William E. Griswold was born on the 7th of October, 1866, upon the farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section
30, Fremont township, which he now owns and operates. His parents were Harvey and Mary E. (Dilenbeck) Griswold.
The father was born in Saratoga county, New York, a son of Josiah and Elizabeth (Van Buren) Griswold, who spent
their entire lives in the Empire state. The latter was a relative of President Van Buren. Josiah Griswold kept
a tavern in New York state for many years. In his family were six children, of whom one son went to California.
Harvey Griswold was the only one of the family to come to this county, arriving here in 1855, and he entered land
from the government, the patents signed by President Pierce being still in the hands of his son, William E. He
entered three hundred and twenty acres at that time and later entered one hundred and twenty acres more, but eventually
sold a part of his land. In 1862 he brought his family here from Janesville, Wisconsin, and he continued to reside
upon his land, which he farmed until his death in 1883, when he was sixty odd years of age. He was a republican
and served upon the board of supervisors and also held a number of township offices. Fraternally he belonged to
the Masonic order. His wife was born in Montgomery county, New York, and went to Wisconsin with her people, where
her marriage occurred. Three children were born there and two were born after the removal of the family to this
county. They are as follows: Hon. Henry J., engaged in the real estate business in Des Moines, was formerly state
representative and state senator. In early life he was a merchant of Winthrop. Arthur M. is a farmer of Fremont
township. Ida E. is the wife of Harry Higman, ex postmaster of Winthrop. Lizzie is the wife of W. B. Miller, a
merchant of Winthrop. William E. is the youngest of the family. The mother died in 1905 at the age of about seventy
two years. Her mother, who in her maidenhood was Miss Catherine Moyer, died at the home of our subject when ninety
years. old. Her birth occurred just three days before that of Abraham Lincoln. In her religious belief she was
William E. Griswold was educated and grew to manhood in Fremont township and after reaching years of maturity was
a carpenter, painter and paper hanger. He followed these occupations for nineteen years, or until his marriage,
after which he removed to the farm where he now resides. It comprises one hundred and sixty acres on section 30,
Fremont township, and as its owner he ranks with the substantial citizens of the county His initiative and well
directed energy insure him good crops and as he studies carefully market conditions he sells to good advantage.
Mr. Griswold was married in Winthrop on the 24th of February, 1903, to Miss Anna Christensen, a native of Denmark
When a child of four years she was brought to America by her parents, Hans and Christina Christensen who now live
retired in Independence. Her father was during his active life a farmer and accumulated a competence. To Mr. and
Mrs. Griswold have been born two children, Wilda Marie, a child of eight years, and Gerald William, four years
Mr. and Mrs. Griswold are members of the Congregational church and are numbered among those whose lives are forces
for good in the community. Mr. Griswold is a republican, but has never accepted office. He belongs to the Masonic
order and to the Modern Woodmen of America and has many friends in those organizations. He is respected by the
community at large and has not only achieved financial success but has also aided in the development of the county.
History of Bachanan County, Iowa
And its People
By Harry Church and Katharyn J. Chappell
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Bachanan County, IA
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