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Streets Were Named to Honor Local Veterans

Looking Back article by Rose H. McIlveen July 14, 1984

Obituary for Silas Grimes dated Aug 24, 1927 from the Bloomington Telephone

Two of Bloomington’s streets were named for military veterans, who served in different wars.

Grimes Lane is named for Major Silas Grimes, the youngest of 13 children whose parents settled in Clear Creek Township in 1816. He was born on the family’s 160-acre farm and received what the Histories of Morgan, Monroe, and Brown Counties called “a good education.”

It is likely that young Grimes intended to be a farmer like his father, but events in history changed his plans. As the tensions between the northern and southern states mounted, Monroe County citizens were holding heated meetings at the courthouse. Even before the attack on Ft. Sumpter, there were emotional debates about whether the federal government should adopt a policy of reconciliation with the south.

Grimes may have attended some of those courthouse meetings. Meanwhile, some of his neighbors openly sided with the Confederates. Considering that his parents were born in Virginia and Kentucky, Grimes could have had mixed feelings about the issues.

In June of 1861, Capt. James Kelly recruited Grimes for the Union Army for a three-month tour of duty. He apparently didn’t find military life distasteful. The following August, he re-enlisted for three years under the command of Capt. Henry L. McCalla.

Grimes’ record includes such history-book battles as Shiloh, Perryville, Atlanta, Chicamauga and Resaca. He remained in the service until January of 1866.

Back on the family farm veteran Grimes followed the only profession he knew, besides soldiering. But politics lured him away from the homestead, and in 1880 he was elected sheriff on the Republican ticket.

Sluss Avenue (now Woodlawn) was named for Capt. John M. Sluss, who was born in Winchester, Ky. in 1807. Apprenticed as a tailor at the age if 17, he found his way to Bloomington in 1829 and set up his shop.

According to the county history, the “confinement” of his tailoring work “told upon his health.” Sluss turned to “trading in stock” on his Benton Township farm. He was 39 years old at the outbreak of the Mexican War. Singlehandedly he recruited a company of Monroe County men and was duly elected their captain. His 15 months of service, which included the battle of Buena Vista, further endangered his health. Although the county history does not specify the nature of his illness, it was supposed to have been the cause of his death at the age of 71.

Like Grimes, Sluss took an interest in politics and ran successfully for such offices as coroner, sheriff, and state legislator on the Whig ticket. When the party faded, Sluss chose to be a democrat and later ran for justice of the piece.

He and his wife, Eliza (Hunter), were the parents of two sons and seven daughters