Thomas P. Griffin (1845-1924)
Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 8/16/2022 at 20:51:57
Thomas P. Griffin
(October 2, 1845 - December 15, 1924)
There is much in the history of Mr. Griffin to form an interesting life record. Upon the battlefields of the south he underwent all the experiences of war, marching to the drum beat, obeying the call of the commander and charging upon the enemy in defense of the Union cause. He has been a most active factor in the upbuilding of Somers, and the village in large measure is indebted to him for his efforts in its behalf. He has recently completed the finest business block in the city and therein is conducting the Arlington Hotel, the public knowing him as a popular host, giving every attention possible to the comfort of his guests.
Mr. Griffin was born in New Comerstown, Ohio, October 2, 1845, and is a son of Thomas Wesley and Mary (Wilson) Griffin, the former a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and the latter of Washington County, Pennsylvania. The paternal grandfather, William Griffin, was a resident of Baltimore and became one of the successful businessmen of that city, where he spent many years, passing away at the very advanced age of ninety. The maternal grandfather of our subject was David Wilson, one of the heroes of the Revoluyion, who, with brave heart, responded to the call for colonial troops and fought for American liberty. He was long a resident of Pennsylvania, but his death occurred near Washington, Iowa, when he had attained an advanced age.
Thomas W. Griffin, the father of our subject, spent the greater part of his life in Ohio. He served a regular apprenticeship to the painter's trade, becoming an expert workman in that line and followed his chosen vocation for many years. He was very industrious and his capability and enterprise won for him a very comfortable living. He died in Washington County, Ohio, at the age of eighty-three, having long survived his wife, who died at the age of forty-five years. They were the parents of five children, of whom four are yet living, Wilson, who resides in Washington county. Ohio ; Charles A., a resident of the same locality; Mrs. Elvira Barnhart, who is living near Marietta, Ohio; and Thomas P. Mrs. Elizabeth Scott is the one who has passed away.
Thomas P. Griffin is a well-known resident of Calhoun county and his business affairs have been of such a character that they have contributed not alone to his individual success, but have also promoted the general prosperity. He was reared to manhood in Monroe County, Ohio, and in the district schools obtained his education. When the spirit of war was abroad in the land and men from every avenue of life flocked to the standard of the Union, he too, offered his services to the government, although only sixteen years of age, and became a member of the Fourth West Virginia Cavalry, which was assigned to duty in the army of the Potomac under Generals Avernell, Mulligan and Kelly. It was on the 22d of July, 1862, that Mr. Griffin joined the army and while at the front he saw some very hard service, participating in the battles of Winchester, Spottsylvania, Morfield and Harper's Ferry. He was under fire almost every day for six months, fighting bushwhackers and guerillas, and had some narrow escapes. He was also in the hospital for some time, and on the 14th of February, 1864, received an honorable discharge, for his health was so greatly impaired that he was no longer fit for duty.
Returning to Ohio Mr. Grifiin followed various pursuits after regaining his health, and then learned the carpenter's trade to
which he served a regular apprenticeship. He has since followed contracting and building and has also engaged in agricultural pursuits. His residence in Iowa dates from 1880. For a time he made his home in Hancock County, this state, dealing in real estate, and while there was largely instrumental in the upbuilding of the village of Corinth. On leaving that locality he went to Des Moines, where for four years he was engaged in contracting and building. Subsequently he became the owner of a farm in Guthrie County, Iowa, where he remained for three years, and on the expiration of that period removed to Boone. Iowa. Near the city he purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres and continued its cultivation until 1898. Removing to Calhoun County he took up his abode in Somers and his labors have since been of material benefit to the village along lines of substantial progress and improvement. He has here erected a large three-story brick building, at a cost of fifteen thousand dollars, it being one of the best business blocks in this section of the county. The first floor is divided into two good storerooms each twenty-two by sixty feet. The hotel rooms are largely situated on the second floor and the third floor is a hall twenty-four by sixty feet. To his hostelry Mr. Griffin has given the name of the Arlington Hotel, and he conducts a most excellent house which deserves commendation in every department. It is tastefully furnished and the owner puts forth every effort to advance the comfort of his guests, being a most popular and highly esteemed host. He built a livery barn in Somers but has since sold it. He has also erected two dwellings here and his business affairs have ever been of marked benefit to the town.
Mr. Griffin has been twice married. In 1866 he was joined in wedlock to Miss Matilda Cline, who died in 1867 and in 1868
he was again married, his second union being with Louisa John, who was born in Monroe County, Ohio, and by whom he has eight children: George W., Ed. H., Lawrence R., Thomas R., Adda J., Ella, Laura and Grace. Mr. Griffin exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Republican party and is well informed on all the issues of the day. He has served as justice of the peace and in other local offices and while residing in Hancock county, filled the position of postmaster. He holds membership in J. G. Miller Post, No. 67, G. A. R., at Boonesboro, and is connected with the Modern Woodmen of America and the Woodmen of the World. It is not difficult to determine what manner of man is Mr. Grifiin for this has been shadowed forth between the lines of his life history. It is certain that courage is one dement of his nature, for when his country was in peril he bravely met all the hardships and rigors of war in order to protect the Union. He is enterprising and energetic, for without capital he entered upon his business career depending entirely upon his own resources for what he has accomplished. He is also reliable and trustworthy, for he commands uniform respect. All these qualities combine to make him a citizen of value and worth and Somers has reason to be glad that he has identified his interests with hers. [Source – Biographical Record of Calhoun County, Iowa, by S. J. Clarke, 1902, p.336]
Calhoun Biographies maintained by Karon S. Valeu.
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