REV. WILLIAM HENRY GRIFFIN.
For fifteen years Father William Henry Griffin has been ministering to the spiritual needs of St. John's parish,
New Hanford, being the first resident pastor. He is a native of Massachusetts, having been born in Boston, on the
17th of May, 1864, a son of Daniel and Catherine (Quinn) Griffin, natives of Ireland.
Reared in the paternal home, Father Griffin acquired his preliminary education in the common schools of Boston
and Lynn, following the completion of which he entered St. Thomas College, Villa Nova, Pennsylvania, from which
institution he was awarded the degree of bachelor of arts with the class of 1883, being at that time but nineteen
years of age. Continuing his secular studies he was some time thereafter granted the master's degree. Having previously
decided that his life vocation should be that of the priesthood after finishing his collegiate course, Father Griffin
went to Troy, New York, matriculating at St. Joseph's Seminary where he pursued his ecclesiastical studies for
four years, at the expiration of which period he satisfactorily passed his examination and, on the 26th of May,
1888, was ordained a priest of the Roman Catholic church. After having been assigned to the parishes of Watervliet,
Syracuse, Whitesboro and Oswego, New York, in 1896 the bishop assigned Father Griffin to the pastorate of St. John's
church, of which he was the first resident priest. The church, which was not in the best condition when he assumed
the head of the parish, has been refinished during his ministry and a new organ has been installed. During the
fifteen years of his residence Father Griffin has become well known among both the Protestant and Catholic populace,
and is well regarded by all having especially endeared himself to the people of his parish to whom he has not only
been counselor, adviser and confessor but always friend.
During twelve years of his pastorate he has been chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, Utica Council, No. 189, being
one of the very active workers of that organization. Still a young man, being but forty seven years of age, Father
Griffin yet has many years to spend in the service of the church, whose vows he took at the very early age of twenty
In January, 1883, St. John's church was organised by Bishop McNeirney, of Albany, and Rev. John F. Mullaney was
appointed to the pastorate of Whitesboro, Oneida county, and outstanding missions of New Hanford and Holland Patent,
New York. The Catholic population of New Hartford then numbered about twenty families and the first mass was celebrated
in the town, January 13, 1883. The cornerstone of the church was laid by Bishop McNeirney on the 23d of October
of that year, at 3 o'clock p. m. and present on this occasion was Rev. John F. Lowery, now of Troy, New York. The
property cost twenty thousand dollars and the church was dedicated May 31, 1885, the sermon being preached by Rev.
James Riley, now of Clinton, New York. As a mission church the following priests have attended: Rev. J. F. Mullaney,
Rev. E. R. Prendergast, Rt. Rev. Bishop Grimes, now coadjutor bishop of Syracuse, Rev. George S. Mahon, Rev. W.
H. Griffin, Rev. W. H. Slavin, Rev. William P. Quinn and Rev. Theodore Provost.
When Father Griffin took charge of the church the interior was very incomplete but during his pastorate it has
been newly and artistically decorated, steam heat and electricity have been installed, a new front has been erected,
also a beautiful station of the cross and a new pipe organ put in. Besides this a new rectory has been purchased,
this being the former home of Vice President James S. Sherman and was the home of his grandparents.
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Oneida County, NY
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