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Antietam, South Mountain 150th and family connection

This post was inspired by watching CSPAN's coverage of the 150th Battle Anniversary and, thereby, in remembrance of my earliest paternal great-grandfather, who first owned land on the western side of South Mountain; the scene of bloody fighting a little more than a century later - principally on September 17, 1862.

To begin with, I cite a recent book to summarize this crucial campaign, with regard to South Mountain, to the fate of the nation and its people, free and slave:

"Before Antietam: The Battle for South Mountain, John Michael Priest, White Mane Publishing Company, Incorporated, 2011, 433 pages
"Book description :
Civil War buffs and scholars quickly recognize the dates of September 16-18, 1862 as the period marking the bloodiest battle of the entire campaign--Antietam. But until now, the ten days prior to that event have remained in relative obscurity. In Before Antietem, John Michael Priest offers the first book-length, tactical exploration of the Maryland campaign and the Battles of South Mountain, describing the decisive events leading up to the famous battle and elevating them from mere footnote status to a matter of military record.
Chronicling Robert E. Lee's turnabout from defensive maneuvers to full scale Confederate invasion into Maryland, Priest demonstrates how this tactical change brought about a series of engagements near Sharpsburg, Maryland that came to be known as "The Battle of South Mountain" in which the Federal and Confederate forces struggled fiercely over Union territory. It was here that George B. McClellan, the new Northern commander, led his Army of the Potomac to its first victory over Lee in a furious action that produced one of the war's few successful bayonet charges. Written from the perspective of the front line combatants (and civilian observers), the book recounts the Confederate invasion and the Federal pursuit into Sharpsburg that set the stage for Antietam. From September 5-15, a total of twenty-five skirmishes and three pitched battles were fought.
Priest provides graphic descriptions of the terrible conditions surrounding these events and so thoroughly enters into the common soldier's viewpoint that military history quickly gives way to gritty realism. He vividly shows that, had Robert E. Lee not been bested at the gaps along South Mountain, there would have been no Antietam. Lee's decision to make a stand along Antietam Creek was a point of pride--he had never been "whipped" before and would not return to Virginia defeated. That decision was a fateful one, since the sparring and fighting drove him into an untenable position that became his downfall. Priest's revealing narrative establishes that, at this stage of the Civil War, the Federal cavalry was better equipped and just as well trained as the Confederate cavalry thereby settling a point of debate among historians.
Scholars and Civil War buffs alike will applaud the efforts of John Michael Priest in bringing us the means to view those devastating encounters from a true military perspective.?

South Mountain , MD Civil War

As for a narrative on the classic main battle of Antietam; I turn once again to the great Elmo! - ES Watson - 


Antietam or Sharpsburg - By Elmo Scott Watson
- Pueblo Indicator - Sep 18, 1937

printable pdfs at

Iron County Record 1937-09-16 "Antietam" or "Sharpsburg" [best]

Manti Messenger 1937-09-17 "Antietam" or "Sharpsburg"


Our family connection:

Andreas (Andrew) Grimm, 18 years old, sailed on the Harle in 1736 from Rotterdam, Holland via Cowes, landing in Philadelphia, PA on Sept. 1, 1736.  On the Harle, there were 156 men, 65 women, and 167 children.

I have seen the name spelled "Krim" on one Harle manifest, as well as "Crim," and it may be the spelling of the name Grim as Grimm occurred in later years but with some family members never changing. See lists at:

We have no data to determine if Andreas served as an indentured servant or worked for an older brother between 1736-1747 - when his first child (Andrew Jr.) may have been born. It is likely he spent time, however, in Bucks County, PA amongst his many Palatinate brethren. 

Andrew Grim served in the French and Indian War in 1758. His name appears on Captain John White's muster roll as Corp. Andrew Grim - 30 days. 

According to the Scharf's "History of Western Maryland," on page 984, the first land patent issued to Andrew Grim was "The French's Vineyard," on Dec 10, 1759 for 940 acres. [correction from 1752]  

The French's Vineyard was resurveyed for Andrew Grim September 29, 1761. No error was found in the survey but 890 contiguous acres were added. (Land Office at Annapolis, Maryland.) 

On page 985 of Scharf's History lists Andrew Grim with 510 acres from the resurvey of part of Park's Hall, on July 28, 1766. (Washington County Historical Society, Washington County, Maryland.)

History of western Maryland. Being a history of Frederick, Montgomery, Carroll, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett counties from the earliest period to the present day; including biographical sketches of their representative men (1882), Scharf, J. Thomas (John Thomas)


map of Andreas (Andrew) Grim's land - #192 - The French's Vineyard - Washington County, MD 


terrain and satellite views from Parks Hall north to general area estimated to encompass the "French's Vineyard" location, NE of Beaver and Black Rock Creeks

Andrew Grim had communion on April 8, 1762 at Antietam Furnace Lutheran Church in Frederick Co., MD and he was naturalized April 14, 1762.  (Info from Luther Grimm's book.) 

"On August 26, 1767, Samuel Rohrer purchased a 122.5 acre tract from Andrew Grim for 5 Pounds Sterling. It was adjacent to Samuel's Rohrersville property. The parcel was named Rohrer's Luck, and as part of the Resurvey on part of Park Hall.  Park Hall was the oldest of the original surveys in Washington County, occupying several thousand acres generally located between Rohrersville Road (Maryland Rt. 67) and South Mountain. The present day area is still known as Park Hall."
Deed recorded 1767, Liber L p. 35, Frederick County Courthouse, Frederick, MD. - from Michael L. Rohrer website

Andrew Grim was paid three pounds on Saturday, June 6, 1778, for supporting General Washington and the cause during the Revolutionary War.  Source: A letter to George Washington from Henry Laurens, Esg. 

On December 28, 1799, Andrew Grim Jr. bought from his father, Andrew Sr., for ? lbs. cash a part of Parks Hall, and a part of Strife. On October 24, 1809, he sold a grant of land called Mt. Atlas, which was a part of Strife, to Jacob Huffer, a tanner and farmer who was the father of Sarah Huffer, the wife of Rev. Joseph S. Grim." (Source: A Grim/Grimm family descendant) 

The below document, found today, provides references to Andrew Grimm Senior's Park Hall, Strife, and Vineyard purchases, as well as, revealed that Alexander Grim (born 1726), most probably his younger brother, was living nearby [Grim's Fancy, Grim's Delight purchases contiguous to area Mt Atlas]. This serendipitous find yielded not only this relationship, but a long sought for confirmation that Johann Daniel Grimm, of the Rheinland Pfalz, was his father!:

THE LAND TRACTS the Battlefield of South Mountain
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
The Battle of South Mountain, Md....... Next to Mt. Atlas. Wash. Co. near

Andreas died in 1801, leaving a wife, Margaret, five sons and four daughters...he left the following in his will for his youngest son, Peter, my 4th great-grandfather, as follows :

"...fifteen pounds hard money...Also, I will that Peter Grim have the old place that he lives on clear of rent for the term of two years after my decease, and after the two years is past all my lands to be sold to the highest bidder...Adam Keplinger and Peter Grim Executors" - Will probated May 2, 1801

Peter moved to Saltlick township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania sometime between 1803, when his rent free status ended, and 1807, when he first appeared on the Fayette County tax rolls. Brothers Andrew, Daniel, and Martin - with their wives and most of their younger children, migrated to Ohio;widow Margaret also went with these sons.  Only the John and Mary Fronk? Grimm family stayed en-mass in the Rohrersville, Washington County MD area.

A century later would witness the bloodiest battle of the Civil War commence in the mountain passes, on adjacent fields and along the banks of  bloody Antietam Creek.  Roughly a dozen direct male descendants of Peter's line (7 sons) are known to have served in that bloody war, including my 2nd great-grandfather Henry C. Grimm.  I would not be surprised to discover that at least one of the descendants of Andrew's 5 sons - who thereafter multiplied accordingly (avg 5 sons) - was there in uniform - see 

Roster of Civil War Soldiers from Washington County, Maryland, Revised Edition, Roger Keller, 1993, 1998. Softcover, 5-1/2x8-1/2, 249 pages, as new, compiled in alphabetical order.

and, including females, principally from John Grim's line, they were undoubtedly living nearby as civilians....and most I reckon were also: 

Too Afraid to Cry: Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign, by Kathleen A. Ernst, Stackpole Books, Mar 1, 2007 - 300 pages
"The battle at Antietam Creek, the bloodiest day of the American Civil War, left more than 23,000 men dead, wounded, or missing. Facing the aftermath were the men, women, and children living in the village of Sharpsburg and on surrounding farms. In Too Afraid to Cry, Kathleen Ernst recounts the dramatic experiences of these Maryland citizens--stories that have never been told--and also examines the complex political web holding together Unionists and Secessionists, many of whom lived under the same roofs in this divided countryside."

From Ernst's website:

"Historians identify the battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg), which unfolded on September 17, 1862, as “the bloodiest day in American History.” By best counts, more than 23,000 men were dead, wounded, or missing by nightfall. And left in the smoldering aftermath were the children, women, and men who made their homes in the village of Sharpsburg and on surrounding farms.

The military conflict that took place in western Maryland is a critical chapter in American history. But Civil War history is more than a schematic of armies and tactics. Considering the impact the Civil War had on Maryland, and conversely, Maryland had on the politics of both North and South, surprisingly little has been written about this divided state and her citizens. Too Afraid to Cry weaves together firsthand accounts and fast-paced narrative into a tapestry that accurately portrays the experiences of Unionist and secessionist citizens throughout the 1862 Maryland campaign.

In this crucible of western Maryland, the lines between soldier and civilian, friend and enemy, blurred as they never had before. Families and friendships were ripped apart by politics. Those who wanted only to be left alone were forced to face the reality of war on their very thresholds. Some fled immediately, scraping together what they could as refugees; those who remained often were rewarded with shattered businesses and homes.

The soldiers who participated in the 1862 campaign did so because they had chosen to march to war. The Maryland inhabitants who met them had not made that choice. Some rose to the challenge and demonstrated remarkable courage; others exhibited extraordinary foolishness or greed. Whatever their experiences may have been, their stories—told for the first time in Too Afraid to Cry—are no less important that those of the soldiers who marched through their cornfields, and are essential to a full understanding of the Civil War."

When the Civil War passed this way (blog):





Betsy Grove said...

I have also discovered very similar information my Aunt found in the Washington County MD Historical Society. My cousins and I are the 7th generation of Andrew Grimm. Interesting all of us are still living within an hour of the original French Vineyard " land grant.

Tanya said...

I am also a 7th generation descendant of Andrew Grimm. I am glad to find all this wonderful information on my family. One question I still have is if anyone has any knowledge of where Andrew Grimm was buried when he passed in 1801

Rick Smith said...

Andreas Grimm is my 5th Great Grandfather. According to my family genealogy research, this is what I have found:

Andrew Andreas Grimm Sr
BIRTH 16 JUL 1718 • Pfalz, Bayern, Germany
DEATH 2 MAY 1801 • Rohrersville, Washington, Maryland, United States