Allen M. Grimes migrated to Monroe County, Alabama circa 1830

Published 2:33 am Saturday, September 1, 2018

Although this Grimes family was featured in this column several years earlier, today’s writing will be a more in-depth coverage of the family. The family members are descendants of George Benjamin Grimes, a native of Fairfax, Va. He was born there circa 1720 and lived until 1797, the year he died in Wake, N.C. He was married to Winnie, but her surname was not found.

George and Winnie Grimes were the parents of several children. While there are variations in the listings, the following were found: Felix, b. 1749; William, b. 1750, d. 1821, m. 1781 Beady ?; Jacob, b. 1753, d. 1825; Thomas, b. 1760, m. Harriett Pauline Rogers; and Samuel Dawson, b. ca 1765, d. 1857, m. 1788 Dorcass Wall (1765-1850). Most if not all the children were born in Martin County, N.C.

Samuel Dawson Grimes is the line to be reviewed in today’s writing. He and his family migrated circa 1830 from Greene County, Ga., to Pike County, Ala. They settled in the Springhill community outside of Troy, and Dawson is acknowledged as a founder of the town. Records suggest he was earlier a member of a survey crew in Alabama. which had originally been a part of the Mississippi Territory. During that work experience, he probably came to like the looks of the land in the area and later chose to locate there.

Dawson and Dorcass Grimes were the parents of the following children: Sarah, b. ca 1789; Thomas, b. ca 1790, m. Elizabeth West; Willis, b. ca 1790, d. 1870, m. Lucretia ?; Mary Ann, b. 1794, d. 1865; Allen Monroe, b. 1795, d. 1883, m. Margaret Elizabeth Barnes (1800-1875); John Grancil, b. 1800, d. 1870, m. 1825 Naomie Sawyer; Elizabeth, b. ca 1813, m. Thomas Grimes; and Mary Lucy, b. ca 1813.

The son, Allen Monroe Grimes, is the line to be followed in this story. Allen was born in 1795 in Georgia, and he lived a long life of 87 years before dying in 1883 in Monroe County, Ala. Allen moved his rather young family Georgia to Alabama along with his father. He and Margaret were married circa 1819 in Greene County, Ga., before the migration. When the family arrived in Pike County, Ala., Allen moved his family farther west to the Peterman community in Monroe County, which is located about six miles northeast of Monroeville. Allen became active in his home area and served on several county committees. When their son, James Dawson Grimes, was killed during the War Between the States in 1864, they took in his widow, Margaret (Andrews) Grimes, and their children to help provide for them. Margaret and the children remained there until they moved with her daughter, Mary, and husband, Henry Chavers, to Covington County.

Allen Monroe and Margaret Grimes were the parents of the following children: Mary Jane, b. 1820, d. 1889; Eliza, b. 1821, d. 1855; William Jefferson, b. 1827, d. 1894; Monroe, b. ca 1827, d. 1909; Celia, b. 1828, d. 1860; Avarilla, b. 1829; Daniel Marvin, b. 1832, d. 1906; Catherine Dorcas, b. 1833, d. 1912; Elizabeth, b. 1835; James Dawson, b. 1837, d. 1864, m. Margaret Andrews; Allen, b. 1841, d. 1913, m. 1860 Mary A. Fore; Caleb Lindsey, b. 1842, d. 1926; Niles William, b. 1847; James, b. 1849; and Calie, b. 1851. Different family trees show variations in the number of children. The older ones were born in Georgia, but the younger ones were born in Monroe County, Ala. Allen and Margaret were buried in the Grimes Cemetery in Monroe County.

The son, James Dawson Grimes, will be representing the next generation. He was born in 1837 and then married in 1859 to Margaret Andrews, daughter of George Russ Andrews and Ann Rogers. Margaret was born in 1837 in Wilcox County, Ala., and died in 1929 in Andalusia. A few years after the marriage, James Dawson enlisted for service in the Confederate Army on April 26, 1862. He was assigned to Company C, 42nd Alabama Infantry Regiment. He was captured at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, but was paroled on July 10. Tragically, he was later imprisoned it is believed in Delaware where he died in 1864. He was apparently buried in that vicinity.

James Dawson and Margaret Grimes were the parents of the following three children: Mary Catherine, b. ca 1862, d. 1950, m. Henry T. Chavers (1858-1925); George Dawson, b. 1864, d. 1902, m. (1) ? (2) Rachael Blackwell (1869-1939); and James Allen “Jesse,” b. 1865, d. 1946, m. 1887 Mary JoHanna Jay (1868-1955). The widow Margaret Grimes died in 1929 and was buried in the Adellum Baptist Church Cemetery near Andalusia.

The oldest child, Mary Catherine Grimes, was married in 1879 to Henry T. Chavers, son of John and Nancy Chavers. They were the parents of the following children: James T., b. 1880; Sam, b. 1882; Maggie, b. 1884, m. Arch Austin; Henry Allen, b. 1892; Rubble B. “Rub,” b. 1895; Elba Catherine, b. 1897, m. ? Lawson; Robert Lafayette, b. 1899, d. 1942; and Betty Mae, b. 1901, d. 1985.

The oldest son, George Dawson Grimes, was married twice, but the name of his first wife was not found. He was then married to Rachael Blackwell with whom he had the following children: Lucy, b. 1896; Georgianna, b. 1898; Richard Pierce, b. 1900, d. 1944; and Lena, b. 1903. George, Rachael and all the children were buried in the Crary Memorial Cemetery at Pleasant Hill, Bluff Springs, Escambia County, Fla.

The youngest child, James Allen Grimes, was born in 1864 in Wilcox County, Ala. He was married there in 1887 to Mary JoHanna Jay (1868-1955), daughter of William and Rachael Susannah Jay. During the late 1800s, the couple moved their family to Covington County where they lived out their lives, and at their deaths, they were buried in the Adellum Baptist Church Cemetery. They were the parents of the following children: Susanna, b. 1888, d. 1987; William Orby “Dandy,” b. 1891, d. 1981, m. Laura Isabella Fuqua (1896-1997); Ima Henry, b. 1894, d. 1952; Bonnie Lee, b. 1906, d. 1957; and two still-born infants.

There is more genealogy available on this Grimes family line, and a further look at it will be researched for next week’s column. In particular, the family and lineage of Laura Elizabeth (Grimes) Watson Wise, daughter of William Orby Grimes, will be reviewed in association with the celebration of her 90th birthday, on Sunday, September 2.

Sources for this story were and the family records of Linda (Grimes) Davis assistant librarian/genealogist at the Andalusia Public Library. Anyone who might find an error in the above genealogy is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email:


All descendants of Orby and Laura (Fuqua) Grimes are invited to attend the celebration of the 90th birthday of Elizabeth (Grimes) Watson Wise, their daughter of Andalusia. The festivities are scheduled from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 2, in the fellowship hall of the Adellum Baptist Church, located on Brooklyn Road. Friends as well as relatives are encouraged to attend.


The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 6, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Guests and prospective members are urged to attend.