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Archibald, Francis and John Grimke, brothers

Archibald, Francis and John Grimke are sons of Henry Grimke, slave-owner, and Nancy Weston, his children’s nurse, and one of his slaves. Henry was the brother of Sarah Moore Grimke and Angelina Grimke Weld. Henry’s wife, Selina (nee Simmons), died in 1843, and after that a relationship of affection developed between Henry and Nancy, despite the fact Henry never wavered in his support of the slavery system. He added a codicil to his will to the effect that he wanted Nancy and her “issue” to be placed in the care of his elder son by Selina – Montague. When Henry died in 1852, his plantation, Cane Acre, with all its effects, including slaves, apart from Nancy and her children, were sold. Nancy was found a small cottage in downtown Charleston. In 1860 Montague sent for her sons to become his house slaves with predictable results. Regular whippings for insubordination. Even visits to the workhouse. The War saved the sons. After the defeat of the Confederacy the boys went up north to continue their education. Both Archibald and Francis graduated from Lincoln University. Archibald went on to Harvard Law School and Francis to Princeton Theological Seminary. They were both involved in the equal rights movement. Archibald was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Francis was minister of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church in DC for 50 years. John didn’t finish his studies at Lincoln. He went back to Charleston to live with his mother. Then he ended up in Tampa Bay, Florida. He wrote from the Tampa Bay Hotel to Francis on the occasion of their mother’s death in DC in 1895. John clearly had financial difficulties and possibly also had health problems. He was never able to go up north. He died in 1915. Archibald in 1930 and Francis in 1937.

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