My Contribution: I was among the earliest African American teachers in Harrisburg’s public school district when I taught at the Calder School between 1885 and 1890 and was remembered for my rousing teaching and preparation of children for real life and professional careers. I also contributed to the thriving of Elder Street, later Capital Street Presbyterian Church, as a vocalist and committed church member.
My Legacy: My work in both the local churches and schools of Harrisburg set me apart as a Black woman who consistently invested in my community in spite of societal prejudices at the time. I made a difference in the education of a cohort of African Americans who came of age in the late ninteenth century and the thriving of Capital Street Presbyterian Church, which still exists today. As the mother of seven children, I left my mark in the family ties of the next generation.
“She was the third Negro school teacher in Harrisburg, and the good she has done will go down in history and be referred to many times in future. Harrisburg had many Negro athletes and base- ball players who helped to make Harrisburg prominent, and many of them were given their early school instructions under this popular woman… She was a teacher in the Calder Building and among her early pupils were the Williams and Potter boys, all of whom were prominent in baseball… She was quite a vocalist and manifested much interest in teaching music.” — Harrisburg Telegraph, February 9, 1943.
“She was the oldest member in years of service and was a member of the choir since she was 14 years old.” — Concerning membership in Capital Street Presbyterian Church, The Evening News, February 8, 1943.
Full Name: Harriet M. St. Clair; Harriet M. Grant. Nickname: Hattie.
Birth Date: July 2, 1864
Death Date: February 5, 1943
Place of Birth: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Race: Black (1900-1920 Federal Censuses) and “Negro” (1930 Federal Census).
Places of Residence: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: 1405 James Avenue, 328 Muench Street (1890- 1891), 230 Liberty Street (1893), 228 Liberty Street (1894-1895), 340 Muench Street (1897-1900), 704 N. 7th Street (1902-1907), 130 Balm Street (1908), 1727 N. 7th Street (1909-1911), 128 Balm Street (1913), 303 S. 14th Street (1914), 1326 N. 7th St. (1920), 611 Forster Street (1930), and 1105 Montgomery Street (1943).
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Resident; taught near the Eighth Ward at a school that many Eighth Warders attended; Elder Street Mite Society met in the Eighth Ward.
Family Members: Father: George St. Clair. Mother: Mary S. Myers-St. Claire. Hus- band: James W. Grant, m. 1890-1914, d. September 29, 1914. Sister-in-Law: Clara M. St. Clair. Children: James W. Grant, Jr., Mary L. Grant Braxton, Howard B. Grant, Joseph Louis Grant, Sterling S. Grant, Harriet “Hattie” A. Grant, Mabel Grant Wil- liams (step-daughter). Grandchildren: Joseph N. Braxton, Janice L. Braxton, Lucylle G. Braxton.
Education: Harrisburg High School, 1885
Occupations: Public School Teacher at Calder School 1885-1890. Mother. Church Woman. Organizer
Church Membership: Elder Street Presbyterian Church, later Capital Street Presbyterian (member and choir singer for over sixty years).
Activism: Mite Society of the Elder Street Presbyterian Church
Connections: Annie E. Amos, John P. Scott, William Howard Day, Spencer P. Irvin, William H. Marshall, Catherine Payne-Campbell, Harriet Harrison, and James W. Grant.