HAROLD B. LEE LIBRARY
BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY
A FAMILY HISTORY
// is indeed a desirable thing to be well descended, but the
glory belongs to our ancestors.— Plutarch.
( b. 1660
Rev. Daniel Phillipps....-< m. 1712 to Anne
vv \ d. 1722.
( b. 1721
Mary Phillipps < m. Rev. d.
Williams: d. 1746
i b. 1
Mary Williams \ m. ]
t d. 1
Rev. Rees Harris
( 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.
m * ^A^^d 11 ^ 11 HitChC ° Ck; b -
( 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.
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
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-
Effie Bestor Griffith.
Laura Ella Griffith.
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
"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-
"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
"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-
"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
"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
"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.
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
We have a Welsh Bible, printed in 1717, in which is
"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
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
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
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
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
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-
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-
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-
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.
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,
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
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
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-
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
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
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
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
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
3 1197 23037 2325