, various data bases, family letters, and interviews. Most everything I mention below has been authenticated in more than one way.
Best wishes and thanks for writing about Brewton and environs,
Ashley Granberry Taliaferro Williams
P. S. I don’t usually subject folks to my full name, but in this case, it seemed appropriate:
John Marcellus Granberry was a native of Harris County, Ga., and the son of the Rev. George Augustus Granberry and Mary Folsom Granberry. Rev. George Granberry farmed in Harris County (on the Georgia - Alabama line), represented the county in the state legislature for a few terms, and served as pastor of Baptist churches in the area, including the First Baptist Church of Columbus, Georgia.
[Mrs. Waters identifies incorrectly John M’s background; there were Granberrys in Talbot County, Georgia, at the time she specifies, perhaps relatives, but not John M.’s immediate family.]
John M. Granberry was a lieutenant in the Confederate Army, serving in a unit from Harris County. In 1870, he married Sallie McIver, a native of Conecuh Co., Ala., and the daughter of Thomas A. and Nancy McIver.
John M. and Sallie (Sarah Elizabeth) had four children, John McIver Granberry, Nannie Baker Granberry, George Folsom Granberry and Robert Colley Granberry.
Nannie, my grandmother, attended Judson College, then returned for a time to Brewton to teach. When her younger brothers, George—the musician—and Robert, were ready for college, these three siblings went together to Boston. Nannie attended Emerson College, where she finished her degree in elocution; George studied, as you indicate, at the New England Conservatory; and Robert graduated from Harvard. After a brief time at the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Ken., Robert returned to New England, where he studied at Andover-Newton Seminary, graduating with a divinity degree.
In 1900, Nannie married William Ashley Taliaferro of Evergreen, a Baptist minister and the son of Dr. Charles and Mary Ashley Taliaferro. After several years at pastorates in Alabama, they moved to Georgia in the early 1900s. For many years, my grandfather was pastor of Bull Street Baptist Church in Savannah. He was awarded an honorary degree by his alma mater, Howard College, now Samford University. My grandmother, in 1918, was invited to address the Southern Baptist Convention at its annual meeting held in Little Rock. She was perhaps the first woman to be invited to speak to that group—-certainly one of the first women to do so. (In print, I’ve seen her referred to as the first woman speaker to the SBC, but I don’t know that definitively; I do, however, know for certain that she would have been one of the first women invited to speak to the Convention.) I have her notes for her address; She spoke about working with adults in Sunday School—a new concept at that time, Sunday School having previously been for children. She and my grandfather had three sons. She died in 1952.
You’ve covered George’s interesting life, but I’d like to make a correction and a few additions. He didn’t serve in the French Army in World War I, though he did go to France. He served as a field secretary with the YMCA in its efforts to assist soldiers. He also served in World War II in the merchant marine. In fact, his ship was torpedoed in the Pacific, and he was given the ships’ papers to preserve when he went into a life boat.
George Granberry conducted the Granberry School of Piano in Carnegie Hall. In the summers, he came to the north Georgia mountains, where he had a house at Blue Ridge. During the 30s, he spent several weeks each summer on the campus of the University of Georgia, where he conducted summer opera with a cast drawn from the campus and the Athens community. He died in the 1950s, a widower with no children.
Robert Colley Granberry served as pastor of Rose Hill Baptist Church in Columbus, Ga., and of Tattnall Sqaure Baptist Church in Macon, Ga. He became president of Limestone College in Gaffney, S.C., serving there for more than twenty years. He and his wife, Leila Belle Brinson, had three children. He died in the 1960s.
John McIver (“Mac”) Granberry, the oldest son of John M. and Sallie, left home as a young man without, apparently, completing his education and became a railroad employee, according to family stories. I haven’t been able to find info about him, but I believe he married and had four children before dying as a rather young man. His son Mack became a pilot and served as an Air Force officer in the Korean War. Unfortunately, I don’t know more about this branch of the family.”
Thank you so much for this information, Ashley. When I get a nice letter from someone, it makes me know that someone is reading this column somewhere. I am glad to get mail with additions or suggestions.
Until next week, happy hunting.