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Full text of "Griffith-Stebbins : a family history"

cs 

71 

.G7443 
G7425 
1920 



GRIFFITH-STEBBINS 



£Rl 



HAROLD B. LEE LIBRARY 

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY 

PROVO, UTAH 



GRIFFITH-STEBBINS 

A FAMILY HISTORY 



// is indeed a desirable thing to be well descended, but the 
glory belongs to our ancestors.— Plutarch. 



1920 



( b. 1660 

Rev. Daniel Phillipps....-< m. 1712 to Anne 

vv \ d. 1722. 



( b. 1721 

Mary Phillipps < m. Rev. d. 



b. 1721 

Williams: d. 1746 



i b. 1 

Mary Williams \ m. ] 

t d. 1 



b. 1766 

Rev. Rees Harris 

822 



b. 1796 

Emanuel Davies 



( b. 1796 

Dorothy Harris < m. to Rev. 

J \ d. 1855. 



( b. 1796 

Morv DaviV* ) m - 1823 t0 Rev - Griffith Humphrey 

IViary l^avies <v Griffith; b. 1797, d. 1832; 

? d. 1876. son of Humphrey G. 



( b. 1824 in Wales 

Reese Harris Griffith.... < m. 1852 to Susan p. stebbins 

I d. 1904. 



( b. 1594 

Rowland Stebbins < m. Sarah; b. 1591, d. 1649 

( d. 1671. 

C b. 1620 

Thomas Stebbins < m. 1645 to Hannah Wright; d. 1660 

( d. 1683. 

( b. 1646 

Samuel Stebbins < m. 1679 to Joanna Lamb; d. 1684 

( d. 1708. 

{b. 1683 
m * ^A^^d 11 ^ 11 HitChC ° Ck; b - 
d. 1767. 

( b. 1722 

Luke Stebbins < 

( m. 1755 to Sarah Norton; d. 1764 

/ b. 1758 

Samuel Stebbins ) m « 17 ^% z % 8 ^ Boardman; b. 

( d. 1833. 

/ b. 1794 
Samuel B. Stebbins ) m - 1823 to Laura Bestor; b. 1797, 

( d. 1860. 

( b. 1826 

Susan P. Stebbins / m. 1852 to Reese H. Griffith; 

I d. 1917. 



FOREWORD 



We have the best authority — the Bible itself — for 
holding in remembrance our ancestors. Seldom do 
the inspired writers mention a name, without adding 
"son of." Blessings are promised to children and 
children's children. Happy are those whose parents 
could claim such promises. Hence happy are we of 
the Griffith and Stebbins families, for our parents 
certainly could and did claim them for us. Common 
gratitude demands that we know something about 
them. 

For twenty years the family home at Rushville, Illi- 
nois, was a real home for our two grandmothers, and 
there they brought their treasures, consisting largely 
of books and letters. When we two were left alone 
in that home we brought those letters from the trunks 
in the attic and read them with great interest. 

We remember, too, bits of experience, told us by 
grandmothers and parents. All of these we will try 
to weave together for our brothers and their children, 
lest even the names of our ancestors be forgot. One 
will write of the Griffith family, the other of the Steb- 
bins. 

Effie Bestor Griffith. 
Laura Ella Griffith. 

December, 1918. 



GRIFFITH 
1660-1918 

Father was always proud of his Welsh ancestry. At 
one time we asked him to write something of the his- 
tory of the family and we will quote a part of what he 
wrote : 

"Where did the Griffiths come from? Blessings on 
this good old Welsh stock! In our family it is pure 
and choice, the same blood that gathered around the 
walls of Caernarvon Castle, and, defeated as they 
were, declared to the Saxon monarch that they would 
never serve any sovereign that was not born on Welsh 
soil. In Caernarvon Castle was born that day a son. 
Edward took the child in his arms, climbed the bat- 
tlements of the castle and cried to the Welsh priests 
and nobles, who had come down from the mountains : 
'Here is your sovereign, the Prince of Wales !' One 
joyful shout was heard, their arms were thrown down 
and from that day the eldest son of the British mon- 
arch has been known as the Prince of Wales and the 
Principality of Wales has been a part of Great Brit- 
ain. 

"A few miles south of Caernarvon, in North Wales, 
is a little fishing village, named Pwlheli. Here lived 
on his farm of a few acres on the seashore one Hum- 
phrey Griffith. I know little about him except 
that he had a large family of sons and daughters and 
that one of his daughters told me that a bookseller 
once came to him and he bought for each of his chil- 
dren a large folio Welsh Bible. The one that my 
father received is in my possession today and will de- 
scend, I hope, to my eldest son and from him to his 
eldest son and so be a perpetual heirloom in the fam- 



ily. Two sons of Humphrey Griffith came to Amer- 
ica, Richard Walter and Griffith Humphrey. The 
latter had been a draper or dry goods merchant in 
Pwlheli. 

"In South Wales was a chapel called Hanover, near 
the rural village of Llanover. Only a few steps dis- 
tant was the manse, but, alas, the youthful pastor had 
no helpmeet ! So he, the Rev. Emanuel Davies, came 
up to Pwlheli, like Jacob, in search of a wife. Two 
miles from the town was the Gwynfryn farm, on 
which lived another Independent minister, Rev. Rees 
Harris, with his wife, two sons and one daughter. To 
this daughter the young minister told the tale ot his 
lonely home. It fell on not unwilling ears and soon 
Dorothy Harris went to Hanover as the wife of Eman- 
uel Davies. 

"Children came, nine in all. As the cage was small, 
a daughter, Mary Davies, went to Pwlheli to the 
Gwynfryn farm to live with the aged grandmother. To 
cheer her in her loneliness came up from the village 
Griffith Humphrey Griffith, the young merchant. 
Whether it was the atmosphere of the old minister's 
home, or some other influence that was brought to 
bear, I know not, but this I know, the store was closed, 
the yard stick was thrown down and the Rev. Griffith 
Humphrey Griffith married Mary Davies. A grand, 
good bargain it was for young Griffith. I don't think 
he could have found her equal in all Wales with the 
United Kingdom thrown in. 

"The marriage was in 1823. On Nov. 5, 1824, a son 
was born. The neighbors said he was a 'proper child' 
and he was duly baptized in Pen Lang Chapel, 
Pwlheli, where I myself read the record of the bap- 
tism. He was given the name of his great-grandfather, 
Rees Harris, and he 'still lives.' 



"The next spring father, mother and child came to 
America and settled in Somers, New York, where the 
father became the pastor of the Presbyterian church. 
More children were born to them, in all three sons and 
one daughter. 

"How they moved to the wilds of Michigan in 1832 : 
how the father died, and then the little daughter soon 
after : how the mother was left with the three boys, the 
oldest only seven, and with very little money, but 
with wonderful health and energy, with unconquer- 
able will, with intense devotion to her children and 
with a holy confidence in God and love for Him and 
His church: all this and a great deal more I cannot 
tell now. 

"How God has led us, children, grandchildren and 
great-grandchildren, you all know and we will praise 
Him through all eternity for our Godly progenitors 
and for all the way He has led them and us." 

Although father did not mention it, and cared lit- 
tle about it save to be amused, some branches of our 
family glory in the fact that we, at one time, belonged 
to the nobility, only escaping through an untitled 
younger son. , . 

The first of our ancestors of whom we have positive 
knowledge, is Rev. Daniel Phillipps, whose father was 
probably a younger brother of Sir John Phillipps of 
Picton Castle. The Rev. Daniel Phillipps was born 
in 1660. In 1684 he took charge of the church at 
Pwlheli, succeeding Rev. Mr. Maurice, another Inde- 
pendent minister, a non-conformist, one of the ejected 
and once shot at in his pulpit. 

In 1712 Daniel Phillipps married the widow of Mr. 
Maurice, Anne, the owner of the farm Gwynfryn. We 
do not know how long Gwynfryn had belonged to 
the family, but it was the home of at least four sue- 



ceeding generations. Daniel Phillipps died there in 
1722. We have his shorter catechism, printed in 1696, 
and in which he wrote his name. 

Daniel and Anne Phillipps had five children, two 
sons, who become ministers, and three daughters, 
who married ministers. In 1723, the year follow- 
ing the death of Daniel Phillips, Anne married Rev. 
Richard Thomas. 

Quite a record had Anne, with three husbands, two 
sons and three sons-in-law all ministers. In 1870 
no less than fourteen of her descendants were or had 
been ministers, including the husbands of daughters. 
In Father's generation there was but one, Rev. Alden 
Davies of London. In our own, for the first time in 
at least two hundred and fifty years, there is not one 
ordained minister. 

We have a Welsh Bible, printed in 1717, in which is 
written : 

"Anne Thomas, her book, 1723. 

"Mary Williams, her book, daughter of the above. 

"Mary Harris, her book, daughter of the above 
Mary Williams, 1760. 

"The gift of the above Mary Harris to her grand- 
daughter, Mary Davies, in the year 1817." 

Father wrote his name under his mother's. 

We know nothing of Anne's daughter Mary, who 
was born in 1721, except that she married Rev. D. Wil- 
liams, but her daughter Mary was the wife of Rev. 
Rees Harris of Gwynfryn, and the grandmother with 
whom Grandmother Griffith lived. She was an aristo- 
cratic soul and would not allow Grandmother to as- 
sociate with the children of the village, for fear that 
she might learn the Welsh language, which was not 
good form then, as it was later. She never did speak 
Welsh, although Grandfather Griffith did. 



Grandmother's father, Rev. Emanuel Davies, who 
married Dorothy Harris, was minister at Hanover for 
forty-eight years. When Father was three months old, 
his mother took him there to visit her parents and we 
have several letters which Grandfather wrote to her. 
They are in excellent English and give interesting ac- 
counts of his daily life; of his trouble in getting the 
maid up in the morning; of eating his meals, while 
holding a book with one hand, as he does not have his 
"dearest Mary to converse with." He supposes she 
will "shorten the little petticoats of Rees Harris soon 
so as to be able to display his pretty little feet." 

They were then considering the tremendous under- 
taking of emigrating to America. Of course some of 
their friends remonstrated. One thought it was espe- 
cially important that a man who could preach either 
in Welsh or English should remain in Wales. One 
minister urged that if he really must have a change of 
country he should go to Madagascar! The needs 
there were so great ! 

However, in the spring of 1825, when Father was 
five months old and his parents twenty-eight, they 
were brave enough to venture all, and leaving weep- 
ing relatives and friends, sailed away to an unknown 
land. 

Very soon after their arrival Grandfather was em- 
ployed by the "Missionary Society" to travel in their 
interest. It gave him an opportunity to become ac- 
quainted with the country and people and, as his fa- 
ther-in-law wrote, "to improve the English delivery of 
his sermons." He was so well received and liked by 
everyone that he wrote to Grandmother: "I entirely 
forget that I am a stranger in a strange land." 

In June, soon after arriving in New York, Grand- 
mother wrote to her mother's brother, Rev. Theophilus 



Harris of Philadelphia, and received a cordial welcom- 
ing letter from him. Later the families exchanged vis- 
its and it is evident from his letters to her and to 
Grandfather, that Uncle Theo. became fond of them 
both. We have a copy of a hymn book, which he had 
partly compiled and which he gave to Grandmother, 
having written in it her name and his own. He had 
married a widow, Mrs. Henderson, with one son, 
Samuel Henderson, who always called Grandmother 
cousin, although, of course, no relation. He became 
a prominent lawyer of Philadelphia, and lived in the 
old Henderson home, Lynganoir, which still belongs 
to his daughters, Mrs. Dade and Miss Henderson. 

In September of that first year in America, Grand- 
father received an urgent and unanimous call to the 
church at Somers, New York. While considering the 
matter the Missionary Society wrote that he must do 
what was best and right, but they would part with 
him with sincere regrets, adding: "Stay with us." 

At first the church of Somers thought they could 
pay only three hundred dollars, which, Grandfather 
wrote to his wife, would be a large salary in Wales, 
but small here. They decided to accept the call and 
on October 3, 1825, began their labors. Great-grand- 
father Davies wrote to them, from his own experience 
as a minister: "May you both be wise as serpents and 
harmless as doves. This is peculiarly necessary for a 
minister and his family, particularly his wife." We 
may well be proud of that great-grandfather and the 
ten letters we have, which he wrote to his daughter, 
prove it. We also have four written by his wife, dear 
Dorothy Harris Davies, whose oil portrait Cousin Carl 
Jenkins has. They had a large family to provide for, 
and so Great-Grandfather added to their income by 
keeping a school, as most ministers did in those days, 



unless they had farms ! When apologizing for tardi- 
ness in writing he said "I have thirty-six scholars, 
many of them learning arithmetic; therefore I have 
much writing every day, and to write by candlelight 
is not pleasant." In another letter: "I wish I were in 
your land of liberty also." "You accepted the best 
step for your own comfort and that of your posterity." 
In 1826 he had a Sunday school of forty scholars and 
his sons and daughters were the teachers. One of his 
daughters taught a school and received "thirty-five 
pounds per annum with house and fire." 

There was much emigrating to this country about 
that time and he wrote: "The state of the nation is 
distressing. Trade and commerce are very low. The 
Government is doing all it can to mitigate the evil. 
Our king and his ministers are very patriotic. There 
is a bill now (1831) in Parliament to reform the House 
of Commons." 

In October, 1830, when Grandfather was in Utica, 
New York, for a few days with some relatives, he wrote 
to his wife: "I have been urged very hard to preach 
in a Welsh church, but have absolutely refused. How- 
ever, I spoke a little at the communion table yester- 
day and I was astonished at the clearness, appropri- 
ateness and force with which I was able to express 
myself in the Welsh. It is truly a noble language." 
He had then been in this country more than five years, 
preaching, writing and talking in English — hence his 
surprise. 

In the same letter he wrote "I have a present for 
Rees of Watts' Hymns, from Cousin Margaret." The 
lad was not quite six years old! Also, "I have got a 
geography for Rees Harris, which will please you very 
much. It is in the colloquial style and diverts the sci- 
ence completely of its dryness. It has nine or ten 



maps and upwards of fifty plates." We have that 
geography now, and it was written in 1788, so was 
forty-two years old then, proving what treasures books 
were. It tells of the thirteen states, of New York City 
with thirty thousand inhabitants and Philadelphia 
with forty-five thousand. Congress had decided that 
year that American money should be in mills, cents, 
dimes and dollars instead of pounds and shillings. It 
gives the number of known varieties of birds, snakes, 
etc., in this country. It is truly interesting for us 
and the science divested of its dryness — but we hope 
it was not administered to the small boy for a few 
years. 

Grandfather's brother, Richard, came to this coun- 
try in 1826, and lived in New York City. In about 
1830, when he was a widower, with one son, Thomas, 
he visited his brother, in Somers, and found there an- 
other guest, Sarah Harris, daughter of Uncle Theo. 
of Philadelphia, and cousin of Grandmother. Ro- 
mance followed and they were married. Their home 
was in New York, then in Cuba, and later in Phila- 
delphia, and their children were Richard, Mary, Al- 
fred, Henderson and Warren. Another daughter of 
Uncle Theo.'s, Ann, married Mr. Wilstach. Their col- 
lection of paintings, valued at one million dollars, they 
bequeathed to the city of Philadelphia, with one mil- 
lion dollars to house, care for and add to it. It is now 
in Fairmont Park. 

Grandfather Griffith remained with the church at 
Somers until the summer of 1832, when he decided to 
go west, hoping the change would benefit his health, 
which had become very poor. In July he left his fam- 
ily in Detroit and went on to Tecumseh, Michigan, 
where a church without a pastor welcomed him glad- 
ly. He wrote to his wife that he was well pleased and 



would come for her very soon, that he had bought a 
farm of eighty acres, one mile from the court house 
for six hundred dollars. He said "I bought it so that 
I can redeem my pledge to my little boys that they 
should have a large yard and a beautiful one. The 
farm, say good judges, is a great bargain." The man 
of whom he bought it gave him the original patent, 
signed by J. Q. Adams, and which we now have. He 
also wrote: "Charge Mr. Roberts about getting the 
pup. It is to be Rees Harris' dog. Don't fail, because 
it is important." The country was evidently not as 
wild as he had expected, for he wrote: "These are 
a clever people. I think you'd better get your silk 
dress made and bonnet fixed." 

He started to go for his family, but was taken sick 
at Ypsilanti and wrote that he would not be able to 
proceed that week and asked Grandmother to come to 
him. The illness proved to be cholera, which was ter- 
ribly prevalent then and for several succeeding sum- 
mers, and he died before she arrived. He had the best 
of care in the home of Rev. Ira Weed, who, when we 
were children, came to Rushville and preached for 
three months, a guest at our house. 

Twenty-five years ago I spent a day in Ypsilanti, 
with Mrs. Weed and daughter and was told many in- 
teresting things about Grandfather and Grandmother, 
both of whom Mrs. Weed admired greatly. They took 
me to the cemetery to visit Grandfather's grave, and it 
was a real surprise to me to see "aged thirty-five." I 
had always thought of him as "grandfather." Laura 
and I were there last year. The grave is in a beautiful 
spot and has perpetual care. 

Thus ended, so early, a life full of promise. A few 
months after his arrival in this country, while he was 
traveling for the Missionary Society, he was given this 



letter by one minister to another: "The Rev. Mr. 
Griffith has been with us more than a week, and has 
preached for us three times. I cannot forbear giving 
him my warmest recommendation to you and your 
congregation. I consider his talents of the highest or- 
der. His theological sentiments are perfectly ortho- 
dox, his piety undisputed and his disposition amiable. 
He is just such a man as I would, as a member of a 
congregation, choose for my instructor and pastor. 
Although a foreigner, this is the country of his choice. 
He has none of the conceits and self-sufficiency of the 
Briton. He is a republican and American in his prin- 
ciples and feelings. Your brother joins me in this un- 
qualified recommendation." The brother referred to 
was a member of the Congress of the United States. 

A Mrs. Norris of Ypsilanti, who was with Grand- 
father when he died, wrote years later that she had al- 
ways thanked God for granting her the privilege of 
witnessing so triumphant a death. 

Naturally, Grandmother was overwhelmed at being 
left alone in a strange country, with four small chil- 
dren and only the poor little farm for support. At 
first she thought of trying to manage the farm her- 
self, but finally decided to take a small house in town 
and open a private school. The infant daughter died 
a few weeks after the father. The farm was rented, 
the school begun and kept up for nearly twenty years. 
The people of the church and town were kind to the 
minister's widow, in many ways. One man loaned her 
a cow, and when, some time later he gave it to his 
daughter, friends bought another and presented it to 
her. Records divulge the fact that the cost of that 
cow was ten whole dollars ! 

Grandmother Griffith was really a remarkable wo- 
man. Of great strength of character, of unusual edu- 



cation and culture for those days, always careful of 
her personal appearance, dignified, as befitted the wid- 
ow and descendant of clergymen, equally at ease in 
conducting a "female prayer meeting" or in social af- 
fairs, she was admired, revered and loved by friends 
and acquaintances. 

When Grandfather died, her nearest relative in 
America was a younger brother, Emanuel, who had 
come to this country two years before, when he was 
only nineteen. He was then living near Detroit and 
wrote to his sister that he hoped soon to visit her, ask- 
ing if the stage went all the way from Detroit to Te- 
cumseh. We do not know whether he did go or not, 
but the next summer, 1833, some business opening 
sent him south and on the way he wrote from Cincin- 
nati, and was never heard of again, disappearing ut- 
terly. Friends tried to trace him, but failed and de- 
cided that he may have had cholera and was put off 
of boat or stage in some small town. Three years later 
his father asked in a letter if the boy's trunk was ever 
found, but it was not. His mother wrote: "All of 
Emanuel's letters breathed piety." 

In one letter from her father, Grandmother is told : 
"You are much better off than you could be as a min- 
ister's widow in Britain." In another she is admon- 
ished : "Introduce your sons early to the classics," and 
she certainly did, for Father could read Latin when 
nine years old. She managed to give her boys thor- 
ough educations and they were ambitious enough to 
make real efforts themselves. We know that Father 
studied for a time at a branch of Michigan University, 
in Monroe. They all taught country schools when 
very young. One year Father clerked in a store in 
Munroe, when he was about sixteen, and was paid 
fifty dollars a year and board. We have his expense 



account, and he not only bought his own clothes and 
some things for his mother, but finished the year with 
a splendid letter of recommendation and a few dollars 
to his credit. It was the rule of his life to spend less 
than his income, whatever that income was. 

During some of those years there were dark days, 
and Grandmother had to put a mortgage on her farm, 
and the holder of that mortgage, a wealthy lawyer, re- 
newed it at 10 per cent! Let me say here that Father 
managed to pay off a large part of it while teaching 
school in the south. 

Some letters from Britain received during those 
years have interested us. One, written in 1830, by a 
cousin of Grandmother's, Rice Hopkins, a civil engi- 
neer in partnership with his father, his brother being 
an architect. They were quite celebrated, and had, a 
short time before, built the longest bridge in Great 
Britain. He wrote that the Queen had passed over it 
soon after its completion and "we erected, at consid- 
erable expense, triumphal arches." "By her majesty's 
permission our men took the horses from her carriage 
and drew it over the bridge. My father, brother 
Thomas and I walked by the side of the carriage and 
her majesty conversed with my father in the most 
affable manner for nearly half an hour. She expressed 
herself highly gratified at the attentions showed her 
and thanked my father for them." All of which meant 
much to her loyal subjects. 

One of Grandfather's sisters married Rev. William 
Ambrose, "one of the most famous and beloved of 
Welsh hymn writers." He always wrote under the 
nom de plume "Emrys." A Welshman gave Arthur 
a hymn book containing several of his hymns, one of 
them marked "Always sung at funerals." The Welsh 
have a wonderful annual musical event, "Eisteddfod," 



attended by thousands. Each year they select, by 
vote, the favorite poet, or "bard," and he was crowned 
and given a silver medal at the last session. Uncle 
Ambrose was so honored several times. When Father 
visited Aunt Ambrose, after Uncle's death, she showed 
him the medals, and as he was greatly interested, she 
gave him two, and they are now among our treasures. 
Surprise has been expressed, by both Welsh and Eng- 
lish people, because they were allowed to be taken out 
of that country, so highly are they valued. One of the 
medals is dated 1838, the other 1857. We have also 
steel engravings of Uncle Ambrose, taken from maga- 

zines. 

In the summer of 1845, when Father was twenty 
years old, he planned to go to Princeton to study the- 
ology, but was persuaded by friends in Bedford, N. Y., 
to go there first and study with the minister for a few 
months, and begin work at Princeton the first of Janu- 
ary. In August he made the long, tedious journey, 
waiting days at Detroit for a boat to take him to Buf- 
falo, then crossing New York state by canal, at such 
a slow rate that occasionally he walked for a rest. At 
Albany he took a Hudson river packet for New York 
City, where he visited a few days, writing home of 
"sight seeing in Gotham." Then on to Bedford, where 
he was cordially received by friends of his parents. In 
October he was very ill and the doctor ordered all 
study stopped. He was an invalid during the entire 
winter and the journey home to his anxious mother 
could not be attempted until the latter part of March. 
Even then friends feared he would not live to finish it, 
and expected never to see him again. So ended all 
his hopes of becoming a minister. His health did im- 
prove and the next October he was teaching again, 
writing to his brother, Humphrey, that he was to have 



eighteen dollars a month, and his board, for five 
months, so would have a nice sum of money by spring 
if he could keep his health. 

Uncle Humphrey went south in 1846. As Father 
was frail and had trouble, particularly with his throat, 
he decided, in the fall of 1847, to join his brother in 
Pikeville, Miss. While on the Tennessee river the 
water was so low that the boat could go no further 
than Buzzard's Roost, Alabama. Father found that a 
teacher was needed there, and, taking the school, re- 
mained about a year, going then to Florence, Ala- 
bama. Uncle Humphrey was there too for a while 
and, as Father enjoyed telling, was known as "the 
handsome Mr. Griffith," to distinguish him from his 
older brother ! 

One Sunday, Father rode horseback to Buzzard's 
Roost to church and saw a face which captured him at 
once. He vowed to himself that he would have that 
girl if he could possibly manage it. She was Susan 
Stebbins, and a most ardent courtship was begun. We 
came through that part of Alabama a few weeks ago, 
for we are writing in Florida. It is a beautiful, rolling 
country, and the trees were gorgeous in their autumn 
coloring. Cotton fields were white and darkies were 
at work in them, picking. We had heard so much 
about it that it seemed a dear familiar picture and we 
could easily go back the seventy years and imagine 
those young people driving or riding horseback on 
those wonderfully attractive roads. 

They were such dear young people, those two. In 
all the letters from them or to them, there is nothing 
we could wish to have blotted out. Both were loved, 
honored and thoroughly trusted by relatives and 
friends. They taught in private schools, always carry- 
ing some study of their own. In three months, Father 



learned French well enough to read it, taking part of 
the noon hour for study. 

Mother was not easily won. We know that Father 
was in the depths of despair at times, but in 1851, 
when Grandfather Stebbins and his family moved to 
Quincy, Illinois, it had been decided that Father could 
follow and claim his bride. 

In the meantime Grandmother Griffith went on 
with her school, sometimes having thirty pupils. 
Uncle Theophilus was at home, teaching a while, then 
learning the tinner's trade. 

In 1848 they were greatly excited over the comple- 
tion of a railroad to Tecumseh. 

In 1849 telegraph wires came and went on to Chi- 
cago, and Grandmother was soon amazed and delight- 
ed to receive a "telegraphic communication" from 
Father. It seemed a miracle for letters, with their 
slow progress by stage and river, had often been as 
long a time coming from the south as from Wales. 

In 1849 when the gold fever was epidemic, Grand- 
mother was at once alarmed about Uncle Humphrey. 
He had always been unsettled, moving about at any 
whim, and she felt sure he "would contract the dis- 
ease," as she wrote to Father, begging him to do all 
in his power to dissuade him if such were the case. He 
went, all the same, among the first, and we have let- 
ters written on the way and after arriving in Cali- 
fornia. He was only twenty-three and enjoyed the ad- 
venture. He found little gold, but tried one thing af- 
ter another, finally going on with law studies, begun 
years before, and became one of the best known and 
successful lawyers of the state. He drifted into poli- 
tics and was in the state senate. A few months before 
his death, in 1864, he was urged to be a candidate for 
Governor of California. 



Grandmother's farm did well, and in 1850, when 
she sold two hundred bushels of wheat for seventy-five 
cents a bushel, she finished paying off the mortgage. 
So the next year, September, 1851, her school having 
dwindled to eight pupils, because of the growing popu- 
larity of the public schools, she decided to take a va- 
cation and visit relatives and friends in the east. 

Uncle Theo. went with her, and while she visited 
in Somers, Bedford and Croton Falls, New York, ev- 
erywhere being "received with cordiality, bordering 
onto enthusiasm," he worked at his trade in New York 
City, where he not only learned the latest things in 
the business but invested his earnings in fine raiment 
for the Philadelphia visit. The glories of the broad- 
cloth clothes, satin vest, silk hat and wondrous neck- 
tie and collar and cane were perpetuated in a daguer- 
reotype which we recently sent to his sons in Kan- 
sas City. 

They had a delightful winter. In Philadelphia they 
found Grandmother's aunt and forty-two cousins, who 
entertained them royally. 

Before she went east Grandmother wrote to Father 
that she thought it would be best to sell her farm, 
for many repairs were needed and she did not care to 
make the outlay. During the winter it was sold for 
two thousand dollars — twenty-five dollars per acre — 
and as Father and Uncle Theo. wanted to go into busi- 
ness they borrowed the money from her. 

In February Father went north to look for a loca- 
tion. At Quincy he heard of Rushville, then a very 
promising town, and after a tour of inspection the de- 
cision was made and the firm of Griffith & Brother 
began its career, March 1st, 1852. 

Back Father went to Quincy and on the fifteenth 
day of March was married, taking his bride to St. 



Louis by boat for a wedding journey, and incidentally 
to buy goods for the new store. 

During the first year Father taught school, doing 
the office work of the business at night. For a few 
months they boarded and Mother taught too; then 
they began housekeeping and invited Grandmother 
Griffith to make her home with them. She came that 
summer and Mother gave her a daughter's care for 
twenty-four years, during the last seven of which she 
was an invalid from paralysis. She died in January, 
1876, in her eightieth year. 

Uncle Theo. was married in the summer of 1852 to 
Helen Munger, a lovely girl, barely eighteen years old. 
She and Mother were always very dear friends. 

After a few years of hard work in the business, 
Father's health was impaired and his doctor said he 
must be outdoors, so he bought horses and wagon and 
drove for months all over that part of the state, selling 
tinware to dealers in small towns, and combining 
financial and physical profit. 

During the Civil War the young merchants had a 
trying time and both families were becoming large, 
with correspondingly large expense accounts, and it 
seemed best for one of them to go elsewhere. Father 
gave Uncle his choice — to go or stay — and he decided 
to go. In 1864 he moved to Battle Creek, Michigan. A 
few years later he lived in Southern Illinois, but about 
1872 was appointed Indian Agent, an office he re- 
tained for more than two years. After a little bank- 
ing experience in Texas he went into insurance in 
Lawrence, Kansas, which was his home for several 
years, until his death. 

The first break in our family was the death of Mary, 
the oldest child, September, 1864, at the age of eleven. 
It was an overwhelming grief for Father and Mother. 



Not many weeks after that Uncle Humphrey died, 
leaving two orphan children. It took a long time for 
letters to come and go from California, but it was 
finally arranged that the children should come to us. 
In the summer of 1867 they made the long journey 
by ship to New York via Panama. They had been 
with different people and were sent separately. Mary, 
thirteen years old, was under the care of a man and 
his daughter, who brought her all the way to Illinois. 
But Humphrey, only ten, came alone. The captain 
of the ship was asked to look after him and friends of 
Father's met him in New York and put him on a train 
for the west, wiring to Father, who met him some- 
where in Indiana. The Rushville home was small then, 
and filled to overflowing with parents, two grand- 
mothers and six children, but the welcome was warm 
and sincere and the two orphans were made to un- 
derstand that they were really a part of the family. 
Mary, dear to us all, was developing into a beautiful 
womanhood when she died at the age of seventeen. 
Humphrey was peculiarily attached to both Father 
and Mother and they to him. He and Charles were 
Father's partners in business and in every sense of 
the word. His death, in 1903, was one of the great 
griefs of Father's life. 

A part of the correspondence about Mary and Hum- 
phrey, before they came from California, was with a 
Mr. Roberts and as he had appeared often in family 
annals, we were interested in tracing him. He was 
typical of the unrest of so many in those early days. 
His wife was a cousin of Grandfather's and they came 
to this country shortly before our Grandparents, who 
were received into their home, in New York City, 
City, upon arrival. Five years later Grandfather 
visited them in Utica New York, Mrs. Rob- 



erts being the Cousin Margaret who sent Father 
Watts' Hymns. When Grandfather went to Tecum- 
seh he left his family with them in Detroit. In 1848, 
a daughter Anna Roberts, visited Grandmother 
for several months, going on to Chicago, which 
we infer was the family home. In 1849 the gold fever 
found Mr. Roberts an easy victim, but he and his son 
did not get started until the next year. In California 
they were found by Uncle Humphrey, who was tired 
of digging and thought he had discovered a quicker 
and easier way to wealth. He persuaded Mr. Roberts 
and son to join him in taking Government claims — 
three quarter sections on the route to the latest 
"diggings" midway in a long stretch of road, without 
accommodations for man or beast. Here they raised 
stock, cultivated some of the land, put up "shacks" 
and tents, where wayfarers could exchange gold for 
sleeping quarters, hired a man cook for twenty-five 
dollars a month, and furnished meals, had cows and 
sold milk at fifty cents a quart or a bowl of bread and 
milk for a dollar, had chickens worth several dollars 
per capita, — and so secured much gold without the 
digging. At the same time Uncle was county asses- 
sor, working for several weeks for sixteen dollars a 
day. He always made money wherever he was, later 
making really great sums and was thought to be a 
millionaire. The only trouble was that he spent it 
faster than he made it. 

We realize now, as we could not years ago, what a 
great event it was, in 1873, for Father and Mother to 
visit their old homes in Tecumseh, Mich., and Sher- 
burne, N. Y. They had not been back since going 
south in 1847. They were received cordially by old 
friends and enjoyed exploring familiar haunts, al- 



though hills were not so high, nor rivers as wide as 
memory had painted them. 

In the fall of 1885 Father's health was seriously- 
broken, and he was ordered to have a complete change 
and rest. He went to Wales and England, receiving 
wonderful benefit and pleasure. He found cousins ga- 
lore, who showered all sorts of attentions upon him. 

Soon after coming to Rushville, Father was made 
an elder in the church and served for nearly fifty 
years. He led the choir and was superintendent of the 
Sunday school for twenty-five years. He then re- 
signed. Charlie succeeded him in the Sunday school 
another twenty-five years, resigned, but two years 
later was persuaded to take the office again and holds 
it now. Father lead the teachers' meeting and taught 
a large Bible class until a few weeks before his death. 
His time for study was a half hour or more before 
breakfast every morning. His Greek testament was 
always on the library table and lessons were read in 
the original. He was particularly interested in Sun- 
day school work and for thirty-eight years was on the 
State Executive Committee. Another special inter- 
est was Ministerial Relief, and he served on Pres- 
byterial and Synodical committees in that work. 

He built a home in 1857, and as the family grew 
the house grew also, until it was ample for the fam- 
ily of twelve and frequent guests. Entertaining was 
one of the great joys of Father's life, a joy in which 
Mother shared. Many, many are the tales we could 
tell of ministerial guests, for they were ever welcome. 
If we had kept a guest book during all those years, it 
would have held the names of D. L. Moody, B. F. 
Jacobs, Wm. Reynolds, W. C. Pearce and many oth- 
ers, who have world-wide fame and were Father's per- 
sonal friends. 



As we look back upon that home life, we realize 
how wonderfully blessed we were. Always was there 
love and harmony and peace and joy. 

The end of Father's earthly life came March 1, 
1904, in his eightieth year. It is safe to say that 
Rushville has had few, if any, citizens more highly 
respected, loved and honored than was Father. His 
absolute integrity, his genial personality, his sincere 
and warm-hearted interest in everything that tended 
toward the betterment of his beloved town and coun- 
ty, made him near and dear to all who knew him, 
and there were few in Schuyler county who were not 
of that number. 

Now the family is scattered and we two are left 
alone in the old home, although the dear elder brother 
Charlie, is next door, taking good care of us and 
taking Father's place in church and city affairs and 
in business. He was married to Lyde M. Knowles, 
October 15, 1879, and has two sons, Charles Arthur 
and Warren Edwin. Lyde died April 13, 1911, and 
December 2, 1913, he married Elizabeth Speed. 

Harry is in St. Paul, where he has been with 
Belding Bros, for many years. He was married De- 
cember 23, 1883, to Marie Tintle and they had two 
children, Reese Harris and Laura Ella. Reese died 
January 20, 1906, while at college, in the twenty-first 
year of his age. 

Edwin married Emabelle Sherman, June 16, 1897. 
He died in Rushville October 26, 1916. 

William is a lawyer in Santa Barbara, California. 
He married Clara Hardy June 15, 1899, and they 
have three children: Harriet, Yale Baldwin and Rob- 
ert Davies. . . 

Arthur, Charlie's eldest son, grows fruit in Call- 



fornia. He married Susan Sweeney, June 28, 1905, 
and they have one daughter, Susan Elizabeth. 

Warren is a business man of Toledo, Ohio. He 
married Gertrude Dexter, September 9, 1908. They 
have two sons, Dexter Knowles and Stebbins West. 

Although Father, his sons and grandsons have not 
followed our ancestors into the pulpit, they have 
served church and state, been loyal to God and fellow- 
men and, perhaps, had a wider field of usefulness 
than if they had been ministers. We are proud of 
every one of them, thanking God for our beloved men. 

E. B. G. 



STEBBINS 

1591-1918 

One of the most valued heirlooms of the Stebbins 
family is the genealogy published by Luke Stebbins in 
1771. In his introduction he writes: "The editors 
of the following account think it needless to make any 
excuse or apology for publishing the following pedi- 
gree, as it is designed only for the use of themselves 
and' their families and therefore have none to make 
an excuse or apology to." 

So we make no apology for having gathered together 
the information we possess concerning the family, 
thinking that it may be of interest to the present gen- 
eration and perhaps to those who come after us. 

The facts have been gleaned from many sources: 
from old papers, books and letters and from many 
stories told us by our mother and grandmother. 

We are unwilling that these things should be lost 
when we are gone. We want those who are children 
now to know something of their sturdy ancestry. 

The genealogy referred to, of which we are fortunate 
in having a copy, is said to be the first one printed in 
America, and the only one before the Revolution. 
Some years ago it was mentioned in an article on 
genealogies, in Blackwood's magazine, in which it was 
said that if there was an original copy in existence it 
would be of great value. In 1879 the Boston Genealo- 
gical Society printed one hundred copies of it, and 
we have one of these also. 

Quoting again from the introduction, the author 
says : "It is not to be expected that a particular and 
minute account should be given of the family of Steb- 



bins before their first coming from England to settle 
in this land. Let it suffice then that the compiler of 
the following pages has been informed there was one 
came from England and settled in Roxbury (next 
town to Boston) soon after the English plantations 
began in New England. His name was Rowland 
Stebbins, who had two sons; one settled in Spring- 
field, and the other at Northampton, in the county of 
Hampshire. The name of the elder son was Thomas 
and the other John. Thomas settled at Springfield 
soon after the incorporation of that town, who had 
five sons, viz: Samuel, Thomas, Benjamin, Joseph 
and Edward. Samuel was born September 19, 1646, 
(ten years after the town was first settled)." 

Rowland Stebbins was born in the west of England 
in 1594. His wife's name was Sarah. She was born 
in 1591 and died in 1649, twenty-two years before the 
death of her husband. They had seven daughters, be- 
sides the two sons, although our ancestor, Luke, 
seemed to think that too trivial a matter to mention ! 
Indeed he dismisses briefly his great-grandfather and 
grandfather and devotes the remainder of his re- 
marks to his father and mother. 

We know from other records that Rowland came 
to this country in 1634, at the age of forty, in ship 
"Francis" of Ipswich, sailing April 30, with his wife 
Sarah, four children: Thomas, aged 14, Sarah, 11, 
John, 8, Elizabeth, 6, and servant, Mary Winch, 
aged 15. 

Rowland's son John went to Northampton and 
some of his family settled in Deerfield and their de- 
scendants are there now and a street is named for 
them ; others went to Northfield and Ridgeway, Conn. 
In his old age Rowland made his home with his son 



John and died at Northhampton December 14, 1671. 
Miss Sarah B. Stebbins of Chicago, who is descend- 
ed from John, gave us a copy of Rowland's will, dated 
1670 He divides his possessions among his children 
and grandchildren, and the careful distribution of 
brass kettles, bell-metal skillets, silk stockings, worst 
pair of stockings, kersey suits, etc., gives us a clear 
idea of conditions at that time. These things were 
probablv brought from England thirty-four years be- 
fore and were, some of them, heirlooms. Very little 
was manufactured in this country and there were only 
sailing vessels to bring supplies from England. 

Rowland's eldest son, Thomas, was a Lieutenant, 
and in a fight at Turner's Falls, under Captain Win. 
Turner. He had charge of the meeting house at 
Springfield and of the town powder. He swept out the 
meeting house and beat the drum, which called the 
people to meeting. He had a case in court when he 
and his wife and Jonathan Stebbins, with others were 
presented to the grand jury "for wearing of silk and 
that in a flouting manner and attire, for long haire 
and other extravagances contrary to honest and Labor 
Order and Demeanor not becoming a wilderness state 
at least for Profession of Christianity and Religion. 
In all of our researches we found no other who ' came 
under the law." a . „ 

Thomas took the oath of allegiance in 1678. rie 
was married in 1645 to Hannah Wright. Their eldest 
son Samuel, born in 1646, married Joanna Lamb in 
1679 and they had three children. Joanna died and 
Samuel married Abigail Brooks, who had nine chil- 
dren. Samuel Jr., the son of Samuel and Joanna, 
married Hannah Hitchcock in 1704. They had twelve 
children; Samuel, Jonathan, Stephen, Hannah, 



Aaron, Joanna, Moses, Luke, Sarah, Nehemiah and 
Thankful. It is pleasant to note that they were still 
thankful for the twelfth. 

Luke, son of Samuel and Hannah, was the compiler 
of the genealogy. He gives an interesting character- 
ization of his father, a typical New Englander of the 
Colonial period. He says "He was a kind and tender 
husband to our honored mother, an affectionate and 
bountiful father to his numerous offspring." "He took 
great care to instruct us in reading and writing (in 
this we are evidences), he exceeded most and had but 
few equals. He had his children educated in those 
arts and sciences his circumstances would admit, as 
seemed most likely to him, would be beneficial to, and 
render us useful and servicable to our fellowmen in 
the world." 

He told of the care with which they were instructed 
in religion; how he insisted upon their learning the 
catechism "and we all know how steadily he asked 
us the questions every Lord's Day after divine service 
in the afternoon." The Sabbath was kept with the 
greatest veneration, beginning soon after sunset Sat- 
urday evening "he allowed no worldly business to be 
done (even to a scruple) nor any worldly conversation 
till the Sabbath was ended." "When he was laid by 
through age and infirmity he spent much time in read- 
ing and meditation and prayer. He had great esteem 
of the Rev. Mr. Willard, Mr. Stoddard, Mr. Flave! 
and works of that class." A huge volume of Flavel's 
sermons has come down to us with the name of Luke 
Stebbins on the fly leaf, and it probably belonged to 
his father. 

He whites of his mother in most affectionate terms ; 
of her piety, gentleness, meekness, faithfulness and pa- 
tience. Her health was poor and she became very 



"melancholly." Her husband took great pains to com- 
fort and console her, reading to her by the hour from 
the best authors, Baxter's Saint's Rest being specially 
helpful. Her last years seem to have been more com- 
fortable for herself and friends. 

Luke married Sarah Norton of Kensington, Conn., 
May 1, 1755. They had three children, Eleanor, 
Samuel and Parsis. Sarah was only fifteen years old 
at her marriage and died February, 1764, at the age 
of twenty-four. It is our understanding that her 
mother came to live with her and stayed on to care 
for the motherless children. 

From the old Stebbins home at Sherburne, New 
York, has come to us a little iron kettle, long known 
as "Granny Norton's Kettle." It is what was known 
as a "petite" kettle, the three legs made to stand over 
coals on the hearth. She probably brought it with her 
to the home of Luke Stebbins. How old it was then 
is, of course, unknown, but it cannot be far from two 
hundred years old now, and may be much older. 

There is a little Latin grammar, thumb marked and 
soiled, with the name of Ursula Stebbins, 1783. This 
is all we know of Ursula, but we can picture a little 
girl, who was being "educated in the arts and sci- 
ences," struggling through the little wooden-bound 
Latin grammar, old before she wrote her name in it. 
They believed in female education — those old pio- 
neers. 

We know of no one of the name of Stebbins, in the 
direct line, who fought in the Revolution, although 
there were many relations of that name in the war, 
also a number of the Norton, Boardman and Petti- 
bone families. Dr. John Bestor, mother's grandfather, 
married Rosetta Pettibone. Her father, Dudley Petti- 
bone, mother's great-grandfather, is mentioned in 



Connecticut records as being active in the Revolution. 
His brother was a captain and served during the war. 

Samuel Stebbins, son of Luke, was ordained as a 
minister in 1777, and served the church at Simsbury, 
Conn., for twenty-seven years, when he removed to 
Sherburne, New York. He married Sarah Boardman 
in 1784. The teaspoon marked S. B. was from her 
bridal silver. From their Sherburne home came the 
cherry desk and other treasured heirlooms. 

Their son, Samuel Stiles Stebbins, Mother's father, 
was born in 1794. He was ten years old when his 
father emigrated west from the old home in Connecti- 
cut, and settled in Sherburne, New Y6rk. An uncle 
of the father, known as Parson Stebbins, urged them 
to leave the boy, Samuel, with him and he would edu- 
cate him and provide for him, as he had no sons of 
his own and was in comfortable circumstances. As 
they were venturing into a new country it seemed best 
to take advantage of the offer. The little fellow 
watched the wagons out of sight, then ran to the barn 
and cried himself to sleep. The boy seems not to 
have been unhappy. Down through the years come 
glimpses of happy school days, and frolics in the snow, 
and the close friendship of a little neighbor, Laura 
Bestor. He went to Yale College and graduated in 
1816. Near the close of the war of 1812, he volun- 
teered and marched out with a company of Yale stu- 
dents, but they saw no active service and, with the 
coming of peace, returned to college. 

Grandfather began studying medicine, but as he 
fainted the first time he witnessed a surgical operation 
he was advised to give it up and he made teaching 
his life work. 

"Aunt Bicknell," Grandfather's sister, Melissa, was 
born in 1800. Her husband was a member of Con- 



gress during Polk's administration, and she and Mrs. 
Polk were intimate friends. We have a number of 
cards, invitations to dinners at the White House and 
other mementos of this time. Their home was in Mor- 
risville, N. Y., but after Uncle Bicknell's death she 
came back to the family home at Sherburne and died 
there in 1886. 

Jerusha, another sister, was noted for her wonder- 
ful skill with the needle. Beautiful quilts, home-spun 
linen, blankets, etc., are marked J. S. The old leghorn 
bonnet too was made by our wonderful "Aunt Je- 
rusha." She was married when about forty years of 
age to a Mr. Hatch, who was a widower. After his 
death she went to live with Aunt Bicknell, taking with 
her an orphan grandson of her husband's. They both 
became very fond of Willie Hatch and he was devoted 
to them. When Aunt Jerusha died he stayed on with 
Aunt Bicknell. When he was nine years old, in 1853, 
Aunt Bicknell left him with his father's family while 
she went to Quincy, Illinois, to visit her brother. The 
boy was homesick and determined to find her. He 
traveled all the way from Sherburne, New York, to 
Quincy, alone and with no money. He told his story 
and people passed him along by boat or train, and he 
arrived at his destination happy and none the worse 
for his adventure. 

Grandfather Stebbins was married to Laura Bestor 
in 1823, and lived in Windsor, Conn. 

We know nothing of the Bestor family prior to Dr. 
John Bestor, Grandmother's father. He was born in 
1765, married to Rosetta Pettibone, September 18, 
1791. He was a surgeon, well known in that part of 
the country and was often called from distant places 
for surgical work. He wrote several medical books. 
Their home, in Simsbury, Conn., was burned, not 



many years ago. It was a good example of Colonial 
architecture and was still kept in good repair. There 
were great fireplaces, timbered ceilings and a brick 
oven that baked many pies and loaves of bread. The 
children were Dudley, born 1792; Henry, born 1794, 
died 1796; Laura, born 1795 ; Jane, 1802 ; John, 1804, 
died 1806; Eliza, 1807; Ellen, 1810; John Rollin, 
1813. The oldest son, Dudley, went to Yale College 
and we have a number of letters written to him by his 
father, the first dated 1809. Dr. Bestor was a very 
busy man, with his professional work and the care of 
a large farm, besides property left to his wife by her 
father, and he really needed the help of his son, but 
decided that he must finish his college course. In one 
letter Dudley is told of the death of a neighbor, and 
urged to write to the daughter: "I assure you a letter 
from you would be appreciated, for Mary is very much 
your friend," and a postscript warns "If you do write 
to Mary, be sure to frank your letter." Evidently 
Mary is in favor with the father of the family. In 
1813 he wrote to tell Dudley that he had a new broth- 
er, adding "Some think your 'nose will be broken'." 
Before the end of that year Dudley died at Yale. We 
have memories of many pleasant stories of the old 
Simsbury home. The daughters did the spinning and 
weaving for the family. There were always chests of 
linen and flannel ready to be made into garments. 
They were famous housekeepers and cooks, and all 
were well educated. Grandmother used to tell 
us of shopping expeditions to Hartford when the girls 
were fitted out with new bonnets and silk dresses. Ev- 
ery summer there was a visit to the seashore that they 
might have a change of scene and diet. The wedding 
dresses were of Levantine satin, that would "stand 
alone." 



The youngest son, John Rollin, was always the 
special care of his sister Laura. He was twelve years 
old when the parents died and Grandmother, who had 
been married two years, had him come to live with her. 
He married in Baltimore and made his home there. 
He had twin sons, John Rollin and Rollin John, who 
were in the Confederate army. 

Grandfather Stebbins was a teacher all his life. A 
few years after his marriage, he took charge of the 
academy at Pompey Hill, New York, and there the 
children, Sarah, Susan, Charles and John were 
brought up, although the two daughters, anyway, were 
born in Windsor, Conn. He then had a call that 
seemed attractive. A number of wealthy men in Syra- 
cuse, N. Y., asked him to come and open a small pre- 
paratory school for their sons. It was the kind of 
work that suited him best, but as the contract limited 
the number of pupils, the venture was not a financial 
success. The daughters helped in teaching. He re- 
mained there several years, and some of the boys be- 
came famous men. Andrew D. White was prepared 
for college and his younger brother, Horace, was a 
small boy in the school. 

Grandfather was a fine scholar and an ideal teacher. 
He was sympathetic and kindly, with a dry humor, 
which shows in every letter. It was always hard for 
him to struggle with the practical side of life. Books 
were his passion and he never could resist buying a 
beautiful book, even if he needed a coat far more. 
Fortunately his wife was an energetic New England 
woman, who was able to adjust herself to circum- 
stances and make the home comfortable with a small 
income. It was her thrift and economy that kept the 
little family from financial shipwreck. 

In 1846, Mr. Sloan, who had gone to northern Ala- 



bama, to start a school, came north for teachers and 
asked Mother to go. She was only twenty years old 
and her parents were unwilling to have her go so far 
from home, but she begged to go ; the salary was un- 
usually large and family finances low, so it was decid- 
ed she should accompany her friend, Miss Kate Rey- 
nolds, a girl a few years older. They started January 
1, 1847, and were two weeks on the way. The first 
part of the journey was by stage to Pittsburg and was 
full of adventures. There were floods and deep mud, 
causing repeated delays. Often the passengers had to 
get out and wade through the mud. Many times we 
have heard the story from Mother. Sometimes they 
were hindered by soldiers on their way to the Mexican 
war; sometimes they rode all night. One night the 
stage was full and she felt a stealthy hand in her muff. 
She spoke quickly to Miss Reynolds, and the hand was 
withdrawn. They carried their money in gold in their 
stockings. After they left the stage at Pittsburg came 
the long ride down the Ohio river and up the Tennes- 
see to Tuscumbia, Alabama. There is a letter from 
her father written February 2. They had just received 
her first letter from Alabama. They were almost sick 
with anxiety, for they knew something of the dangers 
and hardships of the journey. Her father wrote : "The 
letter relieved us of a world of anxiety. We had wait- 
ed with constantly increasing apprehensions for your 
safety, as we heard day after day of the frightful floods 
and terrible disasters on the western waters. But 
thanks to a kind Providence we hear from our own 
dear Susan that she is safe and well and at her jour- 
ney's end." Aunt Bicknell wrote: "It seemed to me 
a great undertaking, in the heart of winter, for two 
young ladies to set out for the far south. I thought of 
you day and night, till I had a line from your father 



telling of your safe arrival." There was always a close 
bond between Mother and Aunt Bicknell. We find a 
letter written to Mother when she was twelve years 
old and Aunt Bicknell was in Washington, saying how 
pleased she was with a letter received from her "dear- 
est niece," "not only with the contents, but also with 
the beauty of the penmanship." 

The five years in Alabama were busy, happy years, 
at first as teacher in the girls' academy at Tuscumbia, 
then out on the Barton plantation at Buzzard's Roost, 
where mother taught in a family school. In a small 
school building, in a grove, not far from the house, 
were gathered fifteen children, brothers, sisters and 
cousins. The young ladies were taught French, music 
and drawing and the children their A, B, C's. 

All this time the little teacher was studying herself, 
reading Latin, French, Spanish and Italian, practicing 
on the piano and keeping up her drawing. The close 
application affected her health and there are anxious 
letters written by her father and mother giving her in- 
structions about taking care of herself. 

The life on a big plantation was a wonderful experi- 
ence for a northern girl, and furnished a fund of sto- 
ries and many happy memories for the years to come. 
When she went to Mrs. Barton's they were living in 
a large log house, with an open space through the mid- 
dle and rooms on both sides. While she was there the 
fine new house was built. It was a typical southern 
home, a large frame building with a porch across the 
front and great columns reaching to the roof. There 
was a wide hall through the center with a floor kept 
brightly polished by the slaves. There were twenty 
house servants besides those on the plantation. The 
entire estate was managed by Mrs. Barton, who was 
a widow. While she was building the house she sent 



to the commission merchant who sold her cotton in 
New Orleans, and had him buy for her complete fur- 
nishings. The mahogany furniture for the parlors, the 
huge mahogany four-posters, with damask hangings, 
even the silver on the great sideboard, were all pur- 
chased in that way. There were many social festivi- 
ties in the beautiful house, and calls made to neigh- 
boring plantations on horseback or in the family carry- 
all driven by a trusty old negro. Always Miss Steb- 
bins was included, as an honored member of the fam- 

The eldest daughter was married while Mother was 
there, and for weeks following there was a round of 
parties. As the wedding guests came from all over 
the county, many remained for the night. It was all 
ante-bellum plantation life at its best. Even then 
there was beginning to be friction between North and 
South, and sometimes there were heated discussions 
at the Barton table, and remarks made by guests that 
were hard for the little Yankee lady to bear. But she 
was always tactful, with the greatest consideration for 
others. Seeing slavery under the most favorable con- 
ditions, she realized the great evil of it, not only to the 
negroes but to their owners as well. 

There was a great demand for teachers in the south 
during those years, and in September, 1847, Grand- 
father, Grandmother and Aunt Sarah followed Moth- 
er, going to Florence, Alabama, to take charge of an 
academy for young ladies. The following year, Mother 
joined the teaching force, although urged by Mrs. Bar- 
ton to remain at a much larger salary. Then the two 
sons went south and the family was united again. 

In 1849 Uncle Charlie went to California, and they 
never saw him again. He removed, in a few years, 
to Nevada and died there. 



Uncle John remained in the south, married a south- 
ern girl and joined the Confederate army. After the 
Battle of the Wilderness, he was reported missing and 
was never heard of again. 

In August, 1850, Aunt Sarah came north to Hanni- 
bal, Mo., and taught there for several years, then mar- 
ried Judge John I. Campbell. They had three chil- 
dren, Martha, John and Mildred. She died there 
March 6, 1876. . . 

It was while they were both teaching in Florence 
that Father and Mother became engaged. 

Grandfather employed, of her master, a mulatto 
girl, to take care of the school rooms in Florence. She 
was very eager to learn, but it was against the law to 
teach a slave. She lingered about the school rooms 
and picked up a little knowledge here and there, some- 
times slyly asking a question, or stealing a glimpse 
at a book, and she really learned to read. She had a 
good ear for music and sometimes when she thought 
she was alone, they would hear on a piano the melody 
some girl had practiced. She begged to be brought 
north when, in June, 1851, Mother went, with her pa- 
rents, to Quincy, Illinois, but it was impossible at that 

time. 

Grandfather's plan was to open a school in St. 
Louis, but on reaching that city he was advised to go 
on to Quincy. Here he bought a girls' school, of Miss 
Catherine Beecher, sister of Henry Ward Beecher and 
Mrs. Stowe. Mother taught with him till she was 
married to Father, March 15, 1852, by Dr. Marks of 
the Presbyterian church. Forty-four years later they 
were spending the winter in California and made quite 
a little journey to call upon Dr. Marks, then an old 
man. 

The Quincy school was well attended and success- 



fill, but in a few years, when the father and mother 
were left alone, and Aunt Bicknell was alone in Sher- 
burne, she persuaded them to return to the old fam- 
ily home. Grandfather taught there, preparing boys 
for college, until a short time before his death in 1860. 
Then Father and Mother urged Grandmother to come 
to them. It was an invitation that appealed to her, 
for she knew she could be useful in such a family. She 
came, bringing furniture for her own room to make it 
seem as homelike as possible. She was a wonderful 
Grandmother. Her love for housekeeping made her a 
very real help in the family and lifted many burdens 
from Mother's shoulders. Her room was a favorite 
gathering place for the children. We sat around her 
fire before going to bed and heard stories of bygone 
days while she administered to chilblained or stone- 
bruised feet, a magical salve of her own manufacture. 
In a bag hung on a convenient hook were neat rolls of 
bandages made of soft old linen handkerchiefs and 
everything needed for "first aid." The victim of child- 
ish accidents lost no time in reaching Grandma. When 
the injury was properly attended to, the last trace of 
tears was removed by the bestowal of a piece of candy 
from the box in the left-hand corner of her "deep 
drawer." Is it any wonder that we always sympa- 
thized deeply with poor children who had no Grandma 
in their home? Her last illness was painful, but he- 
roically borne, and she died in August, 1877. 

Let us return to that eventful March 15, 1852, when 
Susan Stebbins became the wife of Reese H. Griffith. 
After a brief honeymoon they came to Rushville. Peo- 
ple have told us of the pretty bride as she appeared 
the first time, her face framed in a white satin bonnet, 
which she wore with some protest as showing her too 
evidently a bride. She only made one visit to Quincy 



after her marriage. When little Mary was three 
months old she took her to visit the grandparents. It 
was an all-night stage ride of fifty-five miles. The baby 
was about worn out and we suspect the little mother 
was too, but we never heard of it. When the stage 
drove up to the house Grandfather lifted the baby out 
and, passing her on, said "Here is your baby, Grand- 
ma !" and turning back to mother, added "and here's 
mine!" She had a happy time, the petted darling of 
the household once more, but such tales of loneliness 
came from Rushville that she returned in three weeks. 
In 1857 when they built the house that was ever af- 
ter home, they planted the garden with fruit and orna- 
mental trees, shrubs and plants that have been a joy 
all the years. To us, who loved her best there is a 
precious memory of Mother among her roses. Espe- 
cially she loved the early morning and all through the 
summer she would come in, every morning, with her 
hands full of roses fresh with dew. She lived a beauti- 
ful life, literally giving herself in service for others and 
gaining thereby the love of all who knew her. For 
sixty-five years she was the center of the home — years 
full of cares, anxieties and joy. 

There were times when the growing family was very 
crowded in the little home. There were times of sick- 
ness, with the children and grandmothers, when the 
burdens were almost too great to be borne, but her 
courage never failed, and through all the years she 
kept a clear outlook on life and a firm faith in God. 

Throughout her life she found joy in the beauties of 
Nature. She loved the birds, the flowers, the stars and 
all out-of-doors. She never lost her delight in the 
simple things of life, as she always kept her love and 
sympathy for little children. She dearly loved her 
grandchildren and great-grandchildren and took great 



delight in their love for her. The last years were 
peaceful, quiet and happy. She had few of the infirmi- 
ties of old age and retained her interest in the affairs 
of life. 

Five times she crossed the continent to enjoy a win- 
ter in Southern California, always ready, in the spring, 
to return to the old home and beloved garden. 

The winter of 1916-1917 she chose to spend at home. 
On the second of February she fell and broke her hip. 
After four weeks of patient suffering she fell asleep, 
March 6, 1917, in the ninety-first year of her age. 

L. E. G. 



BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY 



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