Biography - Thorrit Griffin

THORRIT GRIFFIN, the eldest of a family of four children, was born in Otis, Hamden county, Massachusetts, on the 4th of August, 1802. His parents, John and Eunice Griffin, were both born in Hartford county, Connecticut, and were of English parentage, their parents, long previous to the revolutionary war, having moved from Windsor, England, to the then colony of Connecticut. The subject of this sketch received his early education in the district schools of Hartford, his parents having removed there when he was an infant. When quite a young man, with that trait so characteristic of the Yankee boy, he longed to start out on a trading expedition, and an opportunity was soon afforded him to gratify his desire by a clock company at Hartford, which went him on as one of their traveling agents. He traveled over the states of Mississippi, Arkansas, eastern Texas, and southern Illinois. After his return to Hartford, and when about twenty-three years of age, he was married to Miss Anna Fox, daughter of Thomas and Thankful Fox. Mr. Fox and family were also natives of the "Land of Steady Habits," and during the war for independence he did some good service for his country. After his marriage, Mr. Griffin engaged in farming. In October, 1835, he left the familiar haunts of his boyhood, and, with his family, started for the prairies of Illinois in a two-horse wagon. After a trip of several weeks, they arrived in Greene county, and located at the base of the bluffs, not far from the Illinois river, in township 9, range 13, where he has resided ever since. He says he arrived on the bottom with less than a dollar in money and a team of horses; but, with that Yankee pluck for which the men of the "Nutmeg State" are noted, he set to work to make a home. As a farmer, he has been quite successful, considering his opportunities, having accumulated enough to enable him to pass his latter days comfortably.

Mr. Griffin and wife had a family of five children, three of whom died when quite young. Mrs. Griffin died at their residence on the 17th of November, 1861, and on the 29th of March, 1864, Mr. G. was married to his present wife, Elizabeth Snead.

Mr. Griffin has experienced the many vicissitudes which characterize the lives of the early pioneers. In the earlier part of his farming operations, he would transport his principal produce on flat-boats down the Mississippi river to New Orleans, which, in those early days, was about the best market for the produce of the Mississippi Valley.

As a man, Mr. Griffin is a good specimen of the Yankee, embodying in his composition the traits of industry, economy, and perseverance peculiar to that class of people, and which have served to give him considerable local notoriety. The name of "'Squire Griffin," as he is familiarly called, is known over all the western part of Greene county. He has always been a democrat, of the Jacksonian school – his first vote, he says, was cast for "Old Hickory." For over twenty years he has served as a magistrate in the locality where he resides. 'Squire Griffin, like many of the old settlers, is not possessed of a superabundance of the orthodox views of religion, and he takes considerable pride in saying that during his long life he has never given a fiddler or preacher the amount of a five-cent piece.

When he first settled on his farm, he built himself a comfortable log house, which he claims is good enough to pass the remainder of his days in – he says he has not partaken of the pride of those who were cotemporary with him in the settlement of the county. Although now at the advanced age of seventy years, Mr. Griffin still enjoys excellent health, and possesses the vigor and appearance of a man of fifty; and when telling a story, before his blazing fireplace, on a cold winter day, his eye will sparkle with the accustomed merriment of boyhood. He is what his neighbors rightfully call him, "a genial, clever old gentleman."

Extracted 07 Sep 2018 by Norma Hass from Atlas Map of Greene County Illinois, 1873, page 54.

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