James F. Grinstead

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James Fontleroy Grinstead
BornNovember 15, 1845
DiedNovember 13, 1921(1921-11-13) (aged 75)
OccupationGrocery wholesaler
TitleMayor of Louisville
PredecessorRobert Worth Bingham
SuccessorWilliam O. Head
Political partyRepublican

James Fontleroy Grinstead (November 15, 1845 – November 13, 1921) was a businessman, mayor of Louisville, Kentucky from 1907 to 1909, and county commissioner from 1917 to his death in 1921. He is a descendant of William & Elizabeth Key Grinstead


Born in Glasgow, Kentucky in 1854,[1][2][3][4] Grinstead had a common school education in Barren County, Kentucky before moving to Louisville in 1866 to work in wholesale grocery at Glazebrook & Grinstead, later known as W. E. Grinstead & Co.[1][5][6][4] He was a full partner in 1871 and worked in the company until 1891, when he left to found the wholesale company Grinstead & Tinsley in 1892,[1][5][4] In the same year, he married Annie W. Harwood.[5] which he headed until his retirement in 1910.[7][4]

Public service[edit]

Grinstead became a well-known local businessman and was approached to run for Mayor of Louisville in 1897, which he declined.[1][4] In 1901, he ran for mayor and won the Republican nomination.[1][4] After learning that his backer—Republican Party boss Charles Sapp—had used some questionable tactics to get votes for Grinstead, he declined the nomination,[1] earning the nickname "Honest Jim".[4] He became the first Republican mayor of Louisville to be elected by general voters when he became mayor in 1907[5] to complete the term started by Paul C. Barth,[7] whose 1905 election had been thrown out by the Kentucky Court of Appeals.[1][4] He ran for reelection in 1909, losing [1][5] to Democrat William O. Head.[4] Grinstead was elected county commissioner in 1917 and served until his death in 1921.[7]


Grinstead Drive, a prominent street running through Louisville's East End, was renamed in Grinstead's honor.[4] He was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery,[8][4] which Grinstead Drive runs alongside.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Gibson - FRONTLINE - PBS". pbs.org.
  2. ^ University of Kentucky Libraries. "Notable Kentucky African Americans -". uky.edu.
  3. ^ "Death Comes to Former Mayor". Lexington Herald (318). November 14, 1921. p. 1.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kleber, John E. (2015-01-13). The Encyclopedia of Louisville. ISBN 9780813149745.
  5. ^ a b c d e Polk Johnson, E. (1912). "A History of Kentucky and Kentuckians". google.com.
  6. ^ "Death Comes to Former Mayor". Lexington Herald (318). November 14, 1921. p. 1.
  7. ^ a b c "Death Comes to Former Mayor". Lexington Herald (318). November 14, 1921. p. 1.
  8. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum. "The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Grimke to Griswald". politicalgraveyard.com.