Owen and Elizabeth Grimshaw
Immigrants to Missouri from England
Owen Grimshaw was born in about 1824 in England or Ireland. He and his spouse, Elizabeth (also possibly born in Ireland), were recorded with their daughter, Frances, on the passenger list of the ship Jersey. The ship arrived in New Orleans on May 10, 1851 from Liverpool. The 1860 U.S. Census found the family living in Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. Owen was recorded in the 1870 Census in Palmyra County, Missouri without Elizabeth, who apparently died between 1860 and 1870. After his first wife died, Owen married again, to Elisabeth Brown. At first, it appeared that the couple apparently eventually moved to Illinois, where the 1880 U.S. Census recorded them living in Ashley, Washington County. However, this Owen and Elizabeth Grimshaw may have been a different married couple. Records on Ancestry.com indicate that he was born in Maryland, and Elizabeth’s maiden name was Dennis, not Brown.
It is not yet known where in England (or possibly Ireland) that Owen and his first wife Elizabeth emigrated from. Neither has it been established if Owen had children by either wife or if they had descendants. It also is not yet known where Owen or his two Elizabeth wives are buried.
Owen Grimshaw served on the Union side — in the 6th Regiment (Company B) of the Southern Missouri State Militia Cavalry — during the Civil War. He has the distinction of being shot by a group associated with Quantrille’s Raiders when they attacked Liberty, Missouri on March 14, 1862. He was not mortally wounded, however.
Thanks go to the Missouri State Historical Society library in Columbia for providing assistance in obtaining newspaper clippings and other information on Owen and Elizabeth Grimshaw.
The record below from the Family Search website shows an excellent candidate for Owen Grimshaw’s origins. The record is of an Owen Grimshaw who was christened on January 11, 1824, which is a good estimate of the birth year of Owen Grimshaw of Missouri.
|Family Group Record|
However, this record may not be the correct one, inasmuch as an Owen Grimshaw is shown in another record as a resident of Shropshire, England in 1901.
Two records of Owen and Elizabeth Grimshaw’s immigration have been located and are shown below.
Immigration Record from the Louisiana Archives Ship Passenger List
IMMIGRANT SHIPS ARRIVING AT THE PORT OF NEW ORLEANS JANUARY 1 THRU JULY 7, 1851
IN ORDER BY SHIP AND LISTING PASSENGERS
Port of Departure
First & Middle Name
Immigration Record from Ancestry.com
In the second record above Elizabeth is recorded separately, three pages after Owen and Frances Grimshaw. Owen’s age is shown as 28, and Elizabeth’s age is 38. Both entries indicate an origin in Ireland (not Germany as shown on the Ancestry.com record).
Owen Grimshaw was recorded in the census of 1860 and 1870. A misleading record indicates that Owen and his second wife were in the 1880 census, but that record is for a different couple.
1860 U.S. Census
The 1860 U.S. Census found Owen and Elizabeth living in Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. The first record is from a companion webpage. The second is from Ancestry.com.
The Ancestry.com images are shown below.
1870 U.S. Census
By 1870, Owen Grimshaw had apparently moved to Palmyra, Marion County, Missouri. He appears to be living with another family. His profession is indicated to be “Garden”, which is consistent with another record below. Perhaps by 1870 his first wife, Elizabeth, had died and he had not yet remarried.
The Ancestry.com records are shown below.
1880 U.S. Census
Owen and Elizabeth (a second wife) had apparently left Missouri for Illinois by 1880, where the U.S. Census found them living with two nieces, Laura Mattox and Sarah Gaitty. Elizabeth Grimshaw’s birthplace is shown as Tennessee rather than England because she is the second wife of Owen.
The 1880 Census from FamilySearch is as follows.
|Elizabeth GRIMSHAW||Wife||M||Female||W||60||TN||Keeping House||SC||SC|
|Laura MATTOX||Niece||S||Female||W||22||MO||Works Out||IL||IL|
|Sarah GAITTY||Niece||S||Female||W||8||MO||At Home||MO||MO|
|Census Place||Ashley, Washington, Illinois|
|Family History Library Film||1254256|
|NA Film Number||T9-0256|
The Ancestry.com records are shown below.
Owen advertised in 1860 in the Liberty Weekly Tribune for work after leaving his job at Clay Seminary.
Liberty Weekly Tribune. April 20, 1860, Page 3, Column 1.
Mentioned in advertisement of Owen Grimshaw,
The following information on James Love and his Clay Seminary is provided in the Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri1 (volume 4, p. 44):
James Love, with the assistance of his wife Lucy, successfully conducted Clay Seminary for several years, beginning in 1854. A female college was opened under the patronage of the Baptists in 1854, and was conducted for five years by J.T. Davis, who was succeeded by J.B. Toombs. In 1865 it was consolidated with Clay Seminary and placed under the management of B.R. Vineyard, whose successors in turn were X.X. Buckner, the Rev. A. Machet and the Rev. A.B. Jones.
Owen Grimshaw was shot but not mortally wounded when the Confederate guerilla band associated with William Quantrille (Quantrrille’s Raiders) briefly took the town of Liberty from the Union on March 14, 1862. The band was actually led by Benjamin Parker, but it was closely affiliated with Quantrille and his Raiders. Quantrille was not present in that action, but did attack Liberty a few days later. The event was described as shown below a week later in the Liberty Tribune.
Liberty Tribune. March 21, 1862. Page 2, Column 2.
Seriously wounded when Quantrill’s men attacked the recruiting office at Liberty.
Owen Grimshaw disagreed with the above account and sent the response letter as a rebuttal a week later.
Liberty Tribune. March 28, 1862. Page 2, Column 3.
Gives his account of how he came to be shot.
Quantrille’s Raiders are described as follows on Wikipedia.
Quantrill’s Raiders From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Active 1861-May, 1865 Country Confederate States of America (claimed)
Quantrill’s Raiders was a loosely organized force of pro-Confederate Partisan rangers, “bushwhackers”, who fought in the American Civil War under the leadership of William Clarke Quantrill. The name “Quantrill’s Raiders” seems to have been attached to them long after the war, when the veterans would hold reunions.
2 Methods and legal status
2.1 Confederate induction
2.2 Lawrence, Kansas destruction
2.3 Confederate reaction
2.4 John Noland
3 Dissolution and aftermath
3.2 Popular culture
The Missouri-Kansas border area was fertile ground for the outbreak of guerrilla warfare when the Civil War erupted in 1861. Historian Albert Castel wrote:
For over six years, ever since Kansas was opened up as a territory by Stephen A. Douglas’ Kansas Nebraska Bill of 1854, its prairies had been the stage for an almost incessant series of political conventions, raids, massacres, pitched battles, and atrocities, all part of a fierce conflict between the Free State and proslavery forces that had come to Kansas to settle and to battle.
In February 1861 Missouri voters elected delegates to a statewide convention, which rejected secession by a vote of 89-1. Unionists, led by regular US army commander Nathaniel Lyon and Frank Blair of the politically powerful Blair family, and increasingly pro-secessionist forces, led by governor Claiborne Jackson and future Confederate general Sterling Price, contested for the political and military control of the state. By June, there was open warfare between Union forces and troops supporting the Confederacy. Guerrilla warfare immediately erupted throughout the state and intensified in August after the Union defeat at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.
By August 1862, with the Union victory at the Battle of Pea Ridge, the state was free of significant regular Confederate troops but the violence in Missouri continued. One historical work describes the situation in the state after Wilson’s Creek:
Unlike other border areas in Maryland and Kentucky, local conflicts, bushwacking, sniping, and guerilla fighting marked this period of Missouri history. “When regular troops were absent, the improvised war often assumed a deadly guerrilla nature as local citizens took up arms spontaneously against their neighbors. This was a war of stealth and raid without a front, without formal organization, and with almost no division between the civilian and the warrior.”
The most notorious of these guerrilla forces was led by William Clarke Quantrill.
Methods and legal status
Early photo of Capt. William Clarke Quantrill
Quantrill was not the only Confederate guerrilla operating in Missouri, but he rapidly gained the greatest notoriety. He and his men ambushed Union patrols and supply convoys, seized the mail, and occasionally struck towns on either side of the Kansas-Missouri border. Reflecting the internecine nature of the guerrilla conflict in Missouri, Quantrill directed much of his effort against pro-Union civilians, attempting to drive them from the territory where he operated.
Under his direction, Confederate partisans perfected military tactics such as coordinated and synchronized attacks, planned dispersal after an attack using pre-planned routes and relays of horses, and technical methods, including the use of the long-barreled revolvers that later became the preferred firearm of western lawmen and outlaws alike. The James-Younger Gang, many of whose members rode with Quantrill, applied these same techniques after the war to the robbery of trains and banks.
On 15 August 1862, Quantrill and his men were officially mustered into the Confederate army under the Confederate Partisan Ranger Act. Quantrill was designated as a captain and other officers were elected by the men. Quantrill often referred to himself as a General. Despite the legal responsibility assumed by the Confederate government, Quantrill often acted on his own with little concern for his government’s policy or orders. His most notable operation was the Lawrence Massacre, a revenge raid on Lawrence, Kansas in August 1863.
Lawrence had historically been the base of operations of abolitionist organizations, and during the war, pro-Union irregular raids by Redlegs and Jayhawkers into Missouri. A month prior to the raid, family members of Quantrill’s men held as hostages by Unionist forces in a dilapidated and overcrowded Kansas City prison, died when that building collapsed.
Lawrence, Kansas destruction
Calling for revenge, Quantrill organized a unified partisan raid on Lawrence, Kansas, the center of these Union forces. Coordinating across hundreds of miles, small bands of partisans rode over 300 miles (480 km) to rendezvous on Mount Oread in the early morning hours before the raid. Quantrill’s men burned a quarter of the town’s buildings, and killed at least 150 men and boys.
One of the main targets of the raid, Abolitionist U.S. Senator Jim Lane, escaped by fleeing into corn fields. The Lawrence raid was the most successful and infamous operation of Missouri’s Southern guerrillas.
The Confederate leadership was appalled by the raid and withdrew even tacit support from the “bushwackers”. Following the raid, in the winter of 1863-64, Quantrill led his men behind Confederate lines into Texas. There, their often lawless presence proved an embarrassment to the Confederate command.
Some Confederate officers appreciated the effectiveness of these Missouri irregulars against Union forces, which never gained the upper hand over them, especially Quantrill. Among these was General Joseph O. Shelby, who rode south into Mexico with his troops rather than surrender at the end of the war, and whose command was remembered as “The Undefeated”. Their exploits are also immortalized in a later addition to the post-war ballad, “The Unreconstructed Rebel”:
“I won’t be reconstructed- I’m better now than then.
And for that Carpetbagger I do not care a damn.
So it’s forward to the Frontier soon as I can go.
I’ll fix me up a weapon and start for Mexico.”
Among Quantrill’s men was a free African American man named John Noland. He was one of Quantrill’s scouts, reputed to be his best one. Noland helped scouting Lawrence, Kansas, before the raid by Quantrill’s men in 1863. He joined Quantrill’s raiders because of the abuse his family suffered at the hands of Kansas Union Jayhawkers. Post-war pictures show him sitting with comrades at reunions of the Raiders. In the 1999 movie Ride with the Devil, depicting a group of fictionalized Missouri bushwhackers similar to those of Quantrill’s Raiders as well as the Lawrence raid, the character of Daniel Holt was representative of Quantrill’s John Noland.
Dissolution and aftermath
During late winter 1863, Quantrill lost his hold over his men. In early 1864, the guerrillas he had led through the streets of Lawrence returned from Texas to Missouri in separate bands, none led by Quantrill himself.
A former lieutenant, “Bloody” Bill Anderson, assumed command in late 1863, shortly after the Lawrence Massacre. Many raiders, including Frank James, rode in 1864 under “Bloody Bill”, who was killed in October 1864.
Although Quantrill regathered some of his men in late 1864, the days of Quantrill’s Raiders were over. Quantrill died at the hands of Union forces in Kentucky in May 1865.
Much of that group continued under the leadership of Archie Clement, who kept the Raiders together after the war and harassed the state government of Missouri during the tumultuous year of 1866. In December 1866, state militiamen killed Clement in Lexington, Missouri, but his men continued on as outlaws, emerging in time as the James-Younger Gang.
In the films True Grit, protagonist Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne in the original 1969 version and Jeff Bridges in the 2010 version) prides himself on being a part of Quantrill’s Raiders during the Civil War while arguing with Texas Ranger LaBoeuf. He also has a cat named General Sterling Price after a famous Confederate General from Missouri.
1 Castel (1997) pp. 1-2
2 Nevins (1959) pp. 120-129, 310-316
3 Donald, Baker, and Holt (2001) p. 177. The quote within the larger quote was from Michael Fellman, Inside War: The Guerilla Conflict in Missouri during the American Civil War, (1989) p. 23.
4 Schultz (1996) p. 117
5 Casualties are based on the more recent scholarship of Dr. Michael Fellman, Professor of History at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. See Fellman (1989) cited above and referenced below, p. 25 and 254.
6 Wellman, 1961.
7 with variations by Ry Cooder for the 1980 film, “The Long Riders”: http://www.rycooder.nl/pages/ry_cooder_the_long_riders_chords_lyrics.htm
Castel, Albert.Civil War Kansas: Reaping the Whirlwind. (1997) ISBN 0-7006-0872-9. This is a republication of the 1958 edition with a new introduction and some text corrections.
Donald, David Herbert; Baker, Jean Harvey; and Holt, Michael F. The Civil War and Reconstruction. (2001) ISBN 0-393-97427-8
Fellman, Michael. “Inside War: The Guerilla Conflict in Missouri in the American Civil War.” (1989) ISBN 0-19-506471-2
Nevins, Allan. The War for the Union: The Improvised War, 1861-1862. (1959) SBN 684-10426-1
Schultz, Duane. Quantrill’s War: The Life and Times of William Clarke Quantrill. (1996) ISBN 0-312-14710-4
Detail on Benjamin Franklin Parker, who led the band that was responsible for shooting Owen Grimshaw, is described in another source as follows (Owen Grimshaw is described in italicized paragraph).
Benjamin Franklin Parker
In late 1861, Ben Parker was the leader of his own large guerrilla band. He operated independently sometimes and sometimes along with Quantrill’s Band.
Parker conducted a raid upon Independence in early February 1862. Quantrill raided the same town a few days later. He appears to have already received a commission in the CSA.
Parker was the leader of the Liberty, Clay County, raid. On Friday, March 11. a band of mounted Confederate partisans, 40 in number, led by Col. B. F. Parker, of Jackson county, dashed into Liberty and held the place for a few hours. Soon after their entrance they called up to them a citizen named Owen Grimshaw, who had a short time previously enlisted in the Federal service, and after conversing with him for a moment, shot him in the shoulder, bringing him to the ground. The wound was a severe one, but did not prove mortal. Capt. R. G. Hubbard, afterwards of Penick’s regiment, had a recruiting office, with ten men. The Confederates attacked them and there was an irregular exchange of shots for nearly three hours, where Hubbard and his men surrendered to keep from being burnt out. After paroling the prisoners and tearing down the U. S. flag from the court-house, the raiders left as suddenly as they had entered, striking straight for their rendezvous in Jackson county, among the Sni Hills. Nobody was hurt except
Kit Childs was with Parker and acted as his lieutenant. News of the raid was sent to Cameron, and Col. Catherwood, with four or five companies of militia and recruits, came galloping down to Liberty, making the march of 42 miles over heavy roads in 15 hours. After a little examination Catherwood realized that the raiders were out of all reach, and on Sunday, the 16th, he returned to Cameron, leaving at Liberty a company of his own regiment under Capt. E. D. Johnson, Caldwell county men. In a day or two came a reinforcement to Liberty from St. Joseph, under Col. T. T. Kimball, consisting of two companies of his six months’ militia, commanded by Capts. Drumhiller and Phelps. These remained until about the 1st of April, when, their term of service having expired, they left for their homes, and then came Col. W. R. Penick, with his 500 men, and after that all Confederate raids on Liberty by small bands were prevented.
Parker’s Band raided the riverboat “Rowena” on the Missouri River and removed six dozen pairs of boots. They stopped and robbed the steamboat at Blue Mills Landing 15 Mar. 1862, while they were still holding the squad of Federal prisoners.
On 27 March Parker’s command also raided Harrisonville, county seat of Cass County, and defeated the Union home guards.
The Confederates planned to organize to drive Federals out of Johnson County. They notified their friends in Johnson, Jackson and Lafayette counties to meet at Craig’s old mill on Blackwater Creek, about ten miles northeast of Holden. Major Foster, in Warrensburg, learned their plans and sent to Sedalia for reinforcements, and two companies of the First Iowa Cavalry reached Warrensburg about daylight of the very morning that the Confederates had planned to attack. Through some misunderstanding the Confederates did not all meet; the attack was given up and they disbanded. Foster, with two hundred of his men and the Iowa troops, then started out in search of the Confederates. He encountered the command of Colonel Parker with fifty-six Jackson county men. Colonel Parker immediately began a retreat and a running fight was kept up for a mile or so, when Colonel Parker’s command scattered and most of them escaped.
The Federals captured Colonel Parker and ten of his men, two of the Confederates and two Federals were killed and mortally wounded. In Colonel Parker’s hasty retreat he was thrown from his horse and the Federals overtook him. He fell prone on the ground and played dead. Some of the Iowa soldiers came up and examined him. They rolled him over and looked for the wound that caused his death, but not even a drop of blood could be found. At this perplexing juncture one of them said, ‘I think we’d better empty a load into him and finish the job. If he’s not already dead that will help him along, and if he is dead it won’t hurt him.” This was enough for Parker. He bounded to his feet just in time to surrender alive.
The Union authorities were in doubt as to Parker’s status as a Confederate recruiter, since they considered executing him for a while after they captured him on March 29, 1862. He was first sent to Sedalia, then the St. Louis Myrtle Street Prison. Eventually, his captors decided that he was a Confederate officer and sent him to the Alton, Illinois military prison. He was there until September 23, 1862, when he was sent from Alton to Vicksburg, Miss. to be exchanged along with a number of other officers.
He apparently started recruiting again immediately after he was exchanged and headed back north. On September 30, 1862, he filled out a requisition for camp equipment for twenty-six men at Post Monroe, LA. He signed his name B. F. Parker, 1st Regiment Missouri Rangers. He was on his way back to Missouri.
Parker provoked the CSA Commissary Dept. when he hijacked a wagon and 4 mules that belonged to them, outside of Camden Arkansas in Oct. 1862. He also signed for “meal sacks” at Little Rock.
In May 1863, several people in St. Louis were questioned. They were accused of taking money, a rebel flag, and uniforms to Col. B. F. Parker and Capt. Smith in Old Mines, near Potosi, Mo., two months earlier. The people accused and questioned in May 1863 were Daniel H. and Anne Donovan, Rose Kelly, Mathew Washburn and wife, and Lizzie Ivers. A Dr. Washington and Mr. Grimes are mentioned. All knew each other and lived in St. Louis, but often visited Potosi. They were also accused of hiding Parker in St. Louis when he was on his way back to western Missouri. They all claimed to know nothing. Daniel Hurley Donovan was from Ireland. He had become a naturalized citizen in Philadelphia in 1836. In St. Louis he served as alderman, Missouri legislator, volunteer fire captain, Supt. of Water Works, storekeeper and builder. Donovan Avenue in St. Louis was named for him. He lost his political appointment due to his loyalty to the Confederacy. Among other things, he procured salt for the CSA in Mobile, Ala.
Owen served for six months in the 6th Regiment of the Missouri State Militia Cavalry (Company B), as shown in the record below.
Owen subsequently made a pension claim for his military service in the Civil War.
Owen’s service is indicated as 6 months in Regiment 6 of the Southern Missouri Cavalry, which accords with his military record above.
According to the immigration record, his first wife, Elizabeth, was 10 years older than he. She pre-deceased him, and he remarried to Elisabeth brown. The record, shown below, indicates that the couple were both widowed. The date of the marriage is shown as February 14 or 15, but the year is not indicated.
Having obtained dispensation of the publications of the bannes and of the impdeiment of mixte Religion of united in the bonds of Matrimony Owen Grimshaw widower and Elisa-beth Brown widow. in presence of James Gleason and of John Carroll of St. Louis
It seems apparent that special permission to marry a non-Catholic was required in order for the couple to be married in the Catholic Church.
The graves of Owen and his two wives have not yet been found. They are not shown on FindAGrave.com. The graves are most likely near Kansas City, but could also be Illinois.
1Conard, Howard L, ed., 1901, Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri: A Compendium of History and Biography for Ready Reference. New York, The Southern History Company, vol 4, p. 44.
Webpage posted February 2007. Updated and finalized April 2013 with addition of extensive new information, including Owen Grimshaw’s being shot by Quantrille’s Raiders as well as organization changes and new banner addition.