from Chapter 3

Mechlin House, home of the Cheeseman family, was a natural attraction for visitors from Bassa County as well as from Monrovia and other places outside of the County. Among those who were visitors to the home in 1907 and the years following in connection with his work of assisting in the prosecution of criminal cases in Bassa County, was Louis Arthur Grimes, then County Attorney for Montserrado County.

Louis' visits to the home brought him in contact with a charming young person whom he could not resist. Victoria, one of the foster daughters of Mary Ann Cheeseman, was medium height, brown-skinned and simply beautiful. She had medium length black hair and bright eyes. Intelligent and lively, she was a good conversationalist. She was also industrious and pleasant. The normal activities in the home in which she was involved included hospitality to visitors. On Louis' visits to their home, she exhibited the warmth and vibrancy characteristic of her. She soon realized that she had captured his eye and his heart. The advances made by him struck a responsive chord in her. The mutual feelings began to blossom into a relationship of love.

Louis was an eligible bachelor. A descendant of the Barclay family, both of his parents immigrated to Liberia from Barbados, West Indies. His mother, Ella Mai Gilbert Barclay, was the last of the 12 children of her parents, Anthony Barclay and Sarah Ann Barclay. She came to Liberia in May, 1865, with her parents and 10 siblings-seven sisters and three brothers-when she was not quite nine years old.18 They were part of the famous West Indian immigration of 346 persons, led by her father, the only immigration from the West Indies to Liberia in the 19th century.19

Louis' father, Henry Waldron Grimes, immigrated to Liberia as an adult in the 1870s after having spent a brief period in the United States. His parents were married in Monrovia and Louis, their first child, was born on Sept. 8, 1883. Their only other child, Florence Mai Isabel, was born March 26, 1885. Louis was nearly 11 and Mai nine, when their father died, so they were largely reared by their mother, with the assistance of the older brother next to her in age, Arthur Barclay and the reinforcement of a closely knit Barclay family. When Louis began visiting Edina, he had received a Bachelor's degree from Liberia College (now University of Liberia) in the class of 1903; was a promising young lawyer; and had entered Government service....

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