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.

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.



Griffin Family Gallery

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

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 siblings-L to R Alvina G. Benson, Benjamin, Amelia G. Shaw, Charles & Jane (Jenny) G. Follansbee
ca. 1910

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
Griffin siblings-L to R: Amelia G. Shaw, Alvina G. Benson, Benjamin (back,) maybe Julie Ann G. Yerxa?, Martha Jane (Jenny) G. Follansbee
ca. 1910
Griffin siblings-L to R Alvina G. Benson, Benjamin, Amelia G. Shaw, Charles & Jane (Jenny) G. Follansbee about 1910
(Photo from Bob Haraden.)
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: Ethel M. Follansbee, maybe Gladys Esther Follansbee, Charles Gordon Follansbee, c. 1915

Gladys Esther Follansbee (1891–1951), Martha Jennie Griffin Follansbee (1868–?), Walter Edmund Follansbee (1904–1998)

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

Gladys and Walter would mean Gladys would be only 13 years old, she looks older, however if she were mature for her age it could work.

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?
Levi and Alvina 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 Ethel at right.
Ethel M. Follansbee (1900-1996)

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
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

Elwilda(called-Lillian) Griffin Brewer(1861-1920).
Lillian was an aunt of Ruby Benson and wife of Chester Brewer.
The 6 children of Lillian (Griffin) and Chester Brewer, Bar Harbor, ME, about 1920
Back row: Ralph (2/21/1889--7/6/1951), Irving (12/27/1883--4/24/1966), Harold (3/4/1881-5/19/1952)
Front: Shirley--(8/6/1890--5/10/1934), Sylvia--(10/22/1899--8/17/2002),