Thomas Henry Grisham.As a representative member of the bar of Kansas and a citizen of Chase county, who for more than thirty years has been actively identified with its growth and development, Mr. Grisham merits distinctive recognition in this publication. He is especially fortified in his wide and comprehensive knowledge of the science of jurisprudence and he has attained to a noteworthy reputation in professional circles. He was born in Athens, McMinn county, Tennessee, Jan. 16, 1849, the son of John and Elizabeth (Wolf) Grisham. His ancestors, paternal and maternal, were among the early settlers of America and numbered among them are men who achieved distinction in the war of the Revolution and in the commercial era which followed. He is a direct descendant of Brig.-Gen. John Philip De Haas, who served under General Washington, and among his prized possessions is the rifle carried by John Grisham, his paternal great-grandfather in the battle of New Orleans. Charles Kinchelo, his maternal great-grandfather, was a soldier in the Continental line, who achieved honorable mention in the battle of King's Mountain. John Grisham and his wife, Elizabeth Wolf, were born in Washington county, Tennessee. He was a farmer and a successful one for his time. He became a man of property and influence in his section; served four years as a member of the Ninth Missouri cavalry and attained the rank of orderly sergeant. They were the parents of five children: Thomas Henry Grisham, the subject of this article; Joseph W. Grisham, an official of the state prison at Jefferson City, Mo.; Mary Elvira Grisham, who became the wife of Samuel McColloch of Saline county, Mo., and who died in 1881; and Robert Grisham, a farmer of Fort Stockton, Tex.
Thomas H. Grisham was reared on his father's farm in Cooper county, Missouri, and was given such education as the country schools of the time afforded. During the progress of the Civil war he became an advocate of the Union cause and, in September, 1864, when but fifteen years of age, enlisted at Boonville, Mo., as a private in Company C, Forty-fifth Missouri infantry, commanded by Col. Theodore A. Switzler. About Oct. 1, 1864, before the regiment was completely organized, those enlisted were ordered to Jefferson City, where they constructed rifle pits and other defenses. The city was shortly afterward attacked by the Confederates, under General Price, and Mr. Grisham's regiment composed a part of the defending force, losing twenty men in killed and wounded. Subsequently it formed a part of General Fisk's command and pursued Price up the Missouri. Following that it was ordered to Tennessee and became a part of the Fourth division, Twenty-third corps, assisting in the defeat and pursuit of General Hood. On Feb. 20, 1865, at St. Louis, Mo., Companies A, E, F and Ienlisted for six monthswere mustered out, and Companies C and D were transferred on March 6 to the Fiftieth Missouri infantry, which was ordered to Chicago and engaged in escorting Confederate prisoners to City Point and New Orleans for exchange. The regiment was mustered out at Benton barracks, St. Louis, Mo., July 4, 1865. Mr. Grisham returned to his father's farm and was engaged in its conduct until 1875, when he removed to Boonville, Mo., where he read law in the office of Judge Benjamin Tompkins and was admitted to the bar in that city in the fall of 1878. The following winter was given to choosing a location and in March, 1879, he came to Kansas and located for practice in Cottonwood Falls, the county seat of Chase county, of which city he has since been a resident. In his law practice Mr. Grisham has gained much prestige and success, having a representative clientage and appearing in connection with important litigations in both the state and Federal courts. He is an orator of no mean power and in argument is logical and convincing. He completed, in 1910, a twenty-five years' service as local attorney for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railway. He has been an active, aggressive and influential factor in the political life of the state and has been honored with public office, in which he served with credit and distinction. In his early life he was a Republican; was elected by his party, in 1880, to the office of county attorney and reëlected in 1882. In the campaign of 1884 he became a supporter of Grover Cleveland and a member of the Democratic party. As such he was elected mayor of Cottonwood Falls, in 1901; was reëlected three successive times and served for five years. He has been the Democratic candidate for Congressional honors, from the Fourth district, in three campaigns1900, 1902 and 1908and in the last named year nearly overcame the large Republican majority of the district. Since the campaign of 1884, in which he first became a state figure politically, Mr. Grisham has been recognized as an able speaker and the years have but added to his reputation. He is known as one of the most foreful[sic] men in either party as an orator, to which his audiences bear testimony. There is not a county in the state but what has heard him, either in the cause of his party or on questions of the day. He was appointed a member of the board of managers of the State Soldiers' Home by Governor Leedy and served as chairman of that body in 1897-98. Mr. Grisham has taken a deep interest in the affairs of the Grand Army of the Republic and is a member of Lincoln Post, No. 1, of Topeka. He attended, as a delegate, the national encampment at Salt Lake, Utah, in 1909; Atlantic City, N. J., 1910; and Rochester, N. Y., 1911. He was elected a member of the national council of administration in 1910 at Atlantic City and reëlected in 1911 at Rochester. He has been three times judge advocate-general of the department of Kansas. He has attained the Knight Templar and Scottish Rite degrees in Masonry and is affiliated with Isis Temple Shrine of Salina.
On Dec. 27, 1882, Mr. Grisham married Miss Sadie Park, the daughter of Joseph Prentice and Jane (Moody) Park. One of their few regrets is the absence of children in their home, which, in a way, has been lessened through their having educated four orphan girls who have developed into charming women. Mrs. Grisham is a woman of broad culture and refinement and has traveled extensively. She has literary attainments of high order and is one of the notable women of Kansas. She has been matron of Falls Chapter, No. 25, Order of the Eastern Star; president of the Fourth District Federation for two terms; president of the Equal Suffrage Association of Kansas, and was elected, in 1896, superintendent of schools of Chase county on the Democratic ticket, one term. She has traveled extensively in Europe and America.
Mr. Grisham is in all respects a high type of the conservative, unassuming American, diligent in his various duties and commercial affairs and conscientious in all things. He has realized a large and substantial success in his professional, commercial and social affairs and solely through his own well directed efforts. His methods have been clean, capable and honest and he possesses the confidence and esteem which comes only through honorable living.Pages 1321-1323 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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