Smith County, Texas

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A SMITH COUNTY TEXAS PIONEER:
JOHN THOMAS GRIFFIN

 

William Bruner Griffin and Susannah Wilkins were married in Halifax County VA, 16 March 1825. By 1834, the Griffin family had settled in Georgia. The family migrated to and settled in Alabama before 1850.

  • 1. John Thomas Griffin, born 24 December 1825, Virginia. (more information below)
  • 2. William R. Griffin., born about 1827, Virginia, married Nancy Murray
  • 3. Joseph Griffin, born about 1829, Georgia
  • 4. Elizabeth Susan Griffin, born about 1834
  • 5. Eliza A. Griffin, born about 1835,
  • 6. Richard H. Griffin, born about 1837, and
  • 7. Matilda Griffin, born between 1841-1844.

On 11 November 1849, John Thomas Griffin married Mary Fletcher Steifer in Talladega County, Alabama. There, they made their home for several years. Mary's parents were Philip H. and Elizabeth Steifer (Steifel). The Steifers, also in Talladega County at the time, were from South Carolina.

By 1854, John Thomas Griffin with wife and child, his brother William R. Griffin, and the Philip H. Steifer family had settled in Smith County, Texas. By 1860, the P. B. Killingsworth family had also settled in Smith County, Texas.

John Thomas Griffin died in Smith County TX in 1887; he is buried in Bascom Cemetery, Smith County TX. About 1863 he joined the Confederate Army Service and was discharged in May 1866. John Thomas was a farmer of moderate means.

Mary Fletcher Steifer Griffin was born October 1833 in South Carolina. She died in 1917 and is buried beside her son, Jessee, in Bradford Cemetery, Section 3, Smith County TX. In 1909, Mary reported she was in indigent circumstances, when filing application for J. T.'s Confederate Pension.

John Thomas' in-laws, Philip H. Steifer, an Evangelical Methodist Minister, tanner, and farmer, and family were neighbors. The Steifers had nine children: Mary Fletcher, George McDuff, Eliza Janetta, John M., Phebe A., Edward H., Ned, Columbus, and Philip H.

Phillip B. Killingsworth, born in North Carolina, was also a neighbor and a farmer with considerable acreage in Smith County TX. His wife, Maranda C., was born in Tennessee. The Killingsworths had three children: Ann, James F. and Ondelia, the latter of whom would later marry John Wilkins Griffin, son of John Thomas and Mary F. Griffin.

Of John Thomas & Mary S. Griffin's children, the following is known:

  • 1. Lavinia Griffin
  • 2. Almeda Griffin
  • 3. Martha W. Griffin
  • 4. Sidney Meade Griffin, born 1854, died 1937, married Louie A, born 7 Feb 1865, died 21 December 1918, both are buried in Whitehouse Memorial Cemetery, Smith County, TX
    • 1. Kurt E. Griffin, born 12 October 1881, died 8 March 1964, buried Whitehouse Cemetery, Smith County, TX
    • 2. Virgie Griffin
    • 3. Grace "Gracie" Griffin
    • 4. Thomas Roy Griffin, born 10 May 1892, died 1 April 1986, buried Whitehouse Memorial Cemetery. married 20 May 1916, Smith County, TX Bertha Ida Kitchens, born 28 December 1903
    • 5. Leonidus (Idus) Griffin, born 6 October 1895, died 21 July 1973 - TX Pvt U. S. Army WWI
    • 6. Mary Jean Griffin, born 1905, died 1941, buried Whitehouse Memorial Cemetery, married Cowden
  • 5. George William "Tickie" Griffin, born 4 July 1856 (twin) married Nancy "Nannie" H. McGehee. They were married 5 December 1878 in Smith County TX. Their children were:
    • 1. Clyde Willard Griffin married 24 December 1906, Smith County, TX, Birdie Booth
    • 2. Earl Duvan Griffin, born 28 November 1879, died 27 June 1966, married 23 March 1902, Smith County, TX, Jessie Colvin, born 10 January 1878, died 17 January 1916, both are buried in the Flint Cemetery, Smith County, TX - Descendents* of this family still live in Smith County TX in 2001.
  • 6. John Wilkins "Wickie" Griffin, born 4 July 1856 (twin), married Ondelia Killingsworth, 23 December 1880, Smith County TX. Ondelia was born 19 August 1859 in Texas. John Wilkins was a farmer and Methodist Circuit Rider (MEC South Minister) in Texas. He lived in Smith County most of his life. At the time of his death, he was living with a son in Elmo. He died 21 August 1944 and she died 3 June 1912. They are buried in Elmo Cemetery, Kaufman County TX. Pictures of Rev John Wilkins Griffin and family.
    • 1. Burton A. Griffin, born 27 Oct 1882, died 4 Dec 1960, married 20 April 1904, Smith County, TX Vera Olice Hagan, born 21 Dec 1883, died 29 Jan 1961. Vera is the daughter of James P. Hagan, born 1858, AL, died 1927, TX, and Sudie Jane Bryant, born 1862, AL, died 1953, TX, married 2 December 1880. All are buried in Whitehouse Memorial Cemetery. Their descendents* now live in North Carolina, Texas, Louisana, Alabama, Oregon and Colorado. Hagan Family Pictures
    • 2. Jesse L. Griffin married Etta Davis in Smith County TX on 12 November 1915.
    • 3. Clinton F. Griffin died in Tarrant County TX in 1957.
    • 4. James Linton Griffin married Katherine "Katie" Irene Elizabeth Hinton. They are buried in Elmo Cemetery, Kaufman County TX. Their descendents live in the Houston TX area.
    • 5. Beth or Bessie Griffin married Earl Wheeler.
    • 6. Wynne "Winnie" Griffin married Charles A. "Charlie" Jackson, 25 June 1913, Smith County TX.
    • 7. John Wilkins Griffin, Jr., married Mary Eva Ward, 14 January 1923. John, Jr., was also a Methodist Minister, serving most of his pastorate in the Southwest and West Conferences of Texas. He retired from the fulltime ministry in May 1968 after 39 ½ years and made his home in Bastrop TX. He is buried near a son in Austin Memorial Park, Austin TX.
  • 7. Ola Griffin
  • 8. Laura Ann Griffin, married R. E. Burns, 16 December 1875, Smith County, TX
  • 9. Vena V. Griffin, married O. J. Burns, 19 November 1885, Smith County, TX
  • 10. Jesse Homer Griffin, born 1875, died 1952, buried Bradford Cemetery, Smith County, TX

Descendents of the Burns families still live in Smith County. There may have been two other children with the initials N.E.W. and V.D. but this is uncertain.

*A recent photo of two of George W.'s descendents and one of John W.'s descendents show strong family resemblance to John Thomas Griffin, their gggrandfather.

SOURCES:

1850 & 1860 Federal Censuses, East Texas Genealogical Society, 1984

Cemetery Records, Smith County, Texas, Volume III, East Texas Genealogical Society, 1984

Cemetery Records, Smith County, Texas, Volume IV, East Texas Genealogical Society, 1986

Marriage Records of Smith County - 1846-1899, East Texas Genealogical Society, 1979

Marriage Records of Smith County - 1900-1926, East Texas Genealogical Society, 1999

© and Submitted by Joe & Betty Griffin, June 2001

 

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East Texas Genealogical Society and the Individual Contributors
 

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