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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of George W. Griswold

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


GEORGE W. GRISWOLD, Supervisor of Harwood Township, is a well-to-do-farmer operating 160 acres of land on section 17. He may be pardoned for priding himself upon his "Yankee" blood, as it has been the means of making him one of the most prosperous, thorough and energetic tillers of the soil, who came to the West in their young manhood and resolved to make their mark.

The early home of Mr. Griswold was in the thriving little town of Sharon, Litchfield Co., Conn., where his birth took place on the 12th of August, 1836. He was the first child of Francis W. and Eunice (SURDAM) GRISWOLD, the former a native of New York and the latter of Connecticut. The year following the birth of our subject, his father, taking his family and household goods with him, proceeded to Sullivan County, N.Y., and located on a farm, where he engaged in agriculture until 1852. He was a man wide awake to what was going on around him, and when he heard of the tide of emigration setting toward the central portion of this State, he determined to join the caravan, and see what there was for him in the larger fields of the less thoroughly cultivated West. He located first in Kendall County, this State, but five years later moved into Peoria County, taking possession of a farm in Elmwood Township, near the now flourishing city of Peoria. There our subject remained under the parental roof until the winter of 1859. Being then twenty-three years of age, he concluded that it was high time to begin the establishment of a home of his own. He took the first important step toward the accomplishment of this end on the 28th of December following, being united in marriage with Lucy, eldest child of Joseph and Ann (ENZER) COX, natives of England, who emigrated to this country early in life, and located in Peoria, Ill., during its early settlement.

After their marriage, the young people took up their residence on a small farm in Brimfield Township where they remained three years, but not being quite satisfied with the results, returned to a farm in Elmwood Township, which they occupied for twelve years thereafter. In the meantime Mr. Griswold had been prospered, and accumulated quite a little sum of money with a fine assortment of farm implements. Believing, however, he could do still better by removal to this county, he disposed of his property in Peoria County, and embarked in a like enterprise in this county. Purchasing 160 acres of wild land in Harwood Township, he first provided a suitable shelter for this family, and soon afterward entered vigorously upon the tilling of the new soil. The results of his labor have been eminently satisfactory, and the traveler passing through Harwood Township acknowledges there is scarcely a more desirable homestead there than that of George W. Griswold. A view of the place is to be seen on another page. The greater portion of the land has been devoted to the raising of grain, and of late years Mr. G, has given much attention to the breeding of Norman horses, of which he intends to make a speciality in the future.

Mr. G. is strongly Republican in politics, and keeps himself well posted upon current events. Having abandoned the greater part of his farm labors with the exception of the department spoken of, he has abundant time for reading and argument, and while never offensive in the expression of his views, takes genuine delight in bringing up strong reasons in support of them. He was elected Supervisor on the People's Ticket, and has filled the offices of Commissioner of Highways and School Director for several years, the duties of which he has discharged with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents.

Mr. and Mrs. Griswold became the parents of three children: The eldest daughter, Julia, died in 1873, when twelve years of age; Eliza W. and Blanche are at home with their parents. The son Elza, has the chief management of his father's farm, and is a promising young member of a more than ordinarily intelligent community.

The father of our subject, Francis W. Griswold, after the death of his wife came to this county, and made his home with his son until his death, which took place in 1885. According to his wish, his remains were taken back to Peoria County.

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