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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Griffith Griffiths

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 190-193 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Portrait of Griffith Griffiths

Portrait: Griffith Griffiths

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Griffith Griffiths, who for nearly a third of a century was successfully engaged in the contracting and building business in Utica as senior member of the firm of Griffiths & Pierce, was in the sixtieth year of his age when called to his final rest on the 13th day of May, 1919. He was born in Carnarvonshire, Wales, on the 23d of December, 1859, his parents being John and Mary (Roberts) Griffiths, the former an expert brick and stone mason.

In the acquirement of an education Griffith Griffiths attended the public schools of his native land to the age of fourteen years and then in 1873 began learning the trade of brick and stone laying under the direction of his father, with whom he served an apprenticeship of three years, thoroughly acquainting himself with the work as well as familiarizing himself with the business of contracting and building. He then left the parental roof and worked in other cities until 1883, when as a young man of twenty-four years he crossed the Atlantic to the United States and located in Utica, New York, where he obtained employment with Jones & Shippy. As he desired to see more of the country, however, he traveled both east and west, working at his trade and broadening his general knowledge as well as his mechanical skill. Returning to Utica in 1887, he embarked in the contracting and building business in association with Pierce Jones — a relation that was maintained throughout the remainder of his life under the firm style of Griffiths & Pierce. A gratifying and well deserved measure of success attended their undertakings, for they were awarded not only some of the best contracts in Utica but many in outlying towns. Among the handsome structures which remain as monuments to their skill and ability may be mentioned the Hotel Utica, St. Luke's Hospital, the Utica Free Academy, the Wetmore Street School, the Hudson River Power Plant, the Moravian church, the Reconciliation church, the Utica & Mohawk Valley car barns, Fraser's department store, the addition to Hotel Martin, the Oneida County Hospital at Rome, the Richmond Hotel at Little Falls, the addition to the plant of the Maydole Hammer Company at Norwich, the silver plating plant of the Oneida Community, Limited, at Oneida, the addition to the Olympian Knitting Mill at New Hartford, the Sherburne Hotel at Sherburne and the mills of the Utica Knitting Company at Sherburne, Oriskany Falls and Utica. Mr. Griffiths was not only a competent workman but a thoroughly reliable and capable business man, whose well-directed efforts were rewarded with prosperity. In addition to his contracting business he acquired other interests of importance, becoming widely recognized as a substantial and highly respected citizen of Utica.

On the 13th day of May, 1888, Mr. Griffiths was united in marriage to Miss Mary Davis, daughter of John and Hannah (Roberts) Davis, who were natives of Wales and of Oneida county, New York, respectively. Griffith and Mary (Davis) Griffiths became the parents of two sons, Waldo and Harold, but the latter died in infancy. The wife and mother passed away in 1894. Eight years later Mr. Griffiths was again married, his second union being with Jennie Cromie, daughter of Robert Cromie of Utica. Mrs. Jennie (Cromie) Griffiths departed this life in 1913.

In politics Mr. Griffiths maintained an independent attitude, supporting men and measures rather than party. He was a member and trustee of Plymouth church and was also affiliated with several Welsh societies. His name was likewise on the membership rolls of the Master Mason Builders Association. Coming to the New World in early manhood, he here found the opportunities which he sought and in their wise utilization won prosperity and an honored name. In his demise the city of Utica sustained the loss of one of its representative and esteemed citizens.

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