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Grier Family Papers, 1859-1938

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Identifier: A2933

Title: Grier Family Papers, 1859-1938


David Perkins Grier was born on December 26, 1836, in Danville, Pennsylvania, the son of John Cooper Grier (1808-1891) and Elizabeth Perkins Grier (1813-1892). In 1851, the family moved from Pennsylvania to Peoria, Illinois, where John C. Grier ran a grain business. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, D.P. Grier, then aged 24 and serving as a representative of his father’s business, assembled a company of his fellow Peoria men and attempted to enlist as infantry in the state of Illinois. Because Illinois’s quota of soldiers had already been reached, the company was turned down, and they crossed into Missouri instead. Grier was made Captain in Company G of the 8th Missouri Volunteer Infantry. The 8th Missouri fought in the campaigns of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Corinth, and Shiloh. Grier was recalled by Illinois Governor Richard Yates in September 1862, and then commissioned Colonel of the 77th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. The 77th Illinois fought in the battles of Chickasaw Bluff, Arkansas Post, Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion’s Hill, Big Black River, Vicksburg, Sabine Crossroads, Pleasant Hill, Fort Gaines, Fort Morgan, Mobile Bay, Spanish Fort, Blakely, and Mobile. During the battle of Fort Morgan in August 1864, Grier was given command of the Union land forces. On March 26, 1865, he was promoted to Brigadier General by brevet, and honorably mustered out on July 10, 1865. On September 17, 1863, while on furlough in Peoria, Grier married Anna McKinney, who had been born in Hopewell Township, Pennsylvania, on August 12, 1840. She was the daughter of Abraham Smith McKinney (1791-1862) and Margaret Reynolds McKinney (1801-1886), who had moved to Peoria from Shippensburg in 1856. Anna’s brother David McKinney (1829-1903) was a friend of D.P. Grier, and served with him as quartermaster in the 77th Illinois. D.P. and Anna had seven children: Smith McKinney “Mac” Grier (1866-1908); John Perkins Grier (1868-1939); William Reynolds “Will” Grier (1869-1951); Margret Grier Todd (1872-?); Robert Cooper Grier (1875-1940); David Perkins Grier, Jr. (1878-1947); and Annie McKinney Grier (1881-1940). After the war, D.P. Grier formed a grain business in Peoria with his brother, Robert Cooper Grier (1835-1912), under the name Grier and Company, which built the first grain elevator in Peoria. In 1879 Grier moved to St. Louis and established the Grier Brothers firm there; the rest of the family came to St. Louis in 1881. He attempted to corner the grain market but the firm collapsed, sweeping away the family fortune. Grier repeatedly attempted to recover his losses through the Grier Commission Company (1885-1889) and the D.P. Grier Grain Company (1890-1891). Grier was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), a Civil War Union veterans’ organization, and headed the G.A.R.’s Ransom Post in St. Louis. When the G.A.R.’s national encampment met in St. Louis in 1887, Grier was chairman of the executive committee and Grand Marshal of the parade. He died on April 21, 1891, after a year-long illness. Anna McKinney Grier remained in St. Louis after D.P. Grier’s death, although most of her children had by then moved away from the city. She was supported by her son John P. Grier, who had moved to New York and become a successful businessman. She died on December 30, 1918.

The collection consists of papers of David Perkins Grier and Anna McKinney Grier. The David Perkins Grier papers include Civil War military records, personal correspondence, photographs, newspapers and newspaper clippings, a scrapbook, and miscellaneous material. In addition to archival material, there are also elements of a G. A. R. uniform, a military sash, Civil War or G. A. R.-related medals and badges, a G. A. R. parade-marshal sash, a 34-star Union flag, and a regimental (?) flag.

9 boxes, 2 oversize folders, 1 volume

Cite as: Grier Family Papers, Missouri History Museum Archives, St. Louis.

Rights: UND

Place: United States

Dates: 1859-1938

Type(s): Documentary Artifacts


Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865
Armed Forces


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