Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rev. Isaac Grindstaff and Mary Jane Woody

Reverend Isaac Grindstaff and Mary Jane Woody are my second great-grandparents. I have written previously about their daughter, and my great-grandmother, Della Winnie Grindstaff McNeill.

Isaac Grindstaff was born about May 1852 in formerly Yancey Co, now Mitchell Co, North Carolina. He was the second of twelve children to Henry Grindstaff and Bedie Buchanan. Mary Jane Woody was born 11 Jan 1853 in formerly Yancey Co, now Mitchell Co, North Carolina. She was the second of five children to William Woody and Marginia (or Margie) M. Thomas. When Mary was only about 9, her father died from measles while serving in the Confederate Army near Ashland, Virginia.

Isaac and Mary were married 9 Dec 1872 in Mitchell Co, North Carolina. The couple had 12 children, two of which are unknown at this time. I suspect they likely were lost in infancy or between the periods of the 1880 and 1900 census. The known children are as follows:
  • Docia born abt 1874
  • Emeline born abt 1876
  • Willoughby James born 30 Jul 1879 and died Jan 1960 in Avery Co, North Carolina. He married Mattie Buchanan and had three daughters. I have alternately seen his name as William James, but do not know which may be correct.
  • Nathan A. born 14 Mar 1883 and may have died in Norfolk, Virginia. He married 1) Martha Sherrill and 2) Edna. Nathan registered for WWI in Colorado and later lived in Chicago.
  • Hoy Gilbert born 15 Jun 1884 and died 8 Apr 1956 in Buncombe Co, North Carolina. He married Mary Jane Thomas and had at least six children.
  • George A. born 18 Mar 1889. He registered for WWI in Boulder, Colorado in 1917.
  • Alfonze (spelling uncertain) born Jan 1890.
  • Della Winnie born 1893 and died 1979. She is my great-grandmother.
  • Walter C. born 5 Jan 1897 and died 28 Apr 1970 in Toledo, Ohio. He married Myrtle and had two children.
  • Etta (or perhaps Etter) born 2 Feb 1901 and died tragically 10 Aug 1940 as a result of a homicide. She married Pat Thomas and had three children.

Isaac and Mary lived in or near the town of Bakersville, Mitchell Co, North Carolina. In 1900, Isaac was listed as a farmer, but by 1910 he was listed as a pastor of a church. A relative has told me that Isaac was the pastor at the Mine Creek Baptist Church in Mitchell Co, where both he and Mary are buried. Another relative described Isaac as a "hellfire and brimstone preacher." From everything I have heard, Isaac and Mary were good, kind people. Apparently after Isaac's death, Mary would come stay at another relative's house because she didn't like to sleep at home alone. She was remembered for devoutly praying each night before bed.

Isaac died 4 Apr 1936 in Mitchell Co. Mary died 26 Jan 1946. Both Isaac and Mary are buried at Mine Creek Baptist Church, Mitchell Co, North Carolina. A photo of their headstone can be found here.

Please contact me if you are related to Isaac and Mary or have further information. I would be thrilled to find other descendants of this couple. I would be very grateful if anyone had photos they would be willing to share.


  1. Walter and myrtle Grindstaff were my mamaw and papaw. They had 4 children that lived. Eldridge june nina and Gerald. 7 other miscarriages and or toddler deaths.

    1. Pamela, I would love to share information. Please email me at tracysroots at gmail dot com. Look forward to hearing from you!