Ann Sholes Gridley - Civil War Nurse

In her obituary in the local newspaper, the statement is made, “no one knows how much this esteemed woman did for Hillsdale.” Ann became famous as the mother of Capt. Charles V. Gridley of Manila Bay “you may fire when you are ready, Gridley!” fame. She was also well known nationally for her 30 years of service in the land office in Washington, D.C.  Known locally for her tireless work as a volunteer nurse on the fields of battle during the Civil War, Ann went to the front to administer aid to the sick and wounded. She received personal thanks from Generals Grant, Sherman and Sheridan.   

She and her husband Frank moved to Hillsdale as newlyweds, in 1845. The Gridleys ran a grocery store and had two sons and a daughter. The youngest, little Helen, died at ten weeks of age. Exactly what occurred with husband Frank has been lost to the ages, but he was committed to the Michigan Insane Asylum, remaining apart from Ann until his death in 1887.  

Her efforts to improve the Oak Grove Cemetery through the Ladies Cemetery Association are well documented, as was her charitable work as one of the founders of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Considered one of Hillsdale’s most heroic figures, the name of Ann Gridley was chosen in 1911 as the name for the newly organized DAR chapter.

JoAnne P. Miller