CALVIN W. GRIFFIN         GRAVESTONE PHOTO                      

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








Funeral in Methodist Church at 2:30

Tomorrow Afternoon---In Kansas

Since 1866.  He Established an

Industry Here.


  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 home address.

  Mr. Griffin was well and favorably known throughout this section of Kansas.

  He was a member of the local post, Grand Army of the Republic.


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 Regiment.
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 of 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 was purchased.
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.