James Griffith (1844-1919)
Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 4/5/2022 at 13:39:11
(May 5, 1844 – April 1919)
The year 18S7 witnessed the arrival of James Griffith in Calhoun County and since that time he has been identified with agricultural interests, today owning and operating two hundred and forty acres of land. He is a native of Wales, his birth having occurred on the 5th of May, 1844. His grandfather had a brother who served with Wellington's army in the battle of Waterloo. The parents of our subject were Morgan and Nellie (Evans) Griffith, both of whom spent their entire lives in Wales. The father was a farm laborer. His wife died in 1853, and he died about eighteen months later, leaving our subject, who was then only ten years of age, and two other sons and a daughter. All are still living with the exception of one of the sons. John is a resident of Nebraska and Catherine is the widow of Edward Murphy and makes her home in Liverpool, England. James Griffith spent the first thirteen years of his life in the little rock-ribbed country of Wales and then began following the life of the sea, as a sailor on small coasting vessels engaged in trade in the British Isles. He was thus engaged for about eighteen months, when he shipped on an ocean vessel and visited many ports in North America, South America, the East Indies, along the Mediterranean and Genoa, Italy, but mostly sailed between Liverpool and New York. He also sailed for two years between New York and Cuba, and for sixteen years followed the life of a sailor, spending the last five years on the Great Lakes. He gained much knowledge of foreign lands, their people, customs and manners, but of all the lands he visited he was most favorably impressed with "the land of the free and the home of the brave," and therefore when he resolved to abandon the water he became a permanent resident of America.
In the fall of 1874 Mr. Griffith took up his abode in Kane County, Illinois, where he engaged in farming until the spring of 1887, finding that a profitable source of income. While there Mr. Griffith was united in marriage to Miss Maggie James, the wedding being celebrated in Aurora, Illinois, on
the 12th of December. 1878. The lady was born in New York, in 1859, a daughter of Thomas and Margaret (Evans) James, who were born in Wales, but were married in the Empire state, whence they removed to Kane County, Illinois. in 1803. The father was a farmer by occupation, following that pursuit in support of his family. He had two children, Mrs. Griffith and Lizzie, who is
living in South Dakota. The mother died in 1872 and the father afterward wedded Mary Ann Eynon, who is now living in Kane County, Illinois, and by whom he had six children. The marriage of our subject and his wife has been blessed with six children and the family circle yet remains unbroken by the hand of death. In order of birth they are as follows: Frank M., who was
born September 15, 1879; George G., born February 1, 1S82; Thomas J., born May 5, 1884, in Kane County, as were the older ones; Roscoe C, born in this county, June 3, 1888; William P., born December 25, 1893; and Nellie C, born August 18, 1895.
It was in the year 1887 that, accompanied by his wife and their three oldest
children, Mr. Griffith left Illinois and came to Calhoun County, where he purchased a farm of eighty acres, upon which he has since resided, although he has extended its boundaries by additional purchases until it now comprises two hundred and forty acres, all in one body. Neat and thrifty in appearance, the farm indicates the careful supervision of the owner and in return for his care and cultivation the fields yield him good harvests. He also engages m stock-raising to some extent. He has held some township offices, but is independent in politics. Socially he is connected with the Masonic fraternity, and both he and his wife are active members of the Order of the Eastern Star. They are people of the highest respectability and the warm friendship of
many acquaintances is extended to them. In the life record of such a man as Mr. Griffith there is much worthy of commendation and emulation. Starting out for himself at the early age of thirteen, he developed self-reliance and force of character which have figured in his life history as important elements in winning him the success which he today enjoys. [Source – Biographical Record of Calhoun County, Iowa, by S. J. Clarke, 1902, p.291]
Calhoun Biographies maintained by Karon S. Valeu.
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