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Annie Marshall Grinter

Annie Grinter and baby, Cunningham

Delaware Indian settler, wife of ferry operator Moses Grinter. Born: January 8, 1820, Miami County, Ohio. Died: June 28, 1905 in Muncie, Wyandotte County, Kansas.

Windagamen Marshall’s world was already in upheaval by the time she was born January 8, 1820, in Miami County, Ohio. Her father, William Marshall, was a white trader to the Indians. Her mother, Elizabeth “Betsy” Wilaquenaho, was Lenape (Delaware). Windagamen, whose Lenape name meant “sweetness,” was the oldest of the four Marshall children. At some point, Windagamen became known as Annie. Few records exist about her because she was female and Delaware.

Treaties in 1804 and 1818 set the course for Annie’s family to move from their home in Ohio. They relocated about 1826 to the James River near present Springfield, Missouri. There in southwest Missouri the Delaware joined the Osage, who had lived in the area for many generations. When Annie was of school age, she and other Delaware children probably attended Harmony Mission, located near the Osage village in Missouri. The Osage hunted the lands that had been assigned to the Delaware and regarded these new inhabitants as intruders.

As more Delaware families were slated for removal to Missouri, those living along the James River became concerned about the scarcity of food. Some families agreed to cede these lands in exchange for a reserve in Kansas just north of Shawnee lands.

Annie, her mother, brother, and sisters were among an estimated 1,000 Delaware who moved to an area along the Kansas River in 1831. Here they found woodlands that offered plentiful hunting including deer, elk, and antelope.

Families brought corn and squash seeds for new gardens and enough flour to last through the first winter. Annie would have planted and harvested radishes, cabbages, peas, potatoes, and turnips from the garden. The Delaware also took advantage of some of the area’s wild vegetation – such as pokeweed greens and morel mushrooms.

After first living in temporary structures, the Delaware built log cabins on their Kansas reserve. While the structures themselves were small, the fireplaces were large enough to hang cooking pots over the fire. Annie would have dried corn and squash by hanging them from the roof. From the dried corn, the Delaware ground cornmeal to make cornbread, a staple in the diet. A popular specialty was corn dumplings, which were soaked in grape juice.

Moses GrinterIn the late 1830s Annie met Moses Read Grinter, who was operating a ferry along the Kansas River. He had moved from his native Kentucky to Kansas in 1828 as a soldier at Fort Leavenworth. In 1831 he was appointed by the government to run a ferry, which was located on the north bank within the Delaware reserve, not far from the Chouteau trading post and Shawnee Methodist Mission. The ferry business grew as traffic increased on the Fort Leavenworth/Fort Scott military road and as immigrants headed west on the Oregon-California Trail.

Annie and Moses were married around 1838 and lived on the Delaware reserve where he continued to operate the ferry until about 1860. Since Moses was white and a man, much more is known about him today than his wife. Because Annie was Delaware, Moses was able to purchase the Chouteau’s trading post on the reserve. The post carried approximately 160 types of goods – clothing, powder, bullets, perfume, sugar, and scissors. The Grinters also farmed, raised poultry and livestock, and planted an apple orchard. In 1857 they began construction of a brick house overlooking the Kansas River. They made the brick from clay, which they baked onsite in a kiln. A house in Moses’ native Kentucky may have inspired their house design. Annie and Moses had 10 children, six girls and four boys. Five of their children grew to adulthood.

An 1866 treaty required the Delaware to either relocate to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) or to dissolve tribal relations and become citizens of the United States. Annie and several of her family members were among the 69 Delaware who chose to stay in Kansas and separate from their people. The remaining tribal members moved to an area on the Cherokee reservation near Bartlesville, Oklahoma. There are two groups of Delaware today headquartered in Bartlesville and Anadarko, Oklahoma.

Grinter PlaceMoses died in 1878 at the age of 71. Annie died in 1905 at 85. Their home, Grinter Place, is operated as a state historic site and is the oldest existing family residence in Wyandotte County.

Entry: Grinter, Annie Marshall

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: January 2010

Date Modified: January 2013

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.