NORTHERN NEW YORK
Genealogical and family history of northern New York: a record of the achievements of her people
in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation.
New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co. 1910.
Transcribed by Coralynn Brown
There is considerable evidence that this name was originally Griffin, as brought to America. Several immigrants bearing that name were early in Massachusetts, and it seems likely that this family is an offshoot of that early located in Charlestown, Mass., though the family tradition places its origin in northern Ireland, where the name in its present form is found. The records of Boston show the name in many forms, including Griffin, Giving, Givin and Given, and numerous marriages are recorded between 1730 and 1750.
(I) According to family tradition, Simon Giffin, born 1711, was a native of northern Ireland, and settled early in life in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he died Sept 9, 1774. He married (first) at Boston, Mass., Jan. 21, 1739, Jennet Lechman. In the record at Boston the publishment of intention makes the names Griffin and Leachman. It seems quite probable that Simon Giffin was born and reared near Boston and went to Nova Scotia after his marriage. He seems to have been industrious and thrifty, for he was possessed of about 3,500 acres of land in and near Halifax at the time of his death. A silver button worn on his clothing is still treasured by a descendant.
His first wife died Dec. 27, 1752, at the age of thirty-four years, and he married (second) a widow, Janet Brown, who died Dec. 8, 1775.
Children by first wife:
John, George, Elizabeth and Simon.
(II) Simon (2), youngest son of Simon (1) and Jennet (Lechman) Giffin, was born July 5, 1740, probably in Halifax, and died Nov. 6, 1820, in Wethersfield, Conn., where he was for many years a manufacturer of spinning wheels. He was a quartermaster-sergeant in a Wethersfield company, in Colonel Samuel B. Webb's regiment of the revolutionary army, and received a pension from the government late in life.
He married (first) March 24, 1761, Abigail, daughter of Elisha and Hannah Higgins. She died Nov. 24, 1768, and he married (second) Dec. 12, 1771, Lydia Crane, born May 23, 1741, died Dec. 20, 1813.
There were three children of each marriage, namely:
Edward, James, David Dodge, George, Ann and John.
(III) David Dodge, third son of Simon (2) and Abigail (Higgins) Giffin, was born Sept. 8, 1766, in Bennington, Vermont, and resided for a time in Hardwick, Vermont. In 1800 he settled on land in Oswegatchie township, St. Lawrence county, New York, where he purchased land on the St. Lawrence river, six miles above Ogdensburg. He was a blacksmith by trade, and operated a shop, while clearing and tilling his large farm. He was active and successful and built five miles of the road from Morristown to Ogdensburg, under contract. An intimate friend of Nathan Ford, agent of the Ogdens at Ogdensburg, he was associated with the latter in securing and locating settlers, and namedone of his sons for him.
As captain of the local militia he was active in protecting the river front in the war of 1812, for which he was especially fitted by a thorough knowledge of the territory on both sides of the stream. He died April 2, 1840, in his seventy-fourth year.
He married in 1794, Jerusha Thompson, born March 29, 1771, died Dec. 13, 1849.
1. Harriet, born March 30, 1794; married James Stewart, a farmer; resided at Waterloo, N.Y.
2. David, Feb. 5, 1796, at Fort Ann; died Oct. 4, 1880 at Brier Hill, St. Lawrence county.
3. George, born Feb. 2, 1798, died May 11, 1870; buried at Morristown.
4. Almeda, born March 4, 1800, wife of John F. Davis; lived on a farm on Black lake, in Oswegatchie.
5. Henry B., born Nov. 22, 1802, died May, 1871; was a farmer.
6. Nathan Ford, mentioned below.
7. William C., born Feb. 27, 1809, died April 21, 1849.
8. Jerusha T., born Aug. 6, 1813; wife of J. J. Mason; died Oct. 18, 1845; buried at De Peyster.
(IV) Nathan Ford (1), fourth son of David Doge and Jerusha (Thompson) Giffin, was born Dec. 6, 1805, in Oswegatchie, and died Sept. 12, 1891, at Heuvelton, where he was long an active and prosperous business man and manufacturer. As a young man he spent a short time in Seneca county, N.Y., where he learned the trade of tanner and currier, after which he operated a tannery in his native town in association with his brother William. They sold out in 1830 and Nathan F. located in that year in Heuvelton, where he engaged in manufacturing on the Oswegatchie river. At one time he conducted a general store, tannery, saw, shingle and flour mills, a shoe and harness shop, and also manufactured pot and pearl ashes. A man of positive character, he was firm in principle and action, never acting without reflection, genial and social by nature, and was respected and esteemed.
An active member of the Methodist church, he was among its most liberal supporters, and in public matters acted with the Whig and Republican parties. He did not desire public honors, but served four years as justice of the peace.
He married (first) April 26, 1831, Mary Galloway, who was the mother of his children. He married (second) in April, 1864, Mary Southwick, of Keeseville, Essex county, N.Y.
1. Mary Elizabeth, born March 11, 1832, married David B. Thurston, and died Jan. 5, 1904, at Fremont, Nebraska.
2. Nathan Clark, born Oct. 10, 1833; is a lawyer at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where he has served as probate judge.
3. Charles Henry, Sept. 18, 1835, died June 5, 1886, at Heuvelton.
4. Dan Spafford, mentioned below.
5. David, Feb. 3, 1841, resides in Idaho.
6. Edwin Wilmot, born Sept. 26, 1844, died July 3, 1860.
7. William Milford, born Feb. 14, 1850; is a teacher in Chicago.
8. Leverett Wright, Feb. 6, 1853; was a practicing physician in Chicago and died March 25, 1902, in Chicago, and was buried in Neenah, Wisconsin.
(V) Dan Spafford, third son of Nathan Ford and Mary (Galloway) Giffin, was born May 19, 1838, in Heuvelton, and died Jan. 30, 1907 in that town. He was educated at Gouverneur Wesleyan Seminary and Union College, class of 1861. After teaching school he entered the law office of Morris and Vary in Ogdensburg, and qualified himself for practice, being admitted to the bar in 1861, upon which he entered practice in Heuvelton, where he continued through life. He was a member of Company G, 142d Regiment, New York Volunteers, in the civil war, becoming a lieutenant and later captain, and was discharged on account of a wound received at the battle of Drury's Bluff.
Returning to Heuvelton, he engaged in mercantile and manufacturing business and was subsequently active in the practice of law. An earnest Republican, he was frequently called to the public service at home and at Albany. He was a member of the school committee of District No. 1, served many years as justice of the peace, as school commissioner of St. Lawrence county, and was assistant clerk of the assembly in 1884 and 1889.
A gifted and scholarly man, of genial and cheeful nature, he was welcomed in every circle in which he moved, and affiliated with the Masonic fraternity and the Grand Army of the Republic.
He married, March 3, 1862, Mary C. Shepard, born Dec., 1838, in Theresa, N.Y., daughter of Rev. Hiram and Amanda (Butterfield) Shepard. The father was a Methodist clergyman and presiding elder, and resided at various places in northern New York. Mrs. Giffin now (1910) resides at Verona, New Jersey.
Gertrude Theresa, became the wife of William Pitt Rich, of Verona, New Jersey.
Clarence Shepard, resides in the far west.
Nathan Ford, mentioned below.
(VI) Nathan Ford (2), youngest child of Dan S. and Mary C. (Shepard) Giffin, was born Aug. 29, 1875, in Heuvelton, where he attended the public schools in youth. He was graduated from St. Lawrence University at Canton in 1895, and immediately entered the New York Law School, where he received his degree in 1897.
He entered upon practice at once in New York City, where he has since been established. His office is No. 31 Nassau street. With home in Manhattan, he is a member of the New York County Lawyers' Association, the City Club, Montclair Golf Club, and the St. Lawrence county Society in New York.
While a Republican in political principles, he is not active in political movements.
Mr. Giffin is unmarried.
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