The Grimes family of Oxon Hill, Prince George's County, Maryland maintained a farm as well as a store and tavern or 'ordinary' throughout the nineteenth century. For much of that time one family member or another served as postmaster for the area. In accordance with the contemporary convention of naming towns after the local postmaster, the town was then known as Grimesville. The Grimes family papers include financial ledgers from the store, daybooks recording work on the farm, weather, and local and family news, legal agreements about land and labor, and correspondence. While the Grimes family did not enslave people, they did participate in and benefit from the enslavement of people. Thomas Grimes (1794-1864) managed the store, ordinary, farm, and post office from about 1820 until his death. His son Richard Franklin (born 1835) assumed responsibilities in the family businesses as Thomas' health declined in the 1860s and maintained the businesses after his father died.
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3.25 Linear Feet
The Grimes Family papers date from 1821 to 1902, with the bulk of the documents covering 1845 to 1864. The ledgers and daybooks are the most significant section of the collection. Ledgers from the store show prices for food, liquor, and other goods in the mid-nineteenth century. The ledgers also include many names of Grimes's customers, including the Dyer, Edelon, Talbert or Tabbert, and Vodery families. Thomas Grimes's daybooks offer a detailed picture of his employment practices, as well as his success in agriculture. While the Grimes family did not enslave people, there are records of them hiring people who were enslaved by other local families, an agreement in which the enslavers received the payment, not the enslaved people doing the labor for the hiring family. Grimes carefully recorded how much of each crop he planted and how much he reaped, along with notes on the weather and on the condition of other farmers' crops. The daybooks also contain brief notes of family importance, such as the birthdays of his four oldest sons and a listing of Grimes's account with the local doctor. The correspondence and notes that make up the rest of the collection deal primarily with the agricultural, financial, and legal concerns of the family, as well as the buying habits of local families.
Little is known about the Grimes family of Oxon Hill, Prince George's County, Maryland. Throughout the nineteenth century, the family maintained a farm as well as a shop and tavern or 'ordinary' located at an intersection, now where St. Barnabas Road intersects Oxon Hill Road (Route 414). For much of that time, one family member or another served as postmaster for the area, and thus the town was known as Grimesville, in accordance with the contemporary convention of naming towns after the local postmaster.
Thomas Grimes (1794-1864) managed the store, ordinary, farm, and post office from about 1820 until his death. Liquor and sales licenses for the store from the 1840s and 1850s were issued to Peter Grimes, who may have been part owner of the store. The relationship between Thomas and Peter has not been determined, however, new information provided by a genealogical researcher suggests that Peter was the son of Thomas Grimes and Elizabeth Cadle. See note below.
Thomas and his first wife, Catherine, had four children: Charles Robert, b. 1821; John Thomas, b. 1824; James Henry, b. 1826; and Jeremiah Tobias, b. 1827. After Catherine died in 1832, Thomas married Elizabeth Cadle (or Kadle). This second marriage produced at least two children: Richard Franklin, b. 1835, and George Daniel, b. 1841.
It was Richard Franklin who assumed responsibilities in the store and on the farm as Thomas's health declined in the 1860s and who took over running the family businesses after Thomas's death in 1864. By the time of Thomas's death, the older children no longer lived in the area. Charles and James, along with their families, both moved to Virginia in 1850, and as of 1852 John was in Baltimore. In 1856, Jeremiah moved as well, to "Mr. Baden's place."
A Grimes family tree is available. NOTE: A genealogical researcher provided the following additional information from an 18th century family bible. Thomas' second wife's name was spelled Kadle or Cadle and there was at least one additional (to two listed above) child - Peter Gibson Grimes. Peter Gibson Grimes married Catherine Rachel Suit (as in Suitland, Maryland) sister of Samuel Taylor Suit, and had eight children: Ella Fancis, Samuel Taylor, Sallie Suit, Minnie Gibson, Hattie Louise, Frank Hume, Edith Marie and Mabel Catherine. Catherine Rachel Suit was the daughter of Fielder Wilson Suit, 1805-1870, married 1831 Catherine Margaret Scott, 1817-? Fielder Wilson Suit was the son of Oliver Burch Suit, born 1775, married 1794 Eleanor Wilson. Catherine Margaret Scott was the daughter of Samuel Scott and Elizabeth Free.
The collection has been divided into four series:
The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the Grimes Family papers from Charles Apfelbaum in 2002. An additional ledger (1844-1859) was received from the Talbot County Free Library in 2010.
The papers were separated by subject and then by type. Within each group, the documents were arranged chronologically. The ledgers from Series 1 were placed in oversize boxes. The entire collection was transferred to acid-free folders and housed in acid-free boxes.