1828: Joseph Grisham to John Nitchie

Joseph Grisham

This letter was written by Joseph Grisham (1789-1857), the son of John and Martha Grisham. “On July 13, 1813, he married Nancy Watt in Pendleton, South Carolina. He later became Postmaster of Pendleton and at various times served as sheriff and public surveyor. He operated a hotel and a bookstore and served as a captain in the South Carolina Militia. He later moved to High Falls, South Carolina and became the owner of thousands of acres of land. He owned many slaves and operated a store, saw mills, and grist mills. Joseph Grisham was strongly opposed to the use of alcohol. He formed a Chapter of the Temperance Union at High Falls and another one a few miles away. He named the second one “West Union” and it eventually became the town of West Union, South Carolina. His wife, Nancy, died on March 30, 1821. Before her death, according to family legend, she told Joseph that she wanted him to marry her good friend, Mary Love Steel, since she felt that Mary would make a good mother for her children. Joseph did marry Mary Love Steel on March 3, 1822. Near the present site of the High Falls County Park, he had built a commodious home and church but they are now under the waters of Lake Keowee.

“In 1835, Grisham was ordained a Baptist Minister and by that time had been promoted to Colonel in the South Carolina Militia. In 1837, Joseph and Nancy’s son, John Overton Grisham married Harriet T. Briggs. Their daughter Jane Briggs Grisham later married George Scarborough Leatherbury. Joseph and Mary’s daughter, Elizabeth, married Colonel Joseph E. Brown of Georgia in 1847. In 1849, Joseph Grisham sold almost twenty thousand acres of land in the Pickens District of South Carolina to a company that was promoting a settlement of German people in that state. This land was in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains and was so beautiful the Germans named it “Walhalla” or the “Garden of the Gods.” It is on part of this tract of land that the town of Walhalla is located today. Eventually, Joseph and Mary Grisham moved to Cherokee County, Georgia. There, he engaged in business with his brother, William. He owned a great deal of property, consisting in part of a large plantation, a toll bridge over the Etowah River, numerous slaves and a store, as well as other valuable assets. Grisham was kicked by a horse and badly injured, and died in Canton, Georgia on April 9, 1857. He and his second wife are buried in the churchyard of the Sixes Methodist Church, located about five miles from Canton.”

Grisham wrote the letter to John Nitchie (1784-1838) who became the agent and accountant of the American Bible Society in New York City in 1819.

Stampless Letter

Addressed to John Nitchie, Esquire, Gen’l Agent, A. B. S. [American Bible Society] Nassau Street, New York

Pendleton, South Carolina
8 March 1829

My Dear Friend,

Your very kind letter of the 8th ult. is to hand and I was astonished that you had not received any communication from me since May 1825. I have written you more than once since. It affords ,e great pleasure to hear from you, but for your press of business no doubt I should have troubled you much more frequent. Your favors are always a treat to me and I shall expect you when you have leisure to drop me a line.

Altho’ our Society is doing very little, it will I hope see better days. And altho’ many who were professed friends have turned back, we will still press on. I hope a steady supply of books will give us more life. Our clergyman takes us ___ ___ ___ & he is a var. to others active zeal.

I remain, my dear friend, your friend & obedient servant, — Joseph Grisham

P. S. Ship to Flemming, Ross & Co., Charleston, S. C.
Elias Bliss, Savannah, Georgia, care of Bowie & Co., Hamburg, S. C.


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