Martin Grimes

A letter from Maysville, Ky., to the Louisville Courier Journal relates the following:  A Maysville saloon-keeper, Martin Grimes, was fined $250 at a recent term of the Criminal Court for keeping a pool table, on which he allowed minors to play, in violation of a city ordinance.  Martin was a Federal soldier, and he lost a leg in the service of his country.  He has supplied the missing member by a cork imitation, which is so perfect that none but the intimate friends know that he is maimed.  

Acting under the advice of his lawyer, Martin visited Frankfort to appeal in person to the Governor for a remission of his fine.  Before going to the Governor’s mansion he unscrewed his cork leg and left it in the care of a friend, and with a cane and a crutch, hobbled into the Gubernatorial presence.  He told his story, showed his honorable discharge from the Army for ‘wounds received on the battlefield,’ and was reading a long list of names for distinguished Maysvillians appended to his petition for dismissal, when Mrs. Blackburn [the governor’s wife] entered the room. 

Discovering that her husband and the one-legged man were discussing business matters, she apologized and started to leave the room through a door at that time closed.  Martin Grimes is a shrewd sort of fellow, and withal something of a cavalier.  With none of the grace of a Chesterfield, but with all the instinctive politeness which a courier shows his queen, he hobbled to the door, and with a Louis XIV grace, swung it open for the wife of the Governor to pass out.  Dr. Blackburn noted this, and as Martin hobbled back to the table, rose to his feet, grasped the old soldier’s hand, and cried enthusiastically ‘Grimes, I shall certainly remit your fine, and my only regret is that I have not the power to remit the Commonwealth Attorney’s fee also.


from the New York Times, April 17, 1880