Board member, Jack Hooten, recently shared hard copies of historic Griswold Family Bulletins going back to as early as 1938 from the estate of his late uncle. We’ll be periodically sharing interesting portions of content from these old bulletins. We hope that you enjoy this window into the past.
The Joel Griswold Homestead, Guilford, CT
The homestead pictured in this issue of our bulletin, is known to all Guilford-ites as the Joel Griswold homestead, located on State Street in that town, and was included in the Ancestral Homes tour conducted at the time of our annual meeting in Guilford (CT) in 1932.
The house stands on land deeded to Lucy Lee, wife of Joel Griswold, by her grandmother, Ruth Morse Lee, and her father, Captain Samuel Lee, on October 31, 1792—land that was part of the Lee home lot which extended north from Captain Lee’s home on the corner of State and North streets. This land came to the Lee family through Elizabeth, daughter of Benjamin Wright and wife of Edward Lees. Their son, Samuel, was the grandfather of Captain Samuel Lee. As Benjamin Wright came to Guildford in 1649, the land has been in the Wright-Lee-Griswold family practically since Guilford was settled.
Built in 1793, this house became the home of Joel and Lucy, three years after their marriage. Here they passed the remainder of their lives, here were born their three children, and here their eyes were closed in death. Here, too, lived and died Joel II and his wife Polly Bartlett; here they reared their nine children; and here until her death in 1930, but a few days short of ninety-five years, lived their daughter, Mary.
This is one of the few very old houses in Guilford to retain its original exterior appearance.
Obituary for Miss Florence Griswold of Old Lyme
On December 6, last, Miss Florence Ann Griswold, “patron saint” of the Lyme Art Association died in the quiet Colonial mansion where she had been born 86 years ago. She would have celebrated her 87th birthday on Christmas Day. Miss Griswold was a daughter of Captain Robert Griswold of the clipper ship “Ocean Queen” which plied between Old Lyme and London, England, one hundred years ago. Her grandfather and great grandfather, Roger and Matthew Griswold, were Governors of Connecticut. Another distinguished ancestor was Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1900, her parents, sister and brother dead, she found herself alone in the mansion, and opened it to a group of landscape painters. From that beginning the Lyme Art Association has developed, making Old Lyme a year-round art colony, containing the permanent homes of many famous artists.
Among the artists who worked under “Miss Florence’s” eye and later won fame are Willard Metcalf, Walter Griffin, Paul Dessar, Chauncey Ryder, Carleton Wiggins, William S. Robinson, Jules Turcas and Clark Vorhees. On the walls of the old house are paintings by Childe Hassam, Allen Talcott, Will E. Howe and Henry W. Poore.
Mrs. Mary B. Bullard, our secretary, and Mr. and Mrs. S.A. Griswold of Branford represented the Griswold Family Association at the funeral.
Griswolds in the News
- Dr. Charles M. Griswold who attended the 1935 reunion at Guilford in company with Mr. Eugene Craw, is now located at the Veterans Hospital at Hampton, VA. 1937 was an unfortunate year for Dr. Griswold in that he suffered from pneumonia and a ruptured and gangrenous appendix. We are happy to learn of his complete recovery.
- A newspaper clipping from the Brattleboro Daily Reporter, of December 8, 1937, tells of a new invention being perfected in California to protect against frosts in the orange groves of Harlan Griswold, near Los Angeles. A huge furnace and fan will blow warm air in any direction over the ten acre tract.
- We have received from F.M. Witmer, 76 Wolcott St., LeRoy, NY a clipping regarding the 90th birthday of Mrs. Mary E. Griswold of Alexander, Genesee County, NY. Mrs. Griswold was pleasantly surprised and received many cards, fruits and other gifts on her anniversary. Games were played and a supper was served.