Other branches of our family tree



Matthew Grinnell (abt. 1590-1642)

Rose French (1605-1672)

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Grinnell family histories have built upon early work that claimed that American Grinnell lines were connected to French nobility.

This may have been due to the temptation to read coincidence as fact. As is the case with other surnames, the late Victorian period in America saw the emergence of newly created families of wealth with their preoccupation of seeking family links to European royalty. The consequence of this was that in genealogical research questionable data was often accepted as fact when it seemed to support that goal.

The American Grinnell family line may have carried such a burden with its reported connection to the Grenelle family, Lords of Pimont in Burgundy, France.

While the Grinnell family surname is now traced back to England, the progenitors could well have been French. The surname spelling, the time and the setting could have made it possible. The late sixteenth century was a period of religious unrest in France. Many became disillusioned with the ruling establishment, both civil and religious. The Catholic church and the bishopric were the power structure, reaching down to all levels of government. Thousands rebelled, forsaking the Catholic religion of their ancestors and becoming Protestants, or Huguenots as they were called in France. This act of heresy was vigorously prosecuted by the Catholic majority, ultimately causing the new Protestants to leave France for Holland and England, as many other Huguenots had done since the horrible massacres of the late sixteenth century.

So, was our Grinnell family a part of this? There is no proof.

Matthew Grinnell was born ca. 1590, probably in or near Colchester, Essex County, England. He is known to have married on 27 August 1615 "Rose ffrench" in St. Leonard's Church (Anglican) in Lexden, a short distance west of Colchester.

Matthew, Rose and their children came to America around 1631 or '32 following the birth of their son, Thomas. They arrived first in Massachusetts. Matthew was then about 40 years old.

Establishing a homestead was difficult enough, but life was compounded by religious strife in New England. This seeming contradiction requires explanation, for, after all, hadn't the Pilgrims fled to America seeking a place of "religious freedom?"

It is an undoubted fact that in those years Rhode Island was a haven for dissenters from the religious views of the day, especially those of Puritan Massachusetts. During these years, a small band of men, driven from Massachusetts by religious persecution and intolerance, had established a new colony on the island of Aquidnexk, later to become Rhode Island. The Rhode Island colony of Roger Williams and associates permitted "free thought," meaning the liberty of a person to choose not to affiliate himself with a religious congregation, and thus to escape the strict controls which, at that time the Puritans of Massachusetts exercised over all aspects of life. A free-thinker believed that a man's religion was nobody's business but his own. This was in sharp contrast to the Puritan view that everyman's religion was a vital community concern, and anyone not controlled by a religious congregation was a threat to the community. There was no special liberal denomination originating in Rhode Island. All the usual denominations of the day were represented there, all living in relative harmony, but the man who chose to have no religion at all was rare. As a result, the concept attracted persons of an independent turn of mind, often in politics as well as religion.

Landing first in the vicinity of Portsmouth, the majority of the settlers proceeded to the southwesterly part of the island, and there founded the tiny colony of Newport on the simple tenets of public rights to fishery and tolerance for doctrine. The small communities rapidly attracted newcomers, among whom was Matthew, who was "admitted" to the settlement of Newport as a freeman on 6 August 1638.

Clearing a homestead was not easy in Newport. The site was a thickly wooded swamp, with tall trees growing on the surrounding hills. These had to be cut away leaving a thick growth of underbrush. Indians were hired to help clear the land and burn the slash. In addition, much sand and gravel had to be laboriously hauled in to fill the swamp.

The life was hard, and Matthew died between 1638 and 1642, when he was about 50, leaving the widow and children. This is known, as Rose signed a prenuptial agreement with her second husband, Anthony Paine in 1643.

Matthew and Rose's children were:

   Rose Grinnel		bpt. 21 May 1616, St. Leonard's,
			Lexden.  No further record; she
			may have died young, or married
			early and remained in England.

   Matthew Grinnell	bpt. 18 July 1619, St. Leonard's,
			Lexden. Died young, buried 26
			May 1620.

   Mary Grinnell	bpt. 15 May 1622, St. Leonard's,
			London. She came to America with
			her parents, and married John

   Matthew Grinnell	born after 1620. Came to America
			with his parents, and married Mary
			(?); resided in East Greenwich RI.

   Thomas Grinnell	bpt. 30 Jan 1630 in St. Botolph's
			Church, Colchester. Came to America
			with parents but no further record.

   Daniel Grinnell	born ca. 1636, probably in MA; died
			1703. He married Mary Wodell.

Rose married (2nd) 10 November 1643 Anthony Paine, a widower with three children. Anthony died in 1649. Rose, widowed first at about 35 with four small children, was now widowed again at age 45 with seven children, and with only a tiny farm for sustenance. Within a year she married (3rd) James Weeden. All this is not surprising and not uncommon, considering the living difficulties at the time.


Daniel Grinnell (ca. 1636-1703)

Mary Wodell (1640-1702)

Daniel as a young man lived with his mother and step-father, who was a maltster. He learned the trade, and became a maltster as an adult. A maltster was a maker of malt, hence beer or ale.

In 1656, Daniel bought thirty acres of land in Portsmouth, and at a town meeting that year was received formally into the community. He continued to live in Portsmouth for more than twenty years.

He took an active interest in public affairs, serving on the petit and grand juries, and for several years was constable. The constable was an important man in those days, collecting taxes or "rates", acting in the capacity of trial justice and as conservator of the peace.

About 1679, Daniel left the island. He moved to the mainland settlement of Little Compton, to which had also come a number of settlers from the northeast, some of them descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims. Intermarriages soon took place between the newcomer families and the Rhode Island families.

Daniel and Mary both died in 1702-'03. Their known children were:

	Daniel Grinnell	   1664-1740	m. Lydia Pabodie
	Richard Grinnell   1669-1725	m. Patience Emery
	Jonathan Grinnell  1670-?	m. Rebecca Irish

Of these, Daniel married Lydia, the granddaughter of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, legendary characters of the Pilgrim saga. Our line, however, is through Richard.


Richard Grinnell (1669 - 1725)

Patience Emery (1682-1749)

Richard was born in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, as determined by his grave marker, which also notes that he died 1 July 1725 in his 56th years.

At about age 35 he married Patience Emery, daughter of James Emery and Elizabeth Washburne Emery on 25 May 1704, probably in Little Compton RI. She was a descendant of Anthony Emery, a 1635 settler of Kittery ME.

Richard and Patience spent the rest of their lives in Little Compton, Although he died rather young, he had accumulated a fair sized estate, which included two slaves.

Patience died 10 March 1749, aged about 67 years. She is presumably buried with Richard in the Commons at Little Compton, but there is no marker.

They had nine children:

   George Grinnell	1704-1768 m. Mercy Sanford.
			Family narrative follows this

   William Grinnell	b. 19 Mar 1707 in Little Compton;
			married Mary Sanford, sister of
			Mercy on 18 Sep 1726. They had
			seven children. William served in
			the American Revolution, and died
			in January 1778.

   Rebecca Grinnell	b. 15 Dec 1710 in Little Compton.
		        She married 4 May 1736 Roger
 		        White. Her death date is unknown.

   Elizabeth Grinnell	b. 21 May 1713 in Little Compton.
		        Apparently never married.

   Patience Grinnell	b. 24 Apr 1715 in Little Compton.
		        Married 30 Nov 1735 to John

   Richard Grinnell	b. 8 Mar 1717 in Little Compton.
		        Known as "Pirate Dick", Richard
 		        married first, Alice Church and
        		second, Comfort Bailey,daughter
                        of Richard and Sarah Billings and
                        widow of William Bailey. They
                        had twelve children. Richard also
                        served in the American Revolution.
                        He died 1 Mar 1789 in Little

   Ruth Grinnell	b. 3 April 1719 in Little Compton.
 		        She was married 19 Jan 1738 to
		        Oliver Paddock. She died 9 years
		        later in 1747.

   Daniel Grinnell	b. 20 April 1721 in Little Compton.
		        He married 11 Jan 1747 Grace
			Palmer, daughter of John Palmer
			and Elizabeth Church Palmer.
			They had nine children.

   Sarah Grinnell	b. 6 May 1723 in Little Compton.
			She married Thomas Woodman on
			11 Jan 1747.


George Grinnell (1704- 1768)

Mercy Sanford (1704-?)

George was born 25 Jan 1704, as recorded in the Little Compton Town Hall records.

Mercy Sanford, born 19 Jan 1704 was a daughter of John Sanford and Content Howland Sanford.

George and Mercy were married in Portsmouth RI. The Portsmouth Town Hall record reads in part that, George Grinnell and Mercy Sanford, both of Little Compton, -- came into the Town of Portsmouth and on the third day of the fifth month (Old style) 1726 and in the evening of said day were lawfully joyned together in marriage before me, signed by William Sanford, Justice. His relationship to Mercy is unknown.

George died in 1768, leaving a will drawn the 11th day in the 32nd year of our sovereign Lord, George the 2nd (i.e. 1758). The date of her death is unknown, as is the place of burial.

They had seven children:

   Lydia Grinnell	b. 7 Dec 1726. She married John

   Aaron Grinnell	b. 4 Jun 1728 in Little Compton.
			He married first, Elizabeth Peckham
			Coe on 4 Jun 1748, second, Margaret
			Taylor, and third in his old age,
			Lois Church on 3 April 1800. There
			were three children by Elizabeth
			and six by Margaret. Aaron died 18
			Sep 1804 in Jamestown RI.

   Jemina Grinnell and Kezia Grinnell
			Twins born 18 Jan 1730. Jemina
			married John Taylor on 3 Dec 1747,
			and Kezia married Job Cook on
			30 Sep 1755.

   Isaiah Grinnell	b. 24 Dec 1732 in Little Compton.
			He married 30 Jun 1757 in Newport
			RI Katherine Hill. She apparently
			died by 1759 since he married,
			second, Sarah Austin in that year.
			This family narrative follows.

   Eunice Grinnell	b. 2 Mar 1735 in Little Compton.
			No further record.

   Malachi Grinnel	b. 2 Jan 1737 in Little Compton. He
			married 10 May 1760 Lydia Coe. He
			is recorded as dying aboard a
			prison ship in 1789 during the
			Revolution. Malachi and Lydia had
			seven children.


Isaiah Grinnell (1732- ca. 1780)

(1) Katherine Hill
(2) Sarah Austin

Isaiah was born on 24 December 1732 in Little Compton RI. While he likely grew up there, a first marriage to Katherine Hill was recorded in Newport RI on 30 Jun 1757.

There was one child of this marriage:

   Mercy Grinnell	b. ca. 1758, probably in East
			Greenwich RI. She was married in
			1782 or '83 in Little Hoosick,
			Albany County NY to James Simpson.
			They lived in Edinburg, Saratoga
			County, NY and had six children.
			She died 10 May 1859 at age 100
			years and 8 months according to
			Simpson's pension records.

A second marriage in 1759 in West Greenwich would indicate that Isaiah had moved on. This union is recorded in the West Greenwich Town Hall records as, This may certifie that Isaiah Grinhold of East Greenwich and Sarah Austin of West Greenwich both of the County of Kent was Lawfully married in West Greenwich in year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty nine. Witness - Isaac Johnson, Just. of ye Peace.

Isaiah and Sarah moved to Jericho (now Hancock) in the western part of Massachusetts. At the time, this was an undeveloped frontier area which accounts for the fact none of the births of their five children are recorded.

From Jericho, Isaiah, as part of the local militia participated in answering an alarm in September 1777. This required a forced march due north some 70 miles to Pawlet VT, a gathering place for troops and supplies in the Revolutionary War. This effort halted the advance of British forces under General Burgoyne, and led to the surrender of the invading army the following month.

Sidenote: It is a fascinating twist of history which unknowingly placed two of our direct ancestors in the same military event -- Isaiah in the American militia, and Abraham Singer on the opposite side in the Tory militia. A detailed narrative of these events appears in the SINGER chapter of this family history.

Isaiah, however, was sent home before the final outcome was determined. He was by now nearly 45 years old, and the forced march may have been too much for him. His probable death date of 1780 suggests his health was broken by that forced march to Pawlet.

Sarah lived to be recorded in the first Federal Census of 1790. She was then living in the town of Providence in Saratoga County NY.

Their children were:

   Utsey Grinnell	was born in the early 1760s. Utsey
			may be a nickname for Betsey. She
			married Joseph Moore in 1784. There
			is no further record.

   Amos Grinnell	b. ca. 1764, probably in Jericho MA.
			He married about 1790, Desire
			(maiden name unknown). The first
			land deed in Amos' name is dated
			7 Feb 1792 for land in Sacandaga,
			Montgomery (now Fulton) County NY.
			He and Desire had four children.
			Desire died in the Sacandaga area
			20 Dec 1843. Amos died later,
			possibly in Wisconsin.

   Ann Grinnell		b. 176?. She married Daniel Rogers
			in 1787. They lived in Stillwater,
			Saratoga County NY. Rogers helped
			James and Mercy Grinnell Simpson
			with their pension applications.

   Isaiah Grinnell	born either 1771 or 1773, Isaiah
			married Jane Crane. This family is
			discussed next in this narrative.

   Elsie Grinnell	b. in 1777 in Jericho NY, Elsie
			married Stephen Crane, brother of
			Jane (above). It was a double
			wedding ceremony in 1793. Both
			families farmed and migrated
			together for many years.


Isaiah Grinnell (1771 - 1861)

Jane Crane (1777-1866)

Isaiah's tombstone declares his birth date to have been 1 October 1771. He was most likely born in Jericho MA, considering the dates his parents moved there from Rhode Island.

In 1793, in a double wedding in Edinburg, Saratoga County NY he married Jane Crane, daughter of Moses and Sarah (Peters) Crane . The other couple were respective siblings Elsie Grinnell and Stephen Crane.

The earliest land record for Isaiah is dated in the early 1790s in Saratoga County. Their two oldest sons were born there.

About 1799 the family moved to Augusta Township in Oneida County, living in or near Oriskany Falls NY. They moved again about 1808 to Pompey, Onondaga County, then to nearby Fabius Township, and finally about 1819 to Spafford in the same county. They resided in Spafford for more than 40 years.

Isaiah and Jane had twelve children:

   Ezra Grinnell	b. 14 April 1795 in Edinburg,
			Saratoga County NY. He married on
			18 Jan 1815 Lucretia Leonard in
  			Fabius, Onondaga County. In 1826
			they moved to Barre Township in
			Orleans County NY. They had eleven

   John Grinnell	b. 4 Dec 1796 in Edinburg. He
			married Praxanna Tinkham about
			1818. In 1821, they moved to Barre,
			Orleans County. In time, John later
			married, second Lucy Babcock, then
			third, Julia Abbott. John died in
			1887 at age 90 and is buried in the
			Trench Road Cemetery near East

   Betsey Grinnell	b. 18 Mar 1799. She married
			Alanson Tinkham 11 Jan 1821. They
			settled in Barre Twp., Orleans

   Chloe Grinnell	b. 17 Jun 1801 in Augusta Twp.,
			Oneida (now Oriskany) County. She
			married first, Relly Tinkham,
			brother of Alanson, on 15 Jan
			1820. They also lived in Barre.
			More on this family follows below.

   Major Grinnell	b. 18 Jul 1803 in Augusta Twp.,
	 		Oneida Cty, NY. In 1821, he
			migrated with his older brother,
			John to Barre Twp. in Orleans
			County NY. Major travelled to
	 		Spafford to marry Betsey Fisher on
			28 Jan 1825, and returned with her
			to Barre. He died 15 May 1869 and
			is buried in the Trench Road Cem.

   Amos Grinnell	b. 18 Feb 1805 in Augusta. He came
			to Barre with his brother Ezra in
			1826. He returned to Spafford to
			marry Rosemund Whaley on 1 Jan
			1827. They also lived in Barre.
			Amos died 19 Mar 1889.

   Anna Grinnell	b. 12 Jul 1807. She married 2 Jan
			1827 Weston Wetherbee, probably in
			Spafford. They lived in Barre.
			Anna died 28 Nov 1854.

   Eliza Grinnell	b. 26 Dec 1811. She married first,
			William Tyler and second, a Dr.
			Woodhull. She died in 1879,
			probably in Onondaga Cty.

   Seymour Grinnell	b. 8 Nov 1813 in Fabius. He
			marrid about 1838 Eliza Babcock.
			They lived in Spafford, eventually
			inheriting Isaiah's farm. He died
			24 Nov 1887.

   Sally Grinnell	All that is known about Sally is
			that she was born in 1816 and that
			she married Elisha Griffin.

   Ansel Grinnell	b. 30 Aug 1818 in Spafford. He
			married twice, first, to Asenath
			Bennett, and second, to Emeline
	 		Kinyon Monk.

   Jane Grinnell	b. 21 May 1821 in Spafford. She
			died the following year on 18 Nov


Chloe Grinnell (1801-1876)

(1) Relly Tinkham (?-1827)
(2) John Gale Jr. (1799-1852)

Chloe was born 17 Jun 1801 in Oriskany NY. She married in 1821 Relly Tinkham (brother of Alanson) in Onondaga County NY. Relly was a son of Daniel and Adah Tinkham.

They moved to Barre Twp, Orleans County NY and had two sons:

   Stephen Tinkham	There is no record except that he
			died in Michigan. The 1870 Census
			of Pokagon Twp. lists Stephen W.
			Tinkham, born NY, age 46 (1825);
			wife Jane and daughter 	Sarah C.

   Relly Tinkham Jr.	b. 5 Mar 1826. He married 1 Jan
			1848 Lucinda Allison. Relly was a
			Captain in the Civil War. They
			had two children.

Relly was killed by a falling tree 21 Nov 1827. He was 27 years old, and Chloe was 25.

Chloe then returned to Onondaga County, and on 21 Feb 1828, she married (2nd) John Gale Jr.

Their family consisted of four children, all born in Onondaga County NY, between the years 1830 and 1838.

    Theodore Gale	b. 21 Feb 1830. The 1880 Census
			of Dowagiac MI lists him as age 48
			keeping a hotel on Beeson Street.
			His wife was Effie, age 26.
			Theodore died 31 Aug 1898.

   Jane Gale		b. 1831. She married Hiram
			Patchin. The 1870 Census of
			Pokagon lists Hiram as 43 (b. ca.
			1827), carpenter. Jane is 38 with
			son Relly Patchin, age 6.

   John Wesley Gale	b. 20 Nov 1836. He married
	 		Roxanna ?, and died in Sumnerville,
			Pokagon Twp MI 6 Dec 1927. The
			Census lists him as a carpenter.

   Mary Gale		b. 29 Aug 1838. She married
			Andrew Jackson Kibler on 1 Jan
			1857. Mary died in Sumnerville 20
			Jun 1920, and Andrew 6 Feb 1908.

John died in Onondaga County in 1852 at age 53. Chloe was then 51 and the youngest child, Mary was 14 years old.

Sometime between 1852 and 1856, Chloe and her four children moved from New York to the small community of Sumnerville, near Dowagiac, Cass County, Michigan. The 1860 Census shows Chloe living with her daughter, Jane in Sumnerville MI.

Why or how this move came about is not known. She clearly had retained close ties with the Tinkham family, several of whom had found their way to Michigan. It seems most likely, then, that she either traveled with a Tinkham family or she left to live with a Tinkham family who was already living in Michigan. The Federal Census of Michigan for 1860, 1870 and 1880 list several Tinkham families in Sumnerville. These include Zenos Tinkham (born 1805), Oerry (born 1826), Relly (born 1835) and Stephen (born 1824).

In 1857, her daughter Mary, at age 18 married Andrew Jackson Kibler.

Chloe and all four of her children lived out their lives in Sumnerville and are buried in the Sumnerville Cemetery.

For further information on this family, see the GALE and KIBLER sections of this narrative.

Thank you for visiting our family history.

You can click here to go back to the top of this family page.

Or, Return to the Family Surname list.

Comments are welcome, and any additions or corrections are especially appreciated.

ink potYou can reach us at: geneals@earthlink.net

Updated 4-8-03

[Return to narrative]