Caleb Grimshaw & Company

Liverpool-Based Passenger and Freight Commissioning Firm

Flag of the “Black Star” Line

The firm Caleb Grimshaw & Company was one of the larger and more successful firms engaged in the emigrant and freight business during the peak of the Liverpool emigrant boom of the mid 1800s. The company was closely tied to Samuel Thompson’s “Black Star” line of ships and was apparently a successor firm to that of Fitzhugh and Caleb Grimshaw, which was established in Liverpool in 1829.

The Grimshaws and Thompsons were apparently connected in more ways than in business, as Caleb Grimshaw married Sarah Thompson. The families were apparently Quakers from Yorkshire who became successful merchants in Liverpool. Caleb Grimshaw is described on a companion webpage.

Caleb Grimshaw & Company, and the Black Star line, owned and operated the ship Caleb Grimshaw, which burned and sank in 1849 with the loss of about 90 immigrant lives (see companion webpage).

This Grimshaw family seems to have had no connection to Robert Grimshaw, who operated out of Liverpool in the 1700s and had a ship, the Griffin, that was at times a slave trading ship and at other times a privateer, as described on a companion webpage.


Webpage Credits

Fitzhugh and Caleb Grimshaw, Predecessor Firm to Caleb Grimshaw and Co.

What is Known of the Firm Caleb Grimshaw & Company? 

Richard Walker’s Description of the Firm “Caleb Grimshaw & Co.”

The Related Firms “New Line” and “Black Star Line

The Ill-Fated Emigrant Ship Caleb Grimshaw

Where Did Caleb Grimshaw & Company Operate in Liverpool and New York?

Railroad Investment in Galveston, Texas

Examples of Caleb Grimshaw & Company Advertisement and Tickets

Who Was Caleb Grimshaw and Where Did He Come From?

Mystic Seaport Library Holdings of Samuel Thompson and Caleb Grimshaw Materials

Letter to Samuel Thompson’s Nephew & Co Stamped with Caleb Grimshaw & Co. 


Webpage Credits

Thanks go to Andrew Pettit for providing the images of the handbill and tickets shown below as well as the impetus for creating this webpage. Thanks also to Richard Walker for providing family connections of Caleb Grimshaw, who was instrumental is establishing the firm and its predecessor company, and considerable detailed information on Caleb and his family.

Fitzhugh and Caleb Grimshaw, Predecessor Firm to Caleb Grimshaw and Co.

Caleb Grimshaw & Co. was apparently a successor organization to one of the earliest emigration shipping concerns, Fitzhugh and Caleb Grimshaw, which is described by Cutler1 (p. 199-200) as shown below (note underlined sections). The firm was established in 1829; it is not yet known why or when the firm was given its new name. Samuel Thompson, also described below, was closely associated with the Grimshaws, as described further down on this webpage.

Baltimore’s first venture in the Western Ocean packet field came in 1829 with the establishment of a line of three ships, the Benjamin Rush, Dumfries and Ulysses, which sailed irregularly from Belfast and other Irish ports. It continued in operation for a number of years, always one of the looser organizations of the sort. William & Thomas Adair, 1 South Charles Street, were the Baltimore agents, with branches in Pittsburgh and St. Louis. They were essentially emigrant agents on the order of Samuel Thompson, of New York, the first to specialize in that field.

Thompson’s early activities are not well documented, but in later years he claimed that his business was established in 1817. In any case, he undoubtedly worked in close cooperation with the Black Ball from a very early date, and possibly from its founding. By 1825 he was doing a substantial business at 273 Pearl Street and advertising regularly in the local papers the establishment of his “Emigrant Offices”:

Where persons wishing to send for their friends from Great Britain and Ireland, can secure their passage on the most moderate terms, in vessels of the first class, sailing from Liverpool every week.

By the time the Baltimore concern was founded, several other houses had engaged in the business, most of them in New York City. All followed closely the Thompson pattern. Their success led to the opening of a long series of “Passenger Agencies” of which Tapscott’s is perhaps the best remembered. Thompson’s, however, had the longer career, continuing long after the Civil War as Samuel Thompson’s Nephew.

American passenger agents, however, could hardly be expected to monopolize a business that originated 3000 miles away. With the renewal of emigration on a large scale it was not long before English and, to a lesser extent, German merchants began to engage in the traffic on their own initiative. One of the first ventures of the sort was the “Union Line of Packets for New York” organized in March, 1829, by Fitzhugh and Caleb Grimshaw, of 11 Brooks Square, Liverpool. The line consisted of 12 American ships, none of which were attached to any of the American lines, and the service started with the sailing of the ship Bowditch from Liverpool for New York on the 5th of April, Thereafter the line was scheduled to sail from Liverpool the 5th and 20th, and from New York the 12th and 28th of each month.

Although essentially an emigrant services, the Grimshaws advised the public that “a few respectable passengers can be accommodated in the first and second cabins: and that “no salt would be taken,” this as a special inducement to prospective first-class patrons, salt having a strong tendency to make a ship damp and uncomfortable. With the exception of one small vessel, the ships ranged around 400 tons, and the records show that they frequently carried from 150 to 200 steerage and several cabin passengers. The experiment was so far successful that by 1831 the firm was sending a ship every week or ten days. It was the forerunner of a number of similar lines, of which the famous “Black Star: was the most important.

What is Known of the Firm Caleb Grimshaw & Company? 

Caleb Grimshaw & Company was apparently one of the earliest and largest emigration firms in the world. An excellent description of Caleb Grimshaw & Company is provided in Cutler1 (p. 262-263) as follows:

While American merchants were establishing new and enlarging old lines to take advantage of the immigration boom, British and German merchants were by no means idle. From 1842 onward they engaged in the traffic in constantly increasing numbers, not only as agents of American lines but also as independent operators, sometimes combining the two functions. During the early part of the period under consideration by far the most active of such concerns was Caleb Grimshaw & Company, successor of the Messrs. Grimshaw who were specializing in emigration traffic as early as the late eighteen-twenties. When Sam Thompson decided to start his New York-Liverpool line in 1842, the Grimshaws became his Liverpool representatives but their activities did not end there. They secured passengers and freight not only for the Thompson packets but for many others, ranging from ships of other lines to run-of-the-mill transients, looking for what business they might pick up. Regardless of size, age, or origin, all proved to have “magnificent cabin accommodations” and “lofty and spacious second-class and steerage quarters” when they sailed under the Grimshaw “New Line” flag.

By 1845 the line was advertising a dozen or more ships at a time and dispatching them every five to seven days. In addition to the Thompson vessels they handled ships of several other lines, notably Herdman’s, Kingsland’s and Kermit’s, besides helping out an occasional Black Baller for good measure. So much business was coming their way, in fact, that they could not take care of it properly. Accordingly, in 1845 they delegated the steerage traffic to William Tapscott and George Rippard & Son, both of Liverpool. It was all the dynamic Tapscott needed to start the great firm of W. & J. Tapscott on its long and prosperous career. Before the year ended he had established branch agencies all over Great Britain and Ireland and had opened an office in New York. It was also a profitable arrangement for the Grimshaws for they continued to collect their commissions all along the line, in addition to retaining exclusive control of the lucrative freight and cabin traffic.

Their first-class cabin rate was 16 guineas as compared with the 39 guineas of the steamships and the 25 pounds and upwards of the old line packets; the saving it represented was equivalent to several hundred dollars in present-day purchasing power, and it attracted large numbers of “those who wished to go at an easy rate.” That patronage explains in part the success of the Grimshaw and other similar lines soon to be established, although the unprecedented rise in emigration was by far the most potent factor. Grimshaw’s progress, indeed, was so rapid that the proprietors decided a more imposing title was in order. Accordingly, in January, 1845, the name was changed from “New Line” to “Black Star” and it may be noted here that during the boom decade then under way more American emigrant ships cleared under the Black Star flag than under any other.

Richard Walker’s Description of the Firm “Caleb Grimshaw & Co.”

Richard Walker, of Formby, has conducted extensive research into the Grimshaws, Walkers and Thompsons who were active in development of transatlantic shipping from early in the 1800s. Richard has kindly provided the following information on Caleb Grimshaw and Company.

Caleb Grimshaw and Co.

In 1827 William Fitzhugh, general agent, had a “Passenger Office for emigrants” at

18 Brook Square, Liverpool . By 1832 Caleb Grimshaw was in partnership with William Sudlow Fitzhugh, under the company name of Fitzhugh and Grimshaw, merchants. Their business address was 10 Goree Piazzas, Liverpool. This was on the main Liverpool waterfront. This partnership and business continued until 1841.

By 1842 it was Caleb Grimshaw and Co, merchants, 10 Goree Piazzas, Liverpool.  The companies “Emigration Office” was at

29 Waterloo Road

opposite Waterloo Dock where their vessels moored. The firm of Caleb Grimshaw and Co, Merchants, passenger brokers and ship owners is listed in the Liverpool directories up to 1872. I have not looked further.

In 1817 five Quakers in New York, Isaac Wright and his son, Francis Thompson, Benjamin Marshall and Jeremiah Thompson began the Black Ball line and adverts appeared in the Liverpool Mercury. In Liverpool at this date Messers Cropper, Benson, Rathbone and Hodgkinson became their agents. Cropper and Benson were Quakers and members of Hardshaw West Meeting as was Caleb Grimshaw.

There was a very strong Quaker presence in the arrangement, not only five Quakers in New York but the two Thompsons in New York were both born in Rawden, Yorkshire, and they both had families who built woollen mills in Rawden. Calebs son Charles married Hannah Walker of Rawden, her father John, (wife Mary, formally Thompson of Rawden) too had a woollen mill there and this writer has some twenty pages of his business records between 1818 and 1826. Many of these pages document payment costs, woollen cargo, shipping costs and boats names including the Thompson, Benson, Cropper names etc.

A third group of names is also present in this transatlantic venture, that of Thomas Walker (1763-1842) of Gildersome, Leeds and his first wife Elizabeth Jackson (1767-1800) who went in 1793 to New York. Four Walker children were born there. From a diary of 1809 Thomass nephew wrote, “My uncle Thomas Walker the youngest child of the family carried forward the business, (cloth manufacturer) on his own and his mothers account”. “Thomas was a shipowner”. Thomas took with him in 1793 his nephew, Joseph Walker (1781-1835) of Darley, son of Robert and Rachel (Spence) Walker.

Family letters by Elizabeth Hannah Hoyland (1761-1827), born New York, who became in 1802 Thomass second wife state that he, “Thomas Walker retired in 1809 a well to do merchant in New York in the dry goods import business.” His nephew Joseph carried on the business until 1828/29 when he came back to Darley, Yorkshire. He died in 1835 and left estates worth £48,000.

In 1842 Samuel Thompson began his New York to Liverpool line for passengers, Caleb Grimshaw became his Liverpool representative, Caleb also secured freight for the Thompson packet ships. They sailed under the Grimshaw “New Line” flag. Caleb Grimshaw & Co were agents for:

Jeremiah Thompsons Black Ball line.

Rathbone & Croppers Black Ball

Taylor & Merrill line, 1842.

Samuel Thompsons line, 1842.

Empire Line, 1844.

Slaters Liverpool line 1846.

Black Star line with John Taylor Crook

And others.        

Amongst the many transatlantic sailing boats these people owned, some were named after their founders, examples being “James Cropper”, “William Thompson”, “Caleb Grimshaw” “Jeremiah Thompson” and “Joseph Walker”. The names of Grimshaw, Thompson and Walker, and the towns of  New York, Liverpool and Rawden are all inextricably linked not only with Quakerism but also a venture which in the early 1800s was new to the World and its trading methods between two Continents. All named families had marriages between them and carried on their surnames as “given names.


·       Quaker archive records, Friends House,London.

·       Yorkshire Quaker records, Uni of Leeds. Yorks.

·       Liverpool
Maritime Archives.

·       Cropper & Benson business papers.

·        Liverpool Records office. (1841, 51,
61, 71 and 1881 Census Returns.)

·        Gores Street & trade directories.

·        Hardshaw West Quaker records.

·        Queens
of the Western Oceans. C Cutler

·        Square riggers on Schedule R. Albion

·        Walker family papers, letters, wills, diaries etc.

There were a number of Walkers in New York connected with this venture and many had children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who “on paper” I have traced. I would welcome correspondence with anyone who can connect with this group. A family tree, “with proof” back to William Walker born 1468 in Liversedge township, parish of Birstall, West Yorkshire, England awaits. 

Richard B Walker, Formby, England, June 2005 

The Related Firms “New Line” and “Black Star Line

As noted above, Caleb Grimshaw and Samuel Thompson were closely affiliated (Caleb Grimshaw married Sarah Thompson, likely a sister or daughter of Samuel). Thompson was in the emigrant business as early as 1817. His “New Line” was established in 1842 and had this name until 1845, when it changed to the “Black Star Line.”

Apparently most emigrant ships of the time were operated by various shipping “lines.” The lines, in turn, had agents in New York and Liverpool. The New York agent for Samuel Thompson’s Line was Samuel himself (with the Old Established Packet Office, 273 Pearl Street, New York.) The Liverpool agent was Caleb Grimshaw & Co., 12 Goree Piazzas. Cutler(p. 381-381) provides the following information on Samuel Thompson’s Line (note the entry on Sp. Caleb Grimshaw, which is described below):


Called “New Line” in Liverpool, and later, Black Star Line.
Samuel Thompson, Old Established Packet Office, 173 Pearl St., New York agent.
Caleb Grimshaw & Co., 12 Goree Piazzas, Liverpool agents. Established May, 1842. Thompson, who had operated approximately 25 years as passenger agent, began clearing ships on his own account in Dec., 1841, including British vessels.







Sp. General Parkhill


John C. Hoyt



Sarah & Arselia


Thaddeus Smith





D. Patton

Var. Patten




Samuel Barker



Sp. Ohio


Hezekiah Lyon



Sp. Kensington


J. H. Shumway

Name changed to Black Star Jan., 1845. ”   Ap-




William Edwards

pointed days of sailing strictly adhered to.




P. P. Norton

Passage 15 guineas without wine. Fine goods




Francis M. French

20 shillings a ton. Steerage find own provi-




C. H. Coffin

sions except bread stuffs”    Ships Ohio and




J. G. Smith

General Parkhill retained in line. Richardson,




James C. Luce

Watson & Co., associated in operation. W. &





J. Tapscott handled steerage business in







Sp. Samuel Hicks


T.G. Bunker

On March 1st Samuel Thompson & Nephew





J. G. Russell

advertised as agents for the Black Star line of




W. B. Lane

packets from Liverpool to New York. Vessels




James D. Bennett

sailed every six days throughout year. Line




S. Goodhue

included Sea, Liberty, Cornelia, and Ohio, and




William Edwards

the 14 ships listed for 1847. The correct


Elizabeth Denison


F. W. Spencer

official tonnage given here is in general sub-




W. T. Thompson

stantially lower than the advertised tonnage.




Hy. Russell

The firm continued to use Britis ships, in




H. Coffin

addition to those listed here.




J. L. Wilson





C. R. Crocker





S. Weare



Peter Hattrick


J. D. Post



Sp. Caleb Grimshaw


William E. Hoxie

Burned Nov. 12, 1849, near Fayal.




E. D. Manson

Williams & Guion advertised Black Star Line




George Lunt, Jr.

of 12 ships, including most of the Thompson




J. Pratt

vessels; Crook in Liverpool advertised a line


Nathaniel Hooper


J. Girdler

of 24 ships.




J. Pratt



Sp. Elizabeth


J. L. Lambert





C. R. Crocker

J. E. Hadley master in 1852


Sp. Star of the West


Alfred M. Lowbver

Eighteen ships in line; weekly sailings.


Joseph Walker


William E. Hoxie

Burned Dec. 28, 1853, in the Great Republic







Sp. Lady Franklin


Samuel Yeaton





Alexander Graves





Samuel Macoduck



Sp. Princeton


William H. Russell



Lucy Thompson


Charles B. Pendleton



Empire State


L. J. Briggs



Sp. Jeremiah Thompson


Charles H. Blake



Sp. Volant


John Bray

Samuel Thompson’s Nephews became New





York agents.

Caleb Grimshaw & Co. also served as agents for other shipping lines, as indicated by Cutler — Empire Line (p. 382), Slates’ Liverpool Line (p. 383), and Patriotic Line (p. 389). After December 1847, Caleb Grimshaw and John Taylor Crook operated separate divisions of the Black Star Line.

The firm “Samuel Thompson’s Nephews”, noted in two places in the above table, survived for many years after 1860.

The Ill-Fated Emigrant Ship Caleb Grimshaw

The ship Caleb Grimshaw, operated by Samuel Thompson’s Black Star Line and apparently named for the owner of Caleb Grimshaw & Company, burned and sank in November 1849, as described on a companion webpage.  Caleb Grimshaw died in 1847, and the ship was built in 1848, so it was apparently named for Caleb posthumously.

The ship set sail on its ill-fated voyage on October 22, 1849. Advertisements announcing the ship’s sailing appeared in the Liverpool Mercury for several days before departure. One of the ads is shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1. Advertisement from the October 19, 1849 issue of the Liverpool Mercury2 announcing the upcoming voyage of the Caleb Grimshaw to New York.

Where Did Caleb Grimshaw & Company Operate in Liverpool and New York?

The advertisement in Figure 1 above indicates that the Caleb Grimshaw departed from “Loading Berth, South Side Waterloo Dock” when it sailed on its fateful voyage on October 22, 1849. Figures 3 and 4 show two parts of a map of the Liverpool port and include the location of Waterloo Dock near the Observatory.

Figure 3. Map of Liverpool Dock area, showing major features, such as Kings Dock, Queens Dock, Albert Dock and Prince’s Dock. Note Waterloo Dock on the west side of the map (near the Observatory), from where the Caleb Grimshaw sailed in 1849. The map is from the inside front cover of Cutler3 and is indicated to be “From Austin’s survey of 1851.” The heavy black line and out-of-focus area are caused by the binding of the front cover of the book.

Figure 4. Second map view of the Liverpool dock area, again showing Waterloo Dock. The Caleb Grimshaw sailed from the south of the Waterloo Dock in 1849, which would have been just west of the Observatory.

A map of the Port of New York, where the Caleb Grimshaw arrived at the end of its five successful voyages, is also shown in Cutler1 and is included in Figure 5 below. Note in the figure that the “Black Star Line” had its berths in the area of Docks 28, 29, and 30 on the East River, just across from Brooklyn. Since the Caleb Grimshaw was operated by the Black Star Line, it no doubt berthed at one (or more) of those docks during its five voyages before it sank on its sixth voyage.

Figure 5. Area of the Port of New York on the south tip of Manhattan Island. Map is from the front cover of Cutler3 and is is entitled “Lower Part of New York City, 1851. Heavy broken line marks the waterfront below City Hall park in 1784. Area filled in prior to 1820.” The docks of the Black Star Line are in the upper-right quarter of the figure.

Railroad Investment in Galveston, Texas

Not only did the firm operate out of Liverpool and New York, but it also had interests as far flung as Galveston, Texas. C. Grimshaw & Company purchased shares amounting to £80,000 in the Galveston, Brazos and Colorado Railway in 18753 (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Cover and First Two Pages of Indenture Showing Ownership of a £80,000 Interest in the Galveston, Brazos and Colorado Railway.

The New Handbook of Texas (Tyler4, v. 3, p. 54) describes the Galveston, Brazos and Colorado Railway as shown below (also available online at the indicated address):

The Galveston, Brazos and Colorado Narrow Gauge Railway Company was chartered on February 2, 1875. C. W. Hurley and his associates projected the line to run from Galveston Island to Austin roughly paralleling the Colorado River. The original intention was to build westwardly along Galveston Island on the most practical route to cross West Bay. On the mainland the company planned to utilize the grade built by the Houston Tap and Brazoria Railway Company in 1860. The first spike in the project was driven on April 6, 1876. The company was unable to finance a bridge across West Bay and was also unsuccessful in its attempt to use the bridge of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Company to reach the mainland. During the years 1876 and 1877 the company constructed about fifteen miles of track, commencing on Ninth Street near Avenue A in Galveston, running through various city streets to the city limits, and terminating at a point known as Seaforth. The company primarily hauled sand from pits along its line to the city. On February 1, 1878, it was leased to Drennan, Sullivan and Company, which held claims for construction expenses. On March 29, 1881, the line was sold at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Charles S. Hinchman, representing the bondholders, for $5,000. Hinchman, in turn, sold the company to the Texas Mexican Railway Company for $60,000 for use as an entry into Galveston. The Texas Mexican was unable to finance a Galveston extension. The narrow gauge was sold under a judgment decree to the Mexican National Construction Company on March 1, 1887, which conveyed the property to the Galveston and Western Railway Company on February 29, 1888.

George C. Werner

Caleb Grimshaw & Company made their large investment in the firm in the same year that it was founded, 1875. Unfortunately, the railway company was not able to meet its ambitious objectives. By 1878 it was leased to another company that held claims for construction expenses and was sold by a representative of the bondholders (presumably including Caleb Grimshaw & Company) in 1881 for a mere $5,000. Josiah Thompson and George Lingham, “merchants and partners” for the Company may well have regretted their decision to invest so much in the fledgling railway company.

Examples of Caleb Grimshaw & Company Advertisement and Tickets

Andrew Pettit of Australia has provided an image of an advertisement by C. Grimshaw & Co for an 1852 voyage of the Argo to Australia. Mr. Pettit’s ancestors took passage on the voyage and handed down the ad, and the tickets for their voyage, to their descendants. The advertisement and tickets are shown in Figure 7. As shown in the table above, the Argo was constructed in 1851 and was operated by Samuel Thompson’s Black Star Line under the command of Samuel Macoduck.

Figure 7. Images of the advertisement and tickets of the ancestors of the Pettit family for the 1852 voyage of the Argo to Australia. 

Who Was Caleb Grimshaw and Where Did He Come From?

Evidence from Richard Walker indicates that that Caleb Grimshaw is descended from the “Yorkshire” line of Grimshaws, whose earliest known ancestors are Edward and Dorothy (Raner) Grimshaw. Examination of the extensive descendant chart on Edward and Dorothy’s webpage shows that Caleb Grimshaw is descended as shown in Figure 8. It is interesting to note that Caleb Grimshaw died in 1847, the year before the ship that was named for him was commissioned into the Black Star Line.

Figure 8. Descendant chart of Edward and Dorotye Raner, showing Caleb Grimshaw (m. Sarah Thompson) as a 6th generation descendant of Edward.


Edward Grimshaw (About 1559 – 22 Jun 1635) & Dorotye Raner

|–Abraham Grimshaw (1603 – 1670) & Sarah ( – 21 Sep 1695)

|–|–JeremyJeremiah Grimshaw* (21 Jul 1653 – 12 Aug 1721) & Mary Stockton (- 6 Jan 1692/1693)

|–|–|–Joshua Grimshaw (12 Apr 1687 – 8 Jan 1764) & Jane Oddy (1686 – 1771)

|–|–|–Caleb Grimshaw (20 May 1688 – 1751) & Esther Hudson

|–|–|–|–William Grimshaw (24 Nov 1713 – 6 Oct 1714)

|–|–|–|–Mercy Grimshaw (28 Sep 1715 – )

|–|–|–|–Caleb Grimshaw (3 Aug 1718 – 3 Jun 1794) & Ruth

|–|–|–|–|–Betty Grimshaw (4 Sep 1754 – )

|–|–|–|–|–John Grimshaw (29 Mar 1756 – )

|–|–|–|–|–Jeremiah Grimshaw (6 Nov 1759 – )

|–|–|–|–|–Leonard Grimshaw & Eliza

|–|–|–|–|–|–Caleb Grimshaw (1799 – 1847) & Sarah Thompson

|–|–|–|–|–|–|–Elizabeth Grimshaw (14 Mar 1825 – )

|–|–|–|–|–|–|–George Grimshaw (12 Aug 1827 – )

|–|–|–|–|–|–|–Edward Grimshaw (22 May 1828 – 25 Oct 1828)

|–|–|–|–|–|–|–Charles T Grimshaw (About 1831 – ) & Hannah Walker

|–|–|–|–|–Jonathan Grimshaw (1770 – 20 Jun 1798) & Hannah Burley

|–|–|–|–|–|–Mary Grimshaw (17 Jun 1792 – 4 Feb 1842)

|–|–|–|–|–|–John Grimshaw (22 Nov 1793 – 23 Nov 1794)

|–|–|–|–|–|–Elizabeth Grimshaw (7 Feb 1795 – ) & Isaac Clarke

|–|–|–|–|–|–|–Lucy Clarke

|–|–|–|–|–|–|–Arthur Clarke

|–|–|–|–|–|–Hannah Grimshaw (16 May 1796 – 29 May 1796)

|–|–|–|–|–|–William Grimshaw (1 Dec 1797 – )

|–|–|–|–Jeremiah Grimshaw (30 May 1721 – )


|–|–JeremyJeremiah Grimshaw* (21 Jul 1653 – 12 Aug 1721) & Sarah Overend (- 16 May 1699)

|–|–JeremyJeremiah Grimshaw* (21 Jul 1653 – 12 Aug 1721) & Rebecca Jowett (- 12 Dec 1736)

Richard Walker is related to Hannah Walker, wife of Charles T Grimshaw, fourth child of Caleb and Sarah (Thompson) Grimshaw. Charles and Hannah (Walker) Grimshaw are subjects of a companion webpage, which indicates that the Grimshaws and Thompsons were Quakers and were from near Leeds in Yorkshire. Thanks to Richard Walker for providing the information indicating the family connections of Caleb Grimshaw. Richard has also provided the following bibliographic information on Caleb Grimshaw.

Caleb Grimshaw.

Caleb Grimshaw was born about 1799 within Knaresbrough Quaker MM, probably in Rawden near Leeds, Yorkshire . A “certificate of removal” was issued by Knaresbrough Quaker Monthly Meeting of which Rawden Preparative meeting was a part, to Hardshaw West Quaker Monthly Meeting. This was a Liverpool Meeting. Named in the certificate of removal were Caleb Grimshaw, his first wife Sarah, (born Thompson of Rawden) and three children: 1) Edward who subsequently died 26 x 1826 (when the family address was Edge Lane, Liverpool ); 2) a daughter Elizabeth born 14 iii 1823; and 3) a son George born viii 1827.

The familys arrival into Liverpool would therefore appear to be after August 1827. By 1829 the family lived at 1 Queen Street, Edge Hill, Liverpool. Two further children were born in Liverpool to Caleb and Sarah – a son Charles Thompson Grimshaw born 1 v 1830 and Ann Thompson Grimshaw born 16 x 1831. By 1832 the family home was at 6 Cambridge Street, Liverpool. Sarah Grimshaw, Calebs wife died 9 ii 1833 and the following year his daughter Ann Thompson died 6 iv 1834. In 1835 the family lived at 22 Slater Street, Liverpool. Between 1837 and 1841 their address was

5 Upper Stanhope Street, Liverpool.

Caleb married a second time, on 4 ii 1841 to Hannah, (surname unknown) and in April 1841 they were living at Windsor, Toxteth Park, Liverpool. Elizabeth (age 16) and George (14) are shown as the children present, also an Anne Smith (22) and a female servant. The birth of Sarah Margaret their daughter is recorded for 7 xii 1842. In this year their address was “Bootle Villas”,

50 Derby Road, Bootle cum Linacre. This is north of Liverpool and in a very up and coming area overlooking the entrance to the river Mersey, their neighbours being other ships captains, merchants and captains of industry at that time. From a map of that date it is clear that Caleb would have a clear view from his house of his ships passing out to sea and also those entering port.

Caleb died 1 ii 1847 and was buried two days later at the Quaker burial ground, Hunter Street, Liverpool. His death was sudden and a coroners verdict was required before burial. “Hydrothoria” and “lived 15 minutes” was recorded by John Heyes, Coroner. His age was given as 48 years so his date of birth would have been about 1799.

In April 1851 Hannah Grimshaw was still living at Bootle Villas and so was a George Grimshaw, ships broker. This address, (G. Grimshaw and Co., Bootle Villas) was Georges business address but his private address was 2 Mersey View, Birkenhead. It is not known for certain at this time of writing if George was a relative.

Charles Thompson Grimshaw married Hannah Walker, daughter of John and Mary (Thompson) Walker of Rawden at Rawden Quaker Meeting House on 7 xi 1855. A certificate for his “removal” to Rawden was written by Hardshaw West in December 1856. This would suggest that the couple lived in Liverpool following the marriage for a year and that they decided to live in Rawden.

Hannah, age 77, Calebs second wife was living in April 1881 at 10 Claremont Road , Birkdale, a part of Southport . (This house still exists, June 2005). The above Census Return showed her as a “Lodging House Keeper” with a servant Ann Thompson age 73, born at Geld near York. Hannah Grimshaw died 18/19 ii 1887 aged 83 and was interned from the above address in Southport Public Cemetery . From the above it would suggest Hannah Grimshaw was born about 1804. There are two dates given in two different documents for her death.

Richard has provided the following image of the record of Caleb Grimshaw’s marriage to his second wife, Hannah Ellis, in 1841 as described above (surname subsequently found by Richard).

Conformation of marriage of Caleb Grimshaw to Hannah Ellis 4th day 2nd month 1841 at Ackworth Friends Meeting House.

“Hardshaw West monthly Meeting held at Liverpool 1st month 28th day 1841”
“Minute 10th
The following minute has been received from Pontefract Monthly Meeting, viz “The Monthly Meeting of Hardshaw West is hereby informed that the marriage between Caleb Grinshaw and Hannah Ellis was solemnized at Friends Meeting House Ackworth in the County of York the 4th day of 2nd month 1841. Signed in and on behalf of Pontefract Monthly Meeting held at Barnsley this 15th day of 3rd month 1841. Signed Geo. Benning clerk this time.”

Water and fire ravaged as youll see, but enhanced digitally to the best state available.

Richard B Walker. Formby. 2006.

Richard has conducted extensive research in the Quaker records in Liverpool and provided the following additional information in his e-mail:

The Liverpool Quaker Meeting was known as Hardshaw West. Some years ago a fire ravaged the building and got to the records (1672 1960). The remains had been deposited in the Liverpool City archives and no one was allowed to view them. As a Quaker researcher I got permission to view them from Friends House, London but only after promising to digitally photo some of the most valuable records. I now have some 2,500 pages imaged.

Mystic Seaport Library Holdings of Samuel Thompson and Caleb Grimshaw Materials

The Mystic Seaport Library, located in southeastern Connecticut, is in possession of several boxes of materials from the firm “Samuel Thompson’s Nephew & Co.”, according to their website at the following address: 

The materials listed on this website are shown in Figure 9. Included are birth certificates for Elizabeth Grimshaw (1825), George Grimshaw (1827), Edward Grimshaw (1828), Charles Thompson Grimshaw (1830), and Ann Thompson Grimshaw (1831). These are the children of Caleb and Sarah (Thompson) Grimshaw and include an additional child (Ann) who was born after Charles T. Grimshaw.

Figure 9. Listing of Materials Held at the Mystic Seaport Library in Connecticut Related to Caleb Grimshaw and Samuel Thompson.

Samuel Thompson’s Nephew & Co. collection, 1827-1965

Ship’s papers, 1846-1883

11Ship ARGO; portage bills, 1851-1852
 2Ship CALEB GRIMSHAW; portage bills, notes, crew lists, etc., 1848-1850
 3Ship CHARLES H. MARSHALL; Insurance policies, bills, etc., 1878
 4Ship CITY OF NEW YORK; portage bills, accounts, documents, etc., 1864-1883
 5Ship (Elevator) EXCELSIOR; portage bills, bills of sale, accounts, etc., 1852-1872
 6Ship JEREMIAH THOMPSON; portage bills, bills of lading, accounts, etc., 1854-1860
 7Ship JEREMIAH THOMPSON; portage bills, bills of lading, insurnace policies, accounts, etc., 1861-1874
 8Ship JEREMIAH THOMPSON; insurance policies, bills of sale, general average statements, accounts, etc., 1875-1878 and undated
 9Ship JOSEPH WALKER; portage bills, accounts, etc., 1851-1853
21Ship LADY FRANKLIN; portgage bills, accounts, documents, etc., 1850-1855
 2Ship LUCY THOMPSON; portage bills, accounts, bills, etc., 1853-1863
 3Ship ORIENT; bills of sale, insurance policies, accounts, etc., 1874
 4Ship ORIENT; charter party, insurance policies, accounts, etc., 1875-1876
 5Ship ORIENT, portage bills, insurance plicies, etc., 1877-1878
 6Ship SARDINIA; portage bills, accounts, etc., 1846-1861
 7Ship STAR OF THE WEST; portage bills, accounts, etc., 1852-1863
 8Ship TWILIGHT; insurance policies, 1877

Samuel Thompson’s Nephew & Co., business papers, 1855-1924

31General business papers, 1855-1865
 2General business papers, 1866-1869
 3General business papers, 1870
 4General business papers, 1871
 5General business papers, 1872
 6General business papers, 1873-1875
 7General business papers, 1876-1877
 8General business papers, 1878-1880
 9General business papers, 1881-1885
 10General business papers, 1886-1895
 11General business papers, 1896-1906
 12General business papers, 1907-1924
 13General business papers, blank stationary, bills of lading, confirmation of sale, etc.,

Papers, ca. 1830-1900

41Birth certificates for Elizabeth Grimshaw (1825), George Grimshaw (1827), Edward Grimshaw (1828), Charles Thompson Grimshaw (1830), and Ann Thompson Grimshaw (1831),
 2Co-partnership agreements between Samuel Thompson & John Mason, and Caleb Grimshaw Estate (2 copies), 1853 Jun 23
 3Notice of Co-partnership between John W. Mason & Co, and Samuel Thompsons Nephew, dated New York, 1866 Feb 1
 4Documents regarding war-risk insurance premiums paid by Samuel Thompsons Nephew to cover their vessels, 1864-1880
 5Letter of introduction for William P. Mason, 1880
 6Passengers track chart for a voyage from England to Australia by vessels of the Orient Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., 1880
 7Marine Protest, Steamer ANCHORIA, 1900
 8Bills, letters, documents, etc., regarding William P. Masons property at Saranac Lake, N.Y., 1872-1885
 9Papers re. Saranac Lake property, 1890-1895
 10Papers re. Saranac Lake property, 1896-1900
 11Papers re. Saranac Lake property, 1900-1909
 12New York newspapers covering President Lincolns assissination, 1865 Apr
 13Unidentified material, undated

Additional material,

51Information regarding the history of the Black Ball and Black Star Lines, and a chronology of the development of Samuel Thompsons Newphew & Co.,
 2Biographical information for Capt. Edward Abeel (1825-1918), and Capt. Charles H. Marshall (1792-1865),
 3Genealogical information relative to the Mason family,
 4Paper, “The American Sailing Ship,” by Theodore F. Humphrey; and a paper, “The Packet Ship Era” by H. Hobart Holly, 1921 Mar; 1850 Feb
 5William P. Mason and material relative to the Rangeley Motor Boat Club, ca. 1910-1920
 6Miscellanous newspaper clippings relative to the collection,
 7Miscellaneous material including brochures, notes, programs, etc.,
 8Correspondenence of Mrs. Wendell P. Colton to the history of Samuel Thompsons Newphew & Co., ca. 1948

Letter to Samuel Thompson’s Nephew & Co Stamped with Caleb Grimshaw & Co. 

An anonymous contributor has kindly provided a very interesting envelop and partial contents of a letter sent to Samuel Thompson’s Nephew & Co. The letter has a stamp of C. Grimshaw & Co on the envelop. The envelop is shown below. Thanks are expressed to the contributor, who requested to remain anonymous.

The contributor, a collector of postal history, provided a lot of interesting detail on the letter, which is shown below.

Attached to this email is a scan of the front cover of the letter. It has a nice cachet mark of C. Grimshaw & Co. Note that it is a ‘double-rate’ letter, i.e., charged 2 x 1s (24d) because its weight exceeded the 0.5 oz limit. This would have been expensive at the time (when the inland letter rate in GB was 1d).

I will send a scan of the writing on the inside of the cover by a separate email. It is only a small part of the entire letter – most of which was on a separate sheet(s) – now sadly detached and lost. You will note that it is palimpsest writing (i.e., crossed). The author mentions one of the company’s ships (Lucy) and makes reference to a photograph of some senior political figures – a tantalizing glimpse into their world.

The palimpsest writing on the inside of the cover referenced in the preceding paragraph is shown below.


1Cutler, Carl C., 1961, Queens of the Western Ocean – the Story of America’s Mail and Passenger Sailing Lines: Annapolis, MD, United States Naval Institute, 672 p.

2The Liverpool Mercury, October 19, 1849 (v. 39, no. 2147), p. 1

3Flournoy, Sherwood & Scott, 1875, Seven Per Cent Gold First Mortgage, the Galveston, Brazos, and Colorado Railway Company, to Messrs. C. Grimshaw & Co. 80,000 Sterling, Dated September 4, 1875: Galveston, TX, Galveston Mercury Steam Print, 5 p. (University of Texas Center for American History TXC-Z Collection, call no. TZ 385.0973 G139YF)

4Tyler, Ron, Editor in Chief, et al., 1996, The New Handbook of Texas, In Six Volumes, Volume 3: Austin, TX, The Texas State Historical Association, unk p.

Webpage History

Webpage posted December 2004 and January 2005. Upgraded January 2006 with biographical information on Caleb Grimshaw from Richard Walker. Upgraded April 2006 with image and information on Caleb Grimshaw’s marriage to his second wife, Hannah Ellis. Updated May 2012 with addition of letter from anonymous contributor at bottom of webpage.