Riley and Margaret (Briggs) Grimshaw

Forebears of At Least Five Immigrants to New England in the U.S.

Riley Grimshaw. Photo from Mavis Long.

Riley Grimshaw, son of George and Mary (Melling) Grimshaw, was born in 1831 in Haslingden. He and Margaret Briggs were married in Blackburn on May 4, 1854 and had seven children – Amos James, Ralph Briggs, Mary Jane, George Robert, Nancy, Margaret H, and John William Grimshaw – all of whom were born in Darwen except John William, who was born in Bolton. Amos James, Margaret H, and John William Grimshaw (and grandson Sydney, son of George Robert Grimshaw) emigrated to America. Riley Grimshaw died in 1866, and Margaret in 1910. Both are buried in the Darwen cemetery.


Webpage Credits

Summary of Riley Grimshaw & Margaret Briggs and Family by Mavis Long

Preliminary Descendant Chart for Riley and Margaret Grimshaw

Photos of Riley Grimshaw and Members of His Family

Descendants of Riley and Margaret Grimshaw Buried in Rhode Island

Family History Center FamilySearch Record of Riley Grimshaw

Where Are Haslingden and Darwen?

Amos James and Albert Harvey Grimshaw, Descendants of Riley and Margaret Grimshaw

Sydney Grimshaw, Another Descendant of Riley and Margaret Grimshaw

Did Riley Grimshaw’s Older Brother, James, Also Emigrate to America?

Final Resting Place of Riley and Margaret Grimshaw


Webpage Credits

Information on this webpage has been supplied by Mavis Long with acknowledgement to Shelagh Chesman for the photographs. Both are great-great-granddaughters of Riley Grimshaw.

Summary of Riley Grimshaw & Margaret Briggs and Family by Mavis Long

Mavis Long has graciously provided the following narrative of the forebears and descendants of Riley Grimshaw.


Riley Grimshaw was born in 1831 at Musbury, Haslingden and christened at Deardengate Independent Church, Haslingden in 1835 together with his younger sister Anne b. 1833.

His parents were George Grimshaw (christened 4 January 1802, St Jamess Church, Church Kirk) and Mary Melling ( b. 3 February 1804, Turton, daughter of Robert & Esther Melling). George & Mary married 8 November 1824 at St Marys Church, Bury, George being described as “a carter”.

George & Mary appear to have had six children:

James b. 1825; Esther, b. 1827; Mary, b. 1830; Riley b. 1831; Anne, b. 1833; George b. 1836.

George, died 7 January 1836, aged 34 yrs, his burial being recorded at St Jamess Church, Church Kirk. He died before his youngest son, also a George, was born.

Georges death appears to be the cause of the splitting up of the siblings for in the 1841 Census the children are shown as living at three different addresses:

James, aged 15 yrs, a stonemason, and George, aged 5 yr, are living at Scarrs, Haslingden, with their mother Mary and her new husband James Birtwistle, a stonemason.

Mary aged 12 yrs and Anne aged 8 yrs are living with their grandparents Robert & Esther Melling at Hare Clough, Haslingden.

Riley, aged 11 yrs, is living with Henry and Betty Pickup at Carrs, Haslingden.

Esther, b. 8 July 1827, does not appear to be in Haslingden.

The 1851 Census shows Riley, aged 19 yrs, lodging at Sough Bridge, Blackburn together with another Riley Grimshaw, aged 29 yrs, b. Accrington, both are described as being “Dyers”. ( These two must be related and linked to a marriage into a Riley family).

On 4 May 1854, Riley married Margaret Briggs at St Marys Church, Blackburn, (now Blackburn Cathedral) and by the time of the 1871 Census Riley & Margaret are living at 99 Back Clifton Street, Lower Darwen with their 7 children:

Amos James aged 16 reedmaker; Ralph Briggs aged 15 weaver; Mary J Grimshaw aged 12; George Robert aged 10; Nancy aged 8; Margaret H aged 6; and John William aged 4.

All children are shown as being born in Darwen except John William who was born in Bolton.

The 1881 Census shows the family living at 65 Blackburn Road, Darwen.

Amos James and Ralph Briggs are not living with their parents.

Riley is described at a “cotton sizer”. The five children still living at home, aged between 14 and 23 are all described as Cotton Weavers. i.e. Mary J; George Robert; Nancy; Margaret H; and John William.

In 1891 Census George Robert Grimshaw and his wife and 4 children are living at 19 Shaw Road, Royton. (Riley, his son Ralph Briggs and his daughter Nancy are all buried at Royton Cemetery.)

There are no male descendants of Riley Grimshaw, in England, to continue the Grimshaw name. Only the American descendants can do this.

Amos James went to America.

Ralph Briggs, died Royton, had 1 son who had 1 daughter.

Mary J died at Lower Darwen, unmarried.

Nancy m. George Lightbowne, d. Darwen

George Robert, died Burnley 1920, had 1 son, Sydney (1888-d. September 1955 in Westbury Town New Haven, Connecticut).

Margaret H emigrated to America at the same time as another family member.

John William went to America.

Rileys daughter Mary J Grimshaw never married. She was a weaver and also a Sunday School Teacher. She lived at Snape Street, Darwen. When she died she left £100 to each of her two sisters and £50 to each of her many nieces and nephews (11 known of in England) plus presumably those in America.

This branch of the American Grimshaws is somehow related to Margaret W Grimshaw, 10 Central Street, Somerville, Massch. who sent letter to England dated 11 December 1915.

Bert & Bertha Grimshaw, Margaret sister of Bert, Mr & Mrs L West, 19 Central Avenue, Walnut Beach, Milford and Louis Victor West, 176 Sixth St, Bridgeport, Conn. all communicated with the descendents of Ralph Briggs Grimshaw.

Photographs attached:

1. Riley Grimshaw, b 1831, date unknown,

2. Mary J Grimshaw, b. 1858, daughter of Riley Grimshaw

3. Sydney Grimshaw b. 1888 photo taken in America abt. 1913.

4. George Robert & Nancy Margaret Grimshaw (front row right) at the marriage of their daughter Margaret J to Victor Kane in 1910. Sydney Grimshaw is 1st from left back row. His sister Alice is to the right of the bride and sister Nancy is the young girl.

Preliminary Descendant Chart for Riley and Margaret Grimshaw

A descendant chart has been prepared based on the information provided by Mavis Long. It is shown below.

George Grimshaw (b. Dec 1801, Church, Bapt. 4 Jan 1802. – d. 7 Jan 1836) & Mary Melling.

|—James Grimshaw (1825 – ?).

|—Esther Grimshaw (1827 – ?).

|—Mary J Grimshaw (1830 – ?).

|—Riley Grimshaw (b. 2 Feb 1831, Bap 1836, Musbury – d. 1866, buried Royton) & Margaret Briggs (? – 26 Nov 1910)

|—|—Amos James Grimshaw (b. 1854, Darwen – d. 29 Jun 1902, Rhode Island) & Anna Austin.

|—|—|—Albert Harvey Grimshaw (29 May 1883 – 1949) & Bertha LeCann (1884 – 1953).

|—|—|—|—Austin Grimshaw b. 1902 & Elizabeth ??

|—|—|—|—(C)Katherine b. 1904, d. 1948, & U Herman.

|—|—|—Ralph I Grimshaw? (b. 24 Feb 1885 d. – ?).

|—|—Amos James Grimshaw (b. 1854, Darwen – d. 29 Jun 1902, Rhode Island) & Catherine ?

|—|—|—Margaret M Grimshaw (b. 1890 d. -?).

|—|—Ralph Briggs Grimshaw (b. 1856, Darwen – d. ?, Royton) & Mary West.

|—|—|—Leonard Ewart Grimshaw & Fanny Smith.

|—|—|—|—Bertha Grimshaw & William Scholes.

|—|—Mary J Grimshaw (b. 1858, Darwen – d. 23 Dec 1928 Lower Darwen). Unmarried.

|—|—George Robert Grimshaw (b. 1861, Darwen – d. 1920, Burnley) & Nancy Margaret Lighbowne.

|—|—|—Margaret J Grimshaw (1885 – 1974) & Victor Kane. Married 1909.

|—|—|—Sydney Grimshaw (b. 1888, Royton – d. 16 Sep 1955, New Haven, Connecticut) & Alice Gertrude Wilcock. Married 1907 in Nelson, Lancashire.

|—|—|—|—Nancy Grimshaw (b.1909, Nelson – d. 2000, Nelson).

|—|—|—|—Austin Grimshaw (b. 1912, Nelson – d. 1998, Lancaster).

|—|—|—Sydney Grimshaw (b. 1888, Royton – d.16 Sep 1955, New Haven, Connecticut) & Louisa Allen (? – Nov 1977). Married about 1926. No children to this marriage.

|—|—|—Alice Grimshaw (b. 1890 – d. 1973) & James Ivison Beardsworth.

|—|—|—|—Norman Beardsworth (b.1916 – d. ?) & Elsie Nicholson.

|—|—|—|—Dorothy Beardsworth (b. 1921 – d. 1985) & Ronald Edgar Hawkins.

|—|—|—Nancy Grimshaw (1900 – 1976). Unmarried.

|—|—Nancy Grimshaw (1863, Darwen – ?, Darwen) & George Lightbowne.




|—|—|—Margaret Ann


|—|—|—Nancy M

|—|—Margaret Hannah Grimshaw (b.1865, Darwen – ?)m. Jim West. Lived Massachusetts.

|—|—John William Grimshaw (b.1868, Bolton – d. ? Massachusetts) & Ellen S Worthington.

|—|—|—Helen W Grimshaw (b. 1891 Providence – d. ? ).

|—|—|—Dorothy A Grimshaw (b. 1896/8 Massachusetts d. ? ).

|—Anne Grimshaw (b. 1833 Bapt 1836 Musbury – d. ?).

|—George Grimshaw (b. 1836 – d. ?).

Amos James, Margaret Hannah. John William and Sydney Grimshaw emigrated to states in New England.

Photos of Riley Grimshaw and Members of His Family

The following photos of Riley Grimshaw and his family and descendants were provided by Mavis Long.

Riley Grimshaw

Mary J Grimshaw, Daughter of Riley and Margaret Grimshaw

Sydney Grimshaw, son of Riley and Margaret Grimshaw. Photo taken about 1913.

George Robert & Nancy Margaret Grimshaw (front row right) at the marriage of their daughter Margaret J to Victor Kane in 1910. 

Photo includes the following: 1) standing, left to right – Sydney Grimshaw, Victor Cane, Margaret Jane Grimshaw, Alice Grimshaw, and Jim Beardsworth; 2) seated, left to right – Alice Gertrude Grimshaw (wife of Sydney), unknown bridesmaid, Nancy Grimshaw (youngest daughter of George Robert and Nancy Margaret), Nancy Margaret Grimshaw, and George Robert Grimshaw.

Descendants of Riley and Margaret Grimshaw Buried in Rhode Island

A number of American emigrants who were descendants of Riley and Margaret Grimshaw are buried in a cemetery in Rhode Island. They include Amos James Grimshaw and his spouse, Anna (Austin) Grimshaw and Albert Harvey Grimshaw and his wife, Bertha (LeCann) Grimshaw. The Grimshaws buried at these locations are posted on the internet. They are shown below with the website address. Grimshaws that are known or believed to be related to Riley and Margaret Grimshaw are in the North Burial Ground and are shown in bold. 

GRIMSHAW ELIAS1829 – 30 SEP 1892CF001
GRIMSHAW ELIAS E.1895c – 27 SEP 1895CF001
GRIMSHAW MARY (MAY)1826 – 3 MAY 1897CF001
GRIMSHAW MARY C1907 – 1945CR002
GRIMSHAW EVA1887 – 3 APR 1919NS007
GRIMSHAW EDWARD M1859c – 17 AUG 1860PV001
GRIMSHAW ISIAH1857c – 1858PV001
GRIMSHAW JOSEPH T. 1857 – 1942WO007
GRIMSHAW J B 1811 – 1888WW010

Cemetery Key:

CF001 = Moshassuck Cemetery, Central Falls

CR002 = Pocasset Cemetery, Cranston

NS007 = Union Cemetery, North Smithfield

PV001 = North Burial Ground, Providence

PV003 = Swan Point Cemetery

PW004 = Locust Grove Cemetery, Providence

WO007 = Oak Hill Cemetery, Woonsocket

WW010 = St. Philips Episcopal Cemetery, West Warwick

Edward M and Isiah Grimshaw were descended from a different Grimshaw line (James and Rebecca Grimshaw; see companion webpage).

Family History Center FamilySearch Record of Riley Grimshaw

The following record was found on the Family History website, FamilySearch, for Riley Grimshaw and his parents, George and Mary (Melling) Grimshaw.

IGI Individual Record FamilySearch International Genealogical Index v5.0   British Isles


Event(s): Birth: 

02 FEB 1831   


07 AUG 1835  Dearden Gate Independent, Haslingden, Lancashire, England

Death:  Burial: 

Parents:   Father:  GEORGE GRIMSHAW Family   Mother:  MARY  


Extracted birth or christening record for the locality listed in the record. The source records are usually arranged chronologically by the birth or christening date.

Source Information: Batch No.:  Dates:  Source Call No.:  Type:  Printout Call No.:  Type:  C078801  1785 – 1837  0560882 (RG4 822)  Film  6904287
Film  Sheet: 00

IGI Individual Record FamilySearch International Genealogical Index v5.0   British Isles

RILEY GRIMSHAW   Male   Family

Event(s): Birth:  Christening:  Death:  Burial: 

Marriages:   Spouse:  MARGARET BRIGGS Family   Marriage: 

04 MAY 1854  Saint Mary, Blackburn, Lancashire, England
Source Information:
Batch No.: Dates: Source Call No.: Type: Printout Call No.: Type: 
M153641 1846 – 1854 1278808Film NONE  

Where Are Haslingden and Darwen?

The locations of Haslingden, where Riley Grimshaw was born, and Darwen, where most of the children of his and Margaret’s family were born, are shown in the map below. Central Blackburn is just north of the place name “Lower Darwen”. The Grimshaw location in Eccleshill is about 1 km northwest of Hoddlesden. Thanks go to the Ordnance Survey for making maps available online.

Amos James and Albert Harvey Grimshaw, Descendants of Riley and Margaret Grimshaw

Albert Harvey Grimshaw is descended from the Riley and Margaret (Briggs) Grimshaw family line – he was the son of Amos James and Anna (Austin) Grimshaw.  He was a noted researcher in textiles at North Carolina State University (see Albert is buried in Rhode Island with his wife, Bertha (LeCann) Grimshaw. His son, Austin Grimshaw (apparently named for his mother’s maiden name), graduated from Harvard and became Dean of the business school at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Photos of Amos James (left) and his son, Albert Harvey Grimshaw, are shown below. The pictures are described in more detail on the companion webpage.

Source of Amos James Grimshaw photo:

Hall, Joseph D., Jr., editor, 1901, Biographical History of the Manufacturers and Business Men of Rhode Island at the Opening of the Twentieth Century: Providence, RI., J.D. Hall & Co Publishers

Amos James Grimshaw died by his own hand, as indicated by the following record provided by Mavis Long. Click on the thumbnail below the two images to see the full page of the record.

AmosJamesDeathRecord.jpg (2416525 bytes)

Amos James Grimshaw is buried with his son and other descendants, as shown in the on Albert Harvey Grimshaw. He is also remembered on the gravestone of Riley and Margaret Grimshaw as shown below.

Sydney Grimshaw, Another Descendant of Riley and Margaret Grimshaw

Sydney Grimshaw emigrated to America, leaving behind his family in England, marrying another woman, and living in Connecticut. Sydney was considered a “black sheep” of the family for abandoning his English family. He is the subject of a companion webpage.

Sydney Grimshaw. Photo taken about 1913.

Did Riley Grimshaw’s Older Brother, James, Also Emigrate to America?

A James Grimshaw apparently immigrated to America during a similar timeframe as the children and grandchildren of Riley Grimshaw. He married Lydia (Bosworth) Allen Grimshaw, and they had one son, Frank Greenwood Grimshaw. Subsequently, this James left the northeast and settled in Texas, where he married Sarah Julius Stahl and had another five children (see companion webpage on the “Texas Grimshaws”). It is conjectured (but not yet proven) that this James Grimshaw was the oldest son of George and Mary (Melling) Grimshaw and, therefore, the older brother of Riley Grimshaw. The lines of evidence for this conjecture are summarized as follows:

  1. The James Grimshaw who went to Texas is believed to have been the son of William and Mary Grimshaw, which is pretty close to George and Mary Grimshaw, Riley Grimshaw’s parents.
  2. The reported birth date of Riley’s older brother, James, is 1825; the 1900 U.S. Census indicates that the Texas James was born in 1825.
  3. The Texas James named his oldest son (second child) “Amos”, a rather unusual name that was also used by Riley Grimshaw for his oldest son (“Amos James”).
  4. The Texas James named two of his other children Mary and George – the same names as the parents of Riley and his older brother, James.
  5. The Texas James did not use the name “William” for any of his children (nor does that name appear anywhere among his descendants), perhaps indicating that his father’s name was George, not William. There are many “Georges” among the descendants.
  6. The Texas James named three of his children the same as his hypothesized brother, Riley Grimshaw – George, Mary and Anne/Annie.
  7. The Texas James was married in New Bedford, MA, and his first wife, Lydia, had a child who was born in Providence, RI; Amos James Grimshaw and other Riley Grimshaw descendants settled in Providence, indicating a common point of origin in America.

A plausible theory, then, is that James Grimshaw accompanied (or led?) the children and grandchildren of his brother Riley at the time they were emigrating to America. He married there but, for reasons unknown, left for Texas where he married again. Riley’s grandson, Sydney, similarly left a family in England and went to America, where he married again.

The following e-mail from Donna Tilton Slicer (great-granddaughter of Frank Greenwood Grimshaw) to Thad Grimshaw (August 2006) provides interesting detail of the descendants of James Grimshaw, husband of Lydia (Bosworth) Allen Grimshaw.

Hi Thad!

Sorry to be so long in getting back to you with this information. This has been an extremely busy month and looks like the rest of the month will be the same. Maybe things will slow down in September? Maybe you already have this info–but anyway I finally found the family Bible in which Lydia wrote her name on the front page, so am assuming it was her Bible and that she wrote in accurate information. I will list the Marriages, Births, and Deaths as they appear.

Marriages :

George W. Allen

Lydia R. Bosworth

May 1, 1836

James Grimshaw

Lydia R. Allen

October 7, 1851

Births :

George W. Allen March 29, 1815

Lydia R. Bosworth March 16, 1817

Admiral E. Allen May 28, 1837

Annie Haskell Allen January 10, 1839

George Francis Allen March 15, 1843

James Grimshaw July 4,

Frank G. Grimshaw March 7, 1853

Myra Robison December 22, 1861 or 62 have forgotten

Eddie G. Allen August 5, 1863

Deaths :

Annie Haskell Robison

September 5, 1865

George Francis Allen

January 14, 1885

A.E. Allen

March 13, 1897

Josiah Bosworth

Born 1792

Died 1861

Anna H. Haskell

Born 1796

Died 1821

Lydia R. Grimshaw

Dec. 4, 1899

I thought it interesting that Lydia did not list James’ birth year, like maybe she didn’t know it? (We all have been quite confused about when he was born too.) I believe that Admiral E., Annie Haskell, and George Francis were Lydia’s children by George Allen, and then of course Frank. I’m wondering if Myra and Eddie were perhaps grandchildren of Lydia. It looks like all of her Allen children died before Lydia did. In the Bible Josiah’s and Anna H.’s dates were in a different handwriting, and Lydia’s death is in either my mother’s or my grandmother Myra’s handwriting, which were very similar.

I hope this info is helpful to you, or at least interesting!

Final Resting Place of Riley and Margaret Grimshaw

Riley and Margaret are buried in Darwen cemetery. Mavis Long has provided a photo of the gravestone, which is shown below. Several of their descendants are buried at the same location.

The inscription on the gravestone, as provided by Mavis, is as follows:

Darwen Cemetery RILEY GRIMSHAW father of AMOS JAMES GRIMSHAW — Inscription reads:

In affectionate remembrance of Riley Grimshaw who died October 11th 1884 aged 52 years Also Margaret his beloved wife who died November 26th 1910 aged 79 years. At Rest. Also Amos James their son died June 22nd 1902 aged 48 years interred at Providence Cemetery Rhode Island USA Also Ralph Briggs their son who died October 6th 1910 aged 54 years interred at Royton Cemetery Also Betsy Jane Lightbown grand daughter of the above who died in infancy Also Mary Jane Grimshaw daughter of Riley and Margaret Grimshaw who died December 23rd 1928 aged 70 years.”

As noted above, Amos James Grimshaw is buried in Providence, Rhode Island but is remembered on this gravestone.

Webpage History

Webpage posted November 2005. Upgraded and finalized February 2006. Updated August 2006 with section on hyothesized emigration of Riley’s older brother, James. Updated April 2013 with addition of grave photos for Riley Grimshaw and other information.