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Brief vignettes of Rev. I.M. (Pilgrim) Grimsley

A note: You probably already know that Rev. Grimsley was the father of Rucker Ples, grandfather of Ples T., and great-grandfather of Charles Grimsley, present day Columbia City Councilman and businessman and great father-in-law of Adair County Deputy Judge Executive Holly Grimsley.
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By Jim

Rev. Isaac Meredith Grimsley, who generally went by I.M .and occasionally by the nickname Pilgrim, was a native of Overton County, Tennessee who removed from Green County (Ky.) to the Sano area in the very early years of the 20th century. His fame as a music teacher quickly grew and his name occasionally appeared in the News in connection with that. One correspondent provided a good glimpse in the McGaha newsletter published in the December 1, 1909 edition:

"Rev. IM Grimsley is teaching an interesting singing school at Oak Grove church. The people are so well satisfied with his instructions they employed him the second term. He is the best instructor that has visited us. He has won the respect of the community. They paid him more than they promised and gave him the best order that has been given to any one at that place for some time. We expect great benefits from the school."

About three and a half years later, the McGaha correspondent in April 1913 again mentioned Rev. Grimsley, this time relating a humorous story about a marriage ceremony that almost wasn't:

"A large crowd gathered at the old log church at the mouth of Butler Fork last Sunday to see Mr. M. Powell and Miss Banne Wilson united in matrimony. The intended bride and groom came. With anxiety they waited for Rev. IM Grimsley to arrive and perform the ceremony. But alas he was at Sparksville teaching a singing school. He engaged a horse to ride--so he started, but when he came to the forks of the road the horse wanted to go one road and the rider the other. After worrying some time, and gaining no ground, he sent the horse back and took it a-foot to Mr. D.M. Moore's where he procured a horse to ride. "He arrived just as the people announced that they would meet again at night and get the services of another minister, but the arrival of IM Grimsley saved them of the trouble. "After the ceremony was performed they sang a song and the throng congratulated the couple, and were dismissed. As the couple departed many good wishes followed them."

That same year (1913), a contingent of Adair Countians boomed this mutli-talented man for County Surveyor. Said the Sparksville correspondent in the spring of that year, "The friends of Rev. IM Grimsley are anxious for him to make the race for County Surveyor. If he can survey like he can teach he would make a good one."

"Pilgrim" had made an unsuccessful bid for the Surveyor's office four years earlier in the oddball election of 1909 but lost by a wide margin to Republican E.G. Hardwick.

Between his singing schools, his preaching, and his surveying, Rev. IM Grimsley became one of the best known and most loved men in southcentral Kentucky and northern Tennessee. (He was known to travel shank's mare to the Volunteer State to teach music.)

When Rev. Isaac Meredith Grimsley passed in late 1946, well into this 86th year, the Russell County News spoke words of high praise for this good man:

"Mr. Grimsley had lived rich, full Christian life, and had won and held the esteem and affection of all who knew him, in this and surrounding counties. He will be sadly missed...by literally hundreds and hundreds of men and women who were proud to call him a friend."


This story was posted on 2015-06-15 07:53:50
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