|Birth: ||Dec. 8, 1823, Wales|
|Death: ||Feb. 17, 1889|
San Francisco County
Placer County Republican
Feb 20, 1889
In the death of G. Griffith, which occurred in San Francisco last Sunday, Placer County loses one of her most prominent citizens and the head of the granite industry on the coast. The history and growth of Penryn has been largely the result of Mr. Griffith's enterprise and successful development of the granite quarries at that place, while he controlled and operated equally important works at Rocklin. At first thought, there is no one to take his place. Mr. Griffith has been an invalid for nearly a year, and he has been under medical treatment in San Francisco for about three months. His disease was an affection of the stomach, and he also suffered much from nervousness brought about by business troubles in connection with the contract for the Stockton courthouse and the strikes at the quarries which took place when that contract was begun. Mr. Griffith was born December 8, 1823, at Ty Gwyn, Llanllyfine, Wales. From the "History of Placer County," we learn that his parents were David and Mary (Roberts) Griffith, the father being superintendent of a large slate quarry in that country. The elder Griffith died when the subject of our sketch was but fourteen years of age, leaving a family of seven children, the youngest being but one year old. Hard labor on the farm to aid the mother, burdened by heavy taxes and high rents added to the support of the large family, occupied the next five years of his life. At the age of nineteen, he went to work in the slate quarry and soon became foreman over a gang of thirty men. In June, 1847, Mr. Griffith came to the United States, taking a sailing vessel via Quebec and making his way to the graphite quarries of Quincy, Massachusetts. There he obtained employment at Wright, Baker & Co., first as a quarryman and then as a stone-cutter. For this firm, he wrought some years at Quincy, Milford, and Lynnfield in Massachusetts, and at Millstone Point in Connecticut, for Baker & Hoxie of Philadelphia. In 1853 he removed to California, arriving in San Francisco on the 14th of April of that year. His first effort in this state was in mining at Coloma, and afterwards at Mormon Island and Negro Hill in El Dorado County. There the bedrock was granite, and along the river banks were immense boulders and projections of this rock, glistening with the polish of the waters and as hard as adamant. The experienced quarryman viewed these as his familiar companions of past years, and here was promised invocation more to his taste than the precarious search for gold, and in which he afterwards engaged and prosecuted in the present large and successful industry. Mr. Griffith was fond of society and was a genial companion. He was a member of the Masonic Order, a Knight Templar, Thirty-second Scottish Rite, Knight Defender of the Shield and Star, and a life member of the Cambrian Mutual Aid Society. In politics, he was a Republican since the Charleston Convention of 1860, but never held or aspired to office. Mr. Griffith's remains were brought to Penryn Tuesday evening, and Masonic ceremonies held by Penryn Lodge F&LM Wednesday morning. Shortly after noon, the last rites were held in the Odd Fellows Cemetery at Auburn, the pall-bearers being two from the Penryn Lodge, two from the Sacramento Commandory, and two from Delta Chapter of Auburn.
Born on December 8, 1823 in Wales, the immigrant to California's gold country settled in the Penryn where some gold was discovered, but like many gold rush entrepreneurs, this gent made his fortune on other products. He purchased land that contained incredibly strong and beautiful stone material, a speckled granite of gray, tan and black that was used in building solid structures of high quality materials. Unlike the gold rush camps such as nearby Ophir that burned to the ground in three short years after being established in 1853, Griffith created his business at a time when the value for solid buildings made of fire resistant materials was recognized as a priority and worth the expense. Griffith's granite quarry, Penryn Granite Works, supplied exceptionally strong raw material that can be found in the foundations and walls of a number of California's landmark historical buildings.When Griffith settled in the region, he offered provisions for his workers though there wasn't a town to speak of. Central Pacific Railroad with Griffith's Granite Station, a boarding house, a few houses and a saloon and store provided the basics until the town grew with the establishment of a school, hotel, blacksmiths and several stores and saloons in the 1870s. When Griffith Griffith died in 1889, his nephew David Griffith purchased the property and continued producing granite for nearly 20 more years. At the turn of the 20th century, fruit farms were introduced as profitable ventures. Nearby Loomis Blue Goose Fruit Shed is a restored fruit packing house that's used as a community hall and meeting space for special events.
The Penryn Granite Works began producing less and less products and eventually was closed. David Griffith's daughter, Enid, the great-niece of Griffith Griffith, left the quarry property to the people of the County of Placer when she died in 1976. It is operated as a museum and classified as a California Historic Landmark.
GRIFFITH QUARRY - Established in the fall of 1864 by Mr. Griffith Griffith, a native of Wales, the quarry located near this site supplied high-quality granite for a number of the important buildings in San Francisco and Sacramento, including portions of the state capitol. This was also the site of the state's first successful commercial granite polishing mill, erected in 1874
Griffith, Griffith ... age 43 in 1867 ... native of Wales ... Rec. No. 21889
Penryn, originally Stuart's Flat, was named by pioneer quarry owner Griffith for his native town in Wales.
from: the Colfax CONNECTION - Pat Jones
Welsh: from the Old Welsh personal name Gruffudd, Old Welsh Grip(p)iud, composed of the elements grip, of uncertain significance, + iud ‘chief', ‘lord'.
Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press
David Griffith (1785 - 1837)
Julia A. Partridge Griffith (1830 - 1913)
Note: Largest memorial in cemetery. Near the center of cemetery.
Old Auburn Cemetery
Created by: Glenda Ragan
Record added: Aug 10, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 40489745