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This biography is from Landmarks of Albany County, New York, edited by Amasa J. Parker of Albany, N. Y., Syracuse, N. Y.; D. Mason & Co. Publishers, 1897.

William Herrick Griffith

William Herrick Griffith was born at Castleton-on-Hudson, Rensselaer County, N. Y., 27 January, 1866. He is descended from an illustrious and distinguished ancestry. His father, the late Edwin Henry Griffith, a Banker and a man of prominent position, born in Nassau, Rensselaer Co., 1 December, 1830, married early in life Mary Louisa Knowlton, daughter of George Washington and Sybil Ann (Rowe) Knowlton. He was founder of the National Bank of Castleton, to which place he removed in 1865, and was officially connected with that institution and prominently identified with the interests of the place until a year before his death, which occurred at Albany, N. Y., in May, 1875, upon his return from a sojourn in Denver, Colorado, whither he had gone for the improvement of his health. His father was Smith Griffith, of Nassau, N. Y., an elder in the Presbyterian Church at that place, and who held nearly all the official positions of prominence in the gift of the Town. He was born 22 February, 1793; died 18 January, 1878; his father being Major Joshua Griffith, who served with credit in the War of 1812; and his grandfather, William Griffith, a Revolutionary Soldier, who was a direct lineal descendant of Llewellyn, last King of Wales, who was beheaded by the English in 1282, and who was the son of Griffith, also King of Wales. Lemira Merrick, wife of Smith Griffith, above, and paternal grandmother of Mr. Griffith, subject of this sketch, was second in lineal descent from Colonel Rufus Herrick, an officer of the New York State Continental Line in the Revolutionary War; seventh in lineal descent from Sir William Herrick, of Leicester, London, and Beau Manor Park, England, and eighteenth in lineal descent from Eric, King of Danes. The arms which she made use of were granted to Sir William Herrick in the reign of Elizabeth and are described as follows: "Argent; a fesse vaire, or and gules."— Crest — "A bull's head couped argent, horned and eared Sable, gorged with a chaplet of roses ppr." Motto—" Virtus omnia nobilitat."

The Griffith arms are the same as those of Griffith of the Royal House of Wales, of whom the persons of the name already mentioned in this sketch are all lineal descendants, and therefore entitled to use the arms.

Mr. Griffith's lineal paternal ancestors intermarried with the New England Colonial families of Paine, Smith, Perrin, Trask, Leonard, Avery, Denison, Stanton, Starkweather, Lord, Thompson, Peck, Marvin and Chickering, and the Piatt, Wood and Scudder families of Long Island. Of these female lines the Paines. Perrins, Averys, Denisons, Stantons, Lords, Pecks, aud Platts possessed and used Coat armor which belonged to them by descent from the original armiger. Mr. Griffith's mother, as mentioned early in this sketch, is Mary Louisa (Knowlton) Griffith. She was born at Greenbush-on-Hudson, Rensselaer Co., N. Y., 26 March, 1833, and is now living in Albany. She belongs to the Historic New England family of Knowltons, to which belonged many of the bravest soldiers and illustrious statesmen of the New World. General Nathaniel Lyon, of Missouri, was a prominent member of this family who fell in the Civil War, and whose death the nation mourned. Col. Thomas Knowlton, younger brother of Lieutenant Daniel Knowlton, of Connecticut, great-grandfather of Mrs. Griffith, and whom she represents in the Daughters of the Revolution, was an intimate friend of George Washington, who in lamenting his untimely death at the Battle of Harlem Heights in 1776 said; "The brave Knowlton has fallen. He would have been an honor to any country." The State of Connecticut has appreciated and shown honor to his memory by erecting a bronze statue of heroic size just in front of her State Capitol at Hartford. To this family also belongs Sir Charles Tupper, the last Prime Minister to Canada. The first of this name to come to America was Capt. William Knowlton, who early in the seventeenth century sailed from Cheswick, England, with his three sons, in his own ship, and landed at Nova Scotia. One son, John, removed to Ipswich, Mass., and from him are descended the most illustrious descendants of the name. Mrs. Griffith's father was the late George Washington Knowlton, ninth in descent from Captain William, above, and her mother, Sybil Ann (Rowe) Knowlton, now living. Mrs. Griffith's paternal and maternal ancestors intermarried with the New England Colonial families of Farnham, Burton, Ford, Russell, Pinder, Wilson, Bennett, Allen, Holt, Jewett, Sterling and Freeman, and the German Palatinate families of Rowe and Winegar. Of these lines the Farnhams, Fords, Pinders, Aliens, Holts, Sterlings and Freemans possessed and used Coats-of-arms which had been used in their families for generations. Mary Louisa (Knowlton) Griffith's arms and those in use by her Knowlton ancestors for generations are registered as follows in Her Majesty's College of Heraldry and Arms at London under the name "Knowlton," viz.: "Argent, a chevron gules, between three ducal coronets sable." Crest — a demi lion rampant ppr. Motto — " Vi et Virtute."

After the death of his father at Albany in 1875, Mr. Griffith (subject of this sketch) entered the Albany Academy, which he left (after also receiving private instruction from a private tutor. Rev. Charles H. W. Stocking, D. D.), to enter Yale College in the Fall of 1886. He was unable to complete the Classical Course, owing to ill health. Upon leaving College he traveled extensively throughout England, Scotland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland, making his sojourn in these countries an occasion to study continental customs. While abroad he contributed many articles and papers bearing upon archaeology and the life and customs of the nations of the Old World to American journalism. Many of these articles were published in American papers, chiefly the "New York Home Journal." Upon his return to Albany Mr. Griffith accepted a responsible position in the First National Bank of that city, which he occupied for six years, finally tendering his resignation as Bank Bookkeeper to embark for himself in the Fire Insurance business, in which occupation he is now actively engaged, representing the "United States Fire Insurance Company, of New York," and "The Royal of Liverpool." His office is at No. 37 Maiden Lane.

Mr. Griffith is an enthusiast upon and deeply interested in all matters of History and Genealogy, and has done much to further their interests in his native City. He is an active, working official of Philip Livingston Chapter, Sons of the Revolution, and to him is due in a great measure its success and prosperity. As its treasurer and secretary he has been one of the few who have by their efforts made it the successful, prosperous and conservative organization it has lately become. He is also identified as Registrar-General and Genealogist with the oldest, most conservative, hereditary order in the United States known as "The Ancient Heraldic and Chivalric Order of Knights of Albion." This order was instituted by Sir Edmund Plowden, of Delaware and Virginia, in 1643. It became dormant just before 1700, but has lately been revived, and is about to be legally incorporated. It already promises to be the most conservative hereditary male order of American origin. Mr. Griffith is constantly engaged in genealogical and historical work of some sort, being employed at present in compiling a Genealogy of the Knowlton and Griffith Families, besides many papers and articles which he contributes now and then to the various Historical, Hereditary and Literary Societies and Orders in which he enjoys active membership.

He is Secretary and Treasurer of the Knowlton Association in America, one of the largest and most powerful family organizations in the country; secretary of Philip Livingston Chapter, Sons of the Revolution; is a resident and active member of the Albany Historical and Art Society, The Albany Institute, and The New England Historic Genealogical Society of Boston; and a Corresponding Member of the Connecticut Historical Society. He is also an hereditary member of nearly all the patriotic hereditary orders, representing in each the following ancestors:
Order of the Cincinnati, Lieut. Daniel Knowlton.
Sons of the Revolution, and Sons of the American Revolution, Col. Rufus Herrick, Captain Israel Piatt, Lieut. Daniel Knowlton, Major Robert Freeman, Sergt. John Freeman, Private Wm. Griffith.
Society of the War of 1812,Major Joshua Griffith.
Society of Colonial Wars,Capt. George Denison, Capt. John Denison, Capt. James Avery, Capt. John Stanton, Capt. Epenetus Piatt, Sergeant Daniel Knowlton, Stephen Paine, Thomas Stanton, John Pinder, Joseph Ford, Bozoan Allen, Samuel Leonard and Stephen Herrick.
Order of the Old Guard of Chicago, New York Commandery, Colonel Herrick, Captain Denison, and Major Griffith.
Order of Founders and Patriots, John Knowlton, 1839; Lieut. Daniel Knowlton, 1776.

Mr. Griffith is also a member of the Masonic Fraternity, having been raised to the degree of Master Mason in Masters Lodge No. 5, Free and Accepted Masons, at Albany, 8 October, 1895. In religious belief he is a Protestant Episcopalian, being a communicant of All Saints' Cathedral, Albany, in charge of Rt. Rev. William Croswell Doane, D.D., S.T.D., Bishop of Albany.

Mr. Griffith was married, 3 February, 1892, to Miss Grace Elizabeth Clute, daughter of Hon. Matthew Henry Robertson, Deputy Superintendent of Insurance of New York, and Elizabeth (Clute) Robertson, his wife. He has one child, a daughter, Margaret Frances Griffith, born 37 December, 1893.

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