William Grimshaw — Immigrant to Philadelphia

Spouse of Barbara Farrier and Father of Robert Elwood Grimshaw and Catherine Colwell Grimshaw

Barbara (Farrier) Grimshaw

Source: Eickhoff Family Tree on Ancestry.com (see below for citation)

William Grimshaw was apparently born in England in about 1765. He immigrated to Philadelphia before 1816 because he and Barbara Farrier (born about 1775) were married there in that year. They apparently had four children — Robert Elwood, born in 1817; Sarah, 1819; Jane, 1821; and Catharine, 1825. There has been some confusion about whether William may be the same person as William the historian (see companion webpage), and that he somehow maintained a second family. However, it has now been determined that the two Williams are not the same person.

Little information on William and Barbara has been found, but much is known about their son, Robert Elwood Grimshaw and his two families. A great deal of information is contained in a family history of Blanche Grimshaw Benjamin, youngest child of Robert, which she wrote in 1950 on her 80th birthday. Robert was born in 1815 or 1817 and was “apprenticed as a young boy to a carpenter and builder to learn a trade until he was twenty-one” according to the family history by Blanche. Robert and his first wife, Mary Page (Nicholson) Grimshaw, had seven children. They moved their family from their birthplace in Philadelphia to Minnesota in 1856, when it was still a frontier area. Most of the travely was by boat, down the Ohio River and up the Mississippi to Minneapolis. Robert was apparently the leader of a group of several Philadelphia families that homesteaded in McLeod County, as the settlement was called “Grimshaw Grove” or “Grimshaw Settlement”. Nearby Lake Addie was named by Robert for a daughter in one of the families. Mary Grimshaw died during childbirth about a year after the move to Grimshaw Grove. She makes reference to an upcoming birth in a letter she wrote in July, 1857, and she died in September, when daughter Kate was born. Robert subsequently moved to Minneapolis in 1859, where he was engaged in the construction business and became a prominent citizen. He married again, to Salome Boutelle in 1863, and had three more children, Maude, Walter, and Blanche.

The westward migration of William and Mary Grimshaw to Minnesota and their subsequent life there is described in a group of letters that have been posted on the internet by Joanne Fischer and shown at the end of this webpage (click here).

Robert’s two oldest sons, Elwood and William, followed him in his involvement in the construction business. William became a prominent builder in his own right in Minneapolis, after which he was a U.S. Marshall. Elwood constructed the first building of the South Dakota School of Mines in Rapid City (later called the “Prep Building”) after moving to Deadwood (see companion webpage).

The youngest daughter of William and Barbara (Farrier) Grimshaw, Catharine Colwell Grimshaw, married John Murray and 11 children. This family migrated west (apparently) to Minnesota with Robert Ellwood Grimshaw and family, but subsequently returned to Philadelphia after several of the children were born in Minnesota.


Webpage Credits

Painting of Barbara (Farrier) Grimshaw with Granddaughter Ella Murray

Descendant Chart of William and Barbara (Farrier) Grimshaw

Candidate for William and Barbara Grimshaw in 1840 and 1830 U.S. Censuses

Photos of Robert Grimshaw and His Two Spouses

Robert Grimshaw’s Family History in Philadelphia and Grimshaw Settlement in Minnesota

Robert’s Move to Minneapolis and Formation of a Second Family

Family History Information from Blanche (Grimshaw) Benjamin

Maps and Photos of Grimshaw Grove

Grimshaw Family Letters from Joanne Fischers Website

U.S. Census Records, 1860 and 1880

Robert Grimshaw Bought Spray Island in Lake Minnetonka

Was William Grimshaw, Father of Robert Elwood Grimshaw, the Noted Historian William Grimshaw?

Mary Virginia Grimshaw, Oldest Child of Robert Grimshaw, Married James HB Hunt

Robert Ellwood Grimshaw, Jr, Son of Robert and Mary Grimshaw, Married Alice Paine, then Mae Cannon

William Harrison Grimshaw, Son of Robert and Mary Grimshaw, Married Marion C Bliss

Maude, Daughter of Robert and Salome Grimshaw, Married Charles Jordan

Blanche, Daughter of Robert and Salome Grimshaw, Married Arthur Benjamin

Walter Grimshaw, Son of Robert and Salome Grimshaw

George Washington Cooley, Husband of Lida Grimshaw and Creator of North American Rune Stones

Final Resting Place of Robert Grimshaw and His Two Wives

Information on Catharine Colwell Grimshaw on Ancestry.com


Text of Letters from Robert E Grimshaw Family

Website Credits

Thanks go to Joanne Fischer for preparing an excellent website with pictures and letters on this Grimshaw family line. Her website is at the following address:


New website address: http://webspace.webring.com/people/tj/jofish/genpage.html

The author is indebted to Joanne for the images, letters, and family history information on this webpage, which are borrowed from her website.

Thanks also to the Robert Groves Benjamin, author of the website on the Benjamin family line, which is at the following address:


This website is particularly rich in biographical information and photos of Robert E. Grimshaw.

Painting of Barbara (Farrier) Grimshaw with Granddaughter Ella Murray

The Eickhoff family tree on Ancestry.com includes a photo of Barbara (Farrier) Grimshaw, which is shown below. This family tree also includes information on William and Barbara Grimshaw’s youngest daughter, Catharine. It is included further down on this webpage.

“Painting of Barbara Farrier (born 1785) and Eleanor (Ella) Louise Murray (born 1847)”

Source: Eickenhoff Family Tree on Ancestry.com


Barbara Farrier’s parents were Robert Farrier and Ann Marie Sipelong. They were apparently born in Ireland and Holland, respectively. One record indicates that they were married on the boat to America (http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=hardingsd&id=I0231).

Descendant Chart of William and Barbara (Farrier) Grimshaw

Information has been assembled from several sources to prepare a partial descendant chart for William and Barbara Grimshaw; it is shown below

Partial descendant chart for William and Barbara (Farrier) Grimshaw.

William Grimshaw (1782, England – ?, Philadelphia, PA) &

Barbara Farrier (1786 – ?, Philadelphia, PA). Married 1816 in Philadelphia, PA

|—-Robert Elwood Grimshaw* (12 or 20 Nov 1815, Philadelphia, PA – 10 Jun 1900, Minneapolis, MN) & Mary Page Nicholson (?, Philadelphia, PA – 1 Sep 1857, Minneapolis, MN?). Married September 23, 1840.

|—-|—-Mary Virginia Grimshaw (10 Jul 1843, Philadelphia, PA – ) & James Burrill or Baldwin Hunt ( – )

|—-|—-|—-Mary Louise or Virginia Hunt (1862, Minneapolis, MN – 1935) & Charles Walter Dailey (1859 , Owatonna, MN- 1912, Vienna, Austria) Married 1882 in Minneapolis, MN.

|—-|—-|—-|—-3 children

|—-|—-|—-George Washington Hunt

|—-|—-|—-Bertha Bell Hunt

|—-|—-|—-Elwood Grimshaw Hunt (13 Mar 1868 – ?) & Ellen Cloney. Married 1918, Aberdeen, WA

|—-|—-|—-Ella Virginia Hunt

|—-|—-|—-Mabel Claire Hunt & Harry Owen

|—-|—-|—-|—-Jessie Virginia Owen

|—-|—-|—-Letitia Gertrude Hunt

|—-|—-|—-Jessie Baldwin Hunt & Simeon Ford

|—-|—-|—-|—-4 children

|—-|—-|—-William Harvey Hunt

|—-|—-|—-Rhoda Frances Hunt* & Kent Campbell

|—-|—-|—-Rhoda Frances Hunt* & Edward Garrigues

|—-|—-|—-Alice Virginia Hunt & ? Stimson

|—-|—-|—-|—-5 children

|—-|—-|—-Robert James Hunt

|—-|—-|—-Hazel Grimshaw Hunt & ? Vance

|—-|—-|—-|—-1 daughter

|—-|—-Emma or Elizabeth Grimshaw (1846 – 1860)

|—-|—-Robert Elwood Grimshaw* (4 Jan 1849, Philadelphia, PA – ?, Rapid City, SD) & Alice Paine pr Payne (? – 17 Jan 1900, Rapid City, SD?) Married 24 May 1871.

|—-|—-|—-Alice or Calude Grimshaw & George F. Bagley

|—-|—-|—-Roy or Ray Grimshaw

|—-|—-|—-Myrtle Grimshaw & E.A. Ricker

|—-|—-|—-Maud or Maude Grimshaw & William Garberson

|—-|—-Robert Elwood Grimshaw* (4 Jan 1849, Philadelphia, PA – ?, Rapid City, SD) & Mae Cannon. Married 17 July 1903.

|—-|—-Elizabeth Nicholson (Lide or Lidy) Grimshaw (1850 – ) & George W. Cooley

|—-|—-|—-George Robert Cooley

|—-|—-|—-Zoe Cooley

|—-|—-|—-Sophia Cooley & Frank Notestein

|—-|—-|—-Francis Nicholson Cooley & Blanche (Cooley?)

|—-|—-|—-Ralph Mason Cooley &

|—-|—-|—-Lida Mae Cooley

|—-|—-William Harrison Grimshaw (6 Dec 1853, Philadelphia, PA – ) & Marion or Minnie? C. Bliss. Married July 1879

|—-|—-|—-Alice E (ca 1877 – ) Grimshaw

|—-|—-|—-Minnie Y (ca 1879 – ) Grimshaw

|—-|—-|—-William Elwood Grimshaw

|—-|—-Kate Elizabeth Grimshaw (1 Sep 1857 – 25 May 1900) & H T Cooper

|—-|—-|—-Henry Cooper (died age 21)

|—-|—-|—-Elwood Cooper

|—-Robert Elwood Grimshaw* (20 Nov 1817, Philadelphia, PA – 10 Jun 1900, Minneapolis, MN) & Salome Boutelle (b 1832, West Enosburg, VT – 1915). Married 24 Dec 1863 in Ramsey, MN.

|—-|—-Maude Grimshaw (ca. 1865 – 1926) & Charles Morrison Jordan (12 Nov 1851 – ?). Married May 7, 1895

|—-|—-|—-Helen Dorcas Jordan (9 Feb 1986 – ?) & Percy Cowan

|—-|—-|—-|—-John G Cowan

|—-|—-|—-|—-Peter G Cowan

|—-|—-|—-Mildred Salome Jordan (17 Aug 1899 – ?) & Archie Coleman or Cowan

|—-|—-|—-|—-Archie Northrup Coleman (? – 1948)

|—-|—-|—-Nelson Jordan

|—-|—-Walter Grimshaw (ca 1867 – 1871) (Died age 4)

|—-|—-Blanch or Blanche Grimshaw (1 Sep 1870, Minneapolis, MN – 12 May 1951, Minneapolis ) & Dr. Arthur Benjamin (? – 1 Oct 1953). Married 1887, Hutchison, MN. Married 1 Jan 1900.

|—-|—-|—-unknown daughter, (? – 1903, d1ed as infant)

|—-|—-|—-Edwin Grimshaw Benjamin (1905 – ?) & Marian Jones. Married 1935.

|—-|—-|—-|—-Alice Anne Benjamin

|—-|—-|—-|—-Marjorie Benjamin

|—-|—-|—-|—-Elizabeth Benjamin

|—-|—-|—-Harold Garner Benjamin (1907 – ?) & Lois Groves. Married 1937.

|—-|—-|—-|—-Eleanor Jean Benjamin

|—-|—-|—-|—-Robert Groves Benjamin

|—-|—-|—-Maude Elizabeth Benjamin (1910 – ?) & Charled J Hoover. Married 1935.

|—-|—-|—-|—-Donald Benjamin Hoover (adopted)

|—-|—-|—-Alice Louise Benjamin (1913 – ?)

|—-Ell (possibly Elizabeth or Eliza) Grimshaw?

|—-Sarah Grimshaw (1819, Philadelphia, PA – ?)

|—-Jane Grimshaw (1821, Philadelphia, PA – 16 Feb 1895, Philadelphia, PA) & Arthur unknown (Hughes?)

|—-Kathryn Grimshaw (9 Jul 1825 – ?)

Candidate for William and Barbara Grimshaw in 1840 and 1830 U.S. Censuses

An excellent candidate for the family of William and Barbara Grimshaw appears in the 1840 U.S. Census under the entry “W Grimshaw”. As shown in the image below (from a companion webpage), this W Grimshaw was between 70 and 80 years old (born about 1765, no later than 1770) and was living with his wife, age between 60 and 70 (born about 1775, no later than 1780). This couple is surmised to be William and Barbara Grimshaw. Also present were a 20 to 30 year old male (surmised as Robert Elwood Grimshaw, age 23) and five women – one between 50 and 60 (unknown, possibly Barbara’s mother), two between 20 and 30 (Elizabeth or “Ell”? and Sarah), and two between 15 and 20 (Jane and Kathryn).

W Grimshaw, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A potential candidate from the 1830 U.S. Census has also been identified, but with less certainty because the ages of the couple do not match correctly, the presence of three sons rather than one, and an incomplete match with the number and ages of the daughters. The image below is from a companion webpage; it indicates that Mr and Mrs William Grimshaw were between 50 and 60 years old and were living with three sons, two between 10 and 15 and one less than five years old. They also had two daughters, both between 10 and 15.

William Grimshaw of W. Southwark Township, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania

Photos of Robert Grimshaw and His Two Spouses

Photos of Robert Elwood Grimshaw, oldest child of William and Barbara, and his first wife, Mary Page Nicholson are shown below. The photos are from Joanne Fischers website referenced above.

A photo of Robert with his second wife, Salome Grimshaw, and their daughters Maude (left) and Blanche is shown below.. Photo taken 1888. From Benjamin Family website.

Source: http://benjaminhistory.tribalpages.com/tribe/browse userid=benjaminhistory&view=0&pid=344&rand=487782409

Robert Grimshaw’s Family History before Arriving in Philadelphia and Grimshaw Settlement in Minnesota

Robert E. Grimshaw was born in or near Philadelphia and married Mary Page Nicholson on September 23, 1840. The couple had some seven children. Robert was engaged in the carpentry and construction business, and he built a school in the town of Bustleton north of Philadelphia. The 1850 U.S. Census (see image below) found Robert and Mary Grimshaw, ages 43 and 36, living in Philadelphia with their children – Virginia, age 8; Emma, 6; and Elwood, 3. All members of the family were born in Philadelphia. Living next door with the Murray family was Barbara Grimshaw, age 64, also born in Philadelphia.

In 1856, Robert and Mary left Philadelphia for Minnesota, when it was still a wilderness area. Robert apparently led a party of several families (William White, David Craig, John Pollock, D.R. Bartlett and James Jenks) who headed for an area west of Glencoe upon the recommendation of Charles Hoag. Hoag had visited this area previously. The party settled about 12 miles west of Glencoe on the east side of a small lake. The location was named Grimshaw Settlement or Grimshaw Grove (later renamed to Brownton). The lake was named Lake Addie by Robert Grimshaw for Addie Hoag, daughter of Charles Hoag, who had recommended the area for settlement. Mary Grimshaw died in childbirth in September, just a year after the party settled in Minnesota. Robert then moved his family to Minneapolis in the spring of 1859.

Many details of the family’s experiences are recorded in a set of 17 or 18 letters that survive to this day as described further down on this webpage. A remarkably detailed account of the early history of the Lake Addie area is included in Chapter VIII of Curtiss-Wedge’s History of McLeod County9; relevant sections are excerpted below with references to Robert and Mary Grimshaw and their family shown in bold.

In the spring of 1856 Robert E. Grimshaw, William J. White, David Craig and John Pollock left Philadelphia with their families for Pittsburg, where they embarked on a steamboat and proceeded by that conveyance to St. Paul. Their migration for Minnesota was induced by a glowing description of the country around Minneapolis, which they had received from Charles Aaron Hoag, who are formerly a school teacher at Bussleton, a suburb of Philadelphia, but who, some years before, had settled on a claim near the former place. They were accompanied by George G. White, a brother of William J., and by D.R. Bartlett. Before leaving Pittsburg their number was increased by James Jenks and his family. On arriving at Minneapolis they received favorable reports of this country, and proceeded to Glencoe, accompanied by Joseph Lewis. Mr. Jenks may pre-emption claim a mile or two south of New Auburn and the others made claims on the east side of Lake Addie. They divided up the timber land among the several claims so that each family had a timber lot. Grimshaw was, by common consent, allowed to take their first choice and he selected the 160 acres now glad that Schilling farm. William White took the land now known as the Sturdivant farm. David Craig took the claim on the north side of White’s, and John Pollock the land adjoining White’s on the south, on which a part of the village of Brownton now stands. Lewis took the claim south of Pollock’s, now a part of the Suchomel farm. He was the first one to become disgusted with the country and in about a year he returned to St. Paul, where during many subsequent years he was financial agent, or secretary, Governor Ramsey. Soon after the arrival of the party, David H. Pollock, an unmarried brother of John’s, came to the new settlement, but after a study of two years, departed for a more genial clime.

The locality soon became known as Grimshaw’s Settlement, and was so designated on all territorial maps of Minnesota. The settlers employed John Blanchard, a new Auburn, who had a compass and chain, to survey out their claims, and Grimshaw had Robert Blaisdell, who had four or five oxen, break land for him on the north side of Buffalo creek, for which he paid them seven dollars per acre. He hired to William White to erect for him a hewn house and a mortised post and fence rail around his farm. These jobs furnished employment for William and George White and David R. Bartlett.) White built for himself a hewn house, which still remains standing. Craig and Pollock each built small frame houses, and most of the material being sawed in New Auburn.

William Armes, the father-in-law of William S. Chapman, came to Glencoe in 1855 and remained there until the spring of 1856, when he returned to his home in Augladise County, Ohio, and, after disposing of his property there, moved to Minnesota with ox-teams. After a journey occupying three months, they arrived in the fall of that year and settled on their claims, consisting of the timber land on the east side of Armes Lake. Soon after their arrival a man named King, and his nephew, Edward Hartley, pre-empted the land on which stood a grove of trees on King’s Lake. In 1856 and in this locality was surveyed by the United States government, and Lake Addie was so named by Mr. Grimshaw, in honor of Addie Hoag, daughter of C.A. Hoag of Minneapolis, who was here on a visit during the winter of 1856-57. She afterwards became the wife of C. H. Clark, who has for many years Secretary of the State Agricultural Society. Armes Lake took its name from the Armes family, as did also King’s Lake from the first settler on its shores. Lake Mary was so named by the artist Whitefield, a settler who took a claim on the north shore, in memory of his deceased wife. He made a painting of it, lithographs of which were on sale in the bookstores of St. Paul. He also made a water-color sketch of Grimshaw’s house, which adorned its walls until the family moved away. Pre-emption claims were made in this year covering the body of timber on the east side of Lake Marion and the groves at Lake Preston were the Alway families settled.

The winter of 1856-57 was a terribly severe one. The snow was deep, the cold intense, and it was almost impossible for teams to go from the new settlement into Glencoe. Mrs. Armes does the author of this narrative that she did not see a woman for three months, and the sun was obscured for more than 40 days.

In the spring of 1857 Samuel B. Brown, accompanied by his son, Charles H. and son in law, L. Ocobock, arrived from Freeport, Ill., and settled on a part of section 8, township 114, range 29 (now Penn Township) adjoining William Armes on the north, and after letting a contract to Armes to build a hewn log house on the land, referred to Freeport. On June 29, 1857 J.B. and W.P. Newcomb, Alonzo H. Jennison, R.L. Moore and Frank Drake arrived from Wisconsin and settled in township 115, range 29 (Sumter township). Nearly all the land between these settlements, and the vicinity of the Hutchinson, Glencoe, New Auburn and Henderson was taken in the 1856 and 1857. Small board claim shanties dotted the country in all directions. The financial crash of 1857 put a stop awhile to further immigration. During the summer Mrs. R.E. Grimshaw died. She was a very estimable lady and was greatly beloved by all who knew her.

A.L. Brown arrived in New Auburn October 27, 1857, and on the 28th settled in Penn, where, with his brother, Charles, he kept “bachelor’s hall”, doing that fall, and the succeeding winter in a small claim shanty on his father’s claim.

The following record of elections held in Penn precinct was copied from the original book given for the purpose by R.E. Grimshaw, which had been brought by him from Philadelphia, and was loaned to Capt. A.L. Brown by Fred Hantge, then clerk of Penn Township. The names recorded therein did not show all the settlers who were here at the time, because a few almost always remained at home, as at the present day, and did not vote; but as the lists contain nearly all of them, they are valuable in determining approximately the date when some of the early settlers arrived.

At the first annual town meeting of the Penn held at the house of R. E. Grimshaw on May 11, 1858. Organized by: James B. James to the chair, and Alonzo H. Jacobsen, clerk. When Samuel B. James act as moderator of said meeting. The following is a list of names of voters who voted at the first annual meeting of that kind of Hand, County of McLeod and state of Minnesota, and whose several ballots were deposited in a box prepared for that purpose. R.E. Grimshaw, A. Langley, James S. Chandler, J. Nobles, E.J. Marvin, William J. White, David R. Bartlett, David Craig, George G. White, William R. Marvin, James B. Newcomb, Samuel B. James, Alonzo H. Jennison, John Pollock, David B. Pollock and George Benson. Voted that we raise for town purposes for the ensuing year seventy-five dollars; also that the assessor be allowed to procure from the land office and Henderson in a plat of the four towns comprising the town of Penn.” These were the towns now known as Penn, Sumter, Collins and Round Grove. “Voted that the next annual meeting be held at the house or R.E. Grimshaw, also that a book be accepted for Mr. Grimshaw to be used as a town book. The following is the result of the first town meeting and the number of votes cast for each candidate for several town offices: Supervisors, R.J. Marvin, 16; William J. White, 12; Lornezo D. Langley, 16; town clerk, Alonzo H. Jennison, 12; Frank R. Drake, 4; assessor, John Pollock, 16; collector, J.S. Chandler, 16; overseer of the poor, John Walker, 15; justice of the peace, S.B. James, 16; Amaziah Langley, 16; constable, Jeremiah Nobles, 16; David R Bartlett, 16.

[Author’s note. After this point in the text, references to Robert Grimshaw are sparse and are excerpted individually below.]

D. R. Bartlett and George White worked the Grimshaw farm on shares in 1858, and in the fall Bartlett sold his share of the crop to S.B. Brown and returned to Philadelphia to reside.

In the spring of 1859 Mr. Grimshaw moved his family to Minneapolis. During that summer John Pollock sold the improvements on his claim to S.B. Brown and after selling his personal property, removed with his family to Philadelphia.

On June 27 Samuel White and family arrived from near Rock Island, Ill., and occupied the Grimshaw house. They took a claim on the west side of Lake Addie, now known as the Bunch farm, and during the summer they improved their land and erected a story and a half-story dwelling house, 18 by 24 feet in size, which is still standing.

When Samuel Whites family moved out of the Grimshaw house, Andrew Thompson, father of Mrs. Lauren Loomis, moved from Henderson with his family and occupied it. He took the claim adjoining Grimshaws land on the north. The only school held in the Grimshaw Neighborhood previous to 1867 was held in John Pollocks house, and Mrs. Louett Pollock, his wife, taught it.

Family History Information from Blanche (Grimshaw) Benjamin

Blanche Benjamin wrote a rich family history of Robert Grimshaw and his two families and their descendants. It was prepared on her 80th birthday, on September 1, 1950. the 11-page document may be examined by clicking here. The first page of the document is shown below.

Blanche also made extensive notes on her children as they were growing up. Click here to see these notes, which extend from February 1, 1908 to January 27, 1916. The first 10 pages are typewritten and are followed by another 12 pages of handwritten notes. It is apparent that the manuscript was in process of being typed, but the typing was not completed. The handwritten portion has page numbers 23 to 35, with a note on page 24 — at the location where the typewritten version ends — as follows: “To write up”. It is surmised that the first 22 handwritten pages, now missing and probably discarded, correspond to the 10 typed pages.

Both of the above documents were found in the Benjamin family files at the Minnesota Historical Society and were obtained in December 2010. They are in Box 5 (Miscellaneous Papers) of the following collection:

Benjamin, John and Family. Papers.

Call No. A.B468

Maps and Photos of Grimshaw Grove

The Minnesota Handbook for 1856-576 (Chapter 14, p. 95) includes a reference to “Grimshaw Settlement” (see below), which was located 12 miles west of Glencoe.

Image of entry in the Minnesota Handbook for Grimshaw Settlement. (Lines from preceding and following entry also included).

It appears virtually certain that Grimshaw Grove was the Grimshaw Settlement located about 12 miles west of Glencoe. The location of Glencoe about 50 miles southwest of Minneapolis is shown below.

Location of Glencoe southwest of Minneapolis, with second map showing nearby communities of Hutchison, Brownton, and Sumter. As shown in the next figure, Grimshaw Settlement is just northeast of Brownton.

A detailed topographic map showing the location of Section 21 in Sumter township is shown below. The small lakes are glacial lakes left from the Pleistocene ice age.

Topographic Map7 of Glencoe and Hutchison area showing the location of Section 21, where Grimshaw Settlement was located. Note the location of nearby Brownton and Sumter, also shown in the image above. Also note the location of Lake Addie about a mile southwest of Section 21. 

Southeast view across Lake Addie with Brownton water tower visible in the distance. Lake Addie was named by Robert Grimshaw for the daughter of one of the families at Grimshaw Grove. Photo taken June 2010 by website author.

Northeast and northwest views of Section 21, where Robert Grimshaw’s land was located, at the corner of 90th Street and Orange Avenue. Photo taken June 2010 by website author.

Robert Grimshaw’s Move to Minneapolis and Formation of a Second Family

About a year and a half after his wifes death in 1857, Robert moved with his children to Minneapolis. There he continued his previous profession near Philadelphia as a builder and developer, and also became a prominent citizen with a number of civic contributions. An entry on the website for the Benjamin family includes the following brief biography of Robert.

Robert Grimshaw was a self-educated man. He was very fond of reading. He retired at the age of sixty. He built a good many houses and public buildings in Minneapolis. His favorite style was a square blue limestone with a Mansard roof. Some are still standing. He built the old Minneapolis Central High School and the Syndicate block. The Syndicate block was his last building. (See the Syndicate block story.) He bought Spray Island on Lake Minnetonka in about 1875. Later he built a house on it where the family spent summers for many years. The island remained in his possession until his death and later became the property of Maude and Blanche. He was public-spirited and a loyal Republican. He contributed generously and served on the Minneapolis School Board for many years. He was a member of the Unitarian Church.

Source: http://benjaminhistory.tribalpages.com/tribe/browse?userid=benjaminhistory&view=63&pid=345&photoindex=0

Robert Grimshaw re-married, to Salome Boutelle, on December 24, 1863. Photos of Salome Boutelle are shown below.

Two photos of Salome (Boutelle) Grimshaw, the first from about 1870 (seven years after her marriage to Robert) and the second from around 1900. Photos are from the website of the Minnesota Historical Society.

An image of the marriage record of Robert and Salome from the FamilySearch website is shown below.

Salome (Boutelle) Grimshaw was a teacher at Union School when it opened in 1857 (see image below from “of the Minnesota Historical Society Collections”, 191511) after it was built by Robert Grimshaw. As noted above, Robert also served on the school board for many years. These connections with the education system, one surmises, may have led to the acquaintance and marriage of Robert and Salome. He was 46 and she was 30 at the time of their marriage.

Robert’s service on the school board “for many years” may have also led to the introduction and subsequent marriage of his daughter, Maude, to Charles Jordan, who served as superintendent of schools for Minneapolis for many years, (see below on this webpage).

After Minneapolis and St. Anthony were combined into one city in 1872, Robert was elected Alderman of the Fifth Ward in the first election for the new city on April 1, 1873. Several notations of Roberts civic contributions are recorded in the history of Minneapolis1:

Election to Fifth Ward Alterman, April 1, 1873 (p. 91)

Service as alterman (p. 95)

Member of Board of Directors for Minneapolis public schools in 1870 (p. 119) and 1972 – 1873 (p. 122)

Director for the Atheneum and Public Library, 1872 (p. 286)

Family Letters from Joanne Fischers Website

Many letters written by members of Robert Grimshaw and his family survive and have been posted on Joanne Fischer’s website. These letters provide insight into the lives of the family members, and they also include a good deal of family history and genealogy information. Included are details of the family journey from Philadelphia to Minnesota, the development of the farm at Grimshaw Settlement, relationships with the families that migrated there together, the death of Mary Grimshaw in September 1857, Robert Grimshaw’s feelings about his deceased wife, his work as a carpenter and homebuilder in Minneapolis, and other family details.

The text of these letters from Ms Fischer’s website is provided further down on this webpage (click here).

U.S. Census Records, 1860 and 1880

The 1860 U.S. Census recorded Robert E. Grimshaw living in Hennepin County with his children Virginia (age 17), Robert E. (12), Eliza (9), William (6) and Kate (3), as shown below.

Image from 1860 U.S. Census showing Robert E. and his family living in Hennepin County, Minnesota. (from Ancestry.com)

The 1880 U.S. Census found Robert E. Grimshaw and his second wife, Salome B(outelle)., living in Minneapolis with Roberts youngest child (Kate) by his first wife and two younger daughters, Maud and Blanch. The census also found William H. Grimshaw, 5th child of Robert and his first wife, Mary, living in Minneapolis with his wife, Minnie, and two daughters, Alice E. and Minnie Y. The two family records are shown below. Apparently Marion Bliss went by “Minnie.” But it is not known why Williams mother-in-law is shown as Roberts rather than Bliss.

1880 U.S. Census Records of Robert E and Salome B Grimshaw and of Robert’s son, William H Grimshaw and their families

Census Place:

Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota




FHL Film 1254622 National Archives Film T9-0622 Page 350A


















Mo: PA










Keeping House

Fa: MA

Mo: MA










At Home

Fa: PA

Mo: PA










Attending School

Fa: PA

Mo: VT









Census Place:

Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota




FHL Film 1254622 National Archives Film T9-0622 Page 235D

















Fa: PA

Mo: PA










Keeping House

Fa: WI

Mo: WI









Fa: PA

Mo: WI









Fa: PA

Mo: WI










Keeping House

Fa: MA

Mo: MA









Robert Grimshaw Bought Spray Island in Lake Minnetonka

According to Grimshaw family history by Blanche G Jordan, the family enjoyed many summers on Spray Island in Lake Minnetonka, which is a few miles west of Minneapolis. Blanche’s description is shown below.

He [Robert Grimshaw] bought Spray Island, Lake Minnetonka in about 1875. Later he built a house on it where we spent our summers for many years. The island remained in his possession until his death and later became the property of Maude and Blanche. Maude sold her half of the island to Blanche. It is now [1900] the property of Belham Co. whose members are our four children. Father was always a good judge of real estate and acquired a good deal. he was always land poor, paying taxes on his land…

A photo from the Minnesota Historical Society website of Robert Grimshaw with daughters Maude and Blanche on Spray island is shown below.

Source: Minnesota Historical Website:

Robert Grimshaw and his daughters, Blanche and Maude, seated outdoors on Spray Island, Lake Minnetonka
Photographer: Anton H. Opsahl
Photograph Collection ca. 1900
Location no. GV4.5 p51
Negative no. 74156

Spray Island is about 14 miles southwest of Minneapolis in Lake Minnetonka. A map showing the location of Spray Island (pointer “A”) is shown below, followed by a Google Earth image of Spray Island and adjoining Shady Island.

Was William Grimshaw, Father of Robert Elwood Grimshaw, the Noted Historian William Grimshaw?

A website on the Hunt family indicates that William Grimshaw was born in 1782 and was the son of Nicholas and Mary (Wrigley) Grimshaw. The website may be seen at:


This William Grimshaw is the noted historian who emigrated from Ireland to Philadelphia in 1815 (see companion webpage). However, William Grimshaw the historian was developing a family with his wife, Harriett (Mulligan) Grimshaw at the time that Robert Elwood Grimshaw and his siblings were born to Barbara Farrier. The ancestor and descendant chart from the Hunt family website is summarized as follows:

Grimshaw Nicholas & Kenshaw Ann

|—2 Grimshaw Nicholas b. 1714 d. 1777 & (Brierel…) Susannah Grace

|—|—3 Grimshaw Nicholas b. 10 Jul 1747 d. 28 Apr 1804 & Wrigley Mary b. Apr 1749 d. 1801

|—|—|—4 Grimshaw William b. 1782 & Farrier Barbara

|—|—|—|—5 Grimshaw Robert Elwood b. 20 Nov 1817 d. 10 Jun 1900 & Boutell Saloume

|—|—|—|—|—6 Grimshaw Maude

|—|—|—|—|—6 Grimshaw Blanche

|—|—|—|—|—6 Grimshaw William

|—|—|—|—|—6 Grimshaw William

|—|—|—|—|—6 Grimshaw William

|—|—|—|—5 Grimshaw William & Nicholson Mary Page b. 15 Jun 1823 d. 1 Sep 1858

|—|—|—|—|—6 Grimshaw Emma or Kathryn b. 1823 d. 1823

|—|—|—|—|—6 Grimshaw William b. BET 1823 AND 1840

|—|—|—|—|—6 Grimshaw Elwood b. BET 1824 AND 1841

|—|—|—|—|—6 Grimshaw Lyde b. BET 1825 AND 1842

|—|—|—|—|—6 Grimshaw Kate b. BET 1826 AND 1843

|—|—|—|—|—6 Grimshaw Mary Virginia b. 10 Jul 1843 d. 6 Jan 1916 & Hunt James Harvey Baldwin* b. 25 Jan 1832 d. 4 Apr 1916

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Hunt Mary Louise b. 12 Sep 1862 d. 13 May 1935

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Hunt George Washington* b. 3 May 1864 d. 26 Feb 1954

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Hunt Bertha Belle b. 18 Feb 1866 d. 25 Dec 1964

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Hunt Elwood Grimshaw b. 13 Mar 1868 d. 21 Jul 1940

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Hunt Ella Virginia b. 9 Jun 1870 d. 8 May 1874

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Hunt Mabel Clare b. 11 May 1872 d. 24 Aug 1960

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Hunt Letitia Gertrude b. 5 Jun 1874 d. 1 Oct 1960

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Hunt Jessie Baldwin b. 25 Jan 1877

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Hunt William Harvey b. 11 Jan 1879 d. 20 Jun 1956

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Hunt Rhoda Frances b. 25 Feb 1881

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Hunt Alice Virginia b. 10 Apr 1883 d. 28 Mar 1952

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Hunt Robert James b. 8 Mar 1885 d. 27 May 1929

|—|—|—|—|—|—|—7 Hunt Hazel Grimshaw b. 25 Aug 1887 d. 31 Jan 1977

|—|—|—|—|—6 Grimshaw William b. BET 1823 AND 1840

|—|—|—|—|—6 Grimshaw William b. BET 1823 AND 1840

|—|—|—|—|—6 Grimshaw William b. 1840

There are several discrepancies in this descendant chart with what is known about the family of William Grimshaw the historian. As noted in the 1840 U.S. Census record above, the birthdates of William and Barbara are indicated to be no later than 1770 and 1780, respectively, whereas William the historian was born in 1782. Furthermore, William Grimshaw the historian was found in Dauphin County (i.e., Harrisburg), Pennsylvania in the 1830 U.S. Census.

Evidence that the William Grimshaw who married Harriett Mulligan in Ireland is the same William who had a family with Barbara Farrier is not included on the Hunt family website – just the ancestor information summarized above. It is noted that there is a possibility of confusion of Robert Elwood Grimshaw with the well-known mechanical engineer, Robert E Grimshaw, youngest son of William Grimshaw the historian (born in 1850). Robert E Grimshaw is the subject of a companion webpage.

In the absence of more evidence on the point, it appears unlikely that the two Williams (married Harriett Mulligan and married
Barbara Farrier) are the same person.

Mary Virginia Grimshaw, Oldest Child of Robert Grimshaw, Married James HB Hunt

Joanne Fischer’s website includes the following information on Mary Virginia Grimshaw, oldest child of Robert and Mary (Nicholson) Grimshaw:

James was the husband of Mary Virginia Grimshaw and is the Mr. Hunt referred to in the letters. Picture taken on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary “Ginnie” was the daughter of R.E. Grimshaw and Mary P Grimshaw. b-7/10/1843; m-11/21/1861; d-6/1916

Mary Virginia (Ginnie’s) younger photo (Figure 3) taken at Beal’s Art Gallery, Minneapolis, Minn. Older photo taken on the occasion of 50th Wedding Anniversary (we did a bit of digital wizardry with this pic but not James’)

Photos of Mary Virginia (Grimshaw) and James H B Hunt.

James and Virginia were the parents of Mary Louise, George Washington, Bertha Bell, Elwood Grimshaw, Ella Virginia, Mabel Claire, Letitia Gertrude, Jessie Baldwin, William Harvey, Rhoda Frances, Alice Virginia, Robert James, and Hazel Grimshaw Hunt (my grandmother).

Robert Elwood Grimshaw, Jr., Son of Robert and Mary Grimshaw, Married Alice Paine, then Mae Cannon

The life and accomplishments of Robert E. Grimshaw, Jr. are described on a companion webpage. Robert (apparently known as “Elwood” in the family) left home in 1863 (the year of his fathers second marriage) at the age of 14 and joined an expedition that built Fort Wadsworth (later the Sisseton agency) in northwestern South Dakota – not long after the Indian uprising and massacre in Minnesota. Upon returning to Minneapolis, he was involved in the wholesale grocery business for a time and later he was engaged in the manufacture of carriages. When the Black Hills gold rush occurred in 1876, Robert again returned to South Dakota, where he operated a freight business between Bismarck (the end of the railroad at that time) and the Black Hills. He apparently lived out his life in Deadwood and is buried there near the graves of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane. A drawing of the carriage-building establishment, apparently part-owned by Robert, is provided in an 1874 historical atlas of Minnesota3 (see below).

Grimshaw and Town Carriage Works, located in Minneapolis, as depicted in a historical atlas of Minnesota.

An excellent biography of Robert is presented in the 1915 History of South Dakota8 and is presented below.


Robert E. Grimshaw is serving his seventh year as postmaster of Deadwood and has managed the affairs of the office to the satisfaction of its patrons, all of the numberless details of the work being carefully looked after, as he is very systematic in everything he does. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 4, 1849, a son of Robert E. and Mary (Nicholson) Grimshaw. The mother was a sister of James B. Nicholson, one of the leading members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in the United States and widely known as a lecturer. The Nicholson family have been in the United States for a long time but the Grimshaws were residents of England not so many years ago. The father of our subject, however, was born in Philadelphia and was an architect and builder in his native city for many years, but in 1856 removed with his family to Minneapolis, Minnesota. They traveled by rail to Pittsburgh and then by boat down the Ohio and up the Mississippi to St. Paul. They arrived in that city before there was any railroad there and were among the pioneers of that section. The father followed his profession in Minneapolis and erected many of the public buildings, such as schools. He was an extensive land owner, having large holdings in Minnesota, and was also active in public affairs, serving on the city council of Minneapolis for a number of years and as a director of the board of education for several years. At one time he was a director of the First National Bank and in many ways he took part in the life of the community. He died in 1900, having survived his wife for many years, her death occurring in 1857, just one year after the arrival of the family in Minneapolis. They were the parents of six children, namely: Virginia, the wife of J.B. Hunt, a resident of River Falls, Wisconsin: Robert E., of this review; Eliza, who married George W. Cooley, city engineer of Minneapolis; Maud, the wife of professor Jourdan, who has been the superintendent of the Minneapolis schools for more than twenty years; Blanch, the wife of Dr. Benjamin, a practicing physician of that city; and William H., who for a period of twelve years has been United States marshal for the state of Minnesota.

Robert E. Grimshaw attended the public and high schools of Minneapolis but then only fourteen years of age he ran away from home and joined an expedition which was sent to locate a government post upon the frontier just after the Minnesota massacres. The post which was established was Fort Wadsworth, now the Sisseton agency, in Roberts County, South Dakota. Mr. Grimshaw was clerk to the captain of the commissary and during the trip had many interesting experiences, as the expedition was gone for a whole season and at that time there was not a single white man’s house in the northern part of South Dakota. On his return to St. Paul, Mr. Grimshaw found employment with a wholesale grocery establishment in Minneapolis, continuing in that connection for about five years. At the end of that time he engaged in the manufacture of carriages until 1876, when he started for the Black Hills, going by railroad to Bismark, which was then the end of the Northern Pacific, and from that point by ox team to Deadwood. He located the road from Bismarck to Deadwood and for two years operated a freighting team between the two settlements. He located permanently in Deadwood and engaged in the hay and grain business until 1886, in which year he obtained a contract from the state for the construction of the first building at the School of Mines in Rapid City and the same year he took a contract to furnish ties and timber for the Chicago & Northwester Railroad for their line from Buffalo Gap, South Dakota, to Rapid City. He completed his contracts in 1886 and since then has devoted his time chiefly to public affairs. He has held a number of local offices and he has always discharged the duties appertaining thereto ably and conscientiously. For the past seven years he has been postmaster of Deadwood and under Governor Harred served as oil inspector. For four terms he was a member of the city council, being appointed by the legislature when the city was first organized and being elected the following three terms. He was city assessor for two or three terms and city marshal one term. He also served as deputy county treasurer for four years, besides holding various minor offices. He is likewise interested in a number of mines in the Black Hills and his investments return him a fair profit.

Mr. Grimshaw was married on the 24th of May, 1871, to Miss Alice Paine, a native of Providence, Rhode Island, and a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Paine. Her father was a newspaper man in the east and upon removing to Minneapolis continued in that line of work. His wife died in that city in 1874 and he later went to Bismarck, North Dakota, passing away in 1886. To Mr. and Mrs. Grimshaw were born three children, namely: Myrtle, the wife of E.A Ricker, now a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah, and general agent of the Equitable Life Insurance Company for that state; Alice, the wife of George F. Bagley, who is engaged in the real-estate business and also conducts a curio store at Deadwood; and Maud, the wife of William Garberson, a Baptist minister residing in Denver. Mrs. Grimshaw died on January 17, 1900, and Mr. Grimshaw was again married, July 17, 1903, his second wife being Mrs. Mae Cannon, of Chicago, whose parents, Mr .and Mrs. Edward Wearne, now reside in Los Angeles, California.

Mr. Grimshaw is a republican in politics and staunchly supports that party at the polls. He has been a resident of Deadwood for many years and recounts many interesting stories of pioneer days which make the past live again and which enable the hearer to appreciate the conditions under which the old settlers of the locality lived and worked. As a private citizen and as a public official he has always adhered to the highest moral standards and has won the unqualified respect of all who knew him.

Like his father before him, Robert was involved in building construction and built the first building at the South Dakota School of Mines in Rapid City. This building, which came to be known as the “Prep Building”, is shown on the right below.

William Harrison Grimshaw, Son of Robert and Mary Grimshaw,  Married Marion C Bliss

William H. Grimshaw, the second son of Robert E. Grimshaw, Sr., was also apparently influenced by his father building profession, as he obtained his degree in architecture and built a number of major buildings in Minneapolis. Also like his father, he was civic minded and became active in politics. He was appointed the Federal marshal for Minnesota for a number of years. A good biography of William is given in a biographical encyclopedia of Minnesota4 and is provided below.

William H. Grimshaw

William Harrison Grimshaw, of Minneapolis, present United States marshal for the district of Minnesota, was born in Philadelphia, December 6, 1853. His parents were both natives of that city and of English descent. His father, Robert E. Grimshaw, was a prominent contractor and builder. The maiden name of his mother was Mary Page Nicholson, and she was a descendant of an old and prominent Philadelphia family; she died in 1856, when her son William was three years of age. He was the fourth child of a family of two sons and three daughters. In 1855 Robert E. Grimshaw removed with his children to Minneapolis, where he subsequently remarried. His son, William, has therefore been a resident of Minnesota practically since infancy. He was educated in the Minneapolis public schools, graduating from the high school in 1869. Inheriting the taste and disposition of his father, he thoroughly educated himself as an architect, opened an office in Minneapolis and was successful in his profession from the first, becoming one of the best known architects in the Northwest. He designed and superintended the erection of thirteen of the public school buildings and many private houses, store buildings, etc., in Minneapolis and several county court houses in different portions of the State. Meantime he was prominent and influential in the local affairs of the city. He has always been a staunch Republican and has taken an active working part in politics. In every political campaign for the past twenty-five years his service have been in demand, and he has made speaking tours throughout the State. In 1882 he was elected tot he Legislature and was a prominent member of the House during the session of 1883. He was a member of several important committees, and it was he who presented the name of Hon. C.K. Davis to the joint session as a candidate for the United States Senate. Mr. Davis was not elected at this time, however, Hon. D.M. Sabin succeeded to the honor. Mr. Grimshaw was appointed to his present position by President McKinley, March 17, 1899. He has made a most efficient chief constable of the Federal authority, and his administration has been successful and acceptable to an eminent degree. Marshal Grimshaw is a man of versatile talents and accomplishments. He can look after evil doers who break the law, design and build a mammoth building, make a speech, conduct a political campaign, write an essay – all with equal force and facility. He is of a literary turn, a ready and polished writer, and has made many notable contributions to the public press and the leading magazines. For the past seven years he has edited the “Chess Columns” of the Minneapolis Journal. He is, too, of scholastic tastes and has a reputation for his profound knowledge of mathematics. He was married in July, 1879, to Mrs. Marion C. Bliss, of Ionia, Michigan. They have one child, a son, named William Elwood Grimshaw, who is a student in the State University.

A photo of William H Grimshaw from the Minnesota Historical Society website is shown below.

The following photo of William H Grimshaw is from the the Benjamin Family website. It indicates that the other person is Walter Grimshaw at age 38. However, records show that Walter died at age 4. Therefore it seems likely that the younger person is William H Grimshaw’s son, William Ellwood Grimshaw.

Walter is 38 years old in this picture. Also in picture is his brother William H. Grimshaw (55 yrs)

Picture dated 1905

William and Walter Grimshaw

Source: http://benjaminhistory.tribalpages.com/tribe/browse?userid=benjaminhistory&view=63&pid=502&bview=0&rand=551323919

William apparently served for as long as 16 years as U.S. Marshall, receiving one partial and four full four-year appointments as follows:

Grimshaw, William H.
March 11, 1899(R) — O’Connor (Term Expired)
December 19, 1899(S)
December 18, 1903(C)
December 16, 1907(C)
December 19, 1911(C)
Source: http://www.justice.gov/marshals/readingroom/us_marshals/minnesota.pdf

Pictures of two of William H. Grimshaw’s buildings in Minneapolis were found on a website and are shown below. The buildings were built between 1867 and 1869; they were razed sometime before 1951.

Johnson’s Bloc (left) and First National Bank (right).

Built by William H. Grimshaw (contractor) 1853-1922. Construction
date: 1867-1869. Building condition (as of 1951): Razed. Building location:
Washington Avenue, Hennepin to Nicollet.

Holding: University of Minnesota Libraries, Manuscripts Division, Northwest Architectural Archives, Record Number tor0054.


The location of the buildings on Washington Avenue between Hennepin Avenue and Nicollet Avenue in downtown Minneapolis is shown below.

Maude, Daughter of Robert and Salome Grimshaw, Married Charles Jordan

Maude Grimshaw married Charles Jordan, who became superintendent of public schools in Minneapolis, on May 7 1895. Their children were Helen Dorcas and Mildred Salome Grimshaw.

Shown below is a photo of Maude Grimshaw from the Minnesota Historical Society website entitled “Maude Grimshaw Jordan Wedding Gown 1895”.

The photo below is entitled “Charles Maude Grimshaw Jordan, about 1899”. Photo from Minnesota Historical Society website.

Helen Dorcas Grimshaw is shown below with her uncle (actually “half-uncle”), William Harrison Grimshaw. Photo from Minnesota Historical Society website.

The following biography of Charles Jordan is from Hudson’s “A Half Century of Minneapolis”12 (p. 105).

JORDAN, Charles Morison, superintendent of the public schools of Minneapolis, was born at Bangor, Maine, November 12, 1851. His father, Nelson Jordan, was a teacher in Western Maine for several years and afterward was a merchant at Bangor and was engaged later in farming, lumbering and manufacturing in that state until 1874. He then went to Massachusetts and came in 1877 to Minnesota when he operated a large farm in the southern part of the state and spent his last days in Minneapolis, where he died in 1895. Family members in America came from England in 1639 settling on Richmond’s Island, Maine. On the maternal side the ancestors were Scottish, the American descent being from William Morison who came from Scotland in 1740, settling in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Dr. Jordan’s mother was a sister of Dorilus and H.G.O. Morison, early settlers in Minneapolis. Dr. Jordan received his early educational training in the public schools of Maine and prepared for college at work Westbrook Seminary later entering Tufts College from which he graduated in 1877, valedictorian of his class. Upon graduation he secured the principalship of the Bangor high school at a competitive examination, and two years later he was named superintendent of the lower grade schools are Bangor. In 1883 he resigned his positions at Bangor and accepted the principalship of the Winthrop school of Minneapolis. The same year he started the East high school, conducting it in the Winthrop school building. In 1884, having been transferred to the Adams school, he initiated the work of the South high school, conducting it in the Adams building. Dr. Jordan’s working capacity was further tested by the devolution upon him of the supervision of the evening schools of the city. In 1892 he was elected to the responsible office of Superintendent of the public schools of Minneapolis for three years and to this position he has since been five times reelected for the triennial period. In 1892 Dr. Jordan received from Tufts College the Ph.D. degree. He is a member of the Zeta Psi college fraternity and has received the honor of membership in the Phi Beta Kappa. He has been president of the National Council of Education and president of the National Association of Superintendents; is a member of the Sons of the Revolution and is a Mason of the Thirty-second Degree. It has also been president of the Citizens Staff of John A. Rawlins Post, G.A.R. Dr. Jordan was married on May 7, 1895, to Miss Maud Grimshaw, daughter of Robert E. Grimshaw, of Minneapolis. Two then two children have been born; Helen Dorcas (February 9, 1896) and Mildred Salome (August 17, 1899).

The following photo was taken in about 1920, when Charles and Maude Jordan’s children were grown.

Source: Minnesota Historical Society website:

Charles M. Jordan and wife Maude, with children left to right: Mildred, Charles and Helen
Photographer: Paul Weir Cloud
Photograph Collection ca. 1920
Location no. por 17258 p4

Blanche, Daughter of Robert and Salome Grimshaw, Married Arthur Benjamin

Blanche Grimshaw married Arthur Benjamin, a physician, in 1900 and had four children — Edwin Grimshaw, Harold Garner, Maude Elizabeth, and Alice Louise Benjamin.

Photo from Minnesota Historical Society website entitled “Blanche Grimshaw Benjamin ca 1900”.

Arthur and Blanche Grimshaw ca 1900… Photo from Minnesota Historical Society website.

A brief biography of Blanche (Grimshaw) Benjamin is available on the Benjamin family website and is shown below.

About Blanche Grimshaw Benjamin

Blanche Benjamin, like her husband, was a bicycle fan in her earlier days. She and her husband would often ride out to Lake Minnetonka or Glenwood. She saw her first fair in 1876 when she attended the Philadelphia, PA, centennial exposition, and her love of travel drew her to many other expositions throughout the world. Her and her husband`s interest in Europe began on their honeymoon at the 1900 Paris exposition. She was a member of the Minikahda Club, Women`s Club, Women`s College club and Plymouth Congregational Church.

Source: http://benjaminhistory.tribalpages.com/tribe/browse?userid=benjaminhistory&view=0&pid=32&rand=419288952

An excellent biography of Dr Arthur Benjamin is available in a history of Minneapolis10 and is shown below.

ARTHUR EDWIN BENJAMIN, M. D. – Vol II, pg 192-195

Dr. Arthur Edwin Benjamin, engaged in medical practice in Minneapolis and also well known through his contributions to the literature of the profession, was born in Hutchinson, Minnesota, December 19, 1868, his parents being Dr. John and Elizabeth (Garner) Benjamin, who were natives of England. The father practiced medicine in his native country and at length sailed for the new world, settling in Boston, where he practiced from 1847 until 1857. He then removed to Rockford, Illinois, where he engaged in banking until 1860, at which time he became a resident of Hutchinson, Minnesota. He was there during several Indian massacres and rendered medical aid to the injured. The latter part of his life, however, was devoted to agricultural pursuits.

Arthur E. Benjamin acquired his education in the public and high schools of Hutchinson until graduated with the class of 1887. He afterward matriculated in the University of Minnesota as a medical student and gained his professional degree in 1892. He then located for general practice in Minneapolis but subsequently turned his attention to surgery, in which he has since specialized. He has taken postgraduate work in the leading American and European hospitals and his ability is of pronounced order. He has intimate knowledge of anatomy and the component parts of the human body, recognizes the onslaughts made thereon by disease and in the face of emergency is always cool and collected, so that he is able to use his scientific knowledge and training to the best advantage. He was for a number of years with the University of Minnesota as clinical instructor and assistant and he is well known as the author of a number of valuable medical papers and has published several medical works which have received wide and favorable mention. He has also prepared at his own expense a complete history of the Hennepin County Medical Society and he has urged every possible advance and done everything in his power to promote the standards of medical practice. During the World war Dr. Benjamin served on the examining board and on the medical advisory board. He volunteered and was accepted as a member of the Medical Corps, after which he was assigned to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and was also stationed for a short time at Camp Wheeler, Macon, Georgia, there remaining until the armistice was signed, when he returned to Minneapolis and again took up the private practice of his profession. He held the rank of captain when with the army.

In Minneapolis, in 1900, Dr. Benjamin was married to Miss Blanche Grimshaw, a daughter of Robert E. Grimshaw, of one of the old families of this city. Dr. and Mrs. Benjamin have become parents of four children: Edwin Grimshaw, Harold Garner, Maude Elizabeth and Alice Louise. Mrs. Benjamin takes an active part in and is a member of many social and literary clubs, while both the Doctor and his wife belong to the Congregational church and manifest a helpful attitude toward all phases of the church work. In politics he is a republican and served as a member of the board of charities and correction under Mayor Nye. Fraternally he is a Mason who loyally follows the teachings and purposes of the craft, while along more strictly social lines he has connection with the Interlachen Country Club, the Lafayette Club, the Minneapolis Athletic Club and the Minneapolis Golf Club. His concern in matters of public welfare is manifest in his connection with the Minneapolis Civic & Commerce Association and with the Better Minneapolis Com-mi^sion. Broad and varied as are his interests and helpful his activities, he nevertheless considers his chief duty to be in the line of his profession and he keeps in touch with the constant trend of progress and improvement along the lines of Medical and surgical practice through his connection with the Hennepin County Medical Society, the Minnesota State Medical Society and the American Medical Association, and other medical associations, in several of which he has held office. He never lightly regards his professional duties and his devotion to the welfare of his patients has been one of the pronounced features in his continued success.

Source: http://files.usgwarchives.org/mn/hennepin/bios/1923/benjamae.txt

EXTRACTED FROM: History of Minneapolis, Gateway to the Northwest;
Chicago-Minneapolis, The S J Clarke Publishing Co, 1923; Edited by: Rev. Marion Daniel Shutter, D.D., LL.D.; Volume I – Shutter (Historical); volume II – Biographical; volume III – Biographical

On the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary in 1950, Blanche and Arthur Benjamin received the following interesting piece from Bill Schilling. It is on file win the Benjamin papers with Blanche Grimshaw’s family history piece in the library of the Minneapolis Historical Society. Note that Arthur is seated (as emphasized in the note), but he is standing and Blanche is seated in the wedding photo above.

Walter Harrison Grimshaw, Son of Robert and Salome Grimshaw

Little is yet known of Walter Grimshaw. Two photos are shown below. The Grimshaw and Benjamin gravestone (shown below) indicate that Walter was born in 1867 and died in 1871.

Photo from Minnesota Historical Society website entitled “Maude and Walter Grimshaw, ca 1870”

As noted above, the following photo of William H Grimshaw is from the the Benjamin Family website. It indicates that the other person is Walter Grimshaw at age 38. However, records show that Walter died at age 4. Therefore it seems likely that the younger person is William H Grimshaw’s son, William Ellwood Grimshaw.

Walter is 38 years old in this picture. Also in picture is his brother William H. Grimshaw (55 yrs)

Picture dated 1905

William and Walter Grimshaw

Source: http://benjaminhistory.tribalpages.com/tribe/browse?userid=benjaminhistory&view=63&pid=502&bview=0&rand=551323919

George Washington Cooley, Husband of Lida Grimshaw and Creator of North American Rune Stones

Paul Stewart, in his book “The Enigmatist”13, has made a strong case that George W Cooley was responsible for creating many of the prominent rune mysteries at various locations in the U.S., including the Kensington, Spirit Pond, Heavener, Shawnee, Poteau, and Narragansett Rune Stones. Cooley was the husband of Lida Grimshaw, daughter of Robert and Mary Paige Grimshaw.

The most well known case is the Kensington runestone, which was found in 1898 about 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis. A photo of the stone is shown below.

Source: http://www.kensingtonrunestone.us/

The Kensington Runestone is described below in a partial extract from Wikipedia.

Kensington Runestone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Kensington Runestone is a 200-pound slab of greywacke covered in runes on its face and side, believed to have been created in modern times to claim that Scandinavian explorers reached the middle of North America in the 14th century. It was found in 1898 in the largely rural township of Solem, Douglas County, Minnesota, and named after the nearest settlement, Kensington. Almost all Runologists and experts in Scandinavian linguistics consider the runestone to be a hoax.[2][3] The runestone has been analyzed and dismissed repeatedly without altering local opinion of the Runestone’s legitimacy.[4][5][6][7][8] The community of Kensington is solidly behind the runestone, which has transcended its asserted cultural importance to the Scandinavian community and has “taken on a life of its own”.[9][10]

Swedish immigrant[11] Olof Olsson Ohman asserted that he found the stone late in 1898 while clearing his land of trees and stumps before plowing, having recently taken over an 80-acre (320,000 m2) parcel of public domain land that had for years been left unallocated as “Internal Improvement Land”.[12][13] The stone was said to be near the crest of a small knoll rising above the wetlands, lying face down and tangled in the root system of a stunted poplar tree, estimated to be from less than 10 to about 40 years old.[14] The artifact is about 30 × 16 × 6 inches (76 × 41 × 15 cm) in size and weighs about 200 pounds (90 kg). Ohman’s ten-year-old son, Edward Ohman, noticed some markings[15] and the farmer later said he thought they had found an “Indian almanac.”

Unfortunately for provenance purposes, the only witnesses cited for the finding were family members, although people who later saw the cut roots said that some were flattened, consistent with having held a stone. Also, there are many different versions describing when the stone was found (August or November, right after lunch or near the end of work for the evening), who discovered the stone (Olof Ohman and Edward Ohman; Olof Ohman, Edward Ohman and two workmen; Olof Ohman, Edward Ohman, and his neighbor Nils Flaten), when the stone was taken to the nearby town of Kensington, and who made the first transcriptions that were sent to a regional Scandinavian-language newspaper. Soon after it was found, the stone was displayed at a local bank. There is no evidence Ohman tried to make money from his find.[citation needed]

It can be claimed that at the period when Ohman discovered the stone, the journey of Leif Ericson to Vinland (North America) was being widely discussed and there was renewed interest in the Vikings throughout Scandinavia, stirred by the National Romanticism movement. Five years earlier Norway had participated in the World’s Columbian Exposition by sending the Viking, a replica of the Gokstad ship to Chicago. There was also friction between Sweden and Norway (which ultimately led to Norway’s independence from Sweden in 1905). Some Norwegians claimed the stone was a Swedish hoax and there were similar Swedish accusations because the stone references a joint expedition of Norwegians and Swedes at a time when they were both ruled by the same king, after the Union of Kalmar. It is thought to be more than coincidental that the stone was found among Scandinavian newcomers in Minnesota, still struggling for acceptance, and quite naturally proud of their Nordic heritage.[16]

An error-ridden[citation needed] copy of
the inscription made its way to the University of Minnesota. Olaus J. Breda
(1853-1916), Professor of Scandinavian Languages and Literature in the
Scandinavian Department made a translation, declared the stone to be a
forgery and published a discrediting article which appeared in Symra during
1910. Breda also forwarded copies of his translation to fellow linguists in
Scandinavia. The Norwegian archeologist Oluf Rygh also concluded the stone
was a fraud, as did several other noted linguists.[17]

The stone was then sent to Northwestern
University in Evanston, Illinois. Scholars either dismissed it as a prank or
felt unable to identify a sustainable historical context, and the stone was
returned to Ohman, who is said to have placed it face down near the door of
his granary as a “stepping stone” which he also used for
straightening out nails. Years later, his son said this was an
“untruth” and that they had it set up in an adjacent shed, but he
appears to have been referring only to the way the stone was treated before
it started to attract interest at the end of 1898.

In 1907 the stone was purchased, reportedly for ten dollars, by Hjalmar Holand, a former graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Holand renewed public interest with an article[18] enthusiastically summarizing studies that were made by geologist Newton Horace Winchell (Minnesota Historical Society) and linguist George T. Flom (Philological Society of the University of Illinois), who both published opinions in 1910.[19]

According to Winchell, the tree under which the stone was allegedly found had been destroyed before 1910, but several nearby poplars that witnesses estimated as being about the same size were cut down, and by counting their rings it was determined they were around 30-40 years old, and one member of the team which had excavated at the find site in 1899, county schools superintendent Cleve Van Dyke, later recalled the trees being only ten or twelve years old.[20] The surrounding county had not been settled until 1858, and settlement was severely restricted for a time by the Dakota War of 1862 (although it was reported that the best land in the township adjacent to Solem, Holmes City, was already taken by 1867, by a mixture of Swedish, Norwegian and “Yankee” settlers.[21])

Winchell also concluded that the weathering of the stone indicated the inscription was roughly 500 years old. Meanwhile, Flom found a strong apparent divergence between the runes used in the Kensington inscription and those in use during the 14th century. Similarly, the language of the inscription was modern compared to the Nordic languages of the 14th century.[19] The Kensington Runestone is currently on display at the Runestone Museum in Alexandria, Minnesota.[22]

Possible historical background

In 1577, cartographer Gerardus Mercator wrote a letter containing the only detailed description of the contents of a geographical text about the Arctic region of the Atlantic, possibly written over two centuries earlier by one Jacob Cnoyen. Cnoyen had learned that in 1364, eight men had returned to Norway from the Arctic islands, one of whom, a priest, provided the King of Norway with a great deal of geographical information.[23] Books by scholars such as Carl Christian Rafn early in the 19th century revealed hints of reality behind this tale. A priest named Ivar Bardarsson, who had previously been based in Greenland, did turn up in Norwegian records from 1364 onward and copies of his geographical description of Greenland still survive. Furthermore, in 1354, King Magnus Eriksson of Sweden and Norway had issued a letter appointing a law officer named Paul Knutsson as leader of an expedition to the colony of Greenland, to investigate reports that the population was turning away from Christian culture.[24] Another of the documents reprinted by the 19th century scholars was a scholarly attempt by Icelandic Bishop Gisli Oddsson, in 1637, to compile a history of the Arctic colonies. He dated the Greenlanders’ fall away from Christianity to 1342, and claimed that they had turned instead to America. Supporters of a 14th-century origin for the Kensington runestone argue that Knutson may therefore have travelled beyond Greenland to North America, in search of renegade Greenlanders, most of his expedition being killed in Minnesota and leaving just the eight voyagers to return to Norway.[25]

However, there is no evidence that the Knutson expedition ever set sail (the government of Norway went through considerable turmoil in 1355) and the information from Cnoyen as relayed by Mercator states specifically that the eight men who came to Norway in 1364 were not survivors of a recent expedition, but descended from the colonists who had settled the distant lands, generations earlier.[23] Also, those early 19th century books, which aroused a great deal of interest among Scandinavian Americans would have been available to a late 19th-century hoaxer.

Hjalmar Holand had proposed that interbreeding with Norse survivors might explain the “blond” Indians among the Mandan on the Upper Missouri River,[26] but in a multidisciplinary study of the stone, anthropologist Alice Beck Kehoe dismissed, as “tangential” to the Runestone issue, this and other historical references suggesting pre-Columbian contacts with ‘outsiders’, such as the Hochunk (Winnebago) story about an ancestral hero “Red Horn” and his encounter with “red-haired giants”.[27]


1. Richard Nielsen and Henrik Williams (May 2010). “Inscription Translation”. Retrieved 2011-06-11.

2. “forskning.no Kan du stole på Wikipedia?” (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2008-12-19. “Det finnes en liten klikk med amerikanere som sverger til at steinen er ekte. De er stort sett skandinaviskættede realister uten peiling på språk, og de har store skarer med tilhengere.” Translation: “There is a small clique of Americans who swear to the stone’s authenticity. They are mainly natural scientists of Scandinavian descent with no knowledge of linguistics, and they have large numbers of adherents.”

3. Gustavson, Helmer. “The non-enigmatic runes of the Kensington stone”. Viking Heritage Magazine (Gotland University) 2004 (3). “[…] every Scandinavian runologist and expert in Scandinavian historical linguistics has declared the Kensington stone a hoax […]”

4. Wahlgren, Erik (1958). The Kensington Stone, A Mystery Solved. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 1-125-20295-5.

5. Blegen, T (1960). The Kensington Rune Stone : New Light on an Old Riddle. Minnesota Historical Society Press. ISBN 0-87351-044-5.

6. Fridley, R (1976). “The case of the Gran tapes”. Minnesota History 45 (4): 152-156.

7. Wallace, B (1971). “Some points of controversy”. In Ashe G et al.. The Quest for America. New York: Praeger. pp. 154-174. ISBN 0-269-02787-4.

8. Wahlgren, Erik (1986). The Vikings and America (Ancient Peoples and Places) (in Wahlgren1986). Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-02109-0.

9. Michlovic MG (1990). “Folk Archaeology in Anthropological Perspective”. Current Anthropology 31 (11): 103-107. doi:10.1086/203813.

10. Hughey M, Michlovic MG (1989).
“Making history: The Vikings in the American heartland”. Politics,
Culture and Society 2 (3): 338-360. doi:10.1007/BF01384829.

11. http://kahsoc.org/ohman.htm farmer

12. “Extract from 1886 plat map of Solem township”. Archived from the original on 2009-10-22. Retrieved 2007-10-31.

13. Stephen Minicucci, Internal Improvements and the Union, 1790-1860, Studies in American Political Development (2004), 18: p.160-185, (2004), Cambridge University Press, doi:10.1017/S0898588X04000094. “Federal appropriations for internal improvements amounted to $119.8 million between 1790 and 1860. The bulk of this amount, $77.2 million, was distributed to the states through indirect methods, such as land grants or distributions of land sale revenues, which would today be labeled “off-budget.””

14. “Done in Runes”. Minneapolis Journal (appendix to “The Kensington Rune Stone” by T. Blegen, 1968). 22 February 1899. Retrieved 2007-11-28.

15. Hall Jr., Robert A.: The Kensington Rune-Stone Authentic and Important, page 3. Jupiter Press, 1994.

16. Michael G. Michlovic, “Folk Archaeology in Anthropological Perspective” Current Anthropology 31.1 (February 1990:103-107) p. 105ff.

17. Olaus J. Breda. Rundt Kensington-stenen, (Symra. 1910, pp. 65-80)

18. Holand, “First authoritative investigation of oldest document in America”, Journal of American History 3 (1910:165-84); Michlovic noted Holand’s contrast of the Scandinavians as undaunted, brave, daring, faithful and intrepid contrasted with the Indians as savages, wild heathens, pillagers, vengeful, like wild beasts: an interpretation that “placed it squarely within the framework of Indian white relations in Minnesota at the time of its discovery.” (Michlovic 1990:106).

19. Winchell NH, Flom G (1910). “The Kensington Rune Stone: Preliminary Report”. Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society 15. Retrieved 2007-11-28.

20. Milo M. Quaife, “The myth of the Kensington runestone: The Norse discovery of Minnesota 1362” in The New England Quarterly December 1934

21. Lobeck, Engebret P. (1867). “Holmes City narrative on Trysil (Norway) emigrants website (via Archive.org)”. Retrieved 2013-08-09.

22. “Kensington Runestone Museum, Alexandria Minnesota”. Retrieved 2008-12-19.

23. Taylor, E.G.R. (1956). “A Letter Dated 1577 from Mercator to John Dee”. Imago Mundi 13: 56-68. doi:10.1080/03085695608592127.

24. Full text in Diplomatarium Norvegicum English translation

25. Holand, Hjalmar (1959). “An English scientist in America 130 years before Columbus”. Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy 48: 205-219ff.

26. Hjalmar Holand, “The Kensington Rune Stone: A Study in Pre-Columbian American History.” Ephraim WI, self-published (1932).

27. Alice Beck Kehoe, The Kensington Runestone: Approaching a Research Question Holistically, Long Grove IL, Waveland Press (2004) ISBN 1-57766-371-3. Chapter 6.

28. The Grass River at Great Canadian Rivers

The following excerpts from Stewart’s “The Enigmatist” provides additional background and explanation. Cooley’s life with his wife, Elizabeth Grimshaw, is shown in bold and italic. Stewart’s conclusions regarding Cooley’s runestone making and motivations are summarized in the “Epilogue” at the end of the excerpts.

Pages 112-120:

George W. Cooley

George Washington Cooley was born in New York’s rough Lower East Side on January 17, 1845. His parents were both first generation immigrants from England who had met and married in the States. Census records indicate that Cooley’s mother, Sophia Mason was born in Hereford, England in 1815. In 1827, her family moved to New York City, where her father found steady work as cobbler.

Joseph Cooley, born in 1819 and four years younger than Sophia was originally from Staffordshire, England. All indications suggest he came to the States alone after 1830, and found employment in lower Manhattan as a metalworker. In 1843, he would meet marry Sophia Mason in New York City.

In a little less than two years, the couple would have two boys Joseph Jr. in 1843, followed quickly by George in early 1845. For reasons unknown, Joseph enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after t birth of George. The Army would station him at Fort Columbus 0 nearby Governor’s Island in New York Harbor. Military records indicate Joseph worked at the fort in the brass foundry, building munitions for the Army Ordinance Department.

With Manhattan so agonizingly close, the mile of water which separated Joseph from his family’s home, easily visible to the northeast, must have made life in the fort feel like a prison sentence. Due to this living arrangement, Joseph never appears with his family on any census records, however I was able to track him in absentia through the birth of his remaining children; Mary in 1846, and Marie Louise in 1854. The long stretch between his two daughters suggests the couple may have had additional children who didn’t survive beyond infancy.

Military records also show Joseph was disciplined multiple times for intoxication and eventually court marshaled for desertion; a charge which would lead to a discharge in 1852. In 1854, after a 9-year stint in the military and almost two decades in the States, George’s father finally became a US citizen. This impetus to become “official” was likely due to contracting a fatal illness of some type, as he died a year later at young age of just 36. Becoming a citizen would ensure his family could never be deported.

I could uncover no details of George W. Cooley’s early years in New York, but life in America’s first slum could not have been easy – and doubly tough once his father died. Without her husband’s income, Sophia Cooley was forced to work in a milliner factory (making hats), in order to provide for her children; a profession she did for almost twenty years.

In 1859, New York industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper auld open the doors of his now-famous Cooper Institute in the bowery section of Manhattan, an event which would forever alter George Cooley’s life. The school was created to educate anyone – regardless of race, religion or gender and structured to provide office skills and business training to women during the day while offering classes in architecture, design, engineering, and related sciences to men at night. This was an unheard of model given the time period, but what made it truly unique was its guarantee to pay 100% of the tuition costs for all admitted students. At roughly 16-years old and while employed as a chainman on all surveying crews, Cooley would be accepted into the Institute, allowing him access to a top-quality higher education previously unobtainable by a child of the tenements. He would attend after work, supplementing his valuable hands-on experience with the surveyors with classes in advanced mathematics, science, physics, engineering and philosophy.

While many of his generation would choose to fight in the Civil War, Cooley opted to pursue surveying as a profession after graduating from Cooper. In 1864, at age 19, he headed west, finding work as an assistant survey engineer for the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad in Minneapolis. The work would send him into wild western and northern Minnesota and the Dakotas until 1867, at which time he returned to civilization to set up a private practice in Minneapolis. Seeing nothing but a bright future in Minnesota, Cooley would convince his mother and sister to join him in 1869.

Once Cooley became a settled and prosperous member of the Minneapolis community, he left a substantial paper trail and was extremely easy to track. Using a website maintained by the Library of Congress’ National Archives, I was able to follow fifty years of Cooley’s almost daily movements through newspaper articles. The sheer amount of information discovered on the man was enough warrant the creation of another spreadsheet; one which I divide into three categories of data; professional, personal, and Masonic. I noted all of his connections; his family, friends, business associate career moves, vacations, voting records, Masonic activities, literally everything – all in an attempt to see if a link between the future Masonic leader and the KRS existed. The research would eventually payoff in spades.

Tracking Cooley

After a three-year stint in Minneapolis, Cooley would return to work for the railroad, this time for the Northern Pacific which had intentions to connect Minnesota to the Pacific Northwest and needed experienced railroad surveyors to plot the course. Cooley would offer his services while continuing to work the Federal government as a Deputy Surveyor.

A year later he would be appointed to the position of Surveyor General, in charge of running the subdivision of townships for of all lands north of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. In this capacity Cooley would personally survey both Otter Tail and Becker Counties.

He would eventually return to Minneapolis in early 1872, finding employment as a civil engineer for the Minneapolis, Lyndale and Lake Calhoun Railway. He would also continue his local surveying work; providing services to the Federal government as well as to the cities of Minneapolis and Lake Minnetonka.

During this period, Cooley would court and marry Lida Grimshaw in 1872, the daughter of Robert Grimshaw and Mary Nicholson, an established Minneapolis family who had moved to the Territory of Minnesota from Philadelphia in 1856, two years prior to statehood. Robert Grimshaw, Cooley’s father-in-law was a highly respected citizen and a prominent architect/builder, who also served on the City Council of Minneapolis.

The Cooley’s first home was in the Oak Lake Park area, considered at the time to be a semi-exclusive and progressive neighborhood in Minneapolis. Unlike the typical square grid layout of residential blocks, Oak Lake’s streets were curved and conformed to the lay of the land, spiraling around five main parks and additional green spaces. But within the decade, with the city rapidly expanding around them, most of the original Oak Lake residents, the Cooley’s included, would leave the neighborhood for developing neighborhoods to the southwest.

In 1882, the couple would move to 3026 Lyndale Avenue and remain in the home the rest of their entire lives. Over time, Oak Lake Park would become a forgotten neighborhood and eventually completely paved over. In these two residences, the Cooley’s would raise six children; three boys and three girls; George Jr, Zoe, Sophia, Frank, Ralph and Lida Mae.

In 1875, Cooley became County Surveyor for Hennepin County, a position he would hold off and on until 1907. Over the course of his lifetime Cooley was estimated to have been responsible for surveying roughly 1/3rd of Hennepin County, including all of Lake Minnetonka.

In 1880, he would make a losing run for Alderman of the 8th Ward of Minneapolis, but a second try in 1884 proved to be successful. Cooley would serve one four-year term before quitting legislative politics altogether. 127

In 1899, Cooley changed his professional focus slightly, becoming County Surveyor for Highway Construction. The position made him a shoe-in to become president of the Good Roads Association a year later. In 1907, Cooley accepted a commission to serve as the Chief Engineer of the Minnesota State Highway Commission as well as a Special Agent for the Office of Public Roads. He would hold both of these positions until his retirement on April 11, 1917.

At age 75, after a lengthy illness, Cooley would pass away on September 25, 1920 at a hospital in Minneapolis. His wife Lida would follow nine years later. The pair was buried next to each other and alongside George’s mother and daughters, Lida Mae and Sophia, in a family plot at Lakeside Cemetery in Minneapolis.

Political Caricature of Geo W. Cooley

The St. Paul Daily Globe, Feb.5, 1886 130

Masonic and Fraternal Involvement

Cooley was made a Mason at the Minneapolis Lodge No. 19, 1868, a Royal Arch Mason at St. Johns Chapter No. 9 Minneapolis in 1869, a Royal and Select Master (Cryptic Rite), Minneapolis #2 in 1871 and a Knights Templar in the Zi Commandery, also in 1871.

It is known that he was responsible for creating Minneapolis Adoniram Council #5 in 1876 and elected Grand Master of t Grand Cryptic Council of Minnesota in 1877. As was indicated earlier, he was instrumental in the formation of Cryptic Rite national body, the General Grand Council in 1880-1881. At the national level, Cooley served as the Cryptic General Grand Council’s Recorder in 1880, its General Grand Master of the United States in 1883, Deputy Grand Master in 1886, and re-elected as General Grand Master in 1889.

Cooley would remain active fraternally throughout his life, not just in Masonry but with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, a popular fraternal group created by Congress after the Civil War.

The formation of Pythias was intended to act as a forum for the mending of fences between the North and South through shared political involvement. As a one-time Alderman, the membership in Pythias made sense.

Outside of his Masonic activities, Cooley also made time for the Commercial and Automobile Clubs of Minneapolis as well as the Commercial Club of St. Paul. He was a long-time member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and was instrumental in forming Minnesota’s State Survey Association.

Although nothing in the information gathered thus far connected Cooley directly to Kensington, everything about the man “felt” right. He had everything I was looking for – with one fact in particular, standing out from the rest…

Political Caricature of Geo Cooley

The St. Paul Daily Globe, April 20, 1888 134

In his book the “The Hooked X”, author Scott Wolter devoted an entire chapter to the findings of Jim Mueller, who after many year of working around Lake Minnetonka, couldn’t help but notice the many street names of Masonic significance scattered around the area. When plotted on a map, both the locations of the streets and the forgotten rail line which used to run around the lake created what Mueller believed was a Star of David symbol.

Coincidently, Lake Minnetonka had not only been surveyed by Cooley, he had also been responsible for engineering this same train line which connected the lake to Minneapolis, and had once used its water systems to conduct a major hydrology study. Both he and his in-laws, the Grimshaws, also owned vacation homes at the lake.

Given Cooley’s almost life-long involvement with Lake Minnetonka and his connection to Freemasonry, it was fair assume that he was the likely instigator of the measurements and possibly many of the place names Mueller had noted as well.

The realization that Cooley, a Grand Master of Cryptic Rite, h not only surveyed Lake Minnetonka but may have used the geometry of his surveys to create Masonic designs, was highly significant, for it indicated to me at least, that at a minimum, he had the potential capacity to contemplate such things.

Robert Grimshaw (Cooley’s father-in-law) and family

Spray Island, Lake Minnetonka, MN 137

But was it possible to link him directly to the KRS as well? Whether that question could be answered at all would be based upon the vanity of the KRSs creator. If this unknown person truly desired anonymity there would be no way to ever find him – but if he saw the KRS as a puzzle to solve, perhaps he left a “back door”, a clue which would allow someone in the future to link him directly to the stone?

If the Runemaster really was Cooley, it stood to reason that finding an item related to him which embodied all the elements found on the KRS; the numbers, the secrets, the use of codes etc, would be the logical place to start, and the most obvious location would be the one spot in which both he and his clue could be memorialized forever and pursued by anyone – his own gravestone. Perhaps, prior to his death, Cooley had had a headstone made which contained a cryptic poem, a string of numbers, or some unusual item carved into its surface; something which linked him directly to the KRS?

Knowing Cooley had been buried at Lakewood Cemetery, I put in an excited request into “findagrave.com”, a unique online service used primarily by genealogical researchers. The site aligns requests for tombstone photos with local volunteers ready and willing to snap shots of graves in their area and post them online. It is an ideal service for individuals (like myself), who are too far away to visit these cemeteries in person.

My request was answered within the week, but the actual photos could not be taken for a few months due to snow blanketing Minneapolis. The long wait was truly excruciating. I was convinced that Cooley’s headstone contained the smoking gun, . irrefutable evidence which linked him to the KRS …but I lived over

000 miles away and had to wait for the snow to melt.  When the photo finally arrived I was frankly shocked at what it didnt reveal. Cooley’s gravestone was a huge disappointment!  Rather than being covered in mystery it was just an incredibly average headstone; containing only his name and the years of his birth and death – and nothing else; no Masonic markings, no ciphers, hidden numbers or messages. Frustrated, I examined the photos of headstones for Cooleys nearby family members and found their stones to be exactly the same; unremarkable and nondescript. I asked the photographer if he had perhaps noticed writing on the sides of the stones – to which the answer was no. I had convinced myself Cooley had used his own grave as a final calling card, a way of proving he was indeed personally responsible for the creation of the KRS, and yet there was nothing.

I decided to call Lakewood Cemetery and ask when the plot was purchased. Perhaps a clue lay there? While on hold, I had my material at the ready. The cemetery’s website was on my computer screen with Cooley’s grave information in front of me….and then I saw it….

George W Cooley’s headstone, Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, MN

According to Lakewood’s website, Cooley was buried in Plot 3, Section 12, Row 316, and the cemetery was located at 360 Hennepin Ave South. Once I recognized it, the answer was so obvious that I knew it was correct even before I tested it. Cooley had been a surveyor and the highest level Cryptic Rite practitioner thus it wasn’t the physical stone itself which gave Cooley’s grave is value; it was its location! It provided one single, one double, on triple, and one four-digit number, making its layout also impossible to misinterpret. Just like the KRS, the locational numbers of Cooley’s grave could be arranged into the form of Tetragrammaton.

Pages 128-129:

My first reaction to Cooley’s obsession with 33 was that perhaps all Masons participate in this practice – but that notion was quickly proven to not be the case. I had located many dozens of dates for events of high importance that had been planned by Cooley’s Masonic compatriots, and I was never able to locate a single 33. One would assume statistically that at least one date might be found, but there were literally zero.

It appears Cooley never informed anyone, including his own family, friends, or even his Masonic colleges, of his personal fetish. The evidence indicates he indulged himself in plain sight of everyone his entire life, allowing 33 to govern everything he did and almost daring others to notice. The fact that for over a span of at least one hundred and forty years, no one ever had, speaks volumes.

It was clear that I had found the creator of the Kensington Rune Stone and he wasn’t a Medieval Swede-nor even a Swede at all…he was an American of English extraction, and his name George W. Cooley.

Meet the Runemaster….


Page 220:

Page 120:

Pages 270-271:


The reality of what I have uncovered will be bittersweet for many, as each of the mysteries I have solved has its own supporters, some of whom have spent a lifetime researching and advocating for their authenticity. The fact is however that the doubting academics really have been right all along, and as much as I too had hoped for it, 14th Century Scandinavian explorers never ventured into the center of the North American continent. All of the evidence previously used as proof of this claim has been proven not to be genuine. This statement may anger many ardent believers, but Im hoping that ultimately they begin to react differently to the news.

Cooley had not made hoaxes. He was driven by something else entirely. Rather than remaining content with the stories contained Masonic allegories which spoke about the preservation of the Word by Enoch prior to the Flood, he went a huge step further by creating his own; imbedding faux artifacts across the U.S. with the hidden tenets of Freemasonry. Cooley had imparted his lessons using the teachings of Albert Pike; providing America with artifacts endowed with hieroglyphical characters which, if ever discovered, would create instant enigmas; throwing off investigators and leading researchers down incorrect paths while the true content remain hidden on purpose.

In this regard, the academic community, like the true believers has also been incorrect about the rune stones. They are really something in-between; not authentic but not intended to solely hoax either – they are “artifakes” – and that is why I label Cooley with this title which describes who he really is; the Enigmatist.

Going Forward

Once Cooley becomes a known and accepted quantity to the general public, I expect a large c-change to occur across the America, if not the world. Locating previously undiscovered Cooley-related items as well as finding additional encodings within the items I’ve already identified, will likely blossom in earnest into a new past time. It will be exciting to see what else can be found, for I am confident quite a bit is still out there-all hidden in plain site.

A very real concern going forward however is vandalism, theft, and property damage, all of which could easily occur depending upon how the information in this book is received. Some might equate Cooley’s consistent references to 666 as disturbing, even potentially evil, and would like nothing better than to the see his works destroyed, while others may attempt to steal his headstone as the ultimate in souvenirs. Many may also try to treasure hunt without regard to private property or personal safety.

It is my utmost hope that restraint will be shown and that the organizations and businesses potentially affected by this book will plan accordingly. If done correctly, all stand to benefit from a whole new form of tourist trade, one based upon, and united by, the one thing they all have in common; George W. Cooley.

So what should be done with the Kensington Rune Stone, now that it has been proven not be authentic? Should it continue to remain on display in a glass case on the floor of the Rune Stone Museum in Alexandria, Minnesota? It’s not my call, but my vote would be for its speedy return back to Kensington, to be protected, while also being reburied or encased exactly at the spot where Cooley always intended it to be; at the center of his Rebis, retaining its place once again as America’s heart stone.

Contact the Author at: www.facebook.com/theenigmatist Or via email at:theenigmatist33@gmail.com

For Enigmatist merchandise please visit Cafe Press at: http://www.cafepress.com/theenigmatist

Final Resting Place of Robert Grimshaw and His Two Wives

Robert Grimshaw is buried in Lakewood Cemetery with his second wife, Salome. Also, his first wife, Mary Nicholson Grimshaw was buried at Layman’s Cemetery, but her remains (and those of children Emma and Walter) were moved to the family plot in Lakewood Cemetery. The photos below were taken in December 2010. Because there was about a foot of fresh snow, only the large monument for the Grimshaw and Benjamin families could be seen; the individual markers (if any) were covered by the snow.

West side of the Grimshaw and Benjamin monument in Lot 12 of Lakewood Cemetery. The inscribed names are shown in the second photo below.

According to family history records of Blanche Grimshaw Benjamin, Salome Grimshaw arranged for the remains of Robert’s first wife, Mary, and two of Robert and Salome Grimshaw’s children who died young, Emma and Walter, to be transferred from Layman Cemetery to Lakewood Cemetery. Their inscriptions on the above monument are shown in more detail below.

Mary P. Nicholson

1823 Phila 1857
Emma L.


East side of Grimshaw and Benjamin monument at Lot 12 of Lakewood Cemetery.

The “Grimshaw” side of the monument showing adjacent graves and winter scene for perspective.

Pillar at entrance gate to Lakewood Cemetery at the corner of Hennepin Avenue and West 36th Street in Minneapolis.

Subsequently, in July 2012, additional photos were taken of the Grimshaw and Benjamin grave plot, including individual gravestones, which are shown below.

The “Grimshaw” side of the gravestone, with inscriptions clearly shown.

The graves of Salome B. and Robert E. Grimshaw are side by side on the Grimshaw side of the monument.

The graves of Arthur Edwin Benjamin, Blanche Grimshaw Benjamin, and Alice Louise Benjamin may be seen on the other (“Benjamin”) side of the monument. 

Information on Catharine Colwell Grimshaw on Ancestry.com

Several family history sites on Ancestry.com include information on Catharine Colwell Grimshaw (youngest child of William and Barbara Grimshaw) and her spouse, John Murray, Jr. Photos of Catharine and John are shown below.

This family apparently migrated to Minnesota between 1856 and 1858 (birth years of two children), about the same time (perhaps concurrently with) the move of Catherine’s older brother, Robert Elwood Grimshaw. The presence of the Murray family at Glencoe and then Minneapolis is indicated in the letters at the end of this webpage. However, the family apparently returned to Philadelphia, because many of the children died in that city. A summary descendant chart of John and Catharine (Grimshaw) Murray is shown below.

Catherine Colwell Grimshaw (9 Jul 1825, Philadelphia, PA – 2 Aug 1890, Philadelphia, PA) & John Murray, Jr. (ca 1825, Pennsylvania – ?). Married 1865.

|—-Harry Ellwood Murray (1845 – 1845)

|—-Ella (Eleanor?) Louise Murray (22 Nov 1847, Pennsylvania – ?) & William Streetley (1847 – ?)

|—-Anne B. Murray (4 Oct 1851, Pennsylvania – 9 Feb 1908)

|—-Henry Clay Murray (1855 – ?)

|—-Franklin Pierce Murray (May 1856, Pennsylvania – 7 Jun 1905, Philadelphia, PA) & Clementine Flood (22 Nov 1860, Cheltenham, PA – 3 Jun 1942, Flourtown, PA)

|—-|—-15 Children

|—-William G. Murray (24 May 1858, Minnesota – 1880, Philadelphia, PA) & Mollie Later

|—-Adalaide P. Murray (ca 1861, Minnesota – ?) & Robert B. Smith

|—-Edward Gilligan Murray (7 May 1863, Minnesota – 1945, Philadelphia, PA) & Letitia Eisenhart (18 Oct 1864, Pennsylvania – 10 Mar 1921, Pennsylvania)

|—-|—-4 Children |—-John M. Murray (1866, Minnesota – ?)

|—-Ann Margaret Murray (Dec 1867 – 6 May 1869, Philadelphia, PA)

Source of Photos and Descendant Chart: http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/24844699/person/1601083042

As noted above on this webpage, the 1850 U.S. Census (see image below) found Robert and Mary Grimshaw, ages 43 and 36, living in Philadelphia with their children – Virginia, age 8; Emma, 6; and Elwood, 3. All members of the family were born in Philadelphia. The Murray family (John, Catharine, and Ella, age 2) was living next door. John Murray was an attorney at law. Living with the Murray family was Barbara Grimshaw, age 64, also born in Philadelphia. Interestingly, an Ian Farrier, age 76 (brother of Barbara?) was also living with the Murray family.


1Atwater, Isaac, ed., 1893, History of the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota: New York, Munsell & Company, Publishers; Part I, p. 1-544; Part II, p. 545-1010.

2Kingsbury, George W., 1915, History of Dakota Territory, and Smith, George Martin, 1915, South Dakota – Its History and Its People, v. IV (Biographical): Chicago, IL, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, p. 302-303.

3Bakeman, Mary H., 1992, A Comprehensive Index to A.T. Andreas Illustrated Historical Atlas of Minnesota – 1874: Brooklyn Park, MN, Park Genealogical Books, 334 p.

4Flandreau, Judge Charles E., 1900, Encyclopedia of Biography of Minnesota (History of Minnesota): Chicago, IL, The Century Publishing and Engraving Company, v. I, p. 374.

5Andreas, A.T., Publisher, 1874, An Illustrated Historical Atlas of Minnesota: Chicago, IL, At Andreas, 394 p.

6Parker, Nathan H., 1857, The Minnesota Handbook for 1856057: with a New and Accurate Map: Boston, MA, J.P. Jewett and Co, 160 p.

7U.S. Geological Survey, 1986, 30×60 Quadrangle Map, Glencoe, MN Sheet, scale 1:100,000 (Map 44094-EI-TM-100)

8Kingsbury, George W., 1915, History of Dakota Territory, and Smith, George Martin, 1915, South Dakota – Its History and Its People, v. IV (Biographical): Chicago, IL, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, p. 302-303.

9Curtiss-Wedge, Franklyn, 1917, History of McLeod County, Chapter VIII, Early Days near Lake Addie: Chicago, Il and Winona, MN, H.C. Cooper Jr & Co, p. 66-71.

10Shutter, Marion Daniel, ed, 1923, History of Minneapolis, Gateway to the Northwest: Chicago-Minneapolis, The S J Clarke Publishing Co, 1923, Volume I – Shutter (Historical); volume II – Biographical; volume III – Biographical

11Leonard, William E, 1915, Early Days in Minneapolis, in Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society, v 15 (May, 1915), p. 497-514.

12Hudson, Horace Bushnell, ed, 1908, A Half Century of Minneapolis: Minneapolis, The Hudson Company, p 105]

13Stewart, Paul, 2013, The Enigmatist, Book 1 – The Runic Mysteries: Paul G Stewart, 341 p.

Text of Letters from Robert E Grimshaw Family

Several old letters from this family line have been preserved through the years. Joanne Fischer has provided seventeen of these letters on her webpage, and they are shown below to provide insight into the lives of the family members. Considerable family history and genealogy information is also included.

Letter 1, from Mary Virginia Grimshaw to her uncle James B. Nicholson, April 4, 1856

On board steamer Shenango at Cincinatti, April 15, 1856

Dear Uncle,

We are detained at Cincinatti a day and mother thought that you would like to hear how we are getting along. We are doing very well although too slow for us, we are getting impatient. We had a long journey from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, and now a very long one to Cincinatti, but we cannot complain for we have everything for our comfort, a handsomely furnished boat, a well kept table, very good company and everything else very nice. The worst of it is, this boat goes no farther than St. Louis where we will be obliged to take another for St. Paul so we cannot tell when we will get to our journeys end, but when we do you shall hear from us. Cincinatti is a very handsome city. I think I should like to live here very well. But Pittsburgh exceeds all that I ever dreamt of for filth and dirt. Mother says she could not recognize anything she ever saw. We were all glad enough to get away from there. I am keeping a journal of my travels which when you pay us a visit I will show you. Mother and the rest of us send our love to you and all your family. Would you please be so kind as to write a note to Grandmother Grimshaw and direct it to John Murray, Lombard St., above Tenth, saying we are all well and oblige Mother.

From your affectionate niece, M. Virginia Grimshaw

Letter 2, from Mary Virginia “Ginnie” Grimshaw to her uncle James B. Nicholson, April 20, 1856

On board steamer Shenango, at St. Louis. April 20th, 1856

Dear Uncle,

We have just arrived at St. Louis, and we are obliged to reship here and take another boat for St. Paul. Pop being very busy requested me to write, he thought you would like to know how we are getting along. We left Pittsburgh on the thirteenth and we were detained at Cincinatti twenty four hours, so we have just been seven days coming to St. Louis, we have had a very long passage but a very pleasant one, pleasant weather, good company, a handsomely furnished boat, a well kept table and everything else for our comfort and accommodation. If we fare as well the rest of our journey we’ll do. Pittsburgh is a horrid dirty place, we were glad enough to get away. Cincinatti is a handsome city and looks much like home, it is situated higher and the streets are wider than they are in the “City of Brotherly Love”‘ it contains many handsome dwellings. There are a great many nice little towns along on the Ohio river, and the scenery is beautiful. Pop is getting impatient and wants to be at his journey’s end. He thinks of letting us go on up the river, while he goes through Illinois to purchase cattle. We all feel very anxious to hear from you all, but I suppose you cannot write until you know where to. Please _____all my ____in this letter. Mother has not had a spell with her head since we have been on board and all of the rest of us have been well. We are in good spirits and not at all tired out yet. Our love to Grandmother and all inquiring friends, not forgetting Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Davis

Your affectionate niece, M Virginia Grimshaw

Letter 3, from Robert Elwood Grimshaw to his mother Barbara Farrier Grimshaw, July 7, 1856

Minneapolis July 11, 1856

Dear Mother,

After a good deal of labour I have succeeded in getting in some crops which are doing well and have built a house of good hewed logs and will make a kitchen for a better one some other day, it will be warm and dry and will be very comfortable. We will have, by the time I get back, a well dug near the house which is well shaded by forest trees. I also have a good cellar under the house for the purpose of making butter. I have in the front of our cottage one acre of land, plowed and planted in corn and potatoes, some beans and peas. By next year it will be mellow and will make a fine garden. I have plowed eight acres of land and planted three of it in corn and one in potatoes and turnips, the balance intended to put in buckwheat but could not procure the seed. I intend to break land all of this month and the next so that next spring we can start with better hopes of success. I am here for Mary and the children and will start for home on next Tuesday, will write again when we arrive. The family are all well and I am very well. Craig (_______) and all the rest are well with the exception of Mr. Pollock who has a sore hand but it is getting better, this is a fine country and very healthy abounding with wild fowl from which we can find our meat in the season. Last fourth of July we shot 18 pigeons from our house and stewed them for our dinner. Prairie hens are abundant in August and ducks and geese in the fall so we shall have plenty. I have two yoke of oxen and a cow and a calf. I am going to take with me a couple of pigs and some chickens so as to have things comfortable in a short time. I wish you could get John Brooks to send me some seed of the red currant this summer if possible. He can get them in the neighborhood if he does not have them himself. My best respects to Mr. Lovele and tell him he may rely upon it that Minneapolis is the place to speculate in town lots or send money and if he is that way inclined John Murray will act for him. John is boarding at my friends Mr. Hoag and is in employment and in good health. He is building himself a house and I think will do well. My best love to the girls and respects to my friends all. Tell them I have been so busy that I could not write but will soon have time to attend to them, and remain your affectionate son,


Direct to me in care of A.J. Bell, Glencoe, Minnesota

Letter 4, from Robert Elwood Grimshaw to his mother, Barbara Farrier Grimshaw, Nov. 26, 1856

Minneapolis, Nov 26/56

Dear Mother,

I am here for the purpose of taking Mary home. She has been spending a week or two with Kate and Mrs. Hoag. We will start in a day or two, Kate and John are well and are growing fat. Kate in particular, as for ourselves we are all well and in good spirits. Ginnie has grown to be quite a large girl and during Mary’s absence has astonished me with the aptitudes she displays at house keeping. She baked bread and does the washing and all other things most admirably. You need give yourself no uneasiness on our account, we are living very comfortable in a well built log house with plenty of room, well warmed with a good large stove and plenty of wood at the door. We have about one hundred bushels of the best potatoes that you ever saw in the cellar that (____ ____) in our garden, plenty of pumkin (sic) and some turnips, a barrel of pork and two hundred pound of beef, and under our bed we have seven barrels of good flour and two sacks of corn meal and besides all this I can get just as many rabbits as we can eat so that with all this along with our milk we have an abundance of food. I wish you were here to help us eat it.

I have just finished Mr. Pollack’s house and he is in it, he has been living with us for six or seven weeks back and his wife and five children, so you may know we were pretty thick but went along quite happily and contented, in fact we have had all along plenty of company, “Grimshaw’s” Grove has become quite a point. I am on the outpost of civilization and every one knows that Bob Grimshaw is always ready to share his hospitality with any clever fellow and there are many such, that comes along, we leave on hand a meal and a spare bufalo (sic) robe all the time and hope to share it. I have become a finished pioneer. As strong as a bear and feel myself a match for one or half a dozen indians, but, by the way, we are not troubled with them. Mary is better contented now than she was at first and I think she will like this mode of live, at any rate she will in the future direct our mode of live, for she is a jewell (sic) of the first water and I will yield to her desire, but at present I think we will stay and develop our farm.

Mr. White has his wife here and is comfortable situated in his house. She proves to be quite a good neighbour, Mr. Craig I suppose will be out in the spring, we will then have seven settlers in our place and others will come. I am afraid we will get so thick that we will have to go to the west.

My farming operations are as follows: We have a first rate garden containing one acre of land just in front of the house, it was ploughed in the spring and cropped ploughed this fall for the action of the frost this winter. We have nine acres of land broke last spring on which was corn and on the same I intend to sow wheat and oats next spring. I have contracted with Mr. White to fence me forty acres with good post and rail fence and I intend to have the whole of that ploughed and planted with corn, potatoes, buckwheat. We have two horses, two yoke of oxen, one cow and calf, and by the way, our cow will have another calf in about a month. We have six chickens and a young brood about half grown, a first rate hunting dog and two good stables, plenty of hay and fodder. I intend in the spring to enlarge our stock of cows to ten head and get some pigs. Probably some sheep and some turkies (sic). We have a good farm containing about twelve acres of wood and twenty five acres of the finest meadow on which I can cut three ton of good natural hay to the acre, the balance of the place is in fine upland prairie making in all 160 acres with stream of good water running through the whole. I believe I have now told you all that is interesting and will close with my love to all the family and my sincere regard to all my friends, tell Arthur that he need not fear of me placing my light under a bushel as he intimated in one of his letters. He (____?____) has not yet to learn that the most profound thinkers and the greatest statesmen that our country has given birth too, have and are not following the same pursuits of live that I am not, and I remain your son,


Additional note on same letter of REG 11/26/56

Mr. Grimshaw leaves space for me to say that I have no where in so new a place as Grimshaw seen three more pleasant or prettier homes that those of Grimshaw’s, White’s, and Pollack’s or families more comfortable situated in so short a time than theirs.

I have recently visited the settlement and was surprised at the progress they have made and the conveniences with which they have surrounded themselves. I am happy to be able to certify to their success.

Yours truly, C. Hoag

the following post script is written in pencil and appears to be REG handwriting. Some corrections were made to body of letter in pencil.

The new road to Fort Ridgley goes just by our door and I am informed it will be much traveled

Letter 5, from Robert Elwood Grimshaw and M. V. “Ginnie” Grimshaw to his mother Barbara Farrier Grimshaw, Jan. 8, 1857

Minneapolis, Jan 8th, 1857

Dear Mother,

The last time I was in this place I wrote you and gave an account of ourselves and prospects. I have nothing new to relate, save that we have the coldest weather I ever experienced. The thermometer being 30 below zero. It is astonishing the degree of cold we can endure in this climate, and be comfortable. Mary and the family are all well, I am heavier now than I ever was before and in good health and spirits. Ginnie is spending some time here with Cass (?) and Miss Addie Houg. I will be here in a week or two for her. John and Kate are well and Kate has grown quite fat, she is now writing to Ell at the same table that I am. Ginnie is desirous of writing to you and I will close by wishing you to present my love to all the family and respects to all inquiring friends and I remain your son.

RE Grimshaw

(continuation of same letter)

Dear Grandmother,

I now sit down to write a few lines to you. I am now spending a few weeks in Minneapolis, we were three days coming down, we had delightful weather all the way. We left Mother and the children all very well. Pop brought is in the sled and will start back tomorrow with a load. Emma grows very fast and says that she would like to have spent Christmas in Philadelphia. Kris Kringle did not get out to our place. Ellwood is as tall as Emma. He thinks he has plenty of snow to use his sled on. Lidy does not grow much, her head is as white as ever, she was six years old just before I came away. Willie (William) is larger than she is and wears pantaloons and jackets. I like it out at Grimshaw (reference to Grimshaw Grove, their name for their property or settlement) very well. There are three families there and we are all very sociable. We eat pot corn for nuts and roasted potatoes for apples. Pop says if you have got your land warrant to transfer it to him legally and he will in return send you an order to John Davis for the money. Give my love to Uncle Arther and Aunt Jane and tell (?) I will write soon. Emma has written to Mira (?) . Ella us going to send a few lines to you. We all send our love to you and all inquiring friends. Good bye and a dozen kisses for each cheek.

Your Affectionate (?) , Ginny Mary Virginia Grimshaw

Letter 6, from Robert Elwood Grimshaw to his mother Barbara Farrier Grimshaw, April 4, 1857


April 4th, 1857

Dear Mother,

Your letter of (_____)came duly to hand. I am at a loss to know how to advise you in reference to your coming out to Minnesota. I would like to see you, and nothing would give me more pleasure than to have you living with us the balance of your days, but still I think the journey would be too much for your feeble state, and our winters too severe for a person of your age and shattered constitution, and upon the whole I think I will be compelled to say no, but nevertheless if you should make up your mind to come I will make you as comfortable as the circumstances here will admit. It is needless to say that you are welcome to our prairie home. I am in some difficulty in money matters in this manner.

When I left Philadelphia I owed a mortgage of Seventeen Hundred dollars on my property in West Philadelphia, due this spring. I had one of he same amount due me in Bristleton with which I intended to pay it, and now I am informed by Mr. Davis the money in Bristleton will not be paid this spring and that the mortgage in West Philadelphia he thinks will have to be paid.

My money here is all invested with the exception of Seven Hundred Dollars that I have in hand. I have written to Mr. Davis to borrow $1,000. If he can and I will send him a draft for the balance. I am in hopes that he will be able to get the money as he can offer property of mine to the amount of Six Thousand Dollars as security. I wish you would state the case to Arthur and ask him if he can help me out, and if he cannot, ask him to assist Mr. Davis among my friends to do it. I will appreciate the kindness.

I will not be able at present under these circumstances to pay you for your warrant, but I will in the course of a month or two, and I hope you will not part with it, I can obtain one here but I am desirous of having yours as it is the bounty land of my Father and I hope to hand it down to my family.

We are all well and I am busy preparing for spring operations. I am fencing 100 acres of land with post and rail fence. I have hauled this winter 3000 rails and 1000 posts so you see I have been busy at work. I think I the fall next I will visit you and will write frequently, so keep up your spirits and consider that you have learned us all to take care of ourselves and that we are not unmindfull of your teachings.

You will observe that this is not my hand write. I have written thus thinking it would be read by you with more ease.

Please tell Ell that I consider a letter to you one to you all and that she must take no offense at me not writing to her as my time is limited but still I have a heart big enough for you all.

Remember me to all the family and friends.

Your son, R.E.Grimshaw

Murrays are all well.

Letter 7, from Mary Page Nicholson Grimshaw to “friend Louisa”, July 26,1857

Grimshaw Grove

July 26,1857

Dear Louisa,

It being Sunday afternoon, I sit down to enjoy myself talking to you. You must excuse this little letter this time as I do not feel able to write a long one. I am feeling pretty miserable all the time now, I guess it will be the last I shall write before my sickness, (birth of last child) so you may expect the next one from Ginnie. I received yours on Friday and was glad to hear from you all. I also received one from Martha and Sarah Jane last week, which should have answered before yours, but Emma has written so I thought I would let this one do for all a little while longer. We have a mail going through this place now once a week therefore our letters will go and come with more regularity than when we had to go twelve miles to the PO.

There has been some trouble in the territory with the Indians but the last accounts are that all a quiet and no more trouble is apprehended. We have not seen any of them and the place where they committed their outrages is fifty miles away from us, with a fort filled with soldiers between us and them. We do not feel alarmed as yet any of us in this settlement except Maggie White who appears to be in great perturbation about them, so that we do not tell her anything we hear concerning them and do not let her see the newspapers, her life is more precious than the rest of us you know. We had another pest last week in the shape of a cloud of grasshoppers which came down like snow flakes, eating up everything that came in their way. Robert thought his whole crop was gone, however, they went up again the next day and did not do as much damage as was expected. They ate the tops off of nearly an acre of potatoes and a great deal of corn, but they did not touch our garden although Whites and Pollocks were completely destroyed. Our crops, garden do look very promising now. We have pear, beans, beets, cucumbers, turnips, radishes, onions, salad in abundance, besides herbs of kind growing nicely. Plenty of sweet corn also tomatoes which I am afraid will be too late to ripen much. I wish you had been here on the fourth. We had company from another settlement. We expected Mrs. Nuttall but were disappointed. However we had eight and Maggie W. had four besides our own families to dinner and tea, there was one Lady among them. I will tell you what we had for dinner, in the first place we had turtle soup then a wild goose with green peas and salad, coffee and milk for those that wanted. Plenty of good bread and butter and last rhubarb pies and rice pudding, but against all was over I was pretty well tired out with cooking and baking, I needed more help than I had I assure you. J. Hunt (James Baldwin Hunt) was among the number of our guests, he has bought a place about seven miles from us and is now busy farming. I tell him he ought to have brought a wife with him from B for he wants one badly but he says he would not bring one out here to be dissatisfied, he wants one that is already here and satisfied with the country. I say he will have to wait until some of the children grow up as young ladies are very scarce. Have you seen Alf Dungan since he came home? He has written a letter to Ginnie in which he gives her a very pressing invitation to come on this fall and pay them all a visit, also Frank and her mother joins in the invitation, but I guess it will not be accepted for if there was nothing else I could not spare her now. But I must bring my letter to a close, Elwood, Lidy and Willie are playing around in the house and out, there is a good shade here, the house is in the edge of a grove, Lidy says tell her that I like her, Willie says, so do I. Ginnie and Emma have gone to Pollocks which is about a quarter of a mile off, Robert has gone walking round somewhere and it is near tea time. Give my love to your mother and all inquiring friends. Mrs. Clark (wife of Hoag) has gone on a visit to Phila.

From your friend Mary P. Grimshaw

Noted in margin- The mosquitoes bite me so much I can hardly write.

Letter 8, from James B. Nicholson to his brother-in-law Robert Elwood Grimshaw, Oct.9,1857

This letter in an envelope marked as follows:

Return Address:

Dept. of Justice

District of Minnesota

U.S.Marshals office

St. Paul, Minn.

Written by hand: For Will Grimshaw, Jr. After my death. WHG

This envelope contains two letters from Ginnie written while enroute from Philadelphia to St. Paul. Also letter of father and Ginnie and a letter of Uncle James in regard to my mothers death. WHG (his mother was Mary Page Nicholson Grimshaw.)

Philadelphia Oct. 9/57

Robert E. Grimshaw, Esq.

Dear Brother

The intelligence of Marys’ death reached me on the 21st ult. I have been expecting to hear more fully from you and have therefore delayed acknowledging the receipt of your letter. The news of Mary’s death was so totally unexpected that it fell upon me like a thunderbolt. It seems too hard that she should be taken away so early. Leaving her little children without a mother’s watchful love and that the western prairie should only have furnished her with a sod for her grave instead of a home and happiness with you. For yourself I can but reach across forest and prairie and give you the hand of sympathy in this the great grief of your life.

Your own heart will be your best councilor, but consolation comes from God. I shall not attempt therefore to proffer advise or to open your wounds afresh by recapitulating my sorrow but merely assure you that I feel deeply for you and your children in your bereavement and though separated by distance I am united with you in the fellowship of tears.

Truly yours,

James B. Nicholson

Handwritten at bottom:

Son Will,

My mothers name was Mary Page Nicholson

” Uncles ” James B. Nicholson

Letter 9, from Robert Elwood Grimshaw to his mother Barbara Farrier Grimshaw, March 6, 1858

Minneapolis, March 6/58

Dear Mother,

I understand that you have disappointed in not having had a letter from me recently.

I have written two to which no answer has been returned and all I can say is that I do not know why you have not received them.

The children are all well and Ginnie performs the household duties in a very creditable manner. She has grown to be quite a woman. (note: Mary Virginia “Ginnie” Grimshaw was born July 1843 and would have been 15 years old at this writing) For myself, I am well and weigh heavier than ever before in my life.

I have let my farm to Mr. Bartlet (?) and George White for the coming year upon shares (?) I furnish two teams and all the seed for cropping fifty three acres of land, they furnish themselves and we divide the crops equally. I intend moving to Minneapolis during the spring or to Saint Paul, for the purpose of going into my business. My (_______) in the matter appear to be fair.

I understand that you have determined to come out here in the spring provided I send you money on account of your warrant. That I cannot do, my money is all loaned and owing to the pressure of the times cannot realize it at present. And notwithstanding your presence here would be very desirable in my home situation cannot recommend you to undertake the journey and moreover I am afraid the climate is rigorous for your delicate constitution

I will be compelled under the law in the event of my leaving my place, to permit it. You would favour me then by leaving your warrant properly transferred and send it to me immediately and I will pay you the market price of it at home and interest for the amount until paid. At present I have no money and you shall be attended to at the earliest opportunity. If you send it to be sure it is correctly transferred to me and have it registered at the PO

Elwood is boarding at Glencoe and going to school. The baby is growing remarkably and is good. Will is as stout and rugged as a bear and the rest of the children are all well and Ginnie has grown to be quite a woman and very pretty. I have no hesitation in saying she is the prettiest girl in the state and with a good share of common sense for her years.

I have no more at present and I close, your son.


John and Kate are well, Murray is doing a good business REG

P.S. March 7

In my hurry yesterday I forgot to send my love to all the family and my friends. You will please remember me to them. I start for home tomorrow at sunrise. I have just received a letter from Mr. Yerkes (?) informing me that he had seen you at Coates’s

PS Since writing the above I have had the offer of the work of two single houses for Mr. Hoag. Perhaps I may take them. I wish Auth (?) was here to join me, we could do a large business.

PS I do not know why James Nicholson does not write he has not answered my last letter four months since, ask him.

Letter 10, from Robert Elwood Grimshaw to his mother Barbara Farrier Grimshaw, Sept. 20, 1858

Minneapolis Sept. 20/58

Dear Mother,

I have just received your letter and at once hurry to reply to the main question” am I contented”. I am, as much so as the nature of my case will permit, it is true indeed that I am not happy. I and the children all, enjoy good health and have plenty to eat from off he farm and things are moving along with (____) a tolerable share of success and all nature looks inviting. The flowers bloom and impregnate the air with their sweet perfume, the feathered birds sing as sweetly and make the groves vocal with their songs. The stars shine brightly and the rivers roll and all things combine to make a philosophic mind contented and I am. But happiness in his life. I do not expect it and I do not want it, there is a void in my heart that cannot be filled and hence the reason ( it should be noted here that the writers wife, Mary Page Nicholson Grimshaw died on Sept. 1, 1857. JGF) Now I do not wish you to understand from the above that I am grown to be a sour irritable grumbling creature, not at all, but quite the reverse of this. I have long since believed that there is no such thing as positive evil in the world, but that all our misfortunes are for our good and I look upon mine as a stroke of divine providence into whose hands I commit myself.

I am now in town and at work, this fall I will build a house and move the family here so that they can be educated. When I left home last Friday I made ample provision for the family and you need give yourself no uneasiness on their account.

Ginnie is well competent for their care, I will return home in about two weeks and in about two weeks after that I will have them here, I will rent the farm next year as usual.

I recently wrote to my friend Mr. Wetherby, asking him to purchase your land warrant and send it to me. I have not heard from him since it will be necessary to have one to (preempt ?) with, I have not yet heard from James Nicholson, will write him at the first opportunity.

The school in Glencoe has discontinued and Elwood is at home. He has grown to be a stout boy and can shoot a bird or goose as well as any of us. Last Friday he put a ball into the center of a mark with a rifle at Seventy Yards. Will is also stout and rugged as a bear. Kate can walk by chairs. She is a fine child. Murrays are all well and now I believe I have told you all that is important and will close by acknowledging the correctness of Dr. Buck’s advice. I feel it to be true, and if we do not meet anymore upon this earth as intend, I hope we may meet in heaven, that we may do this is the humble prayer of your affectionate son.


Letter 11, from Robert Elwood Grimshaw to his mother Barbara Farrier Grimshaw, Nov. 28, 1858

Minneapolis Nov. 28, 1858

Mother Dear,

My last remains unanswered but I do not stand upon formalities. Next week I will leave this place for home, that sweet word, how I love it “Home”. I shall remain there but a short period and then return to commence my house in this place. Murray and I have taken lots adjoining each other and will build together.

I would have built before this but my time has been employed at building a church and the committee would not let me off. It is now nearly finished and makes a pretty appearance and the congregation are pleased. I think it will be to my advantage in a business point of view.

The children are all well and I am enjoying good health. I am heavier than ever before in my life and in good spirits. This is a glorious climate, it would be impossible under the most adverse circumstances long to remain dull. One’s digestion is perfect and the lover of nature cannot but feel happy as he rambles along by our rapid rivers and gazes at our picturesque hills. The wild ruggedness of the falls of St. Anthony is worth a trip out here to look at. The falls are at least twenty five feet and then a perfect foam as it dashes along for miles below, the whole confined on either side of the great river by hills nearly approaching mountains. I have in my life, you know, spent some time in travelling about, and altho attended by some disappointment I do not regret it. I believe the pleasure that has been derived has more than compensated for it and as soon as I get the opportunity to do it I intend crossing the continent to the Pacific. You need give yourself no uneasiness on my account. I will not start for some time yet and not until I have all things right.

I am of the opinion that before ten years there will be a continuous railroad from Philadelphia to the Pacific in British America through this region it is now this far, and our companies are pushing along with theirs, and already an English company are negotiating for an interest in the work and if they succeed in obtaining it the thing is done.

Commend me to the family and friends. Your affectionate son,


My thanks to (?) for the interest he manifested in obtaining the currant. I appreciate the favor.

Letter 12, from James Harvey Baldwin Hunt to Mary Virginia Grimshaw, April 10, 1859

Minneapolis, April 10th, 1859

My dear Ginnie,

Will you allow me to address you a few lines? I have often desired to write to you but was restrained by the thought that you might object as you declined writing to me.

I saw a letter you wrote to your “Pop” in which you manifested a deep concern in regard to the relation existing between him and “Althea”. You need not be alarmed anymore on her account. I believe it is all at an end, at least he told me that nothing was further from his thoughts than marrying her and I would join you in deploring the fate that would place your brothers and sisters under the care of such a thoughtless creature as she is.

Your Pop was in St. Paul yesterday looking for a chance to get into business, he thinks there is a prospect of doing something. I hope he will conclude to stop here or at St. Paul and try, for I believe he could build up a good business. Would you not rather stay here? I would very much like to see you and have intended coming up before this but am so hurried in my business I know not whether I’ll get ? (before you leave) or not.

Will White, your Pop and myself were at St. Paul last Monday. Saw __?__ Craig and Jim as big as life. They said nothing to me concerning the charge that Rebecca has been pleased to prefer against me. I am sorry that are so bitter against your Pop and yourself.

There are no news worth mentioning. Then ice has not gone out of the Lake yet and it is still cold with same snow on the ground. I understand that the people in the Settlement are very much homesick and discouraged.

Ginnie, will you write me in return and give me all the news and everything that has happened?

I wish you were here, Ginnie, I should enjoy myself very much. I am ever thinking of you and I do hope the time will speedily come when you will be here, that we may enjoy ourselves together. Til then, I remain your absent but loving friend.


Letter 13, from Mary Virginia Grimshaw to her future husbandJames Baldwin Hunt, Sept. 2, 1860

Minneapolis Sept. 2nd, 1860

My dear Jim,

I have heard that you were sick, and I could not resist the temptation of writing, to inquire if it was true and if so, if you are very sick, or if you are now getting better? I cannot bear the idea of your being sick, especially in a strange place, with no one, but strangers to care for you. You must not think me foolish, but I have been very much worried concerning you. I have been expecting you every Saturday night for three weekends. Have always been sadly disappointed, but, as I am used to waiting , I consoled myself with the thought that another week will soon roll around and then he will surely come. But, oh Jim you don’t know how long the weeks sometimes appear. I have been looking for you all day, and now, as I cannot see you, I must content myself, with thinking about you and writing to you. I sincerely wish the day wold speedily arrive, when, in sickness as well as in health, we will be a source of help, and happiness to each other, and when both the joys, and sorrows, of one will be shared by the other. I wish you were here, Jim, that I might tell you how impossibly dear you are to me and how deeply I sympathize with you.

I believe Pop has concluded not to go south this winter but to stay and build Wilkins’ house. He is going down to the fort next week to work on the fair buildings, by that time he will be done with the Harrisons house. I have had two invalids to nurse for the last two weeks, but they have now retired, and Pop is away. The last words he said to me were “Ginnie don’t sit up late, but go to bed and try to get rested” so I must make my letter as short as possible or he will come home and find me disobeying him which will be awful. This is the second time I ever undertook to write to you as I am not used to writing to gentlemen. I scarcely know what to write. I know what you would say “write just what you think” but if I did, I would fill half a dozen sheets like this, and you would only think me a little goose for my pains. So I will only say what is uppermost in my mind. I love you dearly and am very sorry that you are sick, and if I could, I would gladly go to you (and not go away again either).

Please come up as soon as possible. I forgot to tell you Althea is not married (which pleases Pop amazingly). By assuring you that you possess my fervent love as well as my sympathy I must close. Believe me to be your own,

Ever affectionate


Letter 14, from Robert Elwood Grimshaw to “friend Louisa”, Dec. 25, 1860

Christmas Night (1860) Minneapolis

Friend Louisa:

Ginnie and Mr. Hunt have gone to spend the evening at a friend’s house in the neighborhood; the cubs are all in bed, but not asleep. I hear Kate’s voice above all the rest insisting that Santa Claus did come. Last night, the others not being quite so positive, they begin to question his reality. Look on him as a recondite personage. I will leave them to settle the matter as best they can but they will be sleeping before that happens.

In your letter to Ginnie of the 18th inst. You suggest that I must feel a sense of loneliness having lost so good a wife – Alas! My kind friend, this is truly my case. I hope it may not be considered weakness, but, notwithstanding all my philosophy, I feel a void in my heart, that cannot be healed. She was a noble woman, so dutiful , so loving, so cheerful and amiable – her sense of right so clear – her judgement so exact. My good friend, you knew her well but I knew her heart. She was void of guile. Her hand and heart were open to everything that was good, and moved to nothing because it was conventional, or because it was customary; but only because it was right. Oh, what a loss we did all sustain in her death. You will not understand me as being melancholy, and desponding, for I am not, nor do I desire her back, but conceive of me, as being cheerful and happy, in good health and competent to discharge all the duties incumbent upon me to perform. And now let me say a word concerning the children. It will not do to say much of Ginnie, as she will copy these pencilling to you but suffice it to say that she is all I can desire.

Emma is with her mother in a happier and better state of existence. I firmly believe this. (note: In some notes I have, in Bertha “Aunt Bert” Bell Hunt’s handwriting, it states that Emma was born In 1846 and died in 1860. No cause given. Also in these notes there is reference to a first born daughter named Elizabeth Nicholson Grimshaw who died at 1 week. In 1850 another daughter was born and named Elizabeth Nicholson Grimshaw and it is noted that she married a George W. Cooley. -JGF) Elwood is going to school, perhaps he is not so far advanced as some of his old associates, but I do not deem this a disadvantage. He has ample time yet to pursue his studies, mean time, he has developed an athletic form, and a robust constitution, with a tolerable share of beauty, a good mechanical head, with a fair amount of intellect, and with all a good boy.

Will has entered school and is doing well. I have no hesitation in pronouncing a perfect model in structure. He is the largest boy of his age that I ever saw, full chested, square built, with perfect limbs, large head with light curly hair, large clear blue eyes, and pleasing face, and as much vigor, and strength as is rarely found in boys of his age. I look upon him as the flower of the flock.

Lide is the same little witch she always was The same complexion of her mother. She can do anything, or thinks she can, which will amount to about the same thing in the future, for when we think we can accomplish a thing, the end is more than half attained. I set her down as the making of a competent woman.

And now I come to speak of little Kate. She is just the nicest little “critter” you ever saw. She speaks every word as plain as any of us, and knows every tune by name as soon as we sing or play it, goes to bed at night and is as little trouble as a grown person, all she wants is enough to eat and drink and plenty of time to sleep. Her hair is light, eyes deep blue, cheeks like roses. I have been particular in describing the cubs because I thought you would be interested in knowing how they progressed. Probably in the spring I will send you their daguerreotypes.

The times have been exceedingly hard in the west, owing to the late financial crisis. Real estate has fallen immensely in value, and individuals who thought themselves wealthy, and were living accordingly have been so reduced that they cannot get credit for a pound of butter. You are acquainted with some of these. I do not pity them, for they became quite arrogant in times of prosperity and now are having their reward. But the times had changed and I began to think we were at the beginning of a more prosperous condition and were ushering in a new era upon a more permanent basis. When suddenly new difficulties that I have long foreseen burst upon us. I allude to the feeling manifested between the people of the north and south; our currency is again depreciated, confidence destroyed, and this brings me to speak of politics; a subject unfortunately not very agreeable to ladies generally. I think the Union will be severed, the “irrepressible conflict” must go on, we cannot, nor we should not, compromise with slavery; We must do what is right in accordance to our conscience, let the consequence be what it may. I have not been one of those that looks upon our system of government as the “ne plus ultra” of human achievement. It has many objectionable parts, and I am of the opinion that if this union is to be preserved in no other way than by enslaving of four millions of her people and allowing this spread of ” this sum of all villainies” the sooner it is destroyed the better. I have a firm faith that the good people if our country will be equal to the emergency when it comes. “Chaos will not come again” – you may rely upon this, we will not retrograde, man’s course is onward. We must to justly, and remember at all times that God reigns. I can but admire the position assumed and sustained by the president-elect. His silence is awful while we know his ability to speak. Amid all threatening and clash of contending parties he stands unmoved.

“As some tall cliff that lifts is awful form,

swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm.

Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread

eternal sunshine settles on it head”

Commend me to your husband, and family, and to my friends generally, and believe me to be your sincere friend.


Letter 15, from Rosa H. Jenks to “Cousin Will”, Oct. 20, 1899

418 W. James St, Lancaster Oct, 20, 1899

Dear Cousin Will,

I am writing you again on the same errand as before. I heard last night of a sufferer and they are very anxious to try your famous remedy. Glad to be able to tell you that the ladies in Zanesville (?) are better. Mrs. Moorhead wrote me to that effect in her last letter. You sent me a pamphlet a long time ago. I gave it away to Cousin George McGowan and I have forgotten the name of the physician. Can you send me another or tell me his name and I will write him myself. You were so very kind in responding so promptly before . Mrs. Moorhead wrote me of the nice letter you sent. I thank you sincerely. I know your good heart of old. How long ago it seems since we walked together around the Minneapolis streets. Do you remember the night that dear Mary Jenks (?) lost her sack and it was found the next day. How Aunt Salome wondered how we wandered so far. You were such an impossible youngster then. I can hardly realize that you have grown so great and famous. That was in 1872. I remember the date so well because it was ten years after the Indian Trouble in Minnesota and one of your favorite practices was to try to make us think that the Red Skins were still lurking around in dark places especially at Minnehaha. You never succeeded in scaring me but I know Mary used to shake. I am growing old, wearing glasses and getting gray. The change is only on the outside I am thankful to say, what matters then if we pile up the years.

I have been looking to hear from dear Aunt Salome for some time. I know her’s are busy days and full of trouble but I do wish she could find a little while for me. I would be so glad to hear from her and she writes such newsy interesting letters. If there was only good news of Uncle Roberts condition.

I have been home but a few weeks and next week we are on the wing again. Mary and I go to Philadelphia to attend Percy Hix’s (?) wedding. He is Mina’s oldest boy and will be married on Wednesday 25th at 7 PM We will likely remain to see “Dewey” He comes on October 31st as the guest of the city. Our Exposition is rather good. The musical feature remarkable fine. We can put in a week very pleasurably. Dewey might feel slighted if we missed him.

The other day in overlooking my papers that had accumulated while I was away I found one I thought you may have sent. It was from Minneapolis and contained the account of Ingersoll’s death. Shall I tell you how it made me feel: Ah, so sad, sad for him. To think such a brilliant life ended in such darkness. Sad for his family to whom he left such a legacy (No hope for the future) and sad for all those whose minds had been perverted by his brilliant but false reasoning. Dear Will, my heart aches for you for I judged you shared his views. It is so dreadful to live this life with no hope for the after-life. His family clinging to his empty casket dreading to bury it out of their sight because they had no hope of ever seeing him again was pathetic in the extreme. He was most cruel to those he loved the best because he taught them so. On the other hand when I see how in the midst of the deepest sorrow a Christian is sustained, sorrowing not, as others who have no hope. I cannot be too glad and thankful to know there is such an anchor for the soul sure and steadfast. I say know, not hope, because there is this perfect assurance of a blessed life beyond the grave. I am so glad to tell you , Will, that my greatest comfort, yes, my only comfort is this. There is not __?__ in this world that I would exchange for it. “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved we have a building of God, a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens” Eye hath not seen nor ear heard. Neither hath it entered into the heart of man The things God has prepared for them that love him. Death is only transition and the beginning of the real life. Not the end of all. Our few school years here are only the preparation for the eternal riches beyond. This is not idle talk nor a sentimental rhapsody. I wish I could make you know how real it is and I only wish that you could have seen even a faint conception of the blessed comfort. Thine is in this assurance. Dear Will, I do not want to preach but Oh, if I only could make you know him real. This is (real) to me and the joy and happiness I have in knowing that. God is not a cold impersonal thing but – My Father in Heaven – and that I am his child not only by creation but adoption because, I believe in Her dear Son, I do not want to weary you but my heart is so full that I scarcely know how to stop.

Will you give my best love to all my dear cousins. How often I think of you all. I hear there is some talk of holding the next National Republican convention in Phila. You know we have facilities not, the Exposition building is finished. There is a fine auditorium seating capacity of 6000, big enough for you people with swelled heads, reaching out “Hands across the sea” in all directions. I wish something would turn your feet this way, I would dearly love to see you.

If you write promptly a letter would reach me in Phila I send my address there for it. At least, a week after the 25th. (no 1629 Vine St.) otherwise the address at the heading of letter would be best

With much love

Sincerely yours, Rosa H. Jenks (?)

I do not know who this person is. Possibly a relation through Robert Elwood Grimshaw’s second wife Salome. If anybody knows I would appreciate hearing. ~~JGF

Letter 16, from Mary Virginia Grimshaw Hunt to her brother William Grimshaw, Dec. 6, 1905

(Letter apparently erroneously repeated from Letter 18 below)

Letter 17, from Mary Virginia Grimshaw Hunt to her brother William Grimshaw, Jan. 6, 1913

1716 23rd St., Galveston,

January 6, 1913

Dear Will,

I received a letter from Louisa’s daughter, lately, in answer to a Christmas I sent them, in which they tell me of their Father’s death. They said they would not be able to keep the home any longer, and had been preparing to move. In looking through their Mother’s boxes I had come across a package of old letters, which they thought I would like to have so sent them to me, and I send one to you knowing you will like go have it. It was written on Christmas night 1860 and speaks for itself. (See letter from Robt. E. Grimshaw to friend Louisa, I believe this is the letter referred to ~~JGF)

We are all well, and still enjoying the climate. There is a norther expected
in a few hours, and then we may expect a day or two of disagreeable weather. We
have had one or two since we came but they don’t last long.

We had a very happy Christmas, we were well remembered by all our children and feel that we are indeed blest. I am sporting a new bonnet, a present from my brother Will. Give our love to Marion, I hope her health is better this winter.

Your loving sister

Virginia Hunt

Letter 18, from Bertha Bell Hunt to her uncle William Grimshaw, probably 1916

La Jolla, Cal

Dear Uncle Will –

I am enclosing the receipt for the Thousand Dollars which I received a few days ago. I certainly think it was a lovely thing for my brothers and sisters to do, to assign all their interest in Grandpop’s estate to me and I assuredly do appreciate it although I feel that I have no right to it.

I feel that I have already received more than my share of Mothers love and affection especially during these last few years and that the lions share of her fathers estate ought not to come to me also. Sometime I hope to be able to tell you all about her since she last wrote to you, but as of yet I cannot think of her without tears.

In her last illness her thoughts were on the past and she reviewed so often all the scenes of her childhood and recounted many times the trip from Philadelphia to Minnesota and the life on the claim afterward. I know that her love for you was always very great and that you were in her mind up to her last conscious hour. Dear, dear mother, the savor of life seems to be gone since she died.

I want to thank you for all the trouble you have taken on my behalf and for your assurance of love and affection. There is no one I would turn to quicker in time of trouble than you, Dear uncle Will, and if at any time there is anything I can do for you I shall be most happy to do so.

I wish I might be in Minneapolis for a short time to see you and Hazel and her little one, but am glad to escape the cold weather. Give my love to Aunt Marion and if you ever see Cousin Ella I would like to have you give her my love also.

May sends love and wishes you and Aunt Marion might come to California while we are here.

With many wishes for a Happy and Prosperous Year, I am

Your loving Niece, Bertha

Webpage History

Webpage posted July 2002. Updated December 2004 with information on Grimshaw Grove location near Lake Addie and information on Mary Virginia (Grimshaw) Hunt. Updated October 2007 with addition of picture of two buildings of William H Grimshaw. Updated June 2010 with addition of photos near Lake Addie of the former Grimshaw location. Updated January 2013 with addition of summertime grave photos and photo of Barbara (Farrier) Grimshaw as well as family information on Catharine Grimshaw and John Murray. Updated November 2013 with addition of information on George W Cooley, “The Enignamatist”.