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Grimes Family papers


Grimes Family papers
Grimes Family
Collection number:
2003-106, 2011-186
3.25 linear feet
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
State of Maryland and Historical Collections
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email:

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. 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.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


This collection is open for research.

Preferred citation:

Grimes Family papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.


This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

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.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Grimes family papers date from 1821 to 1902, with the bulk of the documents covering 1845 to1864. 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. 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.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

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.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by Sarah Heim, April 2003.

Processing note:

The papers were separated by subject and then by type. Within each group, the documents were arranged chronologically. The ledgers from Series I were placed in oversize boxes. The entire collection was transferred to acid-free folders and housed in acid-free boxes.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Henry Allen.

Arrangement of Collection

The collection has been divided into four series:

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Financial Records, 1809-1902 (56 items)

This series contains ledgers recording sales at the Grimes ordinary, along with receipts, invoices, and statements of account. A record of transactions at the Grimesville post office and notes made while totting up prices are also included. Arrangement is chronological.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Potomac Blue Plains Warehouse First Quality Tobacco, 1809-1818 series 1box 1folder 1
Receipts, invoices, and statements of account, 1840-1896 series 1box 1folder 2
Post Office book, 1846-1849 series 1box 1folder 3
Book labeled "Marketing continued", 1868-1871 series 1box 1folder 4
Rose Croft, Maryland account book, 1901-1902 series 1box 1folder 5
Ledgers (oversize), 1842-1844 series 1box 2folder 1
Ledgers (oversize), 1844-1859 series 1box 2folder 2
Ledgers (oversize), 1845-1848 series 1box 2folder 3
Ledgers (oversize), 1846-1864 series 1box 3folder 1
Ledgers (oversize), 1849-1852 series 1box 3folder 2
Ledgers (oversize), 1867-1882 series 1box 3folder 3

Series 2: Personal Records, 1811-1847 (7 items)

This series consists primarily of daybooks kept by Thomas Grimes, recording family and local events, work on the farm, and weather. Also in this series are a copybook used for handwriting practice and a handwritten arithmetic guide. The arrangement is chronological.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Addition of Wine Measure (arithmetic tables), c. 1811 series 2box 1folder 1
Copybook for handwriting practice, 1819 series 2box 1folder 2
Daybooks, 1828-1865 series 2box 1folder 3
Daybooks, 1828-1865 series 2box 1folder 4
Other, 1844-1847 series 2box 1folder 5

Series 3: Legal Records, 1831-1854 (38 items)

This series contains sales licenses for the ordinary, agreements about land and rents, indentures, and other documents. The arrangement is by type of record and then chronological within each type.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Agreements and Land Notes, 1837-1871 series 3box 1folder 6
Legal documents, 1831-1853 series 3box 1folder 7
Sales Licenses, 1842-1863 series 3box 1folder 8
Vodery family, indenture regarding land, 1854 series 3box 1folder 9

Series 4: Correspondence, 1837-1871 (60 items)

This series consists of correspondence from patrons of the Grimes ordinary to the proprietors, and correspondence about the Grimes family hiring slaves from other local families. The arrangement is chronological within each type of correspondence.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Hiring slaves, 1837-1863 series 4box 1folder 10
Notes requesting goods on account, 1848-1871 series 4box 1folder 11

Related Material

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Names (Added Entries)