Founders of the Massachusetts Bible Society - 1809

The Massachusetts Bible Society began on July 6, 1809 and is an ecumenical, Christian organization dedicated to promoting Biblical literacy, understanding, and dialogue. This blog lists brief biographies of our founders who gathered in the Massachusetts State House Senate Chamber on that historic day to sign the Charter founding MBS. Please visit our website:

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Deacon M. Grant

Without a first name listed, this founder is a bit difficult to identify with certainty. A Deacon M. Grant appears on a list of guests at a collation for the American Unitarian Association and with so many of our founders among their number, it seems likely that this is the same person.

The presence of our next founder, Moses Grant, Jr. points to the possibility that this might be Deacon Moses Grant, a deacon in the Brattle Street Church, where founder Joseph Buckminster was the minister. That Moses Grant did have a son named Moses. If this is our man, he was born in Boston on March 13, 1743 and he had an upholstery business. Moses Jr. became a partner with him in that business.

Moses Grant the elder was a fierce patriot, participating in several acts of rebellion in the time leading up to the Revolution, including the Boston Tea Party.

We read some of the details of his role in this event in The Good Man, a sermon preached in Brattle Square in 1842:

“In this work the party was organized in three divisions, each of which kept to its assigned duty. There was one division to raise the chests to the deck, another to break them open, and a third to throw their contents overboard. Mr. Grant's place was in the second division, whose function it was to break open the chests, which was done chiefly by ‘catsticks’ taken from a woodpile close at hand on the wharf. Mr. Grant used to relate an interesting incident connected with this important Tea- party. The people in the neighborhood, seeing the fatigue they were undergoing, prepared and brought to them some pailfuls of punch. It was received courteously, but not drank. The pails were passed along over the deck; and their contents, like those of the opened chests, poured into the sea. The patriots needed no such stimulants, and scorned to use them. The lofty principles, and the indomitable purpose in their hearts, were an adequate inspiration and an all-sufficing strength.”

A London newspaper of 1774 contained a letter from Boston noting that Deacon Moses Grant was “a fiery deacon indeed!” Moses Grant was a member of the company of cadets led by Colonel John Hancock and died December 22, 1817.

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