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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Charles Alfred Griffin

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 121-122 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Charles Alfred Griffin occupies a prominent position in business circles of Utica as head of the wholesale grocery establishment conducted under the name of Griffin & Hoxie, which is among the oldest firms in the city, if not the senior. He was born in Florence, Oneida county, New York, on the 20th of January, 1845, his parents being Ira Bennett and Mary (Bellows) Griffin. The father passed away June 10, 1899, having for seventeen years survived the mother, who was called to rest on the 11th of June, 1882.

Charles Alfred Griffin attended a country school until fifteen years of age and then pursued a course of study in the Camden Union school, while subsequently he spent two years as a pupil in Rome Academy. In 1865, when a young man of twenty, he was graduated from the Eastman Business College at Poughkeepsie, New York. His initial business experience was gained as bookkeeper in the employ of David Owens & Son, bakers and confectioners, with whom he remained for one year. On the expiration of that period he entered the country store of the firm of Wetmore & Curtis in the dual capacity of bookkeeper and clerk, thus continuing until April 1, 1867, when he became connected with the business of which he is now the head. The firm of Griffin & Hoxie, one of the best known concerns of wholesale grocers in this section of the state, had its inception in 1844, when it was founded by John Griffiths. His brother, T. Jay Griffiths, became a partner in 1857, and in 1872 Charles A. Griffin and Richard W. Jones were admitted as partners. In 1876 John Griffiths retired and the firm was continued by T. Jay Griffiths and Charles A. Griffin under the style of Griffiths & Company. In February, 1879, John C. Hoxie was admitted into the partnership and the firm name became Griffiths, Griffin & Hoxie. When T. Jay Griffiths retired on the 1st of May, 1888, the present firm name of Griffin & Hoxie was designated. On the 2d of July, 1923, the firm issued an announcement of its seventy-ninth anniversary to its customers. The following editorial appeared in the Utica Observer-Dispatch under date of July 3, 1923:

"A story was told yesterday of the retirement of John C. Hoxie from the firm of Griffin & Hoxie, and the formation of a new firm, comprised of Charles A. Griffin, Wheaton I. Griffin and Charles A. Griffin, Jr. The old firm name is to be retained, which is quite proper, as it has long been a Utica institution. One of the pleasant things to be remembered in this long partnership of Messrs. Griffin and Hoxie is the complete cordiality and confidence and the harmonious agreement that has always existed between them. They entered into partnership when industry and honesty were practically the only capital they possessed. Success came to them in the way it has come to many Americans. It was won through their own exertions, through their complete harmony, through their team work, which has continued all the forty-four years of their association, and which will continue as long as they live. In this atmosphere have been reared the members of the new firm who have taken Mr. Hoxie's place — an assurance that this fine old business landmark will in no way lose its identity or its hold upon the public in central and northern New York."

The firm of Griffin & Hoxie was located for fifteen years at the corner of Fayette and Washington streets, whence a removal was made to Liberty street, where it conducted business for fourteen years. In 1894 the firm was installed in its present quarters at Nos. 22 and 24 Catharine street, where it occupies a four-story and basement building, fifty by one hundred and fifty feet. Employment is furnished to sixty people. The well-directed efforts and splendid business ability of Charles A. Griffin have contributed in substantial measure to the continued growth and success of this large wholesale grocery establishment. During the past fifteen or more years he has had the able assistance of his sons, Wheaton I. and Charles A., Jr., who are now associated with him as partners.

In early manhood Mr. Griffin was united in marriage to Miss Cornelia Wheaton, daughter of Levi Wheaton of Utica, New York. Mr. and Mrs. Griffin have two sons, mentioned above: Wheaton Ira and Charles Alfred, Jr. Mr. Griffin is a worthy exemplar of the teachings and purposes of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to Oriental Lodge No. 224, F. & A. M.; Oneida Chapter No. 57, R. A. M.; and Utica Commandery No. 3, K. T. He is likewise a member of the Yahnundasis Golf Club and the Fort Schuyler Club. Widely known and deservedly popular, his record cannot fail to prove of interest to many of the readers of this volume. He has been a lifelong resident of Oneida county and in March, 1925, will have completed six decades of active business life here, for he began work in the year 1865. His personality was won for him many friends and his ability, sincerity, and determination have been dominant factors in his prosperity. He is a member of Westminster Presbyterian church and belongs to the Oneida Historical Society.

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