Benjamin Griffith was likely born in Pennsylvania in about 1794 (559). His parents have not been identified; however, the 1830 federal census of Wayne County, Ohio enumerates the household of John Griffith, 40–49 years old, and a female 30–39 years, presumably John’s wife (701). Also living in the household were a male, 30–39 years old, a female, 20–29 years old, and an elderly female, 70–79 years old. Benjamin Griffith may have been the 30–39-year-old male and a brother to John Griffith. The elderly female may have been the mother of John and Benjamin Griffith.
The 1826 Wayne County, Ohio tax list for Sugar Creek Township lists Benjamin Griffith as the owner of 80 acres of land described as the east 1/2 of the northwest 1/4 of section 35, valued at $196 (720). John Griffith owned 160 acres in Sugar Creek Township described as the southwest 1/4 of section 17 and valued at $412 (720).
On 9 Jun 1831, Benjamin Griffith and Mary Hites married at Millersburg in Holmes County, Ohio (551, 552). James Hockenberry, a Justice of the Peace, presided over the ceremony. Born in Ohio in about 1802, Mary Hites was the oldest known child of Michael Hites and his wife Margaret (Hatfield) Hites. At their marriage, Benjamin was 37 years old, and Mary was 29.
On 27 Apr 1832 and again on 18 Apr 1835, Benjamin Griffith was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Sugar Creek Township of Wayne County, Ohio (Page 843, 717)
By 1840, Benjamin and Mary Griffith were living in Prairie Township of Holmes County, Ohio. The 1840 federal census of Prairie Township enumerates the Benj. Griffith household in Prairie Township (550). Benjamin Griffith was 40–49 years old. A female, 20–29 years old, was presumably Mary (Hites) Griffith. The census implies that five children were born to Benjamin and Mary Griffith before the 1940 enumeration that recorded two males, 5–9 years old; two females, 5-9 years old; and a male and female, each less than 5 years of age. In addition to Benjamin Griffith, another male, 40–49 years old, was also living in the household. The 1840 federal census also enumerates the household of Michael Hites, Mary Griffith’s father, in Prairie Township of Holmes County, Ohio (553).
During 1846, Benjamin Griffith brought legal action in the Holmes County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas against Joseph Wolland and Henry Shoup (184).
The 10 Aug 1850 federal census of Prairie Township in Holmes County, Ohio enumerates the Benjamin Griffith household, including 10 children (559). Benjamin Griffith was 56 years old and born in Pennsylvania. His wife Mary Griffith was 37 years old and born in Ohio. The census enumerates children: Benjamin Griffith, Jr., 17 years old; Catharine, age 16 years; Percilla, age 14; Daniel, age 10; James age 8; Elijah, age 7, Luticia, age 3; William age 2; and Silas Griffith, 10 months old.
In Holmes County, Ohio on 30 Aug 1853, a son, Michael John Griffith, was born to Benjamin and Mary Griffith. Seven weeks later, in Oct 1853, Benjamin Griffith was kill by a falling tree while he was gathering wood. A daughter of Michael Griffith, Maude Ellen (Griffith) Countryman, would later recall:
Dad was seven weeks old when his father died. He went out in the woods to chop wood, and a tree fell on him and killed him. Grandmother went to hunt him and found him where a tree had fallen on him. He was getting pretty old. (560)
Following the death of Benjamin Griffith in 1853, various households in Holmes County appear to have taken in his children.
The 1860 federal census enumerates Elijah Griffeth, 16 years old, with the household of Robert Flack and
19 years old Danl Griffeth enumerated with the household of Isaiah Jones. Michael Griffith, the youngest of Benjamin Griffith’s children, continued to live with his mother Mary Griffith.
Notes and Comments
Since Benjamin Griffith married in Holmes County, Ohio on 9 Jun 1831, he was likely living in the area a year earlier at the 1830 federal census. The 30–39 year male living in the John Griffith household of Wayne County, Ohio is the only federal census record identified thus far that is consistent with this assumption. Holmes County, Ohio was created on 20 Jan 1824 from parts of Coshocton, Tuscarawas, and Wayne counties. Land in the southern part of Wayne County was assigned to Holmes County. Wayne County, Ohio was created on 13 Feb 1808 from non-county lands.
The 1850 federal census of the Prairie Township of Holmes County, Ohio enumerates Benjamin Griffith as born in Pennsylvania (559).
According to family history notes acquired from Maude Ellen (Griffith) Countryman, Michael John Griffith was seven weeks of age when Benjamin Griffith died in an accident, implying that Benjamin died in Oct 1853.
In the 1850 federal census of Prairie, Holmes County, Ohio Benjamin Griffith’s age was poorly written, and can be interpreted as 36 or 56 years. Additionally, the census enumerates Mary Griffith, 37 years old, as born in Ohio, while subsequent census and other records indicate that she was born in Pennsylvania.
184. Benjamin Griffith vs Joseph Wolland and Henry Shoup. Holmes County Civil Court Index 1825–1900. Holmes County Genealogical Society, Millersburg, Ohio. Case C-205, 1846. (Database).
550. Benjamin Griffith Household, 1840 U.S. Federal Census, Prairie Township, Holmes County, Ohio. Roll 404, Page 228. (Images: Ancestry.com. Image on file.)
551. Certificate of Marriage, Benjamin Griffith and Mary Hites, Certified Copy of Marriage Record, Holmes County, Ohio, 9 Jun 1831. Filed and recorded 25 Aug 1831. Probate Division, Court of Common Pleas, Holmes County, Ohio. (Image on file.)
552. Marriage Record, Benjamin Griffith and Mary Hites, Holmes County, Ohio, 9 Jun 1831. (Image on file.)
553. Michael Hites Household, 1840 U.S. Federal Census, Prairie Township, Holmes County, Ohio, USA. Roll 404, Page 224. (Images: Ancestry.com. Image on file.)
559. Benjamin Griffith Household, 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Holmes County, Ohio, 10 Jul 1850. Roll M432_696, Page 144, Image 125. (Images: Ancestry.com. Image on file.)
560. Recollections of Maude Ellen (Griffith) Countryman. (Original and images on file.)
701. John Griffith Household, 1830 U.S. Federal Census, Sugar Creek Township, Wayne County, Ohio. Series M19, Roll 142, Page 82, Family History Library Film 0337953. (Images: Ancestry.com. Image on file.)
712. John Griffith Household, 1820 U.S. Federal Census, Sugar Creek Township, Wayne County, Ohio. Page: 175, NARA Roll M33_93, Image 235. (Images: Ancestry.com. Image on file.)
717. Douglass, Ben. History of Wayne County, Ohio from the Days of the Pioneers and First Settlers to the Present Time. Robert Douglass, Publisher, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1878. (Images: Ancestry.com)
720. Smith, Richard G. Wayne County, Tax List 1826. Genealogical Section, Wayne County, Historical Society, Wooster, Ohio. (PDF file on file.)
Revised 10 Apr 2017