Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mysterious Mrs. Munroe Grout

On Monday I posted some news clippings I found about my Great Grandfather Albert Munroe Wilkinson (1860 - 1908).  In one, a mysterious aunt named "Mrs. Munroe Grout" in the article, had given him a gift of seven silver table spoons for his wedding gift.  The news story mentioned that there were "many costly and elegant gifts" but it made special mention of Mrs. Grout.  As a clue to finding her identity, I noted that although my Great Grandfather was married in Salem, Massachusetts, this was written up in the Boston Herald newspaper.

Why would a Salem wedding be written up in the social pages of the Boston newspaper?  At first I considered that Great Grandfather had married the daughter of a prominent music professor, which was also mentioned in the paper.  Then I wondered if Mrs. Grout was herself a socially prominent Bostonian?

The next clue was the name Munroe.  The spoons mentioned in the article were engraved with names of Munroe ancestors.  Albert's mother was Phebe Cross Munroe (1830 - 1895) daughter of Luther Simonds Munroe and Olive Flint, who resided in South Danvers, now Peabody, Massachusetts.  When I looked through all the siblings of Phebe, none married a Grout.  In fact, none of the Munroe's in my database had married a Grout. I was stumped.

So, I did what most people do when it is late at night and the local library is closed.  I turned to the internet, and tried to find vital records for marriages and deaths with the Grout name.  I also used Google, and found this interesting excerpt in Google Books from Genealogical and Personal Memoirs relating to the families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts ,  by William Richard Cutter,  1908, Volume 1, page 264,  “Olive Adeline, born Salem, [daughter of Luther Simonds Munroe and Olive Flint]  January 18, 1836, died Charlestown, Massachusetts, November 29, 1905; married John H. Grout."

This stumped me again because I already had a marriage for Olivia Adeline Munroe in the 1851 Danvers Vital Records, listing her as marrying someone named Corydon B. Green, as a first marriage at age 16.  Then I found this:

Mass VR, Volume 88, page 171
Town of Brookline, Mass.  Marriages
April 22, 1855,  groom -John H. Grout, res. Beverly, teamster, b. Danvers, parents John and Sally, first marriage; bride - Ada Munroe, age 19, res. Beverly, b. Danvers,  parents, Luther S. and Olive,  first marriage

Well, Auntie Grout claimed both were first marriages.  And they are both obviously Olivia Adeline Munroe, who was born in Salem on 18 January 1836 to parents Luther Simonds Munroe and Olive Flint.  There must be a good story here, but I haven't found the answer to this one yet.  But back at I did find some interesting news clippings...

Boston Journal
22 December 1896
Page 10
Mortuary Notice
“Mrs. Grout’s Funeral
     The funeral of Mrs. John H. Grout, Jr. was held at the Little Church Around the Corner on Bullfinch Place yesterday at noon.  Rev. C. Elliott conducted the exercises.
      The casket in which reposed the remains was literally buried beneath a wealth of floral tributes from members of the family, newspaper men and intimate friends of the family.  The pall bearers were E. S. Anderson, Dr. F. F. Roby, W. M. and J. F. Nickerson and Albert Wilkinson.
      The interment was in the family lot at Danvers.”

Comment from 18 July 2014, from a descendant of this branch of the Grout family:
"Just wanted to point out that the funeral of Mrs John H Grout Jr in Boston that is described in the above post, was in fact the funeral of my grandfather’s first wife, Josephine Buzzell (or Bussell), who died on 18 Dec 1896.  She, too, was from Massacusetts, although I think her family was originally from Canada.  He then went on to marry my grandmother, who was English." 

The Little Church around the corner was “The Bullfinch Place Chapel” , a Unitarian Universalist church in the West End of Boston.  The papers for this now gone church are at the Harvard Divinity School Call number bMS 2, Bullfinch Place Church Records 1826 – 1957.  The  Rev. Christopher   Rhodes Elliot (1856 – 1945) was pastor from 1894 – 1927 and his papers are also at the Harvard Divinity School, call number bMS75.  

1870 Federal Census, Boston, MA, Ward 4,
Grout, John , H, age 38, stable keeper, b. Mass.
                Addie M, age 32, keeping house, b. Mass.
                Jr. John H, age 12, attends school, b. Mass.
                Frank B., age 10, attends school,  b. Mass.

And at the Massachusetts Vital Records available online at NEHGS

Mass VR  Volume 1905/23 page 96
Olive A M Grout
Boston, 17 Mouton St.
Nov. 29, 1905, age 69 y 10m 11d
Maiden name- Munroe
Husband’s name John H. Grout
Birthplace Danvers
Father- Luther S. Munroe
Father’s birthplace- Danvers
Mother- Olive Flint
Mother’s birthplace – Danvers
Occupation at home
Burial Danvers
Undertaker- John Bryant’s sons
Cause – Fibroid Tumor- at least a year
Contributory – exhaustion- 3 weeks
Signed – John Duff, MD

Back at
Boston Journal
June 29 1899
John H. Grout
At the residence of his son, Frank B. Grout in Andover, John H. Grout of Boston died yesterday.  He was born in Danvers in 1832.  Early in life he was engaged in the express business, and later as a hotel manager in Boston.  At the time of the great Boston fire he was a manager of the Winthrop House, and for the past 22 years of the Windsor Hotel.
For many years he was a familiar figure among the horsemen of this city, and nearly every day could be seen behind a good “goer” on the road.  He had been the owner of many fast horses.  While a faithful attendant at horse races about Boston for more than a generation, he always made it a rule never to bet.
Mr. Grout was a cousin of Congressman Grout and ex- Governor Grout of Vermont, and his son, John H. Grout, Jr., is now United States Consul at Malta.”

which led to finding this at Google Books:
Who’s Who in New England, by Albert Nelson Marquis, 1909
Page 437
“Grout, John Henry, consul, b. Beverly, Mass, 4 Dec. 1857, son of John H. and Olive Adeline (Munroe) G, descendant of Munroes of Lexington fame; ed. Pub. Schs., St. Johnsbury (Vt) Acad., Chauncy Hall Sch., Cambridge, Mass., and Boston Latin Sch., m. 1st Boston , Josephine Bussell (now deceased); m 2d, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, June 11, 1904, Kitty Emily Austin.  Served in editorial dept., Boston Herald 11 yrs, and later on other Boston papers; for a time in employ Mex. Central R. R., and paymaster La. Lighterage and Jetty Co. in const’n of jetties at Tampico, Mex.; apptd. Am. Consul, Bermuda, Jan. 14, 1893, retired, Oct. 1893; apptd. Consul at Malta, Jan. 10, 1898; promoted to Odessa, Russia, Jan. 9, 1908.  Mem. Mass. Militia 7 yrs. Mason (18 degrees). Home: Boston, Mass.  Adress: American Consulate, Odessa, Russia.

No wonder Auntie Munroe Grout could afford to give her nephew such a fine wedding gift!  But there is still the lingering mystery of her first husband, Mr. Corydon B. Green... why is it that one mystery always leads to another in genealogy?

Click this link to read about the original Boston Herald news article from 1894 that mentioned Mrs. Munroe Grout:

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo 


  1. Hello,
    Nice site! I am loving it!! Will come back again ??taking you feeds also, Thanks.

  2. One just HAS to keep searching when faced with this mystery - and why do the questions pop up so persistently when it's late at night -?! Wonderful finds, Heather, and I enjoyed reading the excerpts about the family. Genealogy is one set of questions after another. By the way, I have several Ada's who turned out to be Adeline or Adelina - seems to be a common nickname.

  3. loving reading about olive (my gggrandmother) and the spoons! thank you for posting. would love to see a pic of those spoons!