William Ridgely Griffith

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William R. Griffith, deceased, was born Feb. 28, 1794, in Maryland, and was brought, by emigration of the family, to Ohio County in 1805. He was the first County Clerk of Daviess, which office he held for many years; and he was widely esteemed for his many excellent traits, and possessed abilities of no common character. He recorded the first deed ever made in the county, which transfer was made June 12, 1815, of 100 acres of land, by Adam Jourdan to Moses Gwyn, for the consideration of $350. This tract of land is said to be still in cultivation, but has not enhanced much in value. He afterward studied law and was admitted to the bar. His practice was successful and his business, largely consisting in land claims, was straightforward and reliable. In some portions of the latter business he was in partnership with Phil Triplett. Mr. G. was a Whig in his party affiliations. He died in December, 1848; two of his children survive – Daniel M. and Clinton, both well-known citizens of Owensboro.

Source: History of Daviess County, Kentucky. Chicago: Interstate Publishing Co., 1883. Print.

William Ridgely Griffith (grandfather of Joshua Todd Griffith) was born in Maryland, and died in 1845. He was eleven years of age when he came to Kentucky and, owing to the primitive condition of the country, schools were impossible, but he received a fair education in schools at Hartford and at St. Joseph College. He was a soldier in the War of 1812-14; and, upon the organization of Daviess County and the opening of the County Court, he was appointed the first clerk of the court. He was afterward admitted to the bar and practiced law for several years. In 1822 he married Aria Mosely, daughter of Captain Thomas Mosely, an early settler in Kentucky, who came from Virginia. She died in 1828; and, in 1841, he married Martha Hopkins, daughter of General Edmund Hopkins of Henderson County. He became largely interested in real estate, owning at different times many thousands of acres of land. Titles for larger landed possessions passed through his hands than were ever given by any other individual in Daviess County, unless by his son, who succeeded him. He encouraged and secured the settlement of a great number of families in different parts of the county, selling land at low prices and on favorable terms. He was gifted with superior business qualifications and was generous to a fault. He would say to the surveyors of the land which he proposed to sell to throw in five or ten acres rather than make it short by a rood. He was prominent in the development of the county and was a popular leader in every movement for the public weal. He served his county in the legislature for a number of terms and his district in the senate three or four terms, and in this he served his constituents industriously and conscientiously. The excellent name of his honored father was kept in remembrance by the noble deeds of the son, whose life was full of charitable deeds, generous consideration for others and whose public spirited enthusiasm and enterprise did so much to make his county one of the best in the Ohio Valley.

Source: Biographical Cyclopedia of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. John M. Gresham Company, Chicago, Philadelphia, 1896.