Thursday, October 22, 2015
Thursday, September 17, 2015
The name of C. E. Griffin is found frequently in the documentary history of Summit County. This documentary trail tells the story of a man deeply involved in the development of the County. When anyone walks a city street in the various towns in the County or drives along a County road they are in all likelihood following in a pathway laid out by C. E. Griffin. In 1974 the State Highway department published a PLAT MAP of Coalville. If we were able to find the original survey made by C. E. Griffin it would mirror the 1974 edition. Somewhere in the 1870 PHOTO is the house built by Charles. In what was probably the earliest HISTORY written for Summit County the author included a full page on Charles Emerson Griffin. He quotes Charles’ autobiography as an authoritative source on early County history. Charles made his first foray into Summit County in 1860 and quickly became deeply involved with county and city government. He served in the courts, as assessor and surveyor. He also served as a deputy sheriff. He left in 1865 only to return in 1866. On his return he was quickly recruited to full his previous roles. Over the next eight years his involvement increased. At one time he served as head of three major departments in county government, the Sheriff’s office, as county surveyor and as the county assessor. He simultaneously held most of those jobs at the city level in Coalville.
In his personal papers Charles had a RECIEPT for taxes he had collected as “assessor and collector for Summit County”. It is dated Feb 11th 1867. As a bit of a historical twist note that is signed by Wm. Clayton the author of the famous Mormon hymn, Come Come ye Saints.
We also find a reimbursement RECORD from the road supervisor for survey work. The record includes the name of Charles E. Griffin, which implies that he had quickly returned to that role.
In the midst of the Black Hawk War it is no surprise that Charles was almost immediately drafted into service in the Summit Military District. He was appointed Captain and battalion adjutant.
In 1868 he is drafted to serve as a DELEGATE to the Republican convention representing the city of Coalville.
Charles was caught up in a small pox epidemic in 1869. There is a detailed DOCUMENT in the county records that outlines the county’s response, which included placing a quarantine on a number of families including the Griffins.
There are a number of documents that indicate that Charles had established a teamster business. The business required that he produce grain and forage sufficient to feed his animals. We get some hints at the size of his teamster operation in a DOCUMENT that notes he offered as a bid 4,000 bushels of wheat. We also find documents that indicate that he was appointed POUNDKEEPER. Another DOCUMENT indicates that the poundkeepers kept the impounded animals in their own corrals and fed them using his own resources to be later reimbursed by the county.
In his own personal papers Charles had retained the OFFICIAL NOTIFICATION sent to him regarding his election as County Sheriff in 1870 and 1872. There are a number of documents that track his involvement in the sheriff’s office. We find a DOCUMENT that records his nomination for the office at a county convention. There is a DOCUMENT that denotes a request for extra pay for extra services rendered. There are documents that record the amount of the BOND he posted before assuming the office as sheriff.
There are any number of DOCUMENTS that record his busy service in the courts.
One of the DOCUMENTS that I find the most telling is a report on delinquent taxes that he prepared. It is beautifully written in what became his signature writing style. It is well written and organized. The calculations that are included clearly demonstrate his ability as a mathematician.
As per western history we tend to romanticize the role of Sheriff, However I think it was as county surveyor that Charles left his most lasting legacy. Charles had begun his career as a surveyor early on in his arrival in Summit County. When he left for Long Valley his resignation from the post was duly recorded. There are clear indications that when he reappeared in 1866 he was quickly drafted back into service. There is a DOCUMENT that notes that when the sitting county survey resigned the county quickly turned to Charles as a replacement. We find the RECORD for the bond he posted before assuming the office after he was elected in the next election cycle. The same bond also indicates that as a subset of his survey work he served as a “road supervisor”. The most telling document relating to his work as a surveyor are MINUTES in the county records that make note of a report presented by Charles E. Griffin on the county roads.
Found in the church records in Coalville are the baptismal and confirmation records for Joseph and Hannah Griffin. The birth and blessing record for John Griffin are also included.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Charles’ first foray into Summit County was in 1860. By 1861 the County had begun to attract enough interest that the State Legislature appoint a Probate Judge to supervise the organization of the County. William Vance, the new Judge, selected Charles E. Griffin to serve as his Clerk Pro Tem and manage the affairs of the newly seated court.------
One of the first offices to be filled by the new court was that of Assessor and Tax Collector. The Judge appointed Charles to serve in that role the first to hold the office in Summit County.--------
The first hint we get that Charles was also appointed and later elected, as County Surveyor was the notice of his registration from the position logged into the county records.--------
The early Summit County historians made note of the large number of hats that Charles wore and marveled at how he jugged his multiple responsibly. In addition to everything else he was involved with we also find a note that indicates he was deeply involved with the irrigation system.