AUTHOR: Betty Bowles Haywood
You might call me one-quarter Yankee. My great-grandfather, Major Hiram Grant, came to Goldsboro as part of the Army of Occupation after the Civil War. He was first cousin to General U.S. Grant. Hiram had four children whom he sent to New England to college. Only one returned to the South. When Mabel came to teach at Mitchell College in Statesville, she met and married an Iredell County man, John Franklin Bowles, and they made their home in Statesville. Her father Hiram and his wife had become beloved and respected in Goldsboro. He was elected to the legislature and had built with his own money a brick school for the town. His wife taught Sunday School at the Baptist Church.
We have the inscribed silver vase the church gave her for thirty or more years of service. When I was young, I was not informed of my kinship with President Grant. I felt Southern through and through. Later in my life I discovered his memoirs, considered a classic of American literature, and I became a student of his life and influence. One part of that pursuit was a trip on the Delta Queen down the Mississippi River. I was with a group sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and led by historians informing us about the Western Campaign during the Civil War. My roommate on the Delta Queen was the great-granddaughter of the Confederate general Kirby Smith.