Grimshaw Origins and Family History
This webpage is intended to give you a good grounding on the origins of the family in Lancashire, England. If you are interested in particular topics on the Grimshaws, you might go to the Site Map, where links to all the more than 100 webpages on this website can be found.
Unfortunately, the links to other webpages are not working at this time.
Objective and Acknowledgements
The main purpose of this website is to serve as a resource of information for Grimshaw family history researchers.
Much of the information presented was gathered during visits to
libraries in England (Lancashire and Yorkshire), Ireland (Belfast) and Scotland.
However, a great deal of the Grimshaw history has come from individual researchers; even the library information was obtained in many cases based on guidance and tips from other researchers.
I am deeply grateful to all of them. They are generally indicated on
the webpages where their contributions appear, and they will be listed
together on a future webpage.
Particular thanks go to Hilary Tulloch, not only for providing a lot
of information directly, and guidance on where to look for additional
data, but also for providing careful review of most of the pages on this
website (changes still in progress).
Notwithstanding the contributions of many others, any errors (or oversights) are strictly the
responsibility of the author.
If you have information on the Grimshaws in
general, or just on your own family line that includes Grimshaws, you are
invited to add it to this website. Please see “About this Website“
below to find out how.
What’s New? Latest Changes and Additions (and an Overall Website Outline)
This website continues to be added to and updated, especially as more information becomes available from other researchers.
A webpage has been set up for those who have visited the site previously to determine what has been changed or added since their last visit.
A webpage with an overall outline
is also provided as a roadmap of the website.
Grimshaw Origins: An Introduction
The Grimshaw family originated in Lancashire in the northwest part of England around 1000 A.D. There are no records of family lines, however, for the first 200-250 years.
The earliest recorded family was apparently started by Walter de Grimshaw about 1250 A.D. at the Grimshaw location, about three miles southeast of central Blackburn in Eccleshill Township.
The Grimshaw location in Eccleshill is shown below
(center of photo). The site is now occupied by an envelope factory and a
closed-down paper mill.
The Grimshaw name may have even earlier connections to Grimsargh,
which is about 10 miles northwest of Blackburn and four miles northeast
The Viking Derivation of the Grimshaw Surname
The Grimshaw name is apparently derived from a location where descendants of Viking invaders to Lancashire believed that their chief God, Odin, came to the earth to be among people. When Odin came, he wore a mask to hide his identity and was known as the Grimr.
If the location was Grimshaw in Eccleshill, the location was in a wood (“shaw”); if it was Grimsargh, it was a pasture (“argh”).
The Earliest Recorded Grimshaw Family in Eccleshill and Clayton-le-Moors
As noted, the earliest recorded Grimshaw was Walter, who was living about 1250 A.D.
Walter’s descendants (male heirs) lived at the Grimshaw location in Eccleshill until about 1350, when his great-great-grandson, Adam, married Cecily Clayton.
Celicy was the co-heiress of the
Clayton-le-Moors estate, so the Grimshaws moved there. It is located about
five miles northeast of central Blackburn (six miles northeast of the Grimshaw
location in Eccleshill).
This Grimshaw family remained at Clayton Hall for 11 generations,
until 1715, when the male heirs ran out.
The family had a rich history during their 350+ years at
Clayton-le-Moors. They retained their Roman Catholic faith in spite
of often severe anti-Catholic sentiment and actions after King Henry
Many Grimshaw family lines branched off this earliest line, giving
rise to a large number of interesting family histories, both in
England and North America.
Grimshaw Coat of Arms
The coat of arms of the earliest Grimshaw family line consists of a black griffin on a white or silver background; the crest is a pair of back-to-back lions’ heads. A rendition is shown below. The image of the coat of arms as presented in the Harleian Manuscripts is included at the top of this page.
The Grimshaw arms were sanctioned in 1613 by a king’s representative (herald) who visited the Blackburn area.
Most of the coats of arms of subsequent Grimshaw families have had a griffin as a central figure.
The Grimshaw family kept their land holdings in Eccleshill after they relocated to Clayton-le-Moors in the mid-1300s.
According to a 1742 publication by Charles Owen, a Grimshaw living at Clayton Hall was traveling to the family’s holdings in Eccleshill when he performed a valuable community service by killing a large snake in Ooze Castle Wood, about a mile southeast of the Grimshaw location.
A good candidate for “Griom’s Ark”, the purported den of
the snake, has been located in Ooze Castle Wood.
Ooze Castle Wood and the candidate for Griom’s Ark are shown in the
Owen made a connection between this snake and the griffin on the Grimshaw coat of arms, but the exact nature of the connection was vague in the extreme.
snake-killing event, perhaps at least partly a legend, would have happened
between 1350, when the Grimshaws moved to Clayton Hall, and 1613, when the arms
were sanctioned by the kings’ herald. Thus the griffin preceded the snake in
Grimshaw history by at least 300 years.
Important Grimshaw Family Lines and Individuals in England, Ireland and Elsewhere
As many as 35 family lines may have “spun out” of Walter’s family line. No Grimshaws are known whose family came from other lines besides Walter’s.
The Oakenshaw Line of Grimshaws started from the 6th generation of the Clayton line when John Grimshaw married Elizabeth Aspden and they lived at Oakenshaw, about a mile southwest of Clayton Hall in Clayton-le-Moors around 1400.
The Pendle Forest
Line started from the 11th generation when
Nicholas moved to Heyhouses, on Pendle Hill, in 1588. The Preston
Guardian in 1877 published a seriesof four articles summarizing the history of this important Grimshaw
family line. Christopher Telfer hasprepared a website that contains information of several derivative
lines of the Pendle Forest Line.
The Grimshaw family in Crowtrees and elsewhere in
Barrowford, Lancashire is
one of the many lines of the Pendle Forest Grimshaws. This line apparently began
when Thomas Grimshaw married Grace Gibson and the couple was subsequently
invited to move to Crowtrees by Grace’s two aging bachelor uncles who were
Line began from the Pendle Forest Line when
Nicholas (five generations after the Nicholas who went to Pendle Hill)
emigrated and started the cotton textile industry in Ireland.
Edward and Dorytye/Dorothy (Raner)Grimshaw started a family line in Rawdon, Yorkshire early in
Grimshaw family history; their line
includes many branche, both in England and America.
The Shuttleworths of Gawthorpe, Descendants of a Grimshaw Woman
The Shuttleworth family was based at Gawthorpe
Hall, which is in
Padiham, about 4 miles northeast of Clayton Hall.
An early ancestor of this
family is Anne Grimshaw, wife of Hugh Shuttleworth, and daughter (fifth child)
of Thomas Grimshaw and Margaret Harrington Grimshaw in the 10th generation
of the original Grimshaw family
Gawthorpe Hall was built by Lawrence
Shuttleworth, son of Hugh and Anne (Grimshaw) Shuttleworth,
using plans prepared by his older brother, Richard.
The Shuttleworth family included members who gained considerable status in
Grimshaws in the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution has both fueled the advance of Western (and world-wide) civilization in the modern era and brought mankind to the deepening realization of the limits of the earth as well as the need to re-define our relationship to the planet.
The Grimshaws were in the right place and time to be deeply involved in the
origins and development of the Industrial Revolution. Many Grimshaw connections can be found in historical records, especially in
textiles and coal mining, both of which became so prevalent in Lancashire.
The involvement of the Grimshaws in the Industrial
Revolution took place at both of the two places of their earliest origins – Eccleshill
The Grimshaws were also connected to the inventors
of some of the key textiles inventions and participated in
the Industrial Revolution in other important ways.
The Industrial Revolution at Eccleshill
Because of its proximity to Blackburn, Darwen and other centers
of industrial development during the early days of the Industrial Revolution,
Eccleshill was deeply
involved in, and impacted by, the development.
Even the origina Grimshaw location in Eccleshill was given over to an industrial site, starting as a water-powered cotton mill in 1782 and then as a paper mill from 1872 to 1999. The paper mill is now closed, but an adjacent envelope factory continues in operation.
Eccleshill Township is underlain by coal-bearing strata of the Lancashire
Coalfield, and coal has been mined in the township probably since not long after
it was settled. Given their ancient holdings and economic interests in Eccleshill, it is
not surprising that the Grimshaws were heavily involved in coal mining in the
township. The Grimshaw connections to coal mining operations going back at least
the early 1600s.
The Industrial Revolution at Clayton-le-Moors
Clayton-le-Moors was very heavily involved in the
early industrial development of Lancashire, with primary emphasis on
textiles. No fewer than 16 textile-related sites have been identified in the
A major artifact of the Industrial Revolution in Clayton-le-Moors is the
& Liverpool Canal which was opened from Burnley to Enfield (in
Clayton-le-Moors) in 1801. It was apparently the major artery for the transport
of cotton to the Blackburn area for spinning, weaving and other textile
Coal mining has apparently been
going on in and around Clayton-le-Moors going back at least to the 16th and 17th centuries.
The first recorded instances of coal being
mined in Clayton-le-Moors and Altham was in 1641, when John Grimshaw let the coal
seam at Clayton to Henry Towneley and Nicholas Towneley, of Royle for 18
An important event associated with coal mining at Clayton-le-Moors was the
Pit Disaster on November 7, 1883 in which 68 men and boys were killed (one
victim was age 10, three were 11, and three were 12) by a coal mine explosion.
The victims included two Grimshaws killed (Thomas, age 26,
and John, age 20) and one injured (William.)
Grimshaw Connections to Inventors of Key Textile Manufacturing Devices
James Hargreaves invented one of the most important devices for advancement of
the production of cotton textiles in Lancashire. The spinning jenny also
exemplified the kind of inventiveness that made the Industrial Revolution
possible. Hargreaves married Elizabeth Grimshaw on
September 10, 1740 at nearby Church Kirk, and they had 11 children from 1744 to
Richard Arkwright is credited with inventing the mechanical spinning machine
and developing the factory system for deploying the machines. He was apparently
assisted in the development of his invention by Nicholas Grimshaw, a prominent
figure (mayor seven times) in Preston.
Edmund Cartwright is credited with inventing the power loom and securing
patents for it. Robert Grimshaw made a business arrangement with Cartwright to
deploy 500 looms in a weaving mill near Manchester. Unfortunately, the factory
was burned in 1790 (probably by an arsonist) not long after it went into
operation, apparently the victim of the social unrest and reaction to the
Industrial Revolution at the time.
Other Important Grimshaw Connections to the Industrial Revolution
Nicholas Grimshaw played a pivotal role in bringing the
industry to Ireland during the same timeframe that members of the Grimshaw family were actively
participating in the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution in England. Nicholas was from Blackburn and apparently emigrated to
Ireland in about 1776. He initiated the textile industry when he opened the
first cotton mill in 1784 at a location near Belfast.
The social ills that accompanied the Industrial
Revolution included high unemployment, low wages and the lack of a social
“safety net” which led to great suffering, and even starvation, among
the textile workers in Lancashire. Four days of rioting (“Power Loom
Riots”) occurred in 1826
during which more than 1000 power looms were destroyed by desperate persons. The
first day of rioting (April 26) started at Clayton-le-Moors and included eight
factories. Two Grimshaw women (Alice and Ellen) were implicated in the attack on
White Ash factory in Ostwaldtwistle on the first day of rioting. Also, Phoebe
Tomlinson, later the wife of John Grimshaw (soldier in the
Coldstream Guards), was arrested and convicted for her involvement
in the rioting.
The Grimshaws were involved in the social unrest in other
ways as well. For example,
“Radical” John Grimshaw apparently was the author of two interesting poems
that protested the treatment of the textile workers: “Hand Loom
v Power Loom” and “The Hand Loom Weavers’ Lament.”
Today there are apparently about 18,000 living persons with the Grimshaw surname.
About 13,350 are in Great Britain, 2400 are in the U.S., 1200 are in Australia and New Zealand, 750 are in Canada, and the remainder are scattered in 10 to 12 other countries.
Apparently most, if not all, of these families are descended from
Walter Grimshaw and his descendants from Eccleshill in Lancashire.
Records of Grimshaw Immigrations to North America
Grimshaws have been apparently been coming to America since the mid-1600s, less than 50 years after the founding of the Jamestown Colony in Virginia.
It appears that more than 130 Grimshaw immigrants entered the U.S. (and the preceding colonies) between 1651 and 1880.
The earliest Grimshaw immigrants (the first dozen or so) came during the colonial period and early history of the country and appear in records related to the Virginia and Maryland colonies. They appear as owners (or at least tenants) of land, as an indentured servant (in one case), and as convicts that were deported to Virginia or Maryland. One couple is also recorded as coming to the Georgia colony.
After the Revolutionary War, the immigration pattern changed dramatically and shifted northward, with the majority of records showing connections with New York, particularly as immigrants through the port of New York. Strong connections in Pennsylvania are also indicated, especially in naturalization records.
For this website, an initial survey was conducted for Grimshaw entries in readily available (published) census indexes. The period covered in the census survey was from before 1790 to 1860.
The total number of Grimshaws included in the census data increased from 2 before 1790 to 118 in 1860.
Grimshaws were found in 32 states over the 90-year period.
The following table summarizes the number of Grimshaws found in each census:
Almost 400 indexes were examined, of which 94 were found to contain Grimshaw
Grimshaws in the 1870 U.S. Census
The indexes for the 1870 U.S. Census for 49 states were reviewed for Grimshaw entries for this survey (SD was not available).
A total of about 165 Grimshaws were enumerated in the 1870 census.
Not only does the census provide the name
and location of the head of the household, but it also provides the names and
relationship to the head, of the other residents of the household.
are the occupation, country of birth, and birth country of parents of all the
individuals in the household.
Grimshaws in the 1880 U.S. Census
The 1880 Census is an outstanding resource for researching family lines of earlier immigrants to this country.
Not only does the census provide the name and location of the head of the household, but it also provides the names and relationship to the head, of the other residents of the household. Also included are the occupation, country of birth, and birth country of parents of all the individuals in the household.
A search of an electronic database of the census yields a total of about 600 Grimshaws living in the U.S. in 1880. Approximately 120 families are represented.
Grimshaw Family Lines in North America
A clear and consistent picture of the family lines of Grimshaws in North America is only just barely emerging
One of the main purposes of this website is to provide a focus for obtaining (and posting) Grimshaw family lines to help the Grimshaw research effort.
The American Genealogical-BiographicalIndex (AGBI), one of the standard references for genealogical and biographical
information in America, contains 30
Grimshaw listings. These 30 Grimshaws are indexed from a total of 12 references.
Each of the 12 references containing Grimshaw entries was reviewed, and
(where known) a connection has been made to Grimshaw immigrants and their family lines.
The Edwin A Grimshaw Collection of American
Grimshaw Family Lines — about 20 years ago Ed purchased a book
Grimshaw family information offered by Beatrice Bayley. In an effort to trace his family history,
Ed sent inquiries to all of the nearly 600 Grimshaws listed in the book and received about
His collection of responses, received in
1979 and 1980, comprise a valuable record of Grimshaw immigrants to the U.S. and
Some of the most significant Grimshaw lines identified so far are described below.
William Grimshaw fought in the American Revolutionary War on the side of the Colonials. He was a member of Hazens Regiment, which was initiated in Canada by Moses Hazen near the beginning of the conflict. Apparently Williams service began in January 1782 and continued until the regiment was disbanded* in June 1783, a period of about 18 months.
Records indicate that William was a fifer and that he served in (Clement or Louis) Captain Gosselins Company. He caused a casualty in February 1782 – a man named Musick or Musiak.
war he received bounty land for his service, receiving Bounty Land Warrant No.
13129, dated March 25, 1790. He was counted in the New Hampshire (Grafton
County) censuses of 1790, 1800 and 1810.
A copy of a Bounty Land Warrant issued to William for his Revolutionary War service is shown below.
Following his service in the Revolutionary War, William settled in NewHampshire, where he apparently had a
family and remained
for more than 20 years. During that time he left at least 15 direct (and two
indirect) records, including land transactions, census tallies, road petitions,
marriages and intentions to marry, and inventory and tax records.
The records discovered so far cover William’s life in New Hampshire from about
to around 1812. Indirect evidence indicates that William’s wife was Elizabeth
Lepninah or Zephaniah, and his nine children (five girls and four
boys) included Betsey, Zephaniah, George, and Levi.
believed to be the oldest son of William and Elizabeth, lived in the area of
southwestern Quebec and
northern New York state in the early 1800s. He was one of the most prolific
Grimshaws, fathering nearly 20 children, apparently by three women —
Jerusha Hunter, Asentha Noakes and Adaline Covey.
The town of Grimshaw, Alberta, Canada is named for Matthew
Grimshaw, a physician who was apparently a descendant of Zephaniah.
Two Grimshaw families lived
on Wolfe Island, Ontario, which is located near Kingston at the head of the St.
Lawrence River at Lake Ontario. The first Grimshaws to settle on Wolfe Island
were apparently William and Mary Ann (Blair)Grimshaw, who acquired several
parcels of land in the western half of the island. William is believed to have
oldest son of Zephaniah.
The second family to live on Wolfe Island was that
of George and Charlotte (Menard) Grimshaw.
George is believed to be the second son of William and Elizabeth
Grimshaw. George and Charlotte apparently had about 8 children. Many of
their descendants are in the U.S., since three of their sons moved to
Wisconsin. A webpage has been prepared for one of their sons, John James
Grimshaw (see below.)
John James andMary Ann (Mahoney) Grimshaw apparently met and married on
Wolfe Island. John was the third child (oldest son) of George and
Charlotte (Menard) Grimshaw. Mary Ann came from Ireland during the potato famine.
After most or all of their children were born, they emigrated to the
U.S. and settled in Richland Center, Wisconsin. Webpages have been
prepared on three of their sons, George Thomas, William Alexander
and Michael Henry Grimshaw (see below.)
George Thomasand Aris (Ladd) Grimshaw met and married in Wisconsin and
migrated westward, eventually settling in South Dakota, where they
lived out their lives. George was the oldest son of John and Mary
Ann Grimshaw and was born on Wolfe Island. Aris was from New York.
George and Aris are the great-grandparents of the author of this
William Alexander and
Jane (Turner) Grimshaw were both born in 1854, William in New
York and Jane Turner in Muncie, Indiana. Both of their families migrated to
Richland Center, Wisconsin, where the couple married on December 26, 1872. Later
they moved to Beloit, where they lived out their lives. William was another son
of John and Mary Ann Grimshaw.
Michael Henry and Maria
(Norris) Grimshaw also migrated west and settled in
Minnesota, where Maria died, at the young age of 32, and is buried.
Michael subsequently remarried and lived in North Dakota, where he
died and is buried.
Lawrence and Mary(Duckworth) Grimshaw apparently lived during the early 1800s
in Accrington, Lancashire, near Clayton-le-Moors, the home of the
original Grimshaw family line. They had nine children, four of whom
immigrated to America. Four of their grandchildren similarly
emigrated, for a total of no fewer than eight Grimshaw emigrants
for this family. All but one converted to Mormonism in England.
son of Lawrence and Mary, converted to Mormonism in England and
emigrated to Utah in about 1862. There he met his first wife, Mary Jane
Moyes, and had 13 children. A noteworthy feature of Duckworth’s
life was his polygamous second marriage, to Ellen Muir Smith,
for which he spent a year in the Utah penitentiary. The one child from
the second marriage apparently left no descendants.
Duckworth andBridget (Monahan) Grimshaw, of Killingly, Connecticut.
Duckworth Grimshaw was born in Lancashire in 1822 and apparently
married and had a family there. Then, when his sisters sailed for
America as Mormon emigrants, he secretly joined the sailing party.
Sometime after arriving in America, Duckworth apparently married
again, to Bridget Monahan, and had a second family. He also changed
his name, adding “Francis” as his first name.
William Robinson Grimshaw was born in New York City and led an
adventurous life, including time at sea on sailing vessels, and was in
on the “ground floor” of the California Gold Rush of about
1848. His adventures are chronicled in a book based on his recollections
entitled “Grimshaw’s Narrative.” He married Sarah
Pierce Rhoads and had 12 children, although many of them died
Eleanor Grimshaw, daughter of John and Mary Jane (Hutton)
Grimshaw, married twice, to George Dixon and Harry Shenfield.
She lived mostly in western Canada, where many of her descendants still
reside. An interesting poem about the
Grimshaws and other ancestors of Eleanor’s parents was written
at about the time of their marriage
Joseph Grimshaw, son of Abraham and Ellen (or Eleanor)
(Whalley) Grimshaw, married twice, to Margaret Wetherold and
Elizabeth Mitchell-Hadden. He apparently lived in New York in the
early 1800s and had 11 children, 8 with Margaret and 3 with Elizabeth.
Thomas and Helen(Brettargh) Grimshawe apparently migrated to
Colbourg, Ontario and subsequently to North Carolina.
Thomas visited the U.S. and Western Canada in 1850, during which he kept
a detailed and very interesting diary which is still in existence. He
then returned to England and the family subsequently emigrated to
Ontario in 1852. They had six children. Later the family moved
again, this time to western North Carolina.
William Grimshaw, NotedHistorical Author was a descendant of
the “Irish” Grimshaw line (described above). He immigrated
to the U.S. in 1815 from Ireland and lived mostly in Philadelphia,
where he became a noteworthy author of many historical textbooks and
other works. William married twice and was the father of at least three other
Grimshaws who established good reputations in the U.S. –
William Arthur, a lawyer who moved to Illinois during the
pioneering days of the 1830s; Arthur
Harper, who fought on the Union side in the Civil War after raising
his own regiment in Delaware; and Robert, who authored numerous
engineering and other technical works and was a co-founder of the
American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
William Arthur Grimshaw
was the oldest son of William
Grimshaw, the historical author, and his
first wife, Harriet Elizabeth Milligan. William was born in
Philadelphia and was educated as a lawyer. He migrated to Illinois
on the frontier of the American West in the 1830s. William was apparently a successful lawyer in Illinois and served in
the state legislature and as President of the State Board of Charities.
Arthur Harper Grimshaw was the youngest son of William the
author and his
first wife. During the
American Civil War, Arthur raised “his own” regiment for
the Union side in Delaware and commanded it (with the rank of Colonel) through the course of the war.
Robert E. Grimshaw was the youngest son of
William the author; he was born to William’s second wife, Maria Caroline De la
Croix. Robert built a distinguished reputation as a mechanical engineer in the U.S. and authored
many engineering and other technical publications.
Jonathan Grimshaw was born in 1818 at Yeadon, near Leeds, Yorkshire, England.
He and Eliza Topham were married in 1839 and converted to Mormonism in 1849. The
family emigrated to the U.S. in 1851, settling first in St. Louis and then
Jefferson City, Missouri. They apparently made it to Salt Lake City, but for
some reason later returned to Missouri.
The “Texas” Line of Grimshaws started when James Grimshaw traveled by boat from
Boston to Texas before the Civil War. Family lore has it that he fought in the
war and “got his horse shot from under him in Louisiana.” One of
James’ sons, Amos, participated in a Texas oil boom in Young County
in the 1920s.
John &Margaret (Hartley) Grimshaw were Quaker immigrants from
Leeds, Yorkshire. They emigrated to the U.S. in 1803 and settled in
Dutchess County, New York, where John was engaged in woolen
manufacture. Subsequently they moved to Henderson County, Ohio.
Grimshaw, BullochCounty, Georgia is an extinct community named for Harry B.
Grimshaw. The community apparently started as a
railroad station in the early 1900s and was named for Harry because he was an executive of the railroad company that built the track between
Savannah and Statesboro.
Jonathan andElizabeth (Pratt) Grimshaw were not immigrants to North America
themselves, but several of their descendants were, including at least two
children (Benjamin and John) and four grandchildren. They lived in Yorkshire,
probably in Leeds. Jonathan was descended from the Edward and Dorothy (Raner)
Grimshaw line (6th generation.) Most, if not all, of their immigrant
descendants settled in Erie County, Pennsylvania. Many were involved in the
woolen business – a mill was acquired by Benjamin in North East township and was
later operated by his son-in-law, William Aaron Grimshaw. A drawing
is shown below.
Zacharia and Nellie (Wilde) Grimshaw apparently emigrated from England to Alberta, where
they died in Strathmore. Their son, George Grimshaw, immigrated to the U.S. and
was married in Minnesota.
Henry Grimshaw immigrated to Genessee, Wisconsin in the spring of 1843 and
was followed by his wife Mary (Mann) Grimshaw
and son (John) in the fall of the same year.
They settled on a farm and apparently had a second son, Henry, after arriving in
Wisconsin. Henry and Mary were born in Yorkshire, where Henry was apparently a
woolen manufacturer before emigrating to America.
apparently immigrated to Nova Scotia from England in about 1843. He
and Marinda Ostrander were
married in Canada on an unknown date and moved to Michigan in 1865.
They apparently subsequently lived for a time in Ontario and then
returned to Michigan.
George and Mary(Barnes) Grimshaw were the parents of four brothers (James,
John, George and David) who immigrated to Paterson, New Jersey in
1868 and started a large silk mill in 1872. It is possible that the
family immigrated together and the father participated in the
business also, as both George and Mary died in the U.S.
John and Mary Grimshaw
immigrated to Philadelphia where they apparently lived out their
lives and had several children who have contributed many descendants
to this family line. Not much is known (yet) about this family line,
except that John is shown as a “weaver” in the 1880 U.S.
Hugh and Elizabeth (Burroughs) Grimshaw apparently immigrated to the U.S.
from Manchester, England in 1811 or 1812. They arrived through the port of
Philadelphia and settled in Salem County in southern New Jersey, south of
Philadelphia. They had at least three children.
Rebecca Mary(Grimshaw) and William P. Smith were Mormon Immigrants from
Bury, Lancashire. They lived in Union, Utah, south of Salt Lake
George Grimshaw was born between 1790 and 1800 in Great Britain. He
immigrated to the U.S. in 1817. George and Rachel Graves were married on June 29, 1826 in Hinds
County, Mississippi. George was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in that county in
1829. After several children were born in Mississippi, the family moved to
Caldwell Parish, Louisiana, where they bought Waverly Plantation on November 25, 1836.
Ann(Grimshaw) Jackson was a Mormon Immigrant to Nephi, Utah who came with
her daughter from England many years after her husband had emigrated
William Grimshaw was born in England in 1782 and apparently immigrated to Philadelphia
before 1816 because he and Barbara Farrier were married there in that year.
Little information on William and Barbara has been found, but much is known
about their son, Robert Elwood Grimshaw, his wife Mary Page Nicholson, and
several of their children. Robert and Mary Grimshaw moved their family from
their birthplace in Philadelphia to Minnesota when it was still a frontier area.
William and Barbara’s grandson, Robert Elwood Grimshaw, Jr. was
involved in the manufacture of carriages in Minneapolis until 1876,
when he left to join the Black Hills gold rush.
Thomas S. Grimshaw was born in Manchester, England in 1852. After receiving his education in private schools, and
in an apprenticeship to a locomotive manufacturing company, Thomas went to South
America, where he worked as a master railroad car builder in Argentina and Chile. In 1876 he came to the
U.S. and out his life in
southern California. He married Emma Mary
Kraemer, and the
couple had one child, Mary Alice, who apparently did not marry and left no
Records exist for other lines of Grimshaws in North America; these lines will be added to this website as information becomes available.
Miscellaneous Grimshaw Information and Anecdotes
The Sinking of the Caleb Grimshaw, Emigrant Ship, in 1849
One of the lines of Grimshaws located in Liverpool and became involved in transatlantic shipping during the first half of the 19th century.
Caleb Grimshaw apparently lived in Liverpool and operated “packet ships” between there and New York City as part of the “Black Star” line of packets.
In 1849, one of his ships, apparently named for him, caught fire during the initial stages of its voyage from Liverpool to New York with 457 people on board.
After several days, the Caleb Grimshaw sank near the Azores with the loss of 90 lives.
Most of the others were rescued by another ship, the Sarah, that fortunately appeared on the fourth day of the fire and transported all the passengers it could hold to Flores in the Azores.
William Grimshaw of Haworth, Noted Evangelist of the Mid-1700s
One of the best known Grimshaw descendants is William Grimshaw, who was deeply involved in the evangelical movement in England in the mid 1700s.
He was educated for ministry in the Church of England. During his tenure as head of the church in Haworth, he became a strong evangelist and worked closely with the Wesley brothers during the era when the Methodist church was founded.
William did not sever his ties with the
Church of England, but he preached in many parishes outside his own and gained a
significant reputation for the power of his sermons and the large number of
conversions to evangelical Christianity for which he was responsible.
He was born in Brindle in Lancashire County (southeast of Preston and about 10 miles west of Grimshaw in Eccleshill).
Apparently, his family has not yet been “connected” to the original Grimshaw family tree.
At leas four books have been written about William’s life, the most recent published in 1997.
The Grimshaw Line at Audenshaw in England
In 1906, Francis John Angus Skeet published a history of several
families that included a line of Grimshaws from Audenshaw.
The original Grimshaw family line from Whitaker is also presented in
summary form to provide context.
This reference usually emerges for Grimshaw researchers who are just
getting started because of the presence of the Grimshaw name in the
However, very little information beyond the
Audenshaw family line is
provided on the Grimshaws, and there is no connection made of the line
back to the original family line.
Moses Grimshaw, a Fictional “Idealized” Lancastrian
Norman Poulton published a novel in 1896 entitled “Moses Grimshaw a Story of Lancashire Life”.
His apparent purpose in the book was to expound upon his social and
ethical values and theories as he saw them in the context of
late Victorian England at the peak of the Industrial Revolution.
What is perhaps most significant to Grimshaw family researchers is
Poulton’s choice of the surname “Grimshaw” as being
representative or emblematic of Lancashire for his exposition.
The Griffin, Privateer Brig
The Griffin operated out of Liverpool in the 1770s under the command of a Captain Grimshaw.
In 1779, the ship was recorded in Lloyds Register, a book of information on ships calling at English ports.
Records indicate that the Griffin, acting as a privateer, successfull captured a ship, the Le Count St. Germaine, in February 1779.
Another record fourteen years earlier (1764), indicates that a
Grimshaw was involved in the maritime slave trade. It is not known if he is
the same person as the Griffin’s captain.
Is it safe to assume that Griffin’s Captain Grimshaw
named his ship
for the Grimshaw family icon? The griffin has been associated with the
(on its coat of arms) going back at
least to the early 1600s, and possibly as early as the 1300s.
John Grimshaw, Coldstream Guards Soldier and Lancashire Weaver
John is an interesting representative of the Grimshaws of Lancashire from two
First, his army career in the Coldstream Guards, one of the most
distinguished military units in England
Second, his participation in the textile
industry before and after his 12-year military career.
Lancashire-born Anne Grimshaw
(now living elsewhere in England) has researched John’s life extensively, as well as several aspects of
the context of his life.
Beatrice Ethel Grimshaw, South Pacific Adventurer and Author
Beatrice Ethel Grimshaw achieved considerable
prominence in the first half of the 1900s for her travels in the
South Pacific, her non-fictional travel books on that area,
and her novels set in exotic tropical locations.
Beatrice was the great-granddaughter of Nicholas
and Mary (Wrigley) Grimshaw, the progenitors of the “Irish”
line of Grimshaws.
She was born in Cloona, County Antrim, Ireland on
February 3, 1870 and began her South Pacific sojourns in 1904. She
died on June 30, 1953 at Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia.
Thomas Wrigley Grimshaw, Physician and Public Health Servant of Dublin
Thomas Wrigley Grimshaw was educated as a physician in Dublin and practiced
in that city until 1879, when he was appointed as Registrar-General for Ireland.
During his years of medical practice, he investigated the causes and
distribution of water-borne diseases in Dublin and authored a pioneering public
health paper in 1872.
Roland “Roly” Grimshaw, Indian Cavalry Officer and Diarist,
World War I
Roland William Wrigley (“Roly”) Grimshaw was an officer in the
Indian Army Corps of the British forces during World War I.
From August 1914 to
June 1915 he kept a detailed diary of his wartime experiences. The diary
Thomas Shuttleworth Grimshaw, Clergyman, Author, Scholar
Thomas was one of the more accomplished members of the
Pendle Forest line of Grimshaws.
He held two positions simultaneously in the Church of
Thomas was also the author of several works, including two notable
– Memoirs of the Rev. Legh Richmond and The Works of William Cowper.
T. Harold Grimshaw, Shetland Islands Missionary and Author
Harold was born in Haslingden, Lancashire and entered the
Methodist ministry. He served as a missionary in the Shetland Islands before
moving to Australia and, finally, the U.S., where he retired in California.
was apparently deeply impressed by his experience in the Shetlands and authored three
books on the islands: 1)
A Sturdy Little Northland – a Tribute to the Shetlanders (1913); 2)
Sunshine Sonniksen – an Idyl of the Shetland Islands (1954); and 3)
Memories of the Shetland Islands, – the Delineation of an
Atkinson Grimshaw, Painter of Ethereal Scenes and Fairy Figures
John Atkinson Grimshaw was a noted painter in the mid
to late 1800s whose subject matter was primarily fairy figures, landscapes, and
dockland areas, particularly at sunset and by moonlight.
He was born in Leeds in
1836 and began painting full-time about 1861; he dropped his first name by about
Atkinson Grimshaw is descended from the Edward and Dorothy
(Raner) Grimshaw line of
Mary Grimsha, “Charwoman” to King Charles II on Jersey Island
During the English Civil Wars in the 1600s, Charles II twice stayed in
Elizabeth Castle on Jersey, one of the Channel Islands.
On his second visit, and possibly also during the
first visit, Charles received
the services of Mary Grimsha as his “Necessary Woman” — apparently she
kept his quarters clean.
Marys services were recorded in a small document
that is still in existence; it is dated February 12, 1650
(current calendar convention.)
Gary Grimshaw, Concert Poster Artist for Famous Rock Music Groups
Gary Michael Grimshaw is a graphic artist specializing in the music business since his first
concert poster design in 1966.
He was the primary poster and light show artist
for Detroit’s legendary Grande Ballroom through 1969. During this time he also
created art for Detroit’s notorious rock & roll band The MC5.
album cover design for the MC5’s first album “Kick Out The Jams”
painted in 1968 is on view at Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame &
The Grimshawes of Errwood Hall, Goyt Valley,
Errwood Hall is located in Goyt Valley, southeast of Manchester and not far
from Buxton. The hall was built in the mid-1800s by a wealthy
from Manchester and was occupied by descendants of the family until 1930.
Grimshawe II (born 1811) built the hall, and the family enjoyed a rich and
abundant life there (including extensive foreign travel in a family yacht).
However, there wer no descendants of the family after Samuels grandchildren with the Grimshawe surname.
Errwood Hall wa demolished in the 1960s in connection with construction of nearby Errwood Reservoir, but the remains have been preserved and are now a tourist attraction as well as a popular stop for hikers.
Doctor Grimshawe’s Secret, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote Doctor Grimshawes Secret in 1861, but he
never considered the work finished and did not publish it before his death. It
was published posthumously in 1883 by Hawthornes son, Julian.
Doctor Grimshawes Secret, according to literature historians, contains more autobiographical material than any of Hawthorne’s other writings. One of the principal topics is Hawthornes unresolved feelings about his childhood guardian, whose character is represented by Dr. Grimshaw, a spider cultivating eccentric. The central motif (i.e., the “secret”) of the book is an all encompassing spider web.
Th Grimshawe name, probably learned when Hawthorne spent extensive time in England (he was the American consul in Liverpool for four years), was apparently picked because he felt that it fit the grim and foreboding character of the central character (i.e., Hawthornes guardian.)
Thus neither the name nor the novel appear to have anything to do with members of the Grimshaw family.
In 1931, Ivan Grimshaw authored “When I Was a Boy in England” as one in a series of books entitled “Children of Other Lands Books.” Ivans book appears to be directed to a juvenile audience.
Ivan was born in Shipley, Yorkshire in 1900. When he was still a
boy, his father accepted a position in Akron, Ohio with one of the large American
The family rode the train to Liverpool from Shipley, sailed to
Boston on the Cunard Liner Ivernia, and traveled by train to Cleveland,
eventually arriving in Akron.
Ivan and his parents lived there until he left for
Archbishop Grimshaw School is located in the southeast outskirts of Birmingham and was apparently named after Francis Joseph Grimshaw, who served as Archbishop of Birmingham from 1954 to 1965.
According to the school website (address shown
below), “Archbishop Grimshaw is a Roman Catholic School in
Chelmsley Wood, Solihull, Midlands.
There are approximately 1300 students from 11 to 19
and over 70 staff. Courses on offer range from GCSE and A levels to
Cecil Thomas Wrigley Grimshaw was born in Ireland and served in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers during the Boer War, during which time he kept a very interesting diary. This diary recounts his experiences as a prisoner of war in Pretoria at the same time as Winston Churchill.
Later, Cecil fought in World War I, again with the
Royal Dublin fusiliers, in the Gallipoli campaign.
This campaign, fought on the Turkish peninsula on
the north side of the Dardanelles (Gallipoli peninsula), was
generally considered to be unsuccessful.
Cecil Grimshaw was killed in action there on April
About This Website
The main objective of this website is to spur greater interest and research effort into Grimshaw origins and family lines by supporting interested Grimshaw researchers. As you will see on the various pages on this website, I give credit for all contributions.
If you have information on the Grimshaw family line, you are invited to send it, either by e-mail or through the postal system, for addition to this website. Please use the following e-mail or “snail-mail” addresses:
Thomas W. Grimshaw
1308 Shannon Oaks Trail
Austin, TX 78746
This website will continue to grow and expand as we learn more about this very interesting family. Since my main interest is on North American lines of Grimshaws, particular emphasis is placed on telling that part of the story.
Other Websites of Interest to Grimshaw Researchers
As noted above, there is a lot of interest in the Grimshaw family, and many have posted genealogical and family history information on the World Wide Web.
Shown below are some of the websites that I know about; this list will be expanded as I learn about more of them.
Please e-mail me (email@example.com) if you know of other significant sites.
An egroup site started, I believe, by Tim Halstead in Yorkshire, England in about April 2000. An excellent forum for networking. Main emphasis is on English Grimshaw families.
Site started in June 2000 by Stuart Grimshaw of Blackburn area. Still under construction; Stuart says he “aims to make this THE place for information on the Grimshaw family” and is off to a good start. Will be an excellent resource in the months and years ahead.
Chris Telfer has posted many of the Grimshaw family lines in England and North America, including the following: Grimshaw (in Eccleshill), Clayton-le-Moors, Sabden, Fence, Padiham, Higham, Barrowford, Preston, Canada, America, and Ireland. His site also includes excellent photos of many of the Grimshaw sites.
Terry (Grimshaw) Micks has posted the most complete descendant chart for George and Charlotte (Menard) Grimshaw that I am aware of on the Internet. She is a very thorough researcher for this family line (which includes that of the author of this website).
Calvin Lamb has presented one of the best and most complete descendant charts for William and Elizabeth (Lepninah) Grimshaw and their son, Zepheniah (and his many wives).
Bill O’Halloran, like Calvin Lamb, has provided one of the most complete family trees of William and son, Zepheniah, Grimshaw and his descendants as part of his family tree.
A Few Words about Usage and Convention
I am an American Grimshaw. As a result, this website inevitably bears an imprint of American convention.
Sometimes this convention is inconsistent with that of the English, with the result that the accuracy of the information may be “called into question.”
Rather that take the risk of getting lost in a cross cultural maze of usage and convention, I will apologize in advance to the English and (for the present) do the best I can here in the “American way.”
Webpage posted April 2003. Banner replaced July 2015.