JAMES SHELBY GRISHAM, sheriff of Colbert county, and one of the well known citizens of the county, was born October 20, 1839, near Good Springs station, fourteen miles south of Tuscumbia on the Birmingham, Sheffield & Tennessee River railroad. The family to which he belongs is one of the oldest and best known families in the county. Sheriff Grisham’s father, William Grisham, was born in May, 1808, near Spartanburg, S. C., and was the son of Thomas Grisham, who was a native of North Carolina. The father of Thomas Grisham, James Grisham, was a Revolutionary soldier. Thomas Grisham, our subject’s grandfather, at his death bore marks upon his body caused by being whipped by British soldiers for refusing to tell where his father kept his guns. During the war he carried the mail a portion of the time, and passed Guilford’s courthouse the next day after the battle at that place. In December, 1824, Thomas Grisham left South Carolina for Alabama, arriving in the state in January, 1825, and locating on a farm near where sheriff Grisham was born. He was among the first settlers in that part of the state. Thomas Grisham died before the commencement of the late war. William Grisham was married, in 1832, to Miss Mary D. Smith, who was a native of Buckingham county, Va., but whose father, when she was three years old, moved his family to Wilson county, Tenn., and settled near Statesville. William Grisham died in 1879, and his widow in 1882, leaving three children. James Shelby Grisham was reared in the vicinity of his birth place, and secured his early education in the country schools. In February, 1861, he removed from Colbert county to Arkansas, and in the following June enlisted in Company I, Fifth Arkansas Infantry. From the fall of 1861 until the close of the war he served with the army of the Tennessee. there were five of the brothers in the service, one of whom was killed, another died during the war, and still another died after the war from the effects of exposure during the war. After the close of the war James Shelby Grisham returned to his home in Colbert county, where he engaged in farming until his election to office. In 1888 he was the candidate on the democratic ticket for sheriff of Colbert county, but with the majority of the ticket was defeated. In 1892 he was again nominated and won after a hard fight by a majority of 543, the largest majority of any man on the ticket. He took possession of the office August 22, 1892. He was married December 20, 1866, to Miss Elizabeth C. Hurst, who was born near where Mr. Grisham was born. She is the daughter of John Hurst. To this marriage have been born four children: Eliza, Mary Caroline, Arthur and William H. Mr. Grisham is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and a very popular and highly respected citizen.

[SOURCE: Memorial Record of Alabama. A concise account of the state’s political, military professional and Industrial progress, together with the personal memoirs of many of its people. In Two Volumes. Illustrated. Brant & Fuller, Madison, Wis., 1893. Volume I. pp. 693 - 4.]

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