Biography of the Griswold Family of Darien, NY










The Griswold family in America descended from Sir Humphrey Griswold, of Malvern Hall, England. The first in this country of whom wehave any record were Edward and Matthew, brothers, who came from England about 1645, and settled in Connecticut, Edward at Windsor and. Matthew at Lyme. Edward afterward moved to Killingworth. Matthew was the first magistrate of Saybrook colony, and married Anna, daughter of Henry Wolcott. The seat or manor of the Griswolds at Lyme was a large feudal grant of some eight miles square, bounded on. the west by the Connecticut River, and on the south by Long Island Sound. The buildings were situated upon the height of land overlooking the Sound. The name of the place was "Black Hall." This grant was given to Matthew in 1645. [From genealogical sketch furnished by Benajah Griswold, of Darien.]

Lott K. Griswold, son of Benajah and Hannah (Kilham) Griswold, was born in Enfield, Hartford County, Conn., July 23, 1792, and, as near as can be ascertained, was a descendant of Matthew The family removed to Sangerfield, Oneida County, where the father, Benajah, died.. About 1811 or 1812 they settled in Byron. In 1815 Lott K. Griswold married Phebe Tucker, and settled on a wood land farm; but, to avoid. fever and ague, he removed, to Bennington and commenced anew by cutting the first tree on his "pitch." He moved to his location with a pair of three-year-old steers attached to a cart that carried his goods, and a single cow two years old. This property and a single shilling was his entire fortune. His habitation was a low log cabin covered with boughs; one window without glass, but covered with oiled paper; and not a sawed board in the whole structure. The floor was made of split basswood and hewn with an axe; the door was of the same material, and held together with pegs, swung on wooden hinges. In this primitive abode this pioneer family tesided nine years. The nearest mill was at Batavia, 17 miles distant. Mr. Griswold remained on this farm to see it transformed into a good home, which, in 1852, he sold to his oldest son, Benajah, and removed to Darien and engaged again in farming. He died January 9, 1870, in his 78th year, on the farm of 22 acres where his son John now lives. Mrs. Griswold died June 28, 1874. Their children were born as follows: Benajah, February 14, 1816; Mary, January 19, 1818; John, January 17, 1820; Harriet, October 2, 1821; Sophia, March 17, 1827; Nancy, January 30, 1831; William, August 30, 1833; and Julia, December 26, 1836.

Benajah Griswold, son of Lott K. and Phebe (Tucker) Griswold, spent his boyhood on his father's farm and in attendance at the common school. When he attained his majority he engaged in teaching district school for seven winter seasons, working for the farmers the remainder of each year, until he married Polly Seaver, January 1, 1840, and engaged in farming. In 1852 he purchased his father's farm of 75 acres, which he added to from time to time until it contained 242 acres. In 1860 he sold it and removed to his present house near the depot, which, in honor of him, and for his generosity in giving the railroad company the grounds, bears his name. Mr. Griswold began his political life a Democrat, and so remained until after the formation of the Republican party in 1856, when he cast his lot with it, and has done it good service ever since. He has held the offices of superintendent of the poor for Genesee County nine consecutive years, has been supervisor of his town five years, and early in life was many years town superintendent of schools. He commenced his active life with no capital, except his correct -habits of strict honesty, sterling integrity, and continued persevering industry. He has acquired a competency, and has the respect and confidence of a large circle of acquaintances. Mr. and Mrs. Griswold had three children. Eugene, born February 22, 1841, married Laura Cowan, who died in January, 1888. He was a soldier from 1862 till the close of the war in 1865 and is a farmer and resides with his father. His son Charles C., born February 9, 1867, is conducting his grandfather's farm. De Witt Clinton, born October 30, 1847, married Lizzie, daughter of Dr. Evans, with whom he studied medicine, and is now a druggist at Shullsburg, Wis. Flora (Mrs. George W. Peck) resides in Prattsburg, Steuben County, N. Y. Mr. Peck is a dealer in hardware.


FROM: Gazetteer and Biographical Record
of Genesee County, New York
Edited by: F. W. Beers
J.W. Vose & Co., Publishers, Syracuse, N. Y. 1890

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