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Archival description
Biographical Files 1800- Box English
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Biographical information.
Thomas Fuller "Go West, Young Man" research paper draft, 2002

Grinnell, Josiah Bushnell (J.B.)

Grinnell, Iowa was founded in March 1854 by Josiah Bushnell Grinnell (1821-1891) who chose a site which surveys indicated would be the junction of two railroads. Grinnell was a minister, trustee and benefactor of Iowa College (later renamed Grinnell College), helped organize the Republican party in Iowa, was a Representative to the Iowa legislature and later to the U.S. House (1863), was active in agricultural development and railroad building. He and his wife, Julia Chapin, were both descended from old New England families; their daughter, Mary Grinnell Mears, may have assembled some of these papers.

Genealogical charts in this collection trace part of the Grinnell family from Pierre Grenelle, born about 1480 in France. A descendant, Matthew, born 1602, became a Protestant and moved to Newport, R.I., in 1630, beginning the American line of the family. Matthew’s son married a granddaughter of John and Priscilla Alden. Other charts trace various branches of the Chapin family from about 1576 to Mary Grinnell’s birth about 1857.

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