James Grover was the fifth child of Benjamin and Joanna (Trott) Grover. He
was born at "Grover's Tavern", Woolwich, Maine, January 25,
1798. Living across the road and within sight of "Grover's
Tavern", was the Robert Cushman family. The Cushman's had come from
Kingston, Massachusetts in 1781. Robert Cushman was descended from Robert
Cushman of Canterbury, England, who was the agent for the
"Mayflower" pilgrims of 1620.
Robert Cushman of Woolwich, Maine was the fourth Robert Cushman of his
line. On March 13, 1826, James Grover married the daughter of Francis
Cushman, youngest son of Robert Cushman, (4th). Her name was, Miss Martha
'Dilnoe' Cushman. Her middle name was the corrupted spelling of the family
name we know today as, "Delano". The most illustrious descendent
of that name was our U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Actually,
'Delano' is also a corruption of the name, for the first person to carry
the name to America, was a young French Huguenot, Philip de La Noye, whose
parents fled France to Leyden, Holland. He came with some remaining
Separatists to America in 1621, aboard the ship "Fortune".
Benjamin Grover, father of James Grover, built and owned Grover's Tavern,
which was situated on the old road between Bath and Wiscasset. The history
of Wiscasset states;
"This old hostelry was built between the years 1768 and 1789.
It stood almost on the line that was the boundary between the
townships of Wiscasset and Woolwich, and was in the latter town."
"Grover's Tavern" became most known because of the nine "Esquimaux"
who drifted on an ice floe from the North Pole for six months. They lived
at Grover's Tavern after their rescue, because the heat of Washington D.C.
was too much for them to bear. By preference, they lived in the cellar of
the Tavern. In 1860-1862, Captain Charles Franklin Hall determined to go
north to attempt to find the "lost expedition", (1845), of Sir
John Franklin, who discovered the Northwest Passage, but perished in the
Captain Hall started his journey July 1871, in the ship
"Polaris", but died November 8, 1871. Captain Tyson assumed
command, but in the drifting ice and darkness the "Polaris"
slipped her cables and was carried away with 14 men. Nineteen persons,
including nine Eskimos, drifted southward with only one month's food
supply. One of the Eskimos, "Little Joe", hunted constantly for
seals, which provided meat, plus oil for warmth and to melt ice for
drinking water. The ice floe was only four to five miles in circumference
and about twenty-five feet thick. They drifted from 77o31/2' N. to 53o
35', nearly 2,000 miles, before their rescue on April 30, 1873. A sealing
ship named "Tigress" found them off the coast of Labrador with
only seal skins to eat. They arrived at Washington D.C., June 5, 1873, but
the summer heat made them ill, so it was decided they stay in the cooler
climate at Grover's Tavern, Woolwich, Maine.
The history of Wiscasset goes on to tell of a favorite drink of the
travelers who stopped by Grover's Tavern. It was a mixture of beer, rum,
and brown sugar, heated by plunging a hot ale mug into a 2/3 full pewter
Grover's Tavern burned on Labor Day evening, 1938.
James and Martha (Cushman) Grover built a home on Birch Point, near the
village of Wiscasset. This house can still be visited, and is occupied by
Richard Tucker Grover (3rd), James and Martha (Cushman) Grover's