By no means all the pioneer citizens and successful characters sho represent the great state of California in this volume are of the male sex, and to omit the part which the somen played in the development and the civic progress of this western country would be indeed a serious oversight. Among the citizens honored for their intrinsic worth and for what they are accomplishing in the world of mateiral affairs in San Joaquin county there is no better representative than Mrs. Ellen Griffin, who is herself a pioneer of this county and who since her husband's death has managed with admirable executive ability and sagacity the large ranch located about eleven miles east of Stockton on the Sonora road.
She was born in county Kerry, Ireland, January 4, 1831, being a daughter of Patrick and Bridget (Ford) cummins, both natives of Ireland. When she was twenty-one years old, in 1852, she took passage on a sailing vessel and after a long and tedious voyage of six weeks and three days she landed in New York city. There on the following 12th day of October she was united in marriage with John Griffin, who was born in county Kerry, Ireland, April 29, 1829, and who had preceded his betrothed to America by only a few months. The happy couple remained in New York until 1856, and then once more considerations of their own material welfare separated them for a short time. In that year Mr. Griffin came out to California, and after having decided upon a suitable location in San Joaquin county, he sent for his wife. She came around by the Panama route, and from San Francisco arrived in San Joaquin county in the same year of 1856, so that she lacks, at the present writing, only a year or so of having completed a cycle of fifty years' residence in the county, and has been familiar with this fertile valley from the days of pioneer joys and limitations until the progressive present.
Mr. Griffin first purchased in San Joaquin county four hundred and eighty acres of land at the site of the present ranch of his widow and children, but this tract was only the nucleus around which his diligence and fine business management built up, by subsequent purchase, a large estate, and the well cultivated ranch of which his widow is now the owner and manager comprises seventeen hundred and twenty-four acres. Mr. Griffin was a stanch Democrat in politics, and was very public-spirited and favorable to anything pertaining to the upbuilding and welfare of his community. In his death the county lost one of its most substantial, upright and best known pioneer citizens. He was a member of the Roman Catholic church, and his widow and children are also communicants of the same denomination. he had been almost entirely a self-made man, and with the ever constant help and loyal counsel and sympathy of his loving wife he in time came to possess a large share of worldly success, as he likewise enjoyed the esteem and confidence of all who knew him.
Mr. and Mrs. Griffin became the parents of several children, but only two daughters survive, Nellie C. and Anna F., who both reside at home with their mother. They have a delightful home, abounding in pleasantness and charm and sympathetic companionship, and one would have to go far and away over the county to find a family more highly esteemed and cordially liked than Mrs. Griffin and her daughters.
Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine
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