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Fayette County, Iowa
Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910
Author: G. Blessin
B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
Vol. I, Biographical Sketches
MILTON W. GRIMES
The gentleman whose life story is herewith briefly set forth is a conspicuous example of one who has lived to good purpose and achieved a definite degree of success in the special sphere to which his talents and energies have been devoted. Milton W. Grimes, one of the substantial and highly honored citizens of Fayette county, has, through many decades, carried on farming, gradually improving his valuable place, and while he has prospered in this, he has also found ample opportunity to assist in the material development of the county and his co-operation has been of value to the general good. Especially has this been true of Union township, which has long been honored by his citizenship. He is a native of the good old Hoosier state, his birth having occurred in Ripley county, Indiana, August 8, 1848. He is a descendant of an excellent Irish family. The first representative of the family, James Grimes, who was born in Ireland, came to America, penetrated the wilderness to Kentucky and was a pioneer in that state, becoming well known during the days of its early history. John, the subject’s grandfather, was born in Kentucky, married Mary McDonald, a relative of Joseph McDonald of Indiana, and John Grimes and wife and one child moved to the last named state in 1817, locating in the woods, on a farm which Mr. Grimes developed, having spent his life as a farmer of the early Indiana days. He had the martial spirit, and served during the war of 1812 against the Indians in Kentucky. His death occurred on the old home place in 1877, at the advanced age of eighty years, which was the age of his wife when she joined him in the silent land three years later. He was a worker in the Democratic party and was a member of the Baptist church. He and his wife were the parents of nine children, one of whom, James, was the father of Milton W., of this review. He was born on the old homestead in Indiana, April 28, 1824, and he grew to maturity on the home place, where he learned farming, and, like most children of pioneers in that early day, his educational advantages were limited. He married Mary Hamilton in 1847. She was a native of Indiana, and in their native state they began their married life on a heavily timbered farm. They worked hard, economized and developed a fine farm and a good home. Seven children were born to them, named as follows: Milton W., of this review; George W., who moved to Union township, this county, where he purchased a farm; Theodore and Mary Elizabeth, who both died in Indiana; Emma married Frank Dunlap and is living near the old home farm; Gillett Bonner, a farmer of Union township, and Martha Ann, of Fayette county, Iowa. The father of these children was a devoted member of the Methodist church from early manhood throughout his career. Politically, he was a Democrat, and he was a highly respected citizen. His death occurred in Indiana, February 14, 1902, and in 1907 his widow moved to Iowa, where she remained until her death, September 23, 1908.
Milton W. Grimes, of this review, has devoted his life chiefly to general agricultural pursuits and he has been very successful, and is not interested in the banking business. He began working on the home farm when but a boy and he attended the neighboring schools during the winter months, acquiring a good education, notwithstanding his somewhat limited advantages, for he applied himself very carefully to his text books. He assisted in the hard task of clearing and improving four different farms, and he did not leave the old homestead to begin life for himself until he was twenty-three years old.
Mr. Grimes married Rebecca Green on March 16, 1871. She was born in Indiana December 24, 1848, and she was the representative of a fine old pioneer family. To this union ten children were born, of which number one died in early life; they are Lindsay A., who is farming on the home place; he married Carrie Jacobs, September 2, 1896, and she died November 3, 1899, and he was again married, his last wife being Emma Wegmiller, whom he espoused on February 28, 1906, and the last union resulted in the birth of one child, Thelma Opal, born October 15, 1908. James Grimes was married to Clara Jacobs, a sister of Carrie, October 20, 1907, and they have the following children: Paul and Laura, both deceased; Forest, Carol, Ruth E. and Howard E. He is a carpenter and resides at Roundup, Montana. Lizzie Grimes was married to E. H. Gillett, April 3, 1896, and they have these children: Stanley A., Edith Louise, Francis L., now deceased. They reside in West Union, Iowa, where he is pastor of the Baptist church. Edwin B. Grimes was married to Eliza R. Thompson, August 30, 1899, and they have the following children: Eva K., born July 6, 1900, died April 11, 1902; Riley, born November 1, 1901; Carrie Edith, born May 30, 1903, died April 30, 1904; Wilma M., born August 10, 1905; Lillian Irene, born July 4, 1908. Edwin B. Grimes is a farmer in Union township, this county. Katie Rebecca Grimes was married to Herman Rolfs, February 20, 1907, and they have one son, born May 2, 1909, named Archie. Mr. Rolfs is a farmer near Clermont, this county. Philmer Milton Grimes is still on the home place. Emma Frances is also a member of the home circle. Archie B., born February 15, 1892, is living at home, as is also George D., who was born on May 10, 1895. George, the fifth child born to Mr. and Mrs. M. W. Grimes, died when two years old, before the family moved from Indiana to Iowa.
After his marriage Mr. Grimes purchased a farm of one hundred and seven acres, which he successfully operated for six years, when, on account of failing health, he sold out and opened a drug store and general store, in Shelby township, of his native county, and for years he carried on a successful mercantile business; however, he finally returned to agricultural pursuits, which has been his chief life work. His uncle, J. B. Green, died in Fayette county, Iowa, and left him a valuable estate, consequently he came here in 1885 and took charge of the farm of five hundred acres, located in section 22, Union township, and from that time to the present this has been regarded as one of the choicest and most valuable farms in this township. Mr. Green was a very early settler of West Union, now Union township, and he earned the nucleus to a handsome fortune by operating threshing machines, which he owned. All old settlers remember “3 and 6,” Jim Green, the thresher. He was a bachelor of rather eccentric character, quiet and unassuming, strictly honest and upright in his dealings and liberal with his friends. He lived on his farm until his death. The farm in which he took such a pride has been carefully kept by Mr. Grimes, who has kept it well improved and the grounds about the old and picturesque dwelling very tasty. Mr. Grimes has been a good manager and has laid by an ample competence through careful business transactions and the exercise of sound judgment in the management of his place. He has had his fine residence remodeled and has erected a large and substantial barn, octagonal in shape, each side being twenty-four feet, thus making it one hundred and ninety-two feet around the building. Being a lover of good stock and an excellent judge of all kinds of livestock, Mr. Grimes has devoted considerable attention to this industry with excellent results
Politically, Mr. Grimes is a Democrat and has served for some time upon the local school board, and he and his wife are members of the Baptist church of West Union. He is a liberal contributor to the church and has not been sparing either of his time or means in furthering any measure which he deems of interest to the general public. Personally, he is affable, genial, kind and popular with the people of this community. By a life consistent in motive and because of his many fine qualities he has earned the sincere regard of all who know him, and his success and past usefulness bespeak for him continued service and advancement in the higher sphere of endeavor in the social, civic and industrial world.
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