Past rolls on in Grant

Civil War veteran Thomas Peach Ramsden, seated, is flanked by a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Spanish-American War, left, and a U.S. Army veteran of World War I in this photo believed shot sometime in the 1920s. Ramsden’s remains are interred at Rutherford Cemetery in Stillwater. (Submitted photo)

Heritage Days honors veterans, marks Civil War anniversary

GRANT — It’s certainly appropriate for Grant Heritage Days to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  After all, the city is named for the Union Civil War general and 18th U.S. President who’s battlefield strategy is credited with helping the North win the war.

The popular local festival is noon to 3 p.m. At the Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter Restaurant. Along with the traditional parade of about 100 antique vehicles and tractors, visitors are encouraged to dress in Civil War-era costumes, according to festival organizer John Smith.

The parade also has two other highlights, Smith said. One is a military color guard, and the other is a relative of area Civil War veteran Thomas Peach Ramsden serving as parade grand marshal, Smith said.

“This year we have a Marine Corps color guard,” Smith said. “Every year we’ve always honored veterans. This is the first year we’ve had a color guard.”

The parade grand marshals have a connection to the Civil War, Smith added.

“Bruce Ramsden and his wife, Barb, are our grand marshals. Bruce Ramsden is the great-great nephew of Thomas Peach Ramsden Jr. and lives on the family farm that’s still operating. I believe part of it is leased by Logger’s Trail Golf Course and Sawmill,” Smith said.

Smith said the parade route travels down McKusick Road, then south on Kimbrough Avenue to Grant Town Hall and circles back to the restaurant.

Back at the restaurant, Smith said festival organizers will hold a hotdog picnic, award prizes for antique vehicles and tractors and Civil War costumes, offer several children’s activities and award scholarships.

“We do raise money for scholarships for three high school students. Half of the scholarship the students must donate to a charity of their choice, and they must be involved in a civic activity,” he said.

Smith said Heritage Days organizers expect another large crowd at the festival this year.
“Last year we had 600 people. They are basically residents of Grant. It’s the only — and the largest — civic event in Grant,” he said.

Recognizing the 150th anniversary of the Civil War at Heritage Days was a logical idea to festival organizers, Smith said. Several members of the First Minnesota Volunteer Regimental Company B, including Thomas Ramsden came from what was then known as Greenfield Township, Smith added.

“We just thought is was an appropriate theme, particularly because Grant took its name from Gen. Ulysses Grant because he was such a historic figure,” he said, explaining the city’s name change after the war.

Contact Erik Sandin at [email protected]