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American History
General Lewis Lawrence Griffin
contributed by Lu Hickey


Around 1810, a young man named Lewis Lawrence Griffin settled in Twiggs County. The very poor native Georgian would become president of the Monroe Railroad and the founder of the city of Griffin. Griffin became a General in the Georgia Militia after fighting in the Indian War and other wars against the Creeks. He served in the Legislature in 1829 and 1830. He lived in Monroe County and Macon, all the while amassing a large fortune. General Griffin purchased 800 acres of land and planned a city at the crossing of his Monroe Railroad and another line. But not long after June 8, 1840, when the city’s first lots were sold a depression hit the nation and the Monroe Railroad and Banking Company collapsed. General Griffin lost most of his fortune and moved to Aberdeen, Mississippi. There, he remarried, raised a family, and acquired another fortune. He died in Aberdeen in July of 1867, survived by his wife and two children. General Griffin’s ante-bellum home still stands across the street from Aberdeen’s city hall and is owned and occupied by his grandchildren.

DURING THE WAR YEARS Griffin was not the site of any Civil War battles, but nonetheless it was a vital location during the war. Camp Stephens, located two miles north of McIntosh Road, was a mobilization point for infantry. Cavalry were mobilized at Camp Milner, which is now the grounds of the city park. Two military companies from Griffin and seven from Spalding County were organized to fight. Not only was Griffin the first stop for troops and the home of many soldiers, it was also a hospital town and a printing center. Trainloads of sick and wounded poured into hospitals, public buildings, the courthouse, stores, colleges and even private homes. Much Confederate money was printed in Griffin as well as most of the Confederate government’s stamps. At one point, Spalding County even printed its own currency. Although not destroyed physically by Union soldiers (only one warehouse was burned), Griffin was devastated financially. Three hundred miles of railroad, the city’s lifeline, had been demolished. Yet once again, as it did after the depression, the town recovered. A new development in Griffin helped it to survive Reconstruction and the postwar era. The 1880’s saw the birth of textile manufacturing in Griffin. In 1888, the Kincaid Manufacturing Company opened. It continued to expand by buying other mills in the area. Today, the company is known as Dundee Mills/Springs Industries and is one of Griffin’s largest employers.

OAK HILL CEMETERY Oak Hill Cemetery was a part of Lewis Lawrence Griffin’s original plan for the city. Many persons crucial for the establishment of Griffin and Spalding County are buried there. Nationally known figures buried in Oak Hill include James S. Boyton, governor of Georgia after the death of Alexander Stephens, a hero of the Confederate navy, John McIntosh Kell and Martha Eleanora Holliday, Doc’s sister who died in infancy. The cemetery is one place to walk through Griffin’s history.

STONEWALL CONFEDERATE CEMETERY AND GRIFFIN’S MEMORIAL PARK Many who died in the battles of Atlanta and Jonesboro were left without a proper burial. Around 1867, a group of women organized to form the Ladies Memorial Aid Society to create a cemetery for the fallen soldiers. They, and other volunteers, went to Lovejoy’s Station to collect remains. Over 500 Confederate dead and 1 Union soldier were interred, marble headstones were acquired and a monument was dedicated on August 17, 1867. Monuments for the dead of the Revolutionary War, both World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and for the women who nursed soldiers in Griffin during the Civil War are also located in the Stonewall Confederate Cemetery and Memorial Park. The cemetery and monuments are located on East Taylor Street across from the Flint River Regional Library.