Thursday, June 5, 2014
John Griffin 1778 to 1832
John Griffin was born in Killingworth, Connecticut the son of Samuel Griffin and his 3rd wife Mercy Bailey. His birth is recorded in the Congregational records dated May 17, 1778 “John son of Samuel Griffin”. John grew up on the family farm located on Roast Meat Hill. His early life revolved around the families’ small farm and his father’s carpentry shop. His father’s loom, which he was to inherit, needed linen and wool thread. That meant there was flax to be grown and processed into linen thread and wool to be sheared and spun. Included in the inventory in John’s probate file is a “Flax Break”. Apparently John was preparing and weaving linen until his death following in his father’s footsteps. With a family of eleven he probably never lacked companionship. His Sundays were spent with the members of the Congregational Society in which his parents “Owned the Covenant”. The small farm did not offer a future to six sons. For the young men of Killingworth Vermont represent the next frontier. The Griffin boys Joel, Asahel, Samuel, John and Dan ended up in Essex and nearby New Haven, Vermont. Essex was one of seven towns in the County of Chittenden chartered in June 1763. __________ Essex was described as an area six miles square bounded on the south by the Winooski River. The area was to be parceled into 72 equal shares among 66 grantees named in the charter. The Grantees organized several expeditions to survey the area. Their records contain detailed lists of the men involved. John’s name was among those listed. My assumption is that he was the point man for the family’s move from Killingworth to Essex. The Grantees subdivided their holdings into lots that averaged about 110 acres and offered them for sale as either one-half or full lots. John and his father Samuel purchased Lot 142 his brother Samuel Jr. Lot 81. Settlement started in earnest in Essex in 1783 and it seems likely that the Griffins were in the first few waves of settlers in the new community. By 1798 they had already purchased additional farmland. In April 1800 John purchased six acres from Dan Morgan next to Lot 142. I think this was his “home lot”. His brother Dan also purchased a home lot. John and Dan both worked the original farm with their father. When Samuel died in 1808 ownership of the farm passed into John’s hands. His father’s will reads, “I give to my son John my farm on which I now live together with my cattle, sheep and swine also my “tyme peace” and loom on the following condition he is to support my wife during her life and provide and furnish her with all things necessary for her comfort”. Over the next twenty years he purchase several addition parcels bordering on the original Lot 142. Dan moved to his own farm in Westford. _____________ There has been precious little written concerning John’s family. John is buried next to his parents Samuel and Mercy Bailey in the Essex Common Burial Ground. A complete listing for the cemetery is available on the Internet. Buried along a row we find John, “March 30, 1832” , Doct. Truman Griffin “May 10, AD 1829, In memory of age 27 yrs”, Chloe Griffin “Oct 11th, AD 1819, In memory of-dau of John and Mary Griffin- in the 16th yr of her age”. The cemetery records provided the first hints in our journey of discovery to identify John’s family. The cemetery records provided the name for two children and the name of his wife, Mary. An Internet search for John and Mary Griffin turned up a reference in a Tyler genealogy for the marriage of Mary Tyler to John Griffin. In the town records of Richmond, New Hampshire, page 60, we recovered a marriage record, “May certify that John Griffin of Essex in the state of Vermont and Mary Tyler of Richmond were joined in marriage per me Moses Tyler Justice Peace this first Day of February 1801”. Moses Tyler was Mary’s father. Essex town records show that two of Moses’ brothers had made the move to Essex apparently bringing Mary with them. There are no birth records in Essex for John’s children. The 1810 census lists 2 boys and 2 girls all under the age of 10. The 1820 census shows a family of 2 boys and 4 girls. Chloe having died in 1919 the 1820 census indicates that 3 additional girls were born after 1810. In the Congregational records we find Truman and his mother Mary listed next to each other “1827 Truman Griffin--1829. 1829 was the year of his death. For Mary, “Mary Griffin, Deceased” with no date for her death. ____________ John died intestate that is to say without leaving a will. It was then left up to the probate courts to dispose of his property. The probate courts are very particular in naming all of the claimants to real estate. In John’s probate file we found hints to the remainder of his family. The probate file indicates that John's wife Mary was named executor for his estate. She signs her name on a number of difference documents in the probate file. In a key document that starts with, “We the undersigned legal heirs and legates of John Griffin” we find a list of names; Mary Griffin, Guardian to Malinda Griffin, Mary Griffin Guardian to Jane Griffin, Charlotte Sinclair, Fanny Sinclair, then Samuel Griffin and Mary Griffin. From this document we have a picture of Mary serving as guardian for daughters Malinda and Jane Griffin and granddaughters Charlotte and Fanny Sinclair. In addition we have two heirs of legal age Samuel Griffin and Mary Griffin. This posed a question, Who was the “Mary” who signed along with Samuel? Was she John’s wife or did he have a daughter also named Mary? We find the answer to the question surround “Mary” and the identity of the mother of Charlotte and Fanny Sinclair in the marriage records in Essex. On page 282, “Be it remembered that at Essex in said County on the 27th of February 1823 Freeman Sinclear & Eunice Griffin both of Essex were duly joined in marriage”. In another marriage record on page 366, “Be it remembered that at Essex on the 5th day of June AD 1834 Erastus Tyler of Harlem, State of Ohio and Mary Griffin of Essex, County of Chittenden, State of Vermont were duly joined in Marriage”. It was this Mary, John's daughter, who signed her name with Samuel. A close look at the signatures for the name Mary Griffin reveals that they were signed in two different hands. We gain a clearer picture of the family from a series of land deeds involving John’s real estate. In a deed dated in 1833 Mary, as executor of the will, is allowed to sell off a portion of the property in order to satisfy the estate’s remaining debts. This occurred before the final division of the property among John’s heirs. In 1837 we find three deeds between John’s children and their mother. The children are selling back their portion of their inheritance to their mother. The property in question is identified as “The real estate in Essex of which the late John Griffin died seized”. The parties to the three deeds are Erastus and Jane Bentley and Malinda Griffin, Erastus and Mary Tyler “both of Granville, Licking County and State of Ohio” and Samuel Griffin, “I Samuel Griffin of Cincinnati, Hamilton County, State of Ohio”. Here is a brief summary of the children of John and Mary Tyler Griffin. ___________Truman Griffin: Truman is buried next to his father in Essex. His headstone refers to him as “Doct” Truman Griffin. The title seems to indicate that he had received a medical degree from the nearby University of Vermont, which had organized a Medical School in 1822. The information on his headstone indicates a date of birth in 1802. His death is recorded as May 10, AD 1829. ________________ Chloe Griffin: The only record for Chloe is her headstone in Essex. Named after her mother’s sister she is buried next to her father and her brother Truman. Probably born sometime in 1804 her headstone reads, “In memory of Chloe daughter of John & Mary Griffin who died Oct 11th AD 1819 In the 16 year of her age”. _________________Eunice Griffin: As previously noted Eunice married Freeman Sinclair in 1823. Her daughter’s, Charlotte and Fanny, are listed as heirs in her father’s probate records. Eunice was probably 18 or 19 at the time of her marriage she was most likely born about 1805. Sinclair/Sinclear family history places Eunice’s death at October 27, 1831. ________________Samuel Griffin: Named after his grandfather census records and a family birth pattern suggest that he was born in about 1808/9. We have his signature on his father’s probate record. In the deed between Samuel and his mother he is identified as Samuel Griffin of Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio. In the Barbour record for Killingworth we find a record of his marriage, “Samuel Griffin of Essex Vt., m. Lodah H. Field , dau of Martin, of Killingworth Nov. 4, 1832”. I am quite sure that the name “Lodah” is a misspelling. In the records of Alvan Talcott there is a record for the family of Martin Field it includes the entry, “Zaida. B. 1809 mar. Samuel Griffing”. The detailed Field family history also identifies her as Zaida and notes that she married Samuel Griffin of Cincinnati. The marriage record is an interesting hint that the family in Essex still had contact with their Killingworth roots. ________________ Mary Griffin: Named after her mother we find her signature in her father’s probate file. Mary married Erastus Tyler, her mother’s cousin, June 5, 1834. Erastus was born in Killingworth November 14, 1802. In a deed between Mary and her mother dated October 31, 1837 she is identified as Erastus and Mary Tyler of Granville, Licking, Ohio. Mary and Erastus are buried in the Old Pioneer Cemetery in Alexandria, Licking, Ohio, which is near Granville. Her headstone includes the dates June 2, 1811 to October 23, 1876. Her family included children named Malinda, Mary Jane and Truman. _______________Malinda Griffin: Her name appears as an heir in her father’s probate. The probate records indicate that she was over the age of 14 at the time of her father’s death. There is a line in her guardian application with the probate court, “Personally appeared Malinda Griffin daughter of John Griffin”. Census records indicate that she was born after 1810. Based on Jane’s date of birth it is my guess that she was born 1816/17. Her name appears on a deed record dated in October of 1837. Her sister is referred to by her married name she is referred to as Malinda Griffin seeming to indicate that she was still unmarried. __________________ Jane Griffin: Jane married Erastus Powell Bentley. They raised their family in nearby Jericho. Jane is named in her father’s probate the nature of which suggest she was the youngest of the children. A line in the records notes that she was under the age of 14. Her name is very difficult to make out in the probate records but we get some clarification in the deed records. In a deed between her and her mother she is identified as Erastus and Jane Bentley of Jericho. Her sister Malinda is also included in the deed. Her headstone, found in the Jericho Center Cemetery, reads “Jane Griffin, wife of, Erastus Bentley , Nov 7, 1880 aged 61 yrs”. The headstone information places her date of birth in about 1819. The 1880 census lists her place of birth as Vermont, her father’s as Connecticut, and her mothers as New Hampshire. She named a daughter Mary and a son Samuel. _________________We also need to tell the story of Mary Tyler Griffin. There has been an air of mystery about what happened to her after her husband John’s death. Her story starts in the Richmond, New Hampshire town records. On page 19 there is a detailed entry for the family of Moses Tyler, Mary’s father. It starts, “Richmond Sept ye 9th AD 1777 this may certify that Moses Tyler and Mary Scott both of Richmond were joined in marriage”. The next entry, “Moses Tyler record of his children by Mary his wife”. The children are listed as Chloe, “Malinda Tyler born August ye 12th AD 1780”. For Mary, “Mary Tyler born August ye 9th AD 1784”. Then we have Aaron, Moses, Benjamin, John and Patience. As you can see Mary named daughters after her sisters Chloe and Malinda. The name Truman is also a traditional Tyler name. The two sisters Mary and Malinda seem to be very close to each other. They shared family names and a common destiny. In Richmond we find a marriage record for Mary’s marriage to John Griffin in 1801 and her sister Malinda to Asa Bancroft on February 2, 1800. In volume 2 of the Essex town records page 44 we find a marriage between the then widowed Asa Bancroft and the widow Mary Griffin, “ Be it remembered that at Essex in the County aforesaid on the 12th day of Nov. AD 1837 Asa Bancroft of Plainfield, Washington County and Mary Griffin of Essex County of Chittenden and state aforesaid were duly joined in marriage". A search of the records reveals a notice in the Vermont Watchman and State Journal, “ Mrs. Melinda Bancroft, Tuesday, December 20, 1836. Died in Plainfield on the 2d Dec., inst. Malinda, wife of Asa Bancroft, aged 56 years”. Mary, using her married name, had married her sister’s husband and helped raise her sister’s family including girls named Mary and Eunice. We then find another marriage record for Asa dated April 18, 1843 to Rebecca Page. The 1850 census shows Asa age 76 and Rebecca age 70 living in Plainfield. Following the traditional patterns for remarriage Mary probably died in 1841/2. There are headstones in the Plainfield Village Cemetery for Asa and Malinda, “ Asa Bancroft, Died, Feb. 27, 1857, Ae 83 Y’s” and “Malinda, wife of, Asa Bancroft, Died, Dec. 2, 1836, Aged 56”. Nearby next to her 1st husband we find a headstone for Rebecca dated Feb. 18, 1855. “Rebecca, wife of Asa Bancroft & formerly wife of Daniel Page”. We have not discovered a burial record for Mary Tyler Griffin.