First Families of Virginia – The Grymes

The Grymes have a hazy beginning in Virginia. The consensus is that they came from Ightham, England through Reverend Charles Grymes, but there are other theories. Bishop Meade, a Grymes descendant himself, claimed that they came from Thomas Grymes, Lieutenant General in Oliver Cromwell’s army. Famed genealogist Louise Pecquet Du Bellet recounts the same theory in her monumental work. But evidence supporting the claim is lacking. Either way, we do know who the Grymes were by their second generation.

From that generation onward we know a fair amount about this prominent Middle Peninsula family. They owned much land, served in high offices, and married very well. But by the late 18th Century the Grymes wealth had been spread thin, either by poor financial management, or inheritances which moved holdings out of the family.

The name still carried some weight into the 19th Century, especially as Grymes women continued to marry very well for themselves. However, those marriages served to spread remaining Grymes wealth throughout Virginia, and eventually out of the Commonwealth, furthering their slow decline.

Today little is left other than what was once Grymes’ land or tombstones of their most well-known family members. But they were once a proud family, a family that could rightly boast of their position among Virginia’s elite.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:


SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Browne, John. The Story of Ravensworth: a History of the Ravensworth Landgrant in Fairfax County, Virginia. 2018.
  5. Bruce, Phillip Alexander. Social Life of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century: An Inquiry into the Origin of the Higher Planting Class. New York: JP Bell Company, 1927.
  6. Chowning, Carroll C. “Some Colonial Homes of Middlesex County.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 22, no. 2, 1942, pp. 144–160. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1925295.
  7. Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica Volume 3. London: John Bowyer Nichols and Son, 1836.
  8. Crozier, William Armstrong. Editor. Virginia Heraldica: Being a Registry of Virginia Gentry Entitled to Coat of Armor With Genealogical Notes of the Families. New York: The Genealogical Association, 1908.
  9. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  10. Evans, Emory G. A “Topping People”: The Rise and Decline of Virginia’s Old Political Elite, 1680-1790. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2009.
  11. Fischer, David Hackett. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a cultural history). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
  12. Freeman, Douglas Southall. George Washington: A Biography. New York: Charles Scribners, 1957. (Specifically Volume 1).
  13. Hayes, Laura Kelly Henderson. Wives of the Signers: Lucy Grymes Nelson. Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, 2020.
  14. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  15. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  16. McCartney, Martha W. Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers: A Biographical Dictionary, 1607-1635. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007.
  17. Meade, William. Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia. in Two Volumes. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1891.
  18. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  19. Pecquet du Bellet, Louise. Some Prominent Virginia Families, 4 Volumes. Lynchburg, VA:  J.P. Bell Company, 1907.
  20. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  21. Trueman, W. Cabell. The Critic Genealogies: Letter 42, The Grymes Family. Richmond, VA: 1889.
  22. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  23. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  24. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  25. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  26. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.
  27. Wright, Louis B. First Gentlemen of Virginia. Charlottesville, VA: Dominion Books, 1982.
  28. Jane Lucas DeGrummond. “Cayetana Susana Bosque Y Fanqui, ‘A Notable Woman.’” Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association, vol. 23, no. 3, 1982, pp. 277–294. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4232191.
  29. “Grymes of ‘Brandon’ &c.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 27, no. 2, 1919, pp. 184–187. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4243724.
  30. “Grymes of ‘Brandon’, &c (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 27, no. 3/4, 1919, pp. 403–413. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4243739.
  31. “The Grymes Family (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 28, no. 1, 1920, pp. 90–96. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4243758.
  32. “Grymes of Brandon Etc. (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 28, no. 2, 1920, pp. 187–192b. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4243769.
  33. “Grymes of Brandon, &c (Continued).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 28, no. 3, 1920, pp. 283–285. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4243781.
  34. “Grymes of Brandon, &c (Concluded).” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 28, no. 4, 1920, pp. 374–375. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4243794.

SPECIAL LINK:

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of the Grymes Family Crest.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on Apple Music, and “Ages” by The Hunts also available on Apple Music.