Biography of Worthington F. Griswold
Franklin County, Ohio Biographies





Worthington Franklin Griswold. - A most picturesque, forceful and public spirited figure was the late Worthington Franklin Griswold, who was a member of the oldest and an honored family of Worthington. He was a descendant of Edward Griswold, who with his brother Matthew came from Kenilworth County, England, to Connecticut in 1639 in company with the Rev. Mr. Huit's party.

The pioneer Ezra Griswold was born at Simsbury, Connecticut, December 6, 1767, and died at Worthington, Ohio, October 22, 1822. He was the son of Elisha and Eunice Viets Griswold. He spent his early life in Simsbury. He was married November 8, 1789, to Ruth Roberts, who died May 31, 1847. She was a daughter of Lemuel Roberts.

Ezra Griswold was the father of the following children: Ruth, born August 23, 1790, married Noah Andrews, died October 28, 1856; Ezra, born May 25, 1792; George, born April 17, died April 22, 1794; George Harlow, born May 21, 1795, died March 9, 1876; Melissa, born May 18, 1789, married Caleb Howard, died June 3, 1836; Edwin Jarvis, born July 15, 1801, died January 19, 1821; Emily, born January 28, 1803, died June 21, 1820; Hiram Robert, born May 15, 1805; Sylvia, born August 6, 1808, married Deloss Warren and she died May 23, 1825; Harriet, born November 15, 1810, married Erastus Burr.

Ezra Griswold was a brother of Bishop Alexander Viets Griswold and a friend of James Kilborne and joined in the latter's plans for emigration to Ohio. He subscribed for 500 acres of land in the Scioto Company's agreement of September 15, 1802, and at the age of thirty six he, with his family, left Connecticut through unbroken forests over almost impassable roads to the wilderness called Ohio. The Griswold family used ox teams for the journey while the rest of the company used horses. Such was the condition of the roads that the oxen naturally completed the journey sooner by several days. The Griswold family, therefore, was the first family to settle in Worthington. They left Simsbury September 15, 1803, and reached Worthington October 26, 1803. Ezra Griswold was very active in the affairs of the settlement. He served as clerk of the first parish meeting which was held April 3, 1804, and was also elected reading clerk. He was second in the list of incorporators in 1804 and at a meeting in 1805 was elected second trustee and held that office for many years. He opened the first tavern in 1803 and built the first frame house there in 1805. He is also said to have been the town's first merchant. In 1808 he was elected justice of the peace and held that office during most of the remainder of his life. Upon the organization of New England Lodge No. 4, Free and Accepted Masons, he became the first secretary. Mr. Griswold was admirably qualified for public service but was of a retiring disposition and never sought public office. The present Griswold home in Worthington was built by Ezra Griswold in about the year 1811. He also built the brick house across the street from the homestead, just a little north of it. The trees which surround the old house were planted in 1861.

George Harlow Griswold, son of Ezra Griswold, was born in Simsbury, Connecticut, May 21, 1795, and died in Worthington March 9, 1876. He came to Worthington with his father in 1803 at the age of eight years. He was the first mayor of the town in 1837 and was the recorder when Worthington was incorporated in 1836. For many years he served as postmaster and held various other local public offices. For more than fifty years he was one of the most influential men of the town. At the formation of the Whig party he became an ardent supporter of its principles. Later he joined the supporters of President Tyler and became a stanch Democrat. Like his father and his son, he was much interested in the cause of education and was one of the founders and promoters of the Worthington Academy, of which institution he was the treasurer for many years. With his father he, during a scarcity of currency, issued his individual currency to a large amount, all of which he afterwards fully redeemed. He held successive military positions in the militia up to brigadier general.

On May 21, 1820, he married Mila Thompson, daughter of Judge William Thompson, of Worthington. They were the parents of eight children, as follows: Emily, born May 20, 1821. Married April 16, 1840, to B. F. Johnson, and died January 16, 1848. Caroline, born December 22, 1822, married February 8, 1844, to Cicero Comstock. Harriet, born May 7, 1825, married February 20, 1856, to William Lawrence. Martha born December 9, 1828, married January 19, 1855, to James W. Comstock. Worthington Franklin, born February 2, 1831, died August 5, 1833. Mary, born November 14, 1833, married June 12, 1855, to Henry W. Comstock. Lemora, born February 1, 1837, married May 21, 1857, to John Malcolm Gilbert. And Worthington Franklin, born February 14, 1842.

Worthington Franklin Griswold was born in Worthington, where he received his early education. He was a civil engineer by profession and throughout his life took a prominent part in public affairs. He was particularly interested in education and did much to raise the standard of the local schools. He was of a modest, retiring disposition and never sought election to public office, though he held many and various such local offices during his life. In 1863 he married Fondelia Ruth, daughter of Rev. Peter Stout and Sarah Cannon Ruth. Mr. Griswold died on October 11, 1912. His wife died July 7, 1930. Both are buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery.

To Worthington Franklin and Fondelia (Ruth) Griswold were born fourteen children, as follows. Franklin William, deceased; Mary Comstock, married Col. Sherrard Coleman, lives at Washington, District of Columbia; George Harlow, married (1) Mary Hopkins, (2) Amy Schwarts, lives in Chicago; Harriet, married Edward Miles McCullough, lives in Columbus; Caroline Hulburd, married William H. Fletcher, lives in Cleveland, Ohio; Lawrence William, married Georgia Johnson, lives at Atlanta, Georgia; Mila, married Harlan P. Knapp, lives in Delaware; Ruth, lives in Worthington; Howard Lee, married Cora Roberts, lives in Columbus; Edwin Viets, married Olive Snyder, lives in Chicago; Herbert Worthington, married Jeannette Phillips, lives in Worthington; Edith, married Victor Paul Ligda, lives in Oakland, California; Emily, deceased; a son died in infancy.

Mr. Griswold was a Republican. He was affiliated with the Masonic Lodge and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and was a member of the Franklin County Pioneer Association. He was a communicant of the Episcopal Church.

From:
History of Franklin County, Ohio
By:Opha Moore
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka - Indianapolis 1930


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