Grant, Colquhoun (d.1792) (DNB00)
GRANT, COLQUHOUN (d. 1792), Jacobite, was son of the farmer of Burnside, on the estate of Castle Grant, Inverness-shire. He joined the army of the Chevalier in the highlands in 1745, and rendered important service in procuring recruits. According to one account he was one of those detached by the prince to force an entrance into Edinburgh, and pursued some of the guard to the very walls of the castle, where they had just time to close the outer gate, into whiqh he stuck his dirk, leaving it as a mark of triumph and defiance. Another account connects the dirk incident with his pursuit of the dragoons after the battle of Prestonpans, the story being that, mounted on the horse of a British officer, he chased single-handed a troop of dragoons to the castle of Edinburgh, and, baffled in his vengeance, plunged his dirk in disgust into the castle gate. It is as likely as not that the dirk incident is a humorous invention. He is, however, known to have distinguished himself in an attack on the dragoons at Prestonpans and the capture of two pieces of ordnance. For this he received at the first levee held at Holyrood the special thanks of the prince, who also presented him with a profile cast of himself. It has been conjectured that Grant was the highland recruit by whom Lord Gardenstone [see Garden, Francis, Lord Gardenstone] and another Edinburgh volunteer were taken prisoners while in an inn at Musselburgh; but according to information supplied to Robert Chambers by Henry Mackenzie, author of the 'Man of Feeling,' it was by appealing to Grant, who was acquainted with their position in Edinburgh, that these two volunteers escaped being shot as spies (Chambers, Hist. of the Rebellion of 1745-6). Though not of the gigantic size sometimes ascribed to him by tradition, Grant was tall and handsome, and was selected by the prince to form one of his life guards under the command of Lord Elcho. In this capacity he served with the prince till the disaster at Culloden (16 April 1746). Escaping after the battle to his native district, he remained in hiding till proceedings against the rebels terminated. Subsequently he settled in Edinburgh as a writer to the signet, having apparently served his apprenticeship before the outbreak of the rebellion. He was law agent to his chief, Sir James Grant of Grant. His portrait was drawn by Kay in a group with two other highland lawyers, Allan MacDougall of Glenlochan and Alexander Watson of Glenturke. Grant and Watson were constant associates, and used to dine together in a tavern in Jackson's Close for 'two placks apiece,' dividing half a bottle of claret between them. Being of frugal habits, Grant acquired sufficient wealth to purchase the estates of Kincaird and Petnacree, Perthshire. He died at Edinburgh 2 Dec. 1792. He was unmarried, but he left several illegitimate children, who were substantially provided for.
[Kay's Edinburgh Portraits, ed. Paton, 1877; Cat. of Portraits on Sale by Evans; Fraser's Chiefs of Grant, privately printed, 1883; Robert Chambers's Hist. of the Rebellion of 1745-6.]