Jesse Grimes, judge and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, son of Sampson and Bethsheba (Winder) Grimes, was born in what is now Duplin County, North Carolina, on February 6, 1788. In 1817 he moved to Washington County, Alabama. His first wife, Martha (Smith), died in 1824; they had nine children. In 1826 he married Mrs. Rosanna Ward Britton; they became the parents of six children.
Grimes moved to Texas in 1826 and settled temporarily in Stephen F. Austin's second colony on the San Jacinto River in what is now Harris County; in the fall of 1827 he settled on Grimes Prairie, now in Grimes County. On March 21, 1829, he was elected first lieutenant of the First Company, Battalion of Austin. He was elected síndico procurador of the Viesca precinct in December 1830 and in December 1831 was elected a regidor of the ayuntamiento. On October 5, 1832, he was put on a subcommittee of safety and vigilance for the Viesca District and on October 6 was appointed treasurer of the district. He represented Washington Municipality in the Consultation and on November 14, 1835, was elected a member of the General Council of the provisional government.
Grimes was one of the four representatives from Washington Municipality to the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and there signed the Declaration of Independence. On June 3, 1836, he enrolled a company of volunteers for three months' service in the Texas army. He represented Washington County in the Senate of the First Congress of the Republic of Texas from October 3, 1836, to September 25, 1837. From November 1, 1841, to December 8, 1843, he represented Montgomery County in the Sixth and Seventh congresses. He filled out Robert M. Williamson's unexpired term in the Eighth Congress, representing Washington, Montgomery, and Brazos counties, and was elected to the Ninth Congress, which ended on June 28, 1845. After annexation he was a member of the Senate of the First, Second, Third, and Fourth legislatures. Grimes County was probably named for him.
Grimes died on March 15, 1866, and was buried in the John McGinty cemetery, ten miles east of Navasota. In 1929 his remains and those of his second wife were reinterred in the State Cemetery.