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Thomas Grindell

Birthdate: (35)
Birthplace: Platteville, WI, USA
Death: circa August 1905 (27-43) (Lost in desert on Tiburon Island, Mexico)
Immediate Family:

Son of William Grindell and Margaret Grindell
Brother of Lydia Grindell; Fred Grindell; Clara Grindell; Mary Grindell and Edward Grindell
Half brother of Wesley Grindell; William R Grindell and Samuel Grindell

Occupation: Professor of Mathematics
Managed by: Brian Hill
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Thomas Grindell

"Thomas, born in 1869, was graduated from the Platteville State Normal in 1890, later attended the University of Wisconsin, at Madison, and was a professor of mathematics in the Territorial Normal School, at Tempe. Ariz., which position he resigned to become one of Roosevelt's "rough riders" in the war with Spain; being mustered out he was appointed deputy United States marshal of Arizona, and he is now clerk of the supreme court of that Territory; he is unmarried. "

-- Commemorative Biographical Record of Rock, Green, Grant, Iowa, and Lafayette Counties, Wisconsin, J. H. Beers, 1901, Pages 504-6

He eventually went missing in 1905 while on an expedition for a lost gold mine on Tiburon Island, Mexico.

"The Douglas Dispatch, later in the month, had this item:

Thomas Grindell and G. Olin Ralls leave this morning for Bisbee, where they are joined by Messrs. Hoffman and Ingraham, and leave Wednesday for Nogales. They leave for Magdalena Sonora, and spend Friday with Colonel Kosterlitzky, who is assisting them in their trip to the Tiburon Island. He will furnish them with soldiers if they so desire. From there they leave for Altar, where they buy horses and outfit for the trip. They go first to Libertad and then skirt the coast to Cape Tepapa, where there are ruins of an old monastery of the Seri Indians. They go south from there to a strait about a mile and a half long at low tide and the water is very rough. This is crossed by means of Indian boats called "belsas," being made of pine. From this point they get on land four miles and explore the island. The island is twenty-four miles by twelve miles. Mr. Grindell visited the savage Sens last year, but found them the most peaceable people on earth. Many of them were so poor that they could hardly navigate and lived on a very plain diet, such as fish and turtles. They do not cook their food and do not use knives, but simply in a very primitive manner tear the food asunder and eat it raw. The women are supreme in tribal government and the older they are the greater their power. The party will be gone about six weeks and will go into the Yaqui country before returning.

The following month, the Dispatch had this item:

Ed P. Grindell arrived in this city Sunday from Cananea. He is very much worried about the continued absence of his brother Tom, superintendent of the Douglas schools, who left with Olin Ralls of the Coirper Queen smelter and four others for Tiburon Island in the Gulf of California, at the close of the school year. The party was to have returned on August 1st, almost a month ago, but no message has as yet been received since they left Guaynias for the island. He says he is almost certain something must have happened to the party to delay their return for so long a time. The Seri Indians who inhabit the island are not especially warlike, but they have no particular love for the white man and the Grindell party may have gotten into straits through their treachery."

Thomas F. Grindell, 26, resigned from his teaching position in the English Department at the Tempe Normal School to become a Rough Rider. Just a week after he enlisted, the 5­ foot­ 8 ­inch, fair­complexioned soldier with light ­brown eyes and dark brown hair was promoted to sergeant.

Writing to The Arizona Republican in August, 1898, Grindell confidently predicted that all of the Arizona soldiers would return safely to "good old Arizona" after the conflict.

Following the war, Grindell briefly entered politics. He was narrowly defeated in his bid for school superintendent of Maricopa County, losing by 43 votes of 3,309 cast.

In 1905, Grindell led a fatal four­man expedition in search of rumored treasure on Tiburon Island off the west coast of Mexico in the Gulf of California. Nearly out of drinking water, the party became separated. Grindell and two others apparently perished, but their bodies were never found.

-- 4/11/12 Tempe's Rough Riders: Part II 2/2

EXPLORERS' BONES FOUND.; Grindell and His Party Perished in the Desert Two Years Ago.

DOUGLAS, Arizona, Dec. 26. -- Prospectors arriving to-day from Lower California report the finding of the remains of Thomas Grindell and his party, whose disappearance two years ago became an international incident, which never had been solved. Edward Grindell may now collect the insurance on his brother's life. (more at link)

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Thomas Grindell's Timeline

Platteville, WI, USA
Age 28
US Marshall Service
August 1905
Age 35
Territorial Normal School, Tempe, AZ
Arizona Supreme Court