Archive for Friday, June 18, 2010

Man curses Democrats from 120-year-old grave

June 18, 2010


— Nathaniel Grigsby died 120 years ago, but in a cemetery near Attica on the southern Kansas plains, the farmer still is cursing the Democratic Party from the grave.

History might have eventually forgotten Grigsby’s name and overlooked his tombstone as family ties became more distant, yet Grigsby may always be remembered for his famous parting words — an epitaph he made his family promise to engrave if they wanted their inheritance.

“Through this inscription I wish to enter my dying protest against what is called the Democratic party. I have watched it closely since the days of Jackson and know that all the misfortunes of our nation have come to it through this so called party. Therefore, beware of this party of treason.”

And, like he probably hoped when making his dying wish, his message still has influence.

Grigsby has received mentions from the likes of presidential hopeful Alf Landon to a young Sen. John Kennedy. His message is all over the Internet, and there is even a Facebook page for admirers.

“It’s a real kicker to find this gravestone — it’s one that is in the legendary state,” said Kansas Sampler Foundation Executive Director Marci Penner, who visited the site when making her Kansas Guidebook for Explorers.

Moreover, when she got to the plot just outside the tiny town of Attica, “it lived up to all expectations.”

Grigsby died April 16, 1890, at age 78, living his life as a staunch and vocal Republican, said great-great-granddaughter Kathy Dick, who still lives near Attica. There is even a story that has circulated through town that the farmer once got into a cane fight with another old-timer over political views.

Someone way back when, with a different outlook than Grigsby’s, even took a pickup truck and ran over the grave, Dick said.

“The stone’s very famous,” she said, but added her relative also had a rich history himself.

This photo found online shows the infamous tombstone of Nathaniel Grigsby, who is buried near Attica. The stone, which criticizes the Democratic party, even has a Facebook page for admirers.

This photo found online shows the infamous tombstone of Nathaniel Grigsby, who is buried near Attica. The stone, which criticizes the Democratic party, even has a Facebook page for admirers.

Lincoln’s friend

Born in 1811, Grigsby went to school in Indiana with Abraham Lincoln, whom he considered a dear friend, before Lincoln moved to Illinois.

It’s said he visited the White House, and he even wrote Lincoln in 1860 and received an appointment as Republican Precinct Committeeman. He placed Lincoln’s name on the 1860 ballot.

Dick said he stayed in contact with Lincoln. The family donated letters written to Grigsby by Lincoln to Lincoln’s boyhood home museum in Indiana.

“He invited him to his inauguration, and Lincoln gave him a cane,” she said, adding, “Lincoln warned him not to get into trouble over politics.”

According to his tombstone, his brother, Aaron Grigsby, married Lincoln’s oldest sister, Sarah. She died in childbirth.

Eventually, Grigsby and several of his sons enlisted in the Civil War, fighting in Company G of the 10th Indian Cavalry, and Grigsby earned the rank of second lieutenant.

He moved to Harper County in 1885, records show.

Family’s input

His final request was the chiseled words on his grave. An article in the May 15, 1898, New York Times reported that Grigsby stipulated in his will that his dying wish be carried out or his family would not inherit his property.

Family, however, made sure there was a disclaimer on the stone: “Put on in fulfillment of promise to Deceased.”

Grigsby’s great-great-granddaughter Dick spent 12 years mowing and caring for the cemetery in which her relatives are buried. Three years ago, she hired a company to restore Grigsby’s grave — damaged from the truck running over it and worn from the weather. The company also darkened the etchings.

But is she a Republican?

She laughed and said, “Most of my family is. And we don’t tell if we’re not.”


MacHeath 7 years, 11 months ago

The parties in those days, don't resemble the parties as they are today. So dems, don't get upset. You probably would have been a republican, in those days.

whats_going_on 7 years, 11 months ago

Thats what I was thinking. I don't know what date it was that they really "changed," but I was under the impression that the parties had flip-flopped at some point.

notajayhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

Hey, what the heck - merrill's endless spam will still be floating around cyberspace for the next thousand years proclaiming it's all Bush's fault.

Kirk Larson 7 years, 11 months ago

Interesting take on the party today: All its best members are dead.

This is kind of funny:

docdon 7 years, 3 months ago

MacHeath is 100% correct. The two political parties of 1855 have completely reversed places. My cousin Nathenial Grigsby, my great-great grandfather Pike Co. Illinois Judge Strother Grigsby and President Abraham Lincoln whose sister Sarah Lincoln married Aaron Grigsby, were all members of the Whig political party and helped to found the Republican Party in 1854. The southern Democrats of that date became the Dixie-Crats (Democrats) after Lincoln's election. The Southern Democrats then eventually switched to the Republican Party of today and hold the original Southern position of States Rights suporting slavery, and against a strong Federal government the support of Civil-Rights protection for minorities, etc. (Republican positions of today were (Southern) Democrat Party positions in 1860). My cousin Nathanial Grigsby, my great-great grandfather Judge Strother Grigsby and Abraham Lincoln who were all solid Whig and Republician Party members in 1854 - 1865, would be strong suporters of the Democratic Party if they lived today. Nathanial Grigsby's tombstone was accurate from his perspective in the Civil War Era, but it would have taken a 180 degree change today. Nathanial's rational has not changed but the party labels that people wear has. To truly understand Nathanial Grigsby's tombstone today, it would be necessary to replace the name Democrat Party with the name Republican Party ( Democrat Party of 1860 policies and positions are Republican Party policies and positions of today).

Dr. Don Grigsby, Ph.D

Grigsby59 6 years, 9 months ago

Dr. Grigsby, Your so correct. My name is Clarence William Grigsby Jr. I am from the Grigsby clan of Kansas City, Missouri, which migrated east out of Kansas. I am retired Air Force and now living in Altus, Oklahoma. I just came back from Missouri on vacation and stopped by the grave for a short visit on the way back to Oklahoma. My grandmother talked about Attica and said that one day we should go visit. Was too young to know anything back then. Don't know if I'm related in any way, grandmother is long gone since then and my father and I don't speak much since the parents divorce. My grandparents were Arthur and Elsie Grigsby, he was the sherrif of Jackson county, Belton, Missouri. I just think it's kinda neat that the Grigsby's had hard thoughts and spoke their minds, even back then.... Corky Grigsby, 20410 E. CR 1586 Altus, Oklahoma 1-580-301-0824

meeester 7 years, 2 months ago

No No No No No Libs today, Dems then and since then are the same. Grigsby was right.

from other site: It should be pointed out why this soldier expressed what so many others have thought.

To start with, the man whose face is on our $20 bill, Andrew Jackson, and who shaped the subsequent Democrat party, should be remembered as a ruthless villain who more than anything else, was a servant to hatred and revenge. While he indeed fought at the battle of New Orleans, he did so “side by side” with Indians he later “ethnically cleansed”, deporting them West across the Mississippi with much suffering and loss of life.

A passionate defender of slavery, a lower class slave holder, at one time owning as many as 300 slaves, that he worked very hard growing cotton, earning him considerable wealth; not the much easier life of domestic slaves, which was more typical among the slave owning upper classes.

Among his other hatreds, such as for the British, who he blamed for the death of his family, he also held great hatred of the upper classes, and preached populism to the working poor, that they should rise up against the wealthy and successful “corrupt aristocrats of the East.”

Eventually his ability to stir base passions in crowds earned him the nickname “King (of the) Mob”.

He deeply distrusted the idea of a federal bank, and so firmly believed in specie (gold and silver), that just on leaving office, with the stroke of the pen, he refused to renew the charter of the major national bank, and signed a “specie circular”, that all small banks had to back the currencies they issued with specie.

This wiped out the federal bank and hundreds of smaller banks, and thrust the US into the worst depression in its history until the Great Depression. The “Panic of 1837”.

So the “great populist” wiped out the savings of hundreds of thousands of Americans, without taking any of the blame for having done so.

Yes, a fitting founder of a party dedicated to racism and slavery, the punishment of the working classes for the benefit of the non-working classes, the destruction of the economy and prosperity, and bitter hatred of those who disagree with them.

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