Fred Verl Griffin
March 15, 1916 - September 1, 2002
Fred's maternal grandfather was George Cline and his maternal grandmother was Susanna Mercer. His mother kept these two photos in a tiny metal frame which I still have in my display case. She had very carefully cut out tiny flowers to make a border for Susanna's picture.
Susanna's mother was Lydia (Kleindintz) Mercer, shown here with her two youngest of 11 children, twins Clinton and Clifton. They were born in 1864 so this picture was probably taken around 1870.
Fred's paternal grandparents were Daniel & Margaret (Ginny) Virginia (Williamson) Griffin. This picture shows Dan & Ginny with their two boys, Bill & George. The old lady is probably Ginny's mother, Margaret (Peggy) Doak and the girls are either Minnie, Madge or Nora.
Fred's parent's were John Lindsay Griffin and Maude Cline and this may be their wedding picture. It is sister Ellie, Maude and John Lindsey. They were married June 20, 1897 in Ritchie County, WVa. and lived in a little town called "Mole Hill", later to be renamed "Mountain", WVa. near Pennsboro. Their first child was born August 20, 1900, named William Floyd. This is Lindsey, little Floyd and Maude.
Fred was born March 15, 1916 and was the youngest of 7 sons. Here's the earliest picture I have of him and his brother Carl. And another one about 4 years later.
Two of Fred's brothers died in infancy, but Asa Maple lived to age 20. He died of typhoid fever which they believe he got from drinking out of the creek. It had been a hot August day and he was helping his dad cut hay. On the way home he was so thirsty, he knelt to take a drink which is probably what proved fatal. Fred's mother Maud always used to sing and whistle as she worked but he never remembered her doing either after Maple died. Another picture of Maple.
Fred's brother Eddie married Edna Jolliffe in August of 1926. Here's Eddie & Edna with their daughters Betty & Jeannine with Maude & Lindsey. I can't tell yet what kind of car this is!
This is one of my favorite pictures of Lindsey chopping wood. I always think of him when I'm using my hydraulic log-splitter, and how hard they had to work then to make firewood.
Another good photo of Lindsey & Maude.
About 1936, when Fred was 20 years old, he got himself a really neat car and left Mole Hill to seek his fortune. He drove north about 130 miles where he found work in the apple orchards of the C.A.Smith farms. He became good friends with Harold Stewart and did some guitar pickin' , getting good enough to even go audition for the "Grand ol Opry", (but nothing ever came of it). Harold was an incredible piano player and he never had a lesson in his life! He could make an old upright piano rock til you'd swear it'd tip over. There was a lot of guitar pickin', piano playin' and singin' of the old gospel songs.
Now Fred had a girl back down home in Ritchie County. Matter of fact they were pretty much engaged to be married. One night Fred had a dream. A dream so real that he jumped in his model T the next morning and took off for home, 130 miles of rough country roads. He went straight to his girl's house and asked her where she'd been last night. "Why nowhere" she said. "What movie did you go see?" he asked her. "And who did you go out with?" By then she knew she'd been had. Fred named the movie and one of his "friends" that she'd gone out with. He broke it off with her and headed back north to where he was boarding with Harold Stewart' parents on their farm near the apple orchards. The old Model T was getting hot but it was getting late and he thought he could make it on in, but that last West Virginia hill did it in. They went back later with the horses to tow it on up to the Stewart farm but it was beyond fixin'. Fred said he and Harold just pushed it on over and down a big hill and as far as we know, the remains of it are still down in that valley yet.
The Prince farm was just adjoining the big apple orchard where Fred worked and all the young guys working there knew of Ross Prince's young daughter but none of them had ever been able to get through Ross to get to know her. Fred bet the guys that he was the one to do it and it wasn't long before they were going out together. Fred got in so good with Ross that he even convinced him to buy a brand new 1935 Ford. Poor Ross never did learn to drive that car! Too many years in a Model T one can assume. Fred tried his best to learn him how, but one day Ross drove the car all the way back from Chester in 2nd gear and Fred just left him alone. After they got home Fred said "you know you got another gear to use", Ross just gave the keys to Mary and never drove again the rest of his life!
Harold Stewart was the
man when on March 15, 1937 Fred was married
his 21st birthday.