Biography of George H. Grimmell, M. D.

George H. Grimmell, M. D. One of the first graduates of medicine to set up in practice at Howard, Kansas, was Dr. George H. Grimmell, who rendered his first professional services in that section of Elk County thirty years ago. With the exception of about eight years spent at Onaga, Doctor Grimmell had been continuously in practice at Howard since 1898, and is accounted one of the most competent surgeons in that locality.

The first authentic records of his ancestry is found in the annals of the first crusade of 1096, A. D. There was a Sir John Von Grimmell, who was one of the enthusiastic Germans who joined as followers of the Cross in the endeavor to wrest Jerusalem from the hands of the Moslems. The line of descent from this crusader is traced directly to Dr. George H. Grimmell of Kansas. There is also a coat of arms in the family, and it is a reproduction of Baron Grimmell’s insignia as found in the year 1555. The coat consists of shield, quarterings, mantling, helmet, coronet and crest. Those versed in the science of heraldry can find in this coat of arms significant traces of the original Von Grimmell’s services as a crusader.

Doctor Grimmell gets his profession naturally, since for several generations the Grimmell family have produced capable medical practitioners. He is a grandson of Henry Charles Augustus Grimmell, who was born in the Kingdom of Hanover, Germany. He was given a liberal education and was learned in all the branches of science then included in the physician and surgeon’s arts. He practiced in Germany for some years, and in order to escape the compulsory military service of that country immigrated to America, spending many years in Virginia, but at the close of the Civil war coming North and locating at Des Moines, Iowa, where he died.

The Grimmell family resided for many years in the State of Virginia. Dr. George H. Grimmell himself was born in that state, at Round Hill, on August 20, 1855. His father was George Henry Grimmell, Sr., who was born in Virginia February 5, 1829, and is now living in his eighty-eighth year, at Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is still engaged in the practice of medicine, and is probably the oldest or certainly one of the oldest active members of the profession in America. His career throughout had been one of remarkable virility and service. He was reared and married in Virginia, and went abroad to complete his education, winning his degree Doctor of Medicine from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. For many years he practiced at Round Hill, Virginia, but in 1866 removed to Jefferson, Iowa, and gave more than thirty years of his professional service to that community. In 1908 he moved to Colorado Springs. During the Civil war he was assigned to duties as a surgeon, and had a Government appointment at Harpers Ferry. He is a democrat and a Knight Templar Mason.

Doctor Grimmell, Sr., married Annette McCall, who was born in Tennessee in 1833 and died at Jefferson, Iowa, July 3, 1872. The oldest of their children is Dr. George Henry Grimmell, Jr. Helen Eugenia married David McKelvey, who for many years was a jeweler but is now a retired capitalist living in New York State. Kate May married Adolph Renicker, who was a former United States vice consul at Omak, Siberia, but they now reside in Florida. Frances married Henry Decker, who for a number of years was superintendent of bridges for the Chicago Northwestern Railway Company and is now an independent contractor for the construction of heavy railroad bridges, living at Des Moines, Iowa. Augusta Josephine was given the degree M. D. by the Iowa State University, being one of the first women graduates in medicine in this country, and she is now the wife of Seldon Whitbeck, a civil engineer, their home being at Syracuse, New York.

Doctor Grimmell was eleven years of age when his parents moved to Iowa, and his literary education was completed in the Dunning Academy at Jefferson, from which he graduated A. B. in 1876. In the meantime he had begun the study of medicine under his father, and on February 13, 1877, he was awarded the degree M. D. by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Keokuk, Iowa. In 1896 he was given the second degree by the Bonds Medical College of St. Louis, Missouri. He had also taken post-graduate courses in the Chicago Polyclinic and the College of Physicians and Surgeons at New Orleans.

Doctor Grimmell began practice at Jefferson, Iowa, in 1877. In November, 1886, he sought a home in the new Town of Horton, Kansas, remained there four years, and in 1890 went to Onaga, where he was in practice until 1898. Since then he had conducted his general medical and surgical practice at Howard, Kansas, and more and more his time is taken up with his specialty as a general surgeon. He had a large surgical practice in the hospital at Moline, Kansas. His offices are in the Grimmell Building in Howard, a building which was erected by his means on Wabash Avenue. Among other interests Doctor Grimmell had a fine farm of 320 acres in Elk County.

His professional associations are with the County and State Medical societies and the American Medical Association, and for four years he served as health officer of Elk County. He is a democrat, is past master of Hope Lodge No. 155, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and is principal sojourner of Howard Chapter No. 49, Royal Arch Masons.

Doctor Grimmell was married July 3, 1916, to Mrs. Ethel (Eggleson) Miles, of Columbus, Kansas.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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2 thoughts on “Biography of George H. Grimmell, M. D.”

  1. The article in Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918 is mostly a fabrication by the subscriber. George Henry Grimmell was born Henry C A A Grimmell in either Boone Co, Iowa or Des Moines, Polk, Iowa in 1862 or 1863. He was called Harry. Harry was brought up in Jefferson, Greene, Iowa, where his father, Dr. George Henry Grimmell, was a doctor of medicine. In 1886 Harry, who was raising livestock in Jefferson, abruptly packed up and moved to the brand new town of Horton, Kansas, and set himself up as a doctor. This lasted for a few years and it seems there was questions about his competence. He then moved to Onaga, Kansas, where he added six years to his age and claimed his father’s name and medical credentials. After another move, this time to Virgil, Kansas, he moved again this time to Howard, Elk, Kansas. This was 1901. Howard would be Harry’s home for the rest of his life and where he practiced medicine successfully..
    His ancestral claims were fiction as the family name was Gremmel when his grandfather and his brother left the Kingdom of Hannover for the United States arriving in Baltimore in 1832.
    As a side-note Harry’s father was a peace Democrat and did not serve in the Civil War in any capacity.

  2. George H Grimmell, nee Henry C A Grimmell, was name after his Grimmell grandfather. He was born in Iowa, most likely Boone County in 1862 at Annette McCall’s parents house in Coal Valley. She was married to George H Grimmell a very short time later in Boone Co., Iowa, where he was a doctor in Quincy and attended her brother, John McCall, until his death.
    The family moved to Des Moines in 1863 and then to Jefferson, Iowa, as soon as they could after the end of the Civil War. Harry, as he was known all of his life was raised in Jefferson. His father had a diploma from the medical school in Keokuk, IA.
    Harry married F. Gertrude Harned in Jefferson, IA, in 1886. Soon after Henry C A Grimmell their marrage ,Harry moved from his stock farm in Jefferson, Iowa, to Horton, KS and set up a doctor by hanging up a sign.
    There were some difficulties and after the birth of George and Marie he moved to Onaga, KS, where he became a new man. Dr. George H. “Harry” Grimmell, born in 1856, with a degree from Keokuk set up business. I expect the same problems that caused him to move from Horton caused him to move to the smaller town of Virgil, Greenwood, KS. After three years of working with the only
    other doctor he moved to Howard where lived the most of the rest of his life.

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