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|Size||3.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1500 items)|
|Abstract||Grimball family members were owners of Pinebury and Grove plantations near Charleston, S.C. Prominent family members include John Berkley Grimball (1800-1892), Margaret Ann (Meta) Morris Grimball (1810-1881), and their children. The collection includes correspondence, plantation accounts, financial and legal papers, commonplace books, notebooks, scrapbooks, and other material, chiefly 1830 through 1900. Topics include the management of plantations before and after the Civil War; relations with slaves and freedmen; the careers of the Grimball sons in the Confederate Army, including William Grimball in the 1st South Carolina Artillery Regiment; and antebellum and postbellum family life in South Carolina and New York, through the Grimball's connections with the Morris family of Morrisania, N.Y. Also included are papers relating to John Berkley Grimball's interest in the Charleston Library Society.|
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
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The Grimball family was a prominent family in Charleston, S.C., during the nineteenth century. They owned two plantations near Charleston--Pinebury and the Grove--where they cultivated rice and other crops, particularly corn and cotton before 1852. The family descended from Paul Grimball who came to South Carolina from England in 1682 and was secretary and receiver general of the Province. He died on Edisto Island in 1696.
The chief figures in the Grimball family as documented by this collection are John Berkley Grimball (1800-1892) and his wife Margaret Ann (Meta) Morris Grimball (1810-1881), daughter of Colonel Lewis Morris of Morrisania, New York, and Elizabeth (Manigault) Morris of South Carolina. The Grimballs were connected also with the Munro, Trenholm, and Wilkins families of South Carolina.
The Grimballs had nine children: Elizabeth (1831-1914), who married William Munro (d. 1900); Berkley (1833-1899); Lewis (1835-1901), who married Clementina Legge; William (1838-1864); John (1840-1922), who married Katie Moore in 1876 and Georgina Barnwell in 1885; Arthur (1842-1894); Gabriella (d. 1924); Charlotte; and Harry, who married Helen E. Trenholm in 1876.
John Berkley imball's sister, Mrs. Eliza G. Wilkins, married Martin L. Wilkins (d. 1843). They had six children--Berkley, Gouveneur, Martin, Sarah, Eliza, and Annie--as well as others who died early in life.Back to Top
This collection chiefly consists of correspondence and other documents of John Berkley Grimball and Margaret Ann (Meta) Morris Grimball. The largest series is the correspondence series, and the bulk of it pertains to the period from 1830 to 1900. For a more complete picture of the lives of the Grimball family, two other Southern Historical collections should be consulted: the John Berkley Grimball Diary(#970), covering the years 1832-1883, and the Margaret Ann (Meta) Morris Grimaball Journal(#975), covering the years 1860-1866. Taken together, these three collections provide a fairly full record of a prominent Southern family and a way of life in the nineteenth century.
Letters and their attachments pertaining to finances are in the correspondence series.Back to Top
Believed to be the correspondence of John Grimball and his wife Eliza Berkley Grimball, parents of John Berkley Grimball. The letter dated 1796 appears to be from John Grimball to a government official requesting his intervention over an unredeemed bond or certificate. The other two letters are to and from family members.
Chiefly correspondence of John Berkley Grimball and his wife Meta Morris Grimball about travel, sickness, births and deaths, social affairs, menus, and money matters. Only a few items date from before 1840.
Included are letters written in the 1840s by John Berkley Grimball to Gouveneur M. Wilkins, brother of Grimball's brother-in-law, Martin L. Wilkins (d. 1843), about the estate of Martin L. Wilkins, and the financial and other problems facing Eliza G. Wilkins and her seven children. Also included is correspondence of John Berkley Grimball from the 1850s with various Charleston brokers about the purchase of Grove Plantation and the sale of some of his land.
Letters of Margaret Ann (Meta) Morris Grimball include one to her son Arthur at the State Military Academy in Columbia, South Carolina, dated 10 February 1858 concerning his desire to resign. Arthur was expelled from this institution in April for his involvement in a disturbance there. Also included is a letter from John Berkley Grimball, 19 April 1858, written from Columbia where he was attending the meeting of the State Legislature and discussing the introduction of measures affirming the right of secession.
Correspondents of 1850-1859 include Mrs. L.E. Rutherford, a cousin from Morrisania, New York; Lewis Morris; Martin L. Wilkins, Jr.; Berkley Grimball; Berkley G. Wilkins; William Whaley; Henry W. Lesesne; and Joseph D. Aiken.
Chiefly letters written during the Civil War by Grimball sons, serving in the Confederate Army, to their parents. A few letters written in 1860 are to Elizabeth B. Grimball, who was staying with her aunt, Mrs. Butler, in Philadelphia. The letters are from her mother, Margaret Ann (Meta) Morris Grimball, and give information about family activities. A letter dated 27 November to Elizabeth from her brother Lewis sharply reprimands her for her anti-secessionist sentiments.
Included are letters relating to the Grimball sons' attempts to secure commissions in the Confederate Army. Also included are March-December 1862 letters from William H. Grimball, a lieutenant in the 1st South Carolina Artillery Regiment, at Fort Sumter and Simmons Bluff, giving information about his situation and that of the other Grimball sons. A 29 August 1862 letter describing in detail the execution of an attempted deserter. Also included are letters from Arthur Grimball, dated April 1863, describing the battle against the ironclads that attacked Fort Sumter, and letters from John Grimball, dated August 1863, and written from Rouen, France, where he had arrived on a blockade runner to purchase supplies for the Confederacy. Lewis Grimball wrote in 1864 recounting his part in the skirmishes that took place before and during the Battle of Atlanta, and other campaigns in Georgia and Tennessee.
Correspondence from Arthur Grimball towards the end of the war describes his attention to his father's affairs in Charleston. In January 1864, Arthur Grimball wrote his father about selling the furniture in their Meeting Street house in Charleston after robbers had broken in. Later in the year, he wrote about checking on the deserted plantations and a night expedition in a rowboat to get goods from a blockade runner wrecked off a Sullivan's Island reef.
William Grimball died of fever on 27 July 1864 in a Charleston army hospital. There are several letters written by him as he lay dying, letters of condolence from family and friends, and one from John Berkley Grimball to his wife written from Charleston on the day of their son's death.
There is little correspondence relating to the close of the war. Postwar correspondence from friends and relatives of the Grimballs tells of their living conditions, attempts to round up their former slaves and care for them, and other aspects of postwar existence in Charleston and the surrounding country. Letters between Meta and John Berkley Grimball discuss his efforts to save his plantations and straighten out his ruined financial affairs. The letters indicate that the Grimball family was entirely dependent on Meta's income from the Morris estate in New York for many years after the war.
Chiefly correspondence among Grimballs in the years following the Civil War documenting personal and financial aspects of their lives.
Much of this correspondence deals with the Grimballs' financial and business difficulties after the war. Letters from John Berkley Grimball in 1866 deal with his efforts in Charleston to reactivate his plantations and the possibility of losing one of his plantations to pay his taxes. Lewis Grimball wrote his father regularly in 1866 of his great difficulties in securing a medical practice and other business attempts at Frog Level, South Carolina. Lewis's business difficulties continued through the 1870s, and he wrote of his general despondency and inability to earn a living. In 1871, he was employed as a paymaster in a mill in Bristol, Pennsylvania. He moved his family to Shoemakertown, outside Philadelphia, in December to make another attempt to establish a medical practice and operate a drug store. In 1873, a letter from John Berkley Grimball advised his son to return to South Carolina in the face of his failure in Philadelphia.
Also included are letters relating to the leasing of the Grimball plantations. Thomas Larisey leased Grove Plantation in 1869, and Adam Deas, believed to be a former slave of Grimball's, leased Pinebury Plantation in 1871. Letters and agreements between Grimball and Deas continue for a number of years.
Also included are letters in 1867 to and from Elizabeth Grimball who was teaching school in Union, South Carolina, about her proposal from William Munro, attorney of Union, and their marriage, which took place in December. Her letters continue throughout the subseries and describe her life in Union.
Other Grimball children are mentioned in the correspondence. In 1870, there are letters discussing the death of Lionel Chalmers Grimball, second son of Lewis and Clementina Legge Grimball. A letter from Lewis, dated 1871, mentions a Ku Klux Klan incident in South Carolina. Included in the letters from 1874 and 1875 are a few from Harry M. Grimball written from Union where he had settled with his wife, the former Helen Trenholm of Charleston, and become a bookkeeper in a firm of cotton merchants. A letter of November 1875 concerns the birth of Harry and Helen Grimball's first child, a daughter named Elizabeth Berkley. Letters included from 1876 indicate that Arthur Grimball was living at Grove Plantation, where he was engaged in planting and construction work. Also during that year, John Grimball married Katie Moore of Huntsville, Alabama. She died a few months later.
This series ends in 1882, the year Meta Morris Grimball died on 26 August at Flat Rock, North Carolina.
Chiefly correspondence among the Grimball children. Included is correspondence between 1883 and 1898 concerning the cultivation and operation of the plantations. In 1898, there are letters to Berkley Grimball from W.N. Larisey, his plantation manager concerning Grove Plantation.
Letters about two natural disasters in Charleston are included. Letters of September 1886 discuss the Charleston earthquake that took place on 31 August. Letters of August 1893 discuss the Charleston hurricane and damage done to the plantations. Included are letters to Berkley Grimball from his plantation manager R.P. Sanders regarding post-hurricane conditions at Grove.
There are numerous letters included during these years about the many deaths that occurred in the family. Included is a letter, 16 August 1883, from Charlotte M. Manigault mentioning the death of Harry Grimball's son, William Munro Grimball. A few letters of sympathy on the death in 1887 of Judge Munro, father of William Munro, are included. Arthur Grimball died in 1894 and is mentioned in retrospect by his sister Gabriella in a letter dated 27 September. There are letters about the death of John Berkley Grimball, son of Lewis and Clementina Legge Grimball in 1886 in Philadelphia, where he had lived since childhood with his mother.
Berkley Grimball died in 1899. He spent some time during June and July in a sanatarium at Asheville, North Carolina, and was operated on in July, but did not survive the operation and died 14 July at the age of 66. Included are letters to and from Berkley before his final illness and death. Also included is a letter of sympathy to the Misses Grimball from William A. Courtnay, former mayor of Charleston, and other correspondence following Berkley's death.
There are also letters to William Munro just before his death on 13 January 1900 at the age of 64. Munro died at Green Cove, Florida, where he had gone just a few days before for his health.
Another event documented in the letters is a lawsuit brought against unnamed members of the Grimball family in 1892 by Mrs. Trenholm, mother of Mrs. Harry Grimball. Also documented in letters of 25 September and 21 November 1898 to Berkley Grimball is the arrest of a black man suspected of firing at him.
Included is a letterpress book of John M. Chisolm containing letters dated 1870-1874 and 1885.
Letters written after 1900 are chiefly addressed to Elizabeth Grimball Munro.
Undated letters and letter fragments of Grimball family members and others. The letters are arranged by recipient. However, when the sender is identifiable and the recipient is either unknown or not a family member, the letter is filed under the sender's name.
Many of the letters addressed to Meta Morris Grimball are from her sister Charlotte Morris Manigault, and were apparently written while Charlotte was traveling in Europe.
Arrangement: by type.
Plantation accounts, bills, receipts, loan documents, mortgages, bills of sale for slaves, and other financial material relating to the Grimball family. Letters and their attachments relating to finances are filed in Series 1.
Included in the plantation accounts are the private and plantation accounts for the years 1829-1839 of Martin L. Wilkins, brother-in-law of John Berkley Grimball, with his factor, John Wilkes. The location of Wilkins's plantation is unknown. Also included in these folders are statements of rice sales from the two Grimball plantations, Pinebury and Grove, chiefly from the years 1858-1879. There are several account books included in these folders. A plantation journal of John Berkley Grimball, dating from 1824-1832, contains irregular entries concerning rice, potatoes, etc. Another dated 1876-1879 lists John Berkley Grimball's accounts for Pinebury Plantation purchases with Adam R. Deas. A third account book contains the rice sale account sheets of Arthur Grimball for Grove, 1876-1879.
A separate folder contains statements of funds of the Charleston Library Society for the years 1872 and 1873. John Berkley Grimball had a great interest in this organization throughout the following years and was eventually elected its president.
Financial material relating to the Grimball family's slaves is contained in a separate folder. Included are bills of sales for slaves bought by Martin L. Wilkins and John Berkley Grimball in 1826 and notations of items purchased for the slaves on Grimball's two plantations in 1858. Also included is "List of the Negroes belonging to J. B. Grimball who left the Grove and Pinebury Plantations in St. Paul's Parish on the night of the 2nd March 1862 and deserted to the Yankees at Edisto Island."
Materials filed as other financial material includes lists of stock and their current values, two notes dated 1836 certifying Martin L. Wilkins had no unsatisfied mortgages, a list of investments for one of the Grimball daughters from 1880-1893, and other miscellaneous items.
Arrangement: by type.
Land records, deeds, lease agreements, wills, and other legal documents of the Grimball family.
Included in the land records are copies of seventeenth and eighteenth century land grants to Paul Grimball, ancestor of John Berkley Grimball. Also included is John Berkley Grimball's application for the surrender of his lands in 1865, and property settlements and deeds drawn up between John and Meta Grimball and their children in 1867.
After the Civil War, there are copies of lease agreements for the plantations. In the late 1860s, John Berkley Grimball leased Grove Plantation to Thomas Larisey and made an agreement with Henry Jenkins, a freed slave, to cultivate rice on Pinebury Plantation. In 1871, Grimball leased Pinebury to Adam Deas, believed to be a former slave of Grimball's. Letters and agreements between Grimball and Deas continue for a number of years.
Included in the wills folder are wills made by Meta and John Berkley Grimball during the course of their lifetimes.
The items included as other legal papers are chiefly documents from various estates with which the Grimball's were involved. These include partnership agreements; the law license of Arthur Grimball; and agreements between members of the Grimball family and others over property, improvements to the plantations, and management of the plantations.
Chiefly commonplace books and miscellaneous material belonging to the Grimball family. There is also one folder of family recipes. The commonplace books contain diary entries, records of deaths of family and friends, quotations, autograph poems to Elizabeth (Elizabeth Grimball Munro?), notes on physical ailments, and other memoranda.
Miscellaneous material includes obituaries, commissions and honors received by the Grimball sons in the Confederate army, school reports for the Grimball children, and loose newspaper clippings. Also included are notes on land transactions and original compositions of family members.
The scrapbooks contain clippings about affairs in Charleston and Union, South Carolina. This subseries also contains a book titled The Scottish Clans and Their Tartans (undated) and three pamphlets: a petition from the Board of Trustees of the College of Charleston to the Mayor and Aldermen of the city for continuation of appropriations to their school, 1885; "A Souvenir of the United Confederate Veteran's Reunion, May 10-13, 1899, and Guide to Points of Interest in Charleston, South Carolina"; and "The Story of South Carolina," by Earl Mayo, from a series called "The Story of the States" in Pearson's Magazine, 1901.
"Old Bell Tower," Dorchester, S.C., "sketch taken in 1884"; "Old White Church," "Seven miles from Summerville, S.C.," 1905, "Taken from a sketch made in 1884"; an ironclad ship, inscribed "Lieut. John Grimball" on verso. Pencil sketches. #00980, Series: "5. Pictures, 1884-1905 and undated." P-980/4-6
Photocopy of family history information from Bible.
Processed by: Shonra Newman, April 1990; Roslyn Holdzkom, January 1992 with subsequent additions
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008Back to Top