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A History of John Toliver Grissom and Florence Martha Haston

Family PortraitIn 1893, John Toliver Grissom married Florence Martha Haston in Warren County, Tennessee. He was known as "Singin’ John" since he traveled around the country conducting singing schools at churches where there was no resident music leader. He and Florence raised a big family. We are third, fourth and fifth generation descendants. Some wonder if we are related to Virgil (Gus) Grissom, the astronaut, or that race car driver, Steve Grissom. Maybe, way back somewhere, we are. We do have some avid race car fans in our midst, and a driver or two. I have also heard that at one time our name might have been spelled "Grisham", so perhaps one of our relatives is a famous author.

Many of us Grissoms still live in Tennessee, where the family roots run deep. Others have drifted north, south, east and west. Our addresses cover the map, from California to Florida to New York to Minnesota. And so it should be, since this branch of the Grissom family seems to be an all-American family.

Going back several generations, we find that almost everyone was born in this country. We claim Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia as the birthplaces of our ancestors. I used to ask my mother "What nationality are we? Where did our relatives come from?" And she always said, "They were all just plain Americans." However, deeper research finds there are ties to Europe. We have found that Phillip Hoodenpyl was from Amsterdam, Holland. Margrett Winnans’ line came from Holland, too. Some of the Hatfield lines are also from Holland and Germany. The Shockleys were from England and it is a good guess that the Grissoms were, too. So here we are … those all-American Grissoms!

Our main source of information was…Edith Grissom Vickers (1895-1984) who gave these facts for her children and grandchildren. Written in her own hand, her words have been preserved. We are so grateful that Aunt Edith wrote all this down, so that we have a record for ourselves and for the descendants that follow. This was written in about 1972. The editor has taken the liberty to use Aunt Edith’s facts and make them into a more readable form. The editor has also made some additions to her text where Aunt Edith’s memory failed her or for clarity. Official information comes from Lynn Schiller, Aunt Edith’s granddaughter, who has researched the Grissom family history extensively. Her information has been added along with Aunt Edith’s account. Also assisting in the preparation of this was another genealogist, Sylva Hildebrandt, Ozella’s daughter. Thanks Lynn and Sylva for all your help!

Lynn has her own site with lots of great genealogy info: surnames, cemeteries, documents, links and more. You can tell she and her husband Glenn have put a lot of effort into this amazing site. Thanks, Lynn!

Click Here for Lynn's Site

Lineage of John Toliver Grissom

In order to tell who John Toliver Grissom was, we need to go back a couple of generations. We will start with his ancestors.

The Grissom Side

(Aunt Edith’s account, with notes and dates added by Lynn & Sylva)