Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Siblings of John T. Griffin

An illustration of New York City as it appeared in the mid-to-late 1800s, when my Griffin ancestors lived there.

Having established the parentage of my second great-grandfather, John T. Griffin, I was curious to know more about his siblings.

In the 1850 US Census, Thomas and Eliza Griffin are shown living in New York City Ward 11 (now the Lower East Side) with eight children.

Charles M. Griffin (22)
Joseph W. Griffin (20)
Henry H. Griffin (18)
Elizabeth Griffin (17)
Sarah J. Griffin (12)
John T. Griffin (10)
Susan Griffin (8)
Charles J. Griffin (5)

It is unusual that two of their children, the oldest and the youngest, appear to be named Charles. However, both are listed as children of Thomas and Eliza in the census, and there's no indication that one of them might be a nephew or a step-child.

Five years later, in the 1855 New York Census, Thomas and Eliza are shown living in Brooklyn with the following children:

John (16)
Susan (13)
Charles (10)

The older five children are no longer in the household in 1855.  Charles M., Joseph, Henry and Elizabeth were all in their twenties and presumably living with families of their own at that point. Sarah, at age 17, had also likely married and moved from her parents' home at the time of the census.

The next time the Griffin family appears in a census record, in 1880, Thomas and Eliza have moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Their youngest son, Charles J., is still living with them at age 33.

Having established the names and ages of these children, I was curious to know more about them. While I'm still researching this family, here's what I've learned this far.

Charles M. Griffin was born about 1828.  He is shown with his family in the 1850 US Census, but I cannot find any other record of him before or after that time.  In the census, he is 22 years old and his occupation is ship's carpenter.  This is the same job that his younger brothers, Henry and John, would take up a few years later.

Joseph W. Griffin was born on 29 October 1830 in Scranton, Pennsylvania and lived there with his family until his teenage years, when they moved to New York City.  He married Hannah M. Allen in New York City in 1852, and they settled immediately afterward in Scranton.  Hannah was a grandniece of the Revolutionary War hero Colonel Ethan Allen.  Together, they had six children: George Gordon Griffin (1853-1924) who became a doctor and lived in Washington, Emblem "Blema" Griffin (1857-1928) who married Samuel Snyder and lived in Portland, Oregon, John T. Griffin (1861-1941) who married Edith and lived in Seattle, Washington, Mary J. Griffin (1864-1925) who married Walter Sullivan and lived in Washington, D.C., Carrie B. Griffin (1870-1903) who married Ora Edward Carey and John Allen Griffin (died in infancy).  Joseph and Hannah lived at 1156 Academy Street in Scranton.  Joseph worked as a gate keeper, according to the 1860 and 1870 US Census.  This occupation can have a variety of meanings, but it most likely meant that Joseph controlled purchasing for a local company.  Hannah died in 1908.  Joseph died of prostate cancer at the age of 83, in 1914.  He is buried next to his wife in Chinchilla, Pennsylvania.

Henry H. Griffin was born about 1832 in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  He was a teenager when his family moved to New York City.  In 1856 he married Mary Powell in New York City.  Together they had three children: Sylvanus Griffin (1857-1909) who married Cornelia Freer, Ira Griffin (1864-1920) who married Catherine Tucker, and Spencer Griffin (b. 1870) who married Elizabeth.  Like his brothers Charles M. Griffin and John T. Griffin, Henry Griffin worked as a ship's carpenter, according to the 1880 census.

Elizabeth Griffin was born about 1833 in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  She was living with her parents and siblings in New York City in 1850, per the US Census, but after that she disappears from records. She likely married soon afterward and assumed a new surname, but I haven't been able to trace her yet.

Sarah J. Griffin was born about 1837 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She was raised in New York. Many online trees claim that Sarah married Henry Sommers in Scranton in 1855, but I think that may have been a different Sarah.  As of now, I don't know the fate of Sarah Griffin.  She was not listed in her parents' household in 1855, when she was about age 17, so she either married or died around that time.

John T. Griffin (1838-1933) was my second great-grandfather.  I've written quite a bit about his life, marriages and children in previous posts.  He was married three times, to Ellen Pearsall, Anne Dickson and Elizabeth Rice.  He fathered six children: Ella May Griffin (1862-1949), who married Hiram Palmer, Howard B. Griffin (1864-1918), who married Charlotte Pearsall, Clarence Griffin (1866-?), Milton A. Griffin (1876-?) who married Melitta Becker, Harry Pearsall Griffin (1879-?), who married Leah Bache, and George Roscoe Griffin (1895-1962) (name later changed to George Roscoe Oliver Rutherfurd) who married Julia Ellen Barrett.

Susan Griffin was born about 1842 in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  She was still young when her parents moved to New York City.  She is seen in the 1850 and 1855 census records with her parents, and after that I can't find any trace of her.  Most likely, she married and her surname changed, but I haven't found the records yet.

Charles J. Griffin was born about 1847 in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  He was quite young when his family moved to New York City, and he spent most or all of his childhood there.  Later, he moved with his parents back to Pennsylvania.  In the 1880 census, at age 33, he is single and living with his parents in Scranton.  His occupation is listed as carpenter.  Unfortunately, after this time I can find no record of Charles.

There is clearly much more to learn about John Griffin's siblings.  The fate of most of them remains unknown to me.  I will continue to research this family and hope to uncover more information.

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