ROSS GRIFFING OF KENTUCKY Born: 2-7-1819, Died: 12-11-1885
Aaron Ross Griffing was a native of Kentucky.
He was born in Kenton County, February 7, 1819. He continued in his native
state until quite late in life. Thence he removed to Johnston County,
Texas where his death occurred soon after, on the 11th of December 1885.
From the Portrait and Biographical Album,
Sedgwick County, Kansas, Chapman, Brother's comes this information, to
which they conclude, "These families (of the Griffings) were
prominent among the pioneer settlers of Kentucky, well-to-do and
substantial people, who carried on agriculture extensively, and had great
influence in the Blue Grass State."
There is very little information about this
gentleman, Sarah Griffing Gosney's father. This picture is greatly
fascinating and would probably offer many hours of interesting research.
This photograph shows a person who, no doubt, would have been interesting
to know. There is something of the depth of the Kentucky culture about
Aaron Ross Griffing's daughter, Sarah L.
Griffing Gosney was born November 28, 1848, died November 15, 1923.
Sarah was married to John William Gosney,
born too in Kentucky, December 8, 1844, died in Goddard, Kansas, November
Sarah and John were the parents of Honora
C. Gosney, who married Henry Flood.
AARON ROSS GRIFFING
Aaron Ross Griffing’s story can only be told from small bits of published
information. We do know; however, that he was an influential man of
courage and action. Why did he leave his native Kentucky and relocate to
Texas when he was no longer a young man? We will never know the whole
story, but it does appear that some families from the same area in Kenton
County made the decision to move west together. Perhaps the thought of
unsettled acres for their expanding families was the lure. We know several
members of the Griffing, Yelton, and Shannon families came from the area,
united in marriage before and after the relocation, and in time had
neighboring farms in Johnson County, Texas.
Aaron actually made the
long trip from Kentucky at least twice. Family lore has told us that land
was obtained before the Civil War; but prudently the family waited until
after the war to relocate to Texas. We know Aaron Ross came to Texas with
some of his older sons about 1874. His farm established, he returned to
Kentucky to prepare his remaining family to leave their beloved home state
forever. We can only imagine the tears shed by his wife and daughters as
they turned their backs from Kentucky and looked west. How long and hard
the wagon journey must have been. We know that within two weeks of
arriving back in Texas, Aaron left this life. Was he ill? Was there an
accident? Was he suddenly stricken? We may never know the answer to
these questions, but we can imagine the grief of his family.
From a letter written to
Carolyn Lawson Kiemel from Dorothy Hays King, September 18, 1972, Austin,
Texas: “While making notes for a biographical sketch of Grandfather S.W.
Hays, I found this about your great grandfather, Aaron Ross Griffing – he
was a prominent and influential citizen, engaged in farming and dairying
on Griffing Ferry (near Demossville, Kenton County, Kentucky), named in
his honor. But the name was afterwards changed to Alexander’s Station.
He was a strong Prohibitionist, a noted Mason, and an Elder in the
Christian Church…came to Texas in 1886, locating in Johnson County, and
his death occurred two weeks after his arrival. His widow still lived
(this was published 1902) on the farm he purchased. …had 12 children of
whom five were in Texas, two in Kansas, one in the Nation, one in Kentucky
and two deceased. Major (killed in the late war), Missouri, Mary, Sarah,
Matilda (my grandmother), Bruce, Flora, Lute (Mildred’s grandfather),
W.R., Carrie (your grandmother). I guess Alexander’s Station is near
Demossville, in Kenton County, Kentucky.”
I thought you might enjoy reading about
Sarah Griffing Gosney's sister, Carrie Bell Griffing Lawson, my
grandmother. My sister, Sharon Lawson Mijares, is the author.
CARRIE BELL GRIFFING LAWSON
Sharon Lawson Mijares
My grandmother, Carrie Bell Griffing Lawson,
was born on July 24, 1868 in Demossville, county of Kenton, in Kentucky.
She was the last of twelve children and the ninth daughter born to Aaron
Ross Griffing and Mariah Louisa Yelton Griffing. Carrie was born just
three years after the close of the Civil War. Kentucky was a slave state,
but remained loyal to the Union. Carrie’s parents had plans to move to
Texas, but their plans were interrupted by the war. The family finally
moved to Burleson, Johnson County, Texas in 1886. Carrie was eighteen
years old at the time. Tragically, her father died just two weeks after
their arrival in Burleson. We know that in 1902 Carrie’s mother, Mariah,
was still living on the farm that her husband had purchased.
Burleson is located just outside of Fort
Worth, Texas. My sister Carolyn and I visited there in the spring and
were enchanted with its peaceful aspect and the rolling green hills. I
noticed that Carrie’s oldest sister was twenty-five when Carrie was born -
twelve children in 25 years! I wonder if the fact that Carrie was the
youngest in such a large family accounts for her famously loving and
Carrie was one of the first women to attend what is now Texas Christian
University, located in Fort Worth, Texas. The few letters she left attest
to a good education. Carrie drove her horse and buggy to classes there.
TCU was originally called Addrand College, established in 1873 and located
in Throp Springs, Texas. The few old photos we have show us this of
Carrie: She was a tiny woman with beautiful erect posture. My cousin,
Madeline, exhibited this same wonderful posture. In group photos, Carrie
stands out because of her graceful figure, her well-fitting fashionable
clothing and her thick auburn hair. Her photos show a beautiful oval
face, with high cheek bones, deep set dark eyes and a beautiful nose, just
like my father’s nose. One photo shows Carrie with several brothers and
sisters. They all appear to have a slim build, and white streaks are
starting to appear in Carrie’s hair. In later years, her hair was
Carrie was a woman who commanded great love and respect. My father, her
fourth child, stated that he never once heard her complain; nor did he
ever hear her speak ill of anyone. My cousin Madeline, who grew up in
close contact with her grandmother, tells us that Grandmother was a great
conversationalist with a sparkling wit. Men and women alike would make
special trips to Burleson, just for the pleasure of a visit with Carrie.
My father remembers how the teenage girls of the town would gather in
Grandmother’s garden on Sunday afternoons to chat and laugh with her. In
her later years Carrie sold the farm and moved into town, locating close
to the school. Madeline says that teachers from the school often dropped
in for a chat with Carrie. Remember that we are speaking of a woman who
lost her husband after just twenty years of marriage, was left with five
children and a farm to run, but apparently did not lose her joy in life.
Carrie loved her garden and to experiment
there. In my backyard I have a golden Iris that she developed.
Grandmother loved words. She enjoyed using new words after carefully
studying the pronunciation and spelling. Carrie loved to read. My own
mother remarked that Grandmother’s house was filled with books - scattered
everywhere! As I read now, I wonder what books we have both enjoyed
decades apart - Louisa Alcott, the Brontes, Jane Austin, Henry James,
etc.? The fruit of my grandmother’s reading is shown in the lovely way she
expressed herself in writing. The following are two short letters which I
have in my possession and which must show us a great deal about her loving
and easy-going personality. Carrie was known as “G Mama” to her
grandchildren. The first letter was written to my father on the occasion
of his marriage to my mother.
Your letter with the great news came this morning, and Son, I have
hoped for years you would find the “right girl”. Give my love to my new
Daughter, and may God’s richest blessings be with you both.
We will be more anxious now (if such a
thing were possible) than ever to have you home and to welcome your bride
into our family.
Again all my love,
Another letter, postmarked November 27, 1941 as written to my cousin,
glad I was to have your letter this morning. I’ve been blest with letters
from my grandchildren recently. Juanelle wrote me such a nice letter
after you were there. Don sent me an air mail letter last week, and Elwyn
sent me a wire from Midland saying “Wish I was with you to help knock the
stuffing out of that turkey.”
Bless their dear hearts; are we going to
disappoint our youngsters? Honey, I don’t know any way to entertain our
bunch, only, to fill our “craws.” Now if you girls would like to plan
something else, it will be just fine. Let’s draw names - that’s fun. Plan
the refreshments, and let me know just what to do.
This is the plan I had worked out. Turkey,
dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, pickles, dessert – all placed on tables
in kitchen. China and silver stacked on counter. Dining and bridge tables
ready – pick up, serve - go to it.
Now Dear Heart – accept or reject any part, or the whole
of my plan, and I’ll fall in line.
Carrie was a proud woman. She and her husband were respected leaders in
their community. She was the head of her chapter of Eastern Star and did
much traveling in that capacity. She also was a leader of the local Red
Carrie was the
mother of six children: Mabel, born 1890; Roy, 1892; Easton, 1893;
Wilbur, 1895; a little daughter, Sammie, who only lived one month, in
1898; and Ben born in 1905 who was only five years old when his father
died. Carrie knew great sorrow in her life as she lost her husband and
three of her children before her own death in 1955, at the age of eighty
I don’t have
many memories of my grandmother, but I do know that we visited her once in
Texas. (I remember from that visit things foreign to my desert childhood
- large green lawns, pitchers of ice tea, and chasing fireflies.)
Grandmother also once made a trip by train to California to visit us. At
three years of age I was frightened of her white hair and told her that
she looked like a witch. Now I have that same white hair!
Ross Gosney and Gov. Andrew Schoeppel of
Kansas, Aug 30th, 1945
Benjamin Ross Gosney, son of Sarah Griffing Gosney and John Gosney, and
brother of Honora.
Two of Sarah's children ( #2,#3 ) were
born in Burleson, Texas. Sarah's mother, Mariah Louisa Yelton Griffing
lived there . In fact child #3, Carrie Belle Gosney, must have been
named for Sarah's yougest sister, Carrie Bell Griffing Lawson. It
appears after child #3 they moved on to Kansas, where the rest of the
children were born.