This account is found in an unnamed book written to salute influential men of the Arkansas-Mississippi-Louisiana area in the early 20th century.
Fred Grittman, planter and capitalist, Drew, Mississippi, although a native of Germany, showed himself to be one hundred percent American during the World War when he gave so liberally of both his time and his money to the Liberty loan and Red Cross drives, and when two of his sons, although under age for the draft, volunteered for military service under the Stars and Stripes, one of them succeeding in entering the army.
Mr. Grittman was born in Baden, Germany, June 28, 1865, the son of Jonas and Sophie Grittman. After having received a common school education, he came to the United States in 1882, landing in New York City, and went to work for a packing house. He remained there for eighteen months and then went to Canada for a short time. Returning to the United States he worked on a farm in Iowa. The following year he moved to Red River County, Texas, and made a cotton crop. In 1887 he was engaged in railroad construction and in timber cutting in southeast Missouri. In fact, he spent some twenty years in the timber and stave business, pursuing it with signal success almost all over the United States.
In 1894 he opened a series of stave camps near where afterwards the town of Drew was built. The following year he formed a partnership with Mr. J.M. Goff, now a leading man of Memphis, and opened a general supply business, their store being the second one built in Drew. In the same year, he organized the firm of Grittman & Peters. This firm manufactured staves by the millions for export to France, Germany and England.
In 1903, Mr. Grittman helped organize the first bank established in the northern portion of Sunflower County and he became vice-president of the bank. In 1904 he organized the Clear Lake Lumber Company. The following year he organized the Bank of Drew and became president of it. Believing in the future of Delta lands, he began clearing four hundred acres in 1902.
Ten years later his planting interests had become so large that Mr. Grittman practically withdrew and sold all his other business interests to personally manage his planting operations. At the present time he is the owner of two thousand acres of farm land, and in partnership with Mr. W.R. Barksdale of Memphis, he owns fifteen hundred acres more which is also under his management. Mr. Grittman is a director in the Merchants & Planters Bank of Drew, and in the Bank of Clarksdale and the Coahoma County Cotton Company of Clarksdale.
He is a Methodist, Shriner, and an Elk. He and Miss Lilly Graham were married October 25, 1896. Their children are: W.S., Julius D., Miss Katherine, Howard, and Edward Grittman.