Date of this Version
JOEL T. GRIFFEN was born in Otsego county, New York, May 22d, 1817. His parents (Rachel Willson and Stephen Griffen) were of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, American born, his father being of Welsh descent. He carried. on a small farm, beside running a grist mill, at which on mill days all the farmers congregated for a friendly chat and to procure their monthly flour and meal. It was proverbial of him that he was never heard to utter an oath or laugh out loud. Joel was the third son in his father's family, having two brothers and two sisters older, and a brother and sister younger. He was educated in the common or district schools of these times. He with his elder brother, Stephen, learned. the trade of millwright, and spent several summers in building mills in the western part of New York and Northern Ohio. In 1835 his father removed with his family to Washtenau county, Michigan, which was then considered the far West. There he performed great labors in felling the immense forest which encumbered this portion of the state. And here in this• malarial district was sown the seed of the fatal disease which attacked him in his later years. Returning to New York he married Miss Juliette Cobb Griffin, June 11th, 1840, and for a year or two owned and run a boat on the Erie canal. Yielding at length to the entreaties of his mother, he returned to Michigan and engaged in farming.