The Grim line of my family tree has been one that has been difficult to untangle almost from the beginning. The search engines to sift through census records require a minimum of three letters to function. Grim is only four letters long and depending on accents, was evidently hard to spell. I have seen it spelled Green, Grein, Guin, Grimm, Grime and Glen in various census records. Even worse, the web is rampant with misinformation from people who have combined families, combined generations, etc. until what it out there is hard to believe. But this is what I do know for sure or at least think I do.
My Grim line starts with my fifth great grandfather Adam Grim who was born around the time of the Revolutionary War. I don't know who his parents were or where he was born but in 1824, he was in Beaver County, Pennsylvania and three years later he was in Mercer county, Pennsylvania just a stones throw from Lawrence county with his wife Mary where he died. Mary would die in 1871 at the ripe old age of 94. I know this only because one of his sons Balser Grim has short biographies written about him in a couple different books and this is what they have stated. Adam Grim had nine children and third oldest was Adam Jr., my 4th great grandfather. By the time the biography on Balser was published in 1888, both my Adam Grim ancestors were deceased.
Adam Jr. was born sometime between 1807 and 1812. I don't have better dates because in the 1850 census he is listed as being born around 1812 and in the 1880 census around 1807. In 1850, he and his wife Elizabeth are living in the Springfield township of Mercer county Pennsylvania with eight children including my third great grandfather John Grim. Despite lots of searching, I have been unable to locate him in the 1860 or 1870 census though I can find him at age 73 in the 1880 census living with his daughter Elizabeth named after her mother. I can find one reference on Adam Jr. in a book that lists him at a "good natured ne're do well, who like to play the fiddle and chop cordwood when the notion struck him, and brag about the bad things he could do. He moved to Lawrence County. Adam never had any home or land for he was too lazy and doless to be bothered with it." (Grim Family Tree, p.8)
On the web, people often confuse these two Adams and list him as just one Adam Grim born 1812 and died in 1844. Although the census lists Adam Grim Jr's wife as Elizabeth along with my 3rd great grandfather John listing his mother as Elizabeth, many sites lists his wife as Mary Rickle Ryhill. Again, I suspect they are confusing him with his father who was married to someone named Mary with a last name I haven't figured out yet. Finally, there is an Adam German born in Lehigh County clear on the other side of the state at about the same time so many people lump my Adam Grim in with the German family.
I can locate many of Adam Jr's kids in the 1860 and 1870 census. Those that didn't get married and whom I can positively locate in the census are always listed as servants in Mercer or Lawrence counties. I'm guessing Adam Jr's wife Elizabeth died leaving him with a large family to take care of and no income, and they split up. This theory is further reinforced by Adam's son Adam III who is living with older sister Elizabeth at age 11 in the 1860 census, the same sister who would take Adam Jr. in 20 years later. Whatever the case, the family disappeared as a family unit sometime after the 1850 census and went their separate ways, all but one that I can tell, staying in western Pennsylvania two county area. The one who left and my 3rd great grandfather John Grim, would show up in the 1870 census near the town of Morning Sun in Louisa county Iowa where a couple generations would live before migrating to the Davis county area not to far from where I grew up.