Skip Navigation


The historic old city of Richmond, Va., has sent out to the rest of Virginia and to other states many religious leaders of both races. One of the strong men of the M. E. Connection now (1922) doing splendid work in West Virginia is Rev. Joseph Gay Grant, of Ronceverte, and he is a native of Richmond. He was born there on March 24, 1882. His father, Christopher C. Grant was a mechanic, the son of Susie Payne. The mother of our subject, was, before her marriage, Miss Willie E. Woodson, daughter of Lucy Woodson, who is still living at a ripe old age and is well known for her piety.

Mr. Grant pursued his elementary studies in the Richmond public schools from which he passed to the High and Normal School in the same city. Later he further pursued his literary work at Morgan Academy, Baltimore, and finally took his theological training at Howard University, Washington, D. C. He went to Howard after entering the ministry and won his B.D. degree in 1921. After leaving the public school he had to make his own way, but he found that in incentive to effort rather than a discouragement. He was brought up in the good atmosphere of a Christian home and that early influence gave tone and direction to his life.

At a rather early age his mind turned toward religious matters, and he experienced the new birth in 1898, or when he was sixteen years of age. Some years later he felt divinely led to preach the Gospel and was licensed in 1908. He joined the Conference at Baltimore in 1913 under Bishop Cranston. Prior to this he had served the Leesville, Va. Circuit for six months, but his first regular charge was Charlottesville, where he preached four years. He went from there to New Windsor, Md., where he preached two years and began the erection of a new house of worship. His next appointment was to the Central Station, Washington, D. C., which he served one year. He went from there to Woodlawn, Va., and it was while there that he found time for his theological course at Howard. At his next charge, Hall's Hill, Va., he preached two years and remodeled the church. In 1922 he came to Ronceverte, where the work prospers under his hand. Mr. Grant believes that progress may be promoted by a spirit of co-operation and understanding such as is fostered by the Woman's Clubs and education conferences. In politics he is a Republican and among the secret orders holds membership in the Odd Fellows, of which he is Chaplain.

On November 26, 1903, Mr. Grant married Miss Sadie E, Coates, daughter of W. H. and Emma J. Coates, of London County, Va.

History of the American Negro Index

History Center

West Virginia Archives and History