Thomas and Mary Ann Matthews Griffin Family


Edward and Richard Griffin came to the area of Manhattan Island from Wales in 1634. Later generations remained in the New York area (Duchess County) until fleeing with the Loyalists in 1783 to St. Johns, New Brunswick. The Griffins have a long history in New Brunswick, some living in Boiestown, Frederickton and Grand Manan Island.

Griffin Family Record

In America 1834–1936

Information gathered through A. W. Griffin and passed along to William T. Griffin about 1920.

A. W. Griffin, writing in February 1924 from 549 So. 26th Avenue, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A. seeking information regarding the Griffin family which had been supplied by William T. Griffin at an earlier date, in turn sending considerable information concerning ancestors as far back as 1710. In 1959 in the possession of William T. Griffin at Boiestown, N.B.

It has always been thought by the New Brunswick branch of the family that the ancestors were Irish, but according to a check of records it would seem that they were Welsh, and some of the family names have come down through the family even before 1710, as there was an Edward (4) who had two sons, Joseh (which I believe is Joseph cut short) and another son called Obadiah, which is a familiar name in our family tree. Then among the ancestors was another son, Richard (3) and an Edward (1) who sailed from London on October 24th 1834, Welshman, for Virginia in the ship "Abraham."

The record is perhaps a little confused by A. W. Griffin, and some of the names and dates should be reversed - a Joseph and Laura Ann Sewell, Joseph - a son of Thomas and Leah Savage is stated as born about 1804. Then mention is made of two brothers, Thomas and Obadiah with their dates of birth - Thomas born March 9th, 1741 and Obadiah March 9th, 1843 - it seeming unlikely that there would be 102 years separating the birth-dates of two brothers. This branch lived in Dutchus County, New York and it seems most likely that Thomas, first-named in this paragraph, was the Grandfather of William T. Griffin of N.B. They said Thomas having a son Joseph, born September 3rd 1839 son of wife Leah Savage rather than Leah Sawyer. The late Rense Savage of Penniac was brother of Thomas's first wife and was well-known to William W. Griffin. Thomas and a brother Obadiah migrated to Grand Manan prior to the Civil War and his first three sons were born there, but as young men return to U.S.A, as did Obadiah and settled near Buffalo, New York State. One daughter (Olive) was also borne by his first wife. His second wife, Mary A. Mathews bore twelve children.

The following link contains a record of the family tree and its branches developed since the year 1806.

Griffin Genealogy

Thomas Griffin was born on 8 Jun 1806 in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. He died in Shogomoc, New Brunswick, Canada. Thomas married[ Mary Ann Matthews on 24 Nov 1846 in Grand Manan Is., N. B..

Thomas Griffin (1806-1892)- Mary Ann Matthews(1826-1906)

Autumn in New Brunswick

By Bill Griffin (William Thomas Griffin, 1881-1975)

The fishing season’s ended and the black duck flight is on,
Their voices break the stillness at the coming of the dawn,
There are woodcock in the alders where the earth is soft and rich,
And the partridge are strutting by a frosted roadside ditch.
The maple trees are crimson and the white birch turning brown.
It is Autumn in New Brunswick and the leaves will soon be down.

On the hillsides in the distance there are shades of every hue
And the air is filled with fragrance with the early morning dew.
The stars are growing brighter as longer grows the night,
And many of our song-birds are on their southward flight.
The red deer, they are courting and the black bear soon will den.
It is Autumn in New Brunswick and there’s white frost in the glen.

The sun is shining slowly in a circle far away,
Daytime shadows all grow longer and the morning light is gray.
There are storm-clouds in the distance and a rustle in the leaves.
The squirrels gather beechnuts brought a-tumbling by the breeze.
It is Autumn in New Brunswick, this fair land by the sea
And we should thank your Maker, for it’s good to you and me.


Known as Wild Bill, Griffin was a sportsman, hunter, guide, woodsman, nature lover and writer/poet who lived in New Brunswick near Boiestown and his beloved Miramichi River. He was a cousin of Ruby Benson Brown. Ruby visited there a number of times. The Griffins originally came from Wales, settled in Duchess County, NY, and went to Canada at the time of the American Revolution.

Another poem by Rosemary Ingraham/ January 13, 1995-Based on Ode to Old Moose Cull Campby Bill Griffin

Ode To Grampa Bill

My memory goes back to a long time ago,
When I was both youthful and free -
And the summcrs I stayed, and the hours I played,
On the banks of the Miranmichi

I remember the times I climbed down the steps
To sit on a rock by the shore
My toes I would dip, and rocks I would skip,
Or the banks of the river explore.

I remember the song of the wind in the pine
And the scent of the evergreen,
While in the hammock I hay, on a warm summers day,
My mind full of future daydreams.

I remember the smell of the wood smoke
The aroma of homebaked bread,
The mouthwatering taste of grilled salmon steak
And freshly picked fiddlchcads.

I remember the times I would sit with Granddad
On a log bench under a tree
He'd recite me a rhyme a tale of past time,
That took place on the Miramichi

So often I think of those days long ago,
Those memories are precious to me
Oh to be there still, with dear Grampa Bill
On the banks of the Miramichi,

Rosemary lngraham/January 13, 1995


Griffin Family Gallery

Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, High Tide
Bay of Fundy, Low Tide.

Photo of New Brunswick landscape where the Griffins were in 1850.

Painting of William Henry “Old Bill” Griffin, by Ernest L. Ipsen (1869 – 1951) an American portrait painter. Ipsen was born in Malden, Massachusetts, the son of Danish parents. He studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from 1884-1887. While there, he trained under the painter Frederick Porter Vinton. He continued his training at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (Danish: Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi), from 1887-1891.

Following his study in Copenhagen, Ipsen returned to Massachusetts, establishing a studio in Boston's Harcourt Studio building, where he remained from 1900-1904. Ipsen eventually moved to New York, where he established a studio on 19th Street. Ipsen would continue to work out of the National Arts Club Studio on 19th Street until 1934, when he moved to South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Following the death of his wife in 1941, Ipsen settled in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ipsen died in Florida, November 2, 1951.

Griffin Brothers and Sisters,
Back Row: L to R: Charles Gilbert (1855–?), William H. (1853–1942), Daniel Benjamin (Ben) (1863-1956)
Front Row: Amelia Griffin Shaw (1848–1937), Jane Griffin Follenbee (1868–1935), Alvin aFramces Griffin Benson (1860–1934). App;arently there were 16 children in this family.

Photo below has some of the same people from same occasion, ca. 1920

Griffin siblings: L to R, Amelia G. Shaw (72), Alvina G. Benson (60), Jane (Jenny) G. Follansbee (52)
Back Row: Charles Gilbert Griffin (65) (1855-?) Julie Griffin Xerxa or maybe Charles' wife, name unknown. the woman in the photo appears in 1936 Benson reunion photo. ca. 1916

Griffin siblings: L to R Alvina Griffin Benson, D. Benjamin "Ben" Griffin, Amelia Griffin Shaw, James Albert Griffin. and Jane (Jenny) Griffin Follansbee about 1920. According to a story in "The Daily Gleaner", Akron, Ohio. "James lefft Green Hill, N.B. and went to live in Dexter, Maine where he married and remained until 1916. When he was offered better wages in Akron, Ohio, he moved and settled in that State. During all those years of his absene he never wrote to his family and relatives in New Brunswick. While in Ohio, two sons and a daughter were born. The daughter later married William Thompson" If that is James Albert Griffin in the picture then this would likely date the picture no later than 1916. James was born 1871 so would be about 44 years of age in photo.
(Photo from Bob Haraden.)

Olive Griffin Stevens ( Jan 6, 1835-Oct 26, 1908), Milbridge, ME, Hus. Robert(1825-90+) Seaman. Children: Thomas (1853), Joel (or Noel)(1857), Mary (1858,) John(1861), Robert Jr. (1866). Half-sister to Alvina Griffin Benson (wife of Levi Benson)
Elwilda (Alwilda) Blanche “Lillian” Griffin Brewer-12/7/1861-1/1/1920
Lillian was a sister of Alvina Frances Griffin who married Levi Benson, the parents of Ruby Emeline Benson. Ruby married Harold Brown. Photo ca. 1885
Chester Brewer--10/22/1856--2/18/1918--about 1885
John W. Griffin (1837-1911) Brother of Olive Griffin
James A. (b. 1871) & Lillian Mae Griffin about 1910
James was the youngest child of Thomas Griffin and Mary Matthews (his 16th child!--4 by his first wife and 12 by his second) (Photo courtesy of Bob Haraden.)
John W. Griffin (1837-1911) Brother of Olive Griffin
Levi & Alvina Griffin Benson’s Children (5 of 7)
Back:Merle, Madeline,
Front:Ruby, Norman, Sylvia 1902
Levi & Alvina Griffin Benson-50th Anniversary,
May 8, 1930
Probably taken at the Benson Cafe about 1907 or ealier, Bryantville, MA
Back left: Alvina and Levi Benson, Edmund, ? w/dog
#3rd Row: ? M, ? W, ? M, ? M, ? Tom Shaw, ? Merle?
2nd Row: ? W, ? W, ? W, ? W, ? W
Front: Ruby, Sylvia and Norman Benson. Thomas Shaw and Merle Benson are seated on the right middle, Madeline and Effie? are seated between Ruby and Sylvia
Benson Cafe, LtoR, Alvina Griffin Benson,?, ?, Ruth Howe, ?, maybe Madeline Howe, Ruby Benson
Running Board, Merle & Tom Benson, Henry Howe, c. 1910
Sylvia Brewer, Martha Jennie Griffin Follansbee, Amelia G. Shaw, Alvina Griffin Benson, Alwida B. (Lillian) Griffin Brewer,
Front: Gladys Follansbee, Maybe Margaret E. Andrews, she married Charles Gordon Follansbee in January 1916, Walter Edmund Follansbee (1904–1998). Sylvia was born in 1899. Walter and Sylvia are 5 years apart.
ID of Walter is based on picture below. If so, then he is 16-20 making photo ca. 1920-25. He has no wedding ring
Walter Edmund Follansbee (1904-1998)
Charles Gordon Follansbee (1895-1975)
Gladys Esther Follansbee (1891-1951)
Siblings: Gladys Esther and Gordon Follansbee

Caption on photo, "Gladys Mother Harold" another caption on picture "Aunt Jenny, Gladys-Walter-Gordon"

The woman looks like Ruby Benson Brown. The caption could indicate:

Gladys Esther Follansbee (1891–1951), Ruby Benson Brown(1894–1977), Harold Richmond Brown (1913–1922) about 2 years old

With this identification: Year would be 1915, Gladys 24, Ruby, 21, Harold 2. Now the question is who is "Who sent the picture" Siince Harold was Ruby and Harold Foster Brown's first child the picture would have been sent by one of the later Brown children.much later than 1915.

Another identification suggested by second caption:

Gladys Esther Follansbee (1891–1951), Jenny Griffin Follansbee (1868–1935), Harold Richmond Brown (1913–1922) about 2 years old

Gladys 24, Jenny, 47, Harold 2This does not work as woman is far younger than 47.

A gathering of Bensons and Griffins---l-r--Clara Shaw, Alvina Griffin Benson, Aunt Lena Benson, Sylvia Benson Cole, Aunt Amelia Griffin Shaw, Ruby Benson Brown about 1925. From Aunt Doris's scrapbook--Clara is Amelia's daughter-in-law, Lena is the daughter-in-law of Alvina, Alvina and Amelia are sisters, and Sylvia and Ruby are daughters of Alvina. I wonder why they are carrying flowers?

Martha Jane (Jenny) Griffin Follansbee(1868–1936) and Sylvia Avis Merrit (1906–1990)
Martha Jane was spouse of Frank Follansbee. Sylvia was grandaughter of William Henry Griffin.

Note: Examining closely the many pictures we have of Alvina Griffin Benson (1860-1934), wife of Levi Benson, I strongly believe this is Alvina, not Jenny.

Martha Jane (Jenny) Griffin Follansbee (1868–1936) and grandaughter, Dot Follansbee

Note: Examining closely the many pictures we have of Alvina Griffin Benson (1860-1934), wife of Levi Benson, I strongly believe this is Alvina, not Jenny.

Dot Follansbee (1917–1975). and Sylvia Avis Merrit (1906–1990). Dot became the spouse of Louis E. Young, Jr.

Dot looks about 16-18. Were she 17 this would have been about the time that Alvina died (1934).

Martha Jane (Jenny) Griffin Follansbee(1868–1936) and Dot Follansbee?

Note: Examining closely the many pictures we have of Alvina Griffin Benson (1860-1934), wife of Levi Benson, I strongly believe this is Alvina, not Jenny.

Levi and Alvina Franxes Griffin Benson 50th Reunion Gathering, 1930
Front: Kneeling: ?, Elsie Brown, Standing Lois & Doris Brown, ?
2nd Row: Madeline, Levi & Alvina Benson, Lena Benson,?,?
Back: ?, Sylvia, Tom(?), Ed. ?, Florence(?), ?, ?, Merle
Hanson, MA, Levi, Sylvia, Ed, Alvina, Tom, Ruby, space for Norman, Madeline, & Merle on Levi and Alvina's 50th Wedding Anniversary. May 8, 1930.
Benson Reunion 1936
Ruby Brown hosted a reunion of her family at Sunny Acres Farm in Wrentham, MA where she raised chickens and prize-winning gladiolus bulbs. Lois Brown is on the far left, Bud Brown is in the back by the left hand porch pole, Frank ?, Charles Gordon & Margaret E. Follansbee, then Ed Benson standing by the right hand pole, Ruby Brown is in the almost back row in the middle(polka dot dress), her father Levi is seated fourth from the right, Doris Brown is on the grass in the front right. Alice and Ralph Brewer are standing 3rd and 4th from the left, Alton and Ruth Howe Shurtleff 5th & 6th and Maude Shaw 7th. Small boy in front could be George Shurtleff, son of Ruth. Other Bensons, Browns, Griffins, Shaws, and Follansbees were there.
Charles Gordon Follansbee (1895-1975), brother of Gladys at right.
Gladys Esther Follansbee (1891-1951)

Levi and daughter Ruby Benson & cousin Bill Griffin ( big game hunter from Frederickton and New Brunswick). c. 1934.

Wretham, MA, Benson-Griffin Reunion, ca. 1927
Front Row: R to L: ?, Elsie, Doris, Lois, Florence Brown
Right to left: John Franklin "Jack" Logan and spouse, Anne M. Cooper Logan,, Lizzie Griffin, Jack's daughter-in-law and her children. Jack was son of Hugh and Ellen Griffin Logan.

Myrtle Gordon and sister Lizzie Gordon Griffin, Nova Scotia, CA

Daniel Benjamin "Ben" Griffin (1867–1956) seated in front of tent at Princes Park, Grand Lake, NB. Age 84, year was 1947. He was son of Thomas and Mary Ann Griffin.
Lizzie Griffin (wife of Old Bill), Florence and Ruby Brown-1939, New Brunswick
“Old” Bill Griffin, center, others unknown-1939, New Brunswick
Lurline and Preston Griffin with their children Mary Jane and Billy--1939
Preston DeForest Griffin & son William Ripley Griffin
Painting by Ernest L. Ipsen
L. to R. William Henry (Old Bill) Griffin, 1853-1942, William Ripley (Billy Boy) Griffin, b. 6/24/1936. Preston DeForest Griffin, 1909-1995, William Thomas (Wild Bill) Griffin, 1881-1974, New Brunswick--about 1940

Griffin Family: L to R: Seated: William Henry, Elizabeth (Lizzie), Alton, and William Thomas

Back: Mary, Preston, Josephine and Alda

Ed Benson with cousins, Alice & Ralph Brewer. Alice is a cousin-in-law of Ruby Benson--1932
William Thomas (Wild Bill) Griffin
William Thomas (Wild Bill) Griffin

Elwilda (Alwilda) Blanche ( “Lillian” Griffin Brewer-12/7/1861-1/1/1920
Lillian was a sister of Alvina Frances Griffin who married Levi Benson. They were the parents of Ruby Emeline Benson who married Harold Brown. ca. 1885. See her photo at right. Lillian married Chester Brewer

Chester Brewer--10/22/1856--2/18/1918-photo-about 1885

Another version: Elwilda (Alwilda) Blanche ( “Lillian” Griffin Brewer-12/7/1861-1/1/1920
Lillian was a sister of Alvina Frances Griffin who married Levi Benson. They were the parents of Ruby Emeline Benson who married Harold Brown. ca. 1885. See her photo at right. Lillian married Chester Brewer

Elwilda (called-Lillian) Griffin Brewer(1861-1920).
Lillian was an aunt of Ruby Benson and wife of Chester Brewer.
Sylvia Brewer (1899-2002), a cousin of Ruby Benson, Her mother was Alwilda Blanche (called Lillian) Griffin Brewer, ca. 1903
Sylvia Brewer (Haraden), a cousin of Ruby Benson Brown about 1915. The link is to an article in the Bar Harbor Times, Dec. 30, 1999 about Sylvia.

Lurline Griffin, Sylvia Brewer Haraden and Preston Deforest Griffin, Boistown, NB-1983

The 6 children of Lillian (Griffin) and Chester Brewer, Bar Harbor, ME, about 1920
Back row: Ralph Brewer(2/21/1889--7/6/1951), Irving Brewer(12/27/1883--4/24/1966), Harold Brewer(3/4/1881-5/19/1952)
Front: Shirley Brewer--(8/6/1890--5/10/1934), Sylvia Brewer Haraden--(10/22/1899--8/17/2002),
Reginald Brewer--(7/21/1901--1/17/1950)

William T. and M. Elizabeth Griffin


Forest C.(1876–1956) and Phoebe Griffin with children John B. Griffin (1898–1912) and Evelyn Bernice Griffin (Grimes) (1901–1991) from Cambridge, Forest was the son of John and Ida Griffin. John was the son of Thomas and Leah Savage Griffin. Forest siblings included Mabel and Eugene Foster Griffin

Phoebe Ann Strout Griffin

John W. Griffin (1837–1911), husband of John W. and Ida E. Bracy Griffin.
Ida E. Bracy Griffin (1856–1947), wife of Jown W. Griffin
Mabel Griffin (1881–1906), Sister Of Forest Colon Griffin, daughter of John W. and Ida E. Bracy Griffin.
Eugene Foster Griffin (1884–1960), brother Of Forest Colon Griffin and Mabel Griffin, children of John W. and Ida E. Bracy Griffin.