Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GRINNELL, Josiah Bushnell, congressman, born in New Haven, Vermont, 22 December, 1821. He was graduated at Oneida institute in 1843 and at Auburn theological seminary in 1847, entered the ministry of the Presbyterian church, and preached seven years in Union Village, New York, Washington, D. C., and New York city. He founded the Congregational church at Grinnell, Iowa, in 1854, and preached there gratuitously for several years, but afterward retired from the ministry and became an extensive wool-grower. He was a member of the state senate in 1856-'60, special agent of the post office department in 1861-'3, and in 1863-'7 was a representative in congress, having been elected as a Republican. He was a special agent of the treasury department in 1868, and in 1884 was appointed commissioner of the United States bureau of animal industries. When in the Iowa senate Mr. Grinnell took an active part in the formation of the state free school system, and was also the correspondent and confidant of John Brown, entertaining him and his company. "In my library," says Mr. Grinnell in a recent letter, "secretly, in the gleam of bayonets, and near a miniature arsenal for the protection of a score of ex-slaves, he wrote a part of his Virginia proclamation." Mr. Grinnell was active in aiding the escape of fugitive slaves, and at one time a reward was offered for his head. He has been connected with the building of six railroads, and has laid out five towns, including that of Grinnell, Iowa, which was named for him. He gave the proceeds of the sale of building-lots in that town to Grinnell university, now merged in Iowa college, and was for some time its president. He has published "Home of the Badgers" (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1845); "Cattle industries of the United States" (New York, 1884); and numerous pamphlets and addresses.
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