Matagorda County Historical Marker Narrative

Grimes Family Cemetery Page

 


GRIMES FAMILY CEMETERY

By Robert M. Davant

The Grimes cemetery was established when Richard’s infant grandson was buried there in 1856. Richard Grimes was born in the village of Stepney, later re-named Rocky Hill, an inland port and shipyard on the Connecticut River near Hartford in 1789. At age 10, he “went to sea” as was the custom of young boys seeking a seafaring career. In 1837 Grimes, by this time known as Captain Dick, came to Texas at the helm of his own Brig, “The Driver.” Captain Grimes settled first at Palacios Point on Matagorda Bay and continued in the shipping trade until 1843 when his interest turned towards the cattle business. When his son William Bradford Grimes came of age, they established there a cattle ranch headquarters to become known as the “WBG” ranch and began branding and shipping cattle. Because of its early start, the Grimes ranch provided employment for cowboys who later became famous in their own right such as the author Charles Siringo and the legendary Shanghai Pierce. Able Head Pierce (Shanghai) came to Texas from Little Compton, Rhode Island and area near the Connecticut home of Captain Grimes. When Shanghai came to Texas in 1853, it was Grimes who gave him his first job on the WBG ranch.

In the 1850s, Grimes and his son Bradford managed cattle drives from Texas to the New Orleans market. After the Civil War then came the era of the great trail drives to Kansas, During that time Grimes assembled and trailed cattle every year to Abilene, Wichita, and Dodge City.  These annual drives were continuous from 1869 through 1880 and are well documented in the history of cattle drives. Tom Poole, Jr. continued actively ranching until his death in 1969.

It has been estimated that 25,000 to 35,000 men trailed six to ten million head of cattle and a million horses northward from Texas to Kansas and other distant markets between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the 20th century.

The first burial there was in 1856. The next was Captain Grimes who died April 11, 1858; followed by Fredrick 1859, Richard 1862, and George 1873. On August 29, 1876, William Bradford Grimes’ wife Maria died giving birth to twins. One of the infants, Nellie, died and was buried in the cemetery with her mother; the other twin, Louise R. Darling survived and was buried beside her mother in 1970.

Following the death of his wife in 1879, William Bradford Grimes moved with his children to Kansas City, Missouri. There he entered the banking and real estate business and became a successful businessman and the first president of the Kansas City Commercial Club, late named the Chamber of Commerce. He died in Kansas in 1904.

William’s eldest daughter, Fannie Louise, married Thomas Jefferson Poole in 1881. As a wedding present, William gave the WBG ranch home and 2000 acres surrounding it to Fannie Louise, since his younger children were being raised in Kansas City. Fannie Louise died on the ranch at age 28 and is also buried in the Grimes family cemetery. Her son, Thomas Jefferson Poole, Jr., when he was still in his teens, took over management of the ranch and at 19, married Jessie Lea Logan, and continued ranching on the WBG on Tres Palacios until 1906, when the ranch was sold.

Jessie Logan Poole, grew up on the John L. Logan ranch, west of the WGB; Tom and Jessie were married in 1904 and lived here in the WBG homestead, headquarters to the ranching operation. They continued living there until 1906 when they moved to the 10,000 acre Kilbride ranch, Northeast of the town of Matagorda; and, in 1916, Tom Poole, Jr., in partnership with his father, added a 15,000 acre ranch in the Southwest corner of Brazoria County. Tom Poole, Jr. continued in the cattle business in Matagorda and Brazoria Counties until his death in 1969. Every spring, from 1926 to 1957, Tom Poole, Jr. shipped train-loads of steers from Texas to Kansas where they were fattened on summer range and sent to market each fall.

Tom Poole, Jr. was a Director of the Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association for more than twenty years and in 1961, T. J. Poole, Jr. received an award for being an outstanding cattleman and civic leader in Matagorda County, Texas. Upon his death, Tom Poole Jr. was also honored by a proclamation of the Texas State Legislature.

Thomas Jefferson Poole, Jr. died n 1969 and his wife, Jessie Logan Poole died in 1971; they are both buried in the Grimes cemetery on their original homestead. 

The dedication of the Texas Historical Marker for the Grimes Cemetery was held December 4, 2008. The cemetery is located off of FM 2853, Blessing, Texas, on the west bank of the Tres Palacios River.

 

GRIMES CEMETERY

 

            CATTLEMAN RICHARD GRIMES (1789-1858) ESTABLISHED THIS FAMILY CEMETERY IN 1856 WHEN HIS INFANT GRANDSON DIED. GRIMES WAS BORN IN ROCKY HILL, CONNECTICUT, AND FROM A YOUNG AGE HE PURSUED A SEAFARING CAREER. IN 1837, CAPTAIN GRIMES CAME TO TEXAS IN HIS BRIG, THE DRIVER, AND SETTLED AT PALACIOS POINT ON MATAGORDA BAY WHERE HE CONTINUED IN THE SHIPPING TRADE. IN 1843 HE ENTERED THE CATTLE BUSINESS WITH HIS SON WILLIAM BRADFORD GRIMES (1825-1904), AND THEY ESTABLISHED THE WBG RANCH HERE. THIS EARLY TEXAS RANCH EMPLOYED A NUMBER OF COWBOYS WHO WOULD LATER BECOME WELL KNOWN, INCLUDING CHARLES ANGELO SIRINGO AND ABEL HEAD (SHANGHAI) PIERCE. AFTER THE CIVIL WAR, SEVERAL MAJOR CATTLE DRIVES TO DODGE CITY AND ABILENE, KANSAS STARTED FROM THIS RANCH, CONTINUING ANNUALLY THROUGH THE 1870s.

            AFTER CAPTAIN GRIMES DIED, WILLIAM CONTINUED TO RANCH HERE UNTIL HIS WIFE’S DEATH IN 1876, WHEN HE MOVED TO KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI. THERE HE BECAME A SUCCESSFUL FINANCIER, BANKER AND BUSINESSMAN. IN 1881, HE GAVE THE WBG RANCH TO HIS ELDEST DAUGHTER, FANNIE LOUISE (1860-1888), UPON HER MARRIAGE TO THOMAS JEFFERSON POOLE. HER SON, THOMAS JEFFERSON POOLE, JR. (1883-1969), INHERITED THE RANCH FROM HER AND CONTINUED RANCHING UNTIL HIS DEATH. HE WAS A DIRECTOR OF THE TEXAS SOUTHWESTERN CATTLE RAISERS ASSOCIATION FOR MANY YEARS, AND UPON HIS DEATH, POOLE WAS HONORED BY THE TEXAS STATE LEGISLATURE FOR HIS ACHIEVEMENTS AS A CATTLEMAN. TODAY, THIS BURIAL GROUND CONTINUES TO BE AN ACTIVE CEMETERY.

HISTORIC TEXAS CEMETERY  2007

MARKER IS PROPERTY OF THE STATE OF TEXAS

 

 

Copyright 2009 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

This page was created
Feb. 23, 2009
This page was updated
Feb. 23, 2009
   

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