CALVIN W. GRIFFIN
Information Contributed by Gene Reynolds,
Grandson of Mr. C.W. Griffin, also a WWII Navy veteran
The Chanute Daily Tribune, Saturday, June 18, 1921, Pg. 1
Vol. XXX, No. 61
C. W. GRIFFIN,
PRESIDENT OF THE
Methodist Church at 2:30
He Established an
C. W. Griffin, president of the Griffin Broom
Company, died at his home, 502 East Chestnut street, at 5:20 o'clock yesterday
afternoon. He had been in failing health for several months, suffering
from cancer, which was the cause of his death. For the past three weeks he
had been confined to his bed.
The funeral services will be held in the Methodist
church tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 o'clock. They will be conducted by its
pastor, Dr. W. A. Keve, and W. M. Gray. The sermon will be by Rev. Gray.
The Grand Army of the Republic will take part.
Mr. Griffin would have been 76 years old Thursday of
next week, having been born
June 23, 1845, in Franklin county, Vermont. He was a
Civil War veteran, enlisting in Company K of the Seventeenth Illinois infantry
and being honorably discharged after serving three years of service.
Immediately after quitting the army he came to
Kansas and in 1866 homesteaded 160 acres of virgin soil in Woodson county, seven
miles northwest of Humboldt.
On September 7, 1867, he married Harriet Alice Smith
in Iola. They were the parents of six children, three sons and three
daughters---Agnes May, Theodore Rush, Harriet Olive, Mrs. H. A. Baxley, Calvin
Willard, and Frank Burr. Mrs. Griffin died several years ago, and one
daughter, Agnes May is also dead.
Mr. Griffin moved to Chanute in April of 1910 and
started the manufacturing of brooms in a small way. The business grew to
such proportions that it was necessary to enlarge the building and in May of
1919 at his instance the Griffin Broom Company was organized. He became
its president and continued to act in this capacity until his death.
He leaves to mourn his loss Mrs. W. I. McReynolds
(daughter) and family, 418 East Chestnut street; F. B. Griffin (son) and family,
416 East Chestnut street; Mrs. William Baxley (daughter) and family of Tulare,
Cali; C. Garrison, husband of Agnes May, deceased (daugthter) and family of
Tulare, Cali; Theodore Rush Griffin and Calvin Willard Griffin (sons) of the
Mr. Griffin was well and favorably known throughout
this section of Kansas.
He was a member of the local post, Grand Army of the
CIVIL WAR VETERAN CALVIN WILLARD GRIFFIN
BORN: June 23, l845 on a small farm, St. Albans Town,
Franklin County, Vermont. He was next youngest in a family of ten.
RAISED: On a farm, Prophetstown, Illinois.
ENLISTED: Union Army at Dixon, Illinois, December 21,
1863, Age 18.
ASSIGNED: As a Private, Company K of Illinois Cavalry
TEIMPORARY BILLET: The overflow of Union Army
enlistees at Dixon, Illinois required the use of temporary billets, in the
private homes of
townspeople. By chance (or perhaps destiny) he was billeted in the home
of Harriet Alice Smith, to whom he would later be married, in 1867.
SERVED: His cavalry company served in the
Kansas/Missouri area. His military record (obtained from National
Archives) recorded that he had blue eyes, brown hair and his height was
5 feet, 6 1/4 inches. Weight was not recorded. Interestingly, his
military record was documented on 3 1/4 inch by 8 inch standard forms, each
carefully handwritten and signed by the copyist. For the fact that they
lived and worked from saddle bags, the entries are remarkably legible and
informative. One humorous entry documented that he was fined 27 cents
for the loss of a curry comb! He was wounded (saber cut) during the raid
Confederate General Sterling Price, in October, 1864.
DISCHARGED: Mustered out December 22, 1865 at Fort
Leavenworth, Kansas. Age 20.
HOMESTEAD: In the fall of 1866, with veteran
privilege, he homesteaded 160 acres of land 7 1/2 miles northwest of Humboldt,
near Owl Creek. After building a log cabin and planting his first crop
in the cleared prairie land, he sent for his bride to be, Harriet Alice Smith,
in late summer, 1867. Certainly she was a bold, pioneer young woman to
leave home, family and friends to travel alone to the remote, sparsely
populated prairie land of Kansas, which had only achieved statehood in
1861! Brave lady!
MARRIAGE; He was married to Harriet Alice Smith,
directly upon her arrival at Iola, Kansas. That was a typical method for
homesteading veterans. In those days the idea of cohabiting before
marriage was unthinkable. To do so was regarded as sinful and
degrading and was not socially tolerated.
FARM DEVELOPMENT; With slow progress and dedicated
effort a house, barn and various out buildings were built, prairie ground
cleared, planted and cultivated. Extra help was required with the crops
which included broom corn and the home manufacture of brooms. Because
shopping trips to Humboldt by spring wagon required a full day, some
extra items of staples were stocked at the farm. By Huckster wagon,
these items, home manufactured brooms were re-sold to neighbors. Due to
the remote region GRIFFIN was designated as a post
office, so he delivered mail to his neighbors also. Early Kansas maps
show GRIFFIN at 7 1/2 miles north-west of Humboldt. Pioneer life was
difficult at best. Threats, harassment and thefts by the Osage Indians was
a constant problem.
FAMILY: Between 1869 and 1886 three daughters and
three sons we born. They were raised on the farm and helped with the
many farm tasks.
MOVE TO CHANUTE: After 43 years on the farm, and
because the home manufacture and sale of brooms was thriving beyond the capability
of the farm equipment, the family moved to Chanute. There, the Griffin
Broom Company was founded and business began. The factory location was a
brick structure at the intersection of Malcolm and
Chestnut streets. (When I last visited Chanute the old building was
still there). Product and sales flourished
within a few years to a manufacturing capability of 100 dozen brooms per day.
It became a thriving growing business.
DEATH OF HARRIET: Calvin's wife, Harriet, passed away
in 19l4. It was at her death that the Griffin plot at Elmwood, #19010015
CIVIL WAR PENSION: The United States Bureau of
Pensions granted Calvin a small pension. No record of the beginning
date or amount is known, but September 20,
1915 amount was increased from $23.00 per month from June 23, l915 to $30.00
per month from from June 23, 1920.
DEATH; Calvin Willard Griffin died June 17, 192l, Age
76. He is buried at Elmwood Cemetery, Plot 19010015011.
GRIFFIN BROOM COMPANY: Continued under management of
Frank Griffin, son, until closure in 1927.