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Biography - CLARENCE GRIGGS

In no profession is there a career more open to talent than in that of the law, and in no field of endeavor is there demanded a more careful preparation, a more thorough appreciation of the absolute ethics of life, or of the underlying principles which form, the basis of all human rights and privileges. Unflagging application and the intuitive wisdom and a determination to fully utilize the means at hand are the concomitants which insure personal success and prestige in this great profession, which stands as the stern conservator of justice; and it is one into which none should enter without a recognition of the obstacles to be overcome and the battles to be won; for success does not perch on the falchion of every person who enters the competitive fray, but comes only as the direct result of capacity and unmistakable ability. Possessing all of the essential qualities of the able lawyer, Clarence Griggs is accounted a leading member of the Ottawa bar.

He is the youngest son of Edward Young Griggs, who traced his ancestry back to Dr. William Griggs, a resident of Salem, Massachusetts, who died in 1698. His will, approved on the i8th day of July of that year, mentions a son Jacob, who resided in Salem and in Beverly, Massachusetts. Among the children of Jacob Griggs' family was Isaac, who was born on the 27th of June, 1699, and died in New Haven, Connecticut, January 27, 1768. His son Solomon, who resided in Waterbury, Connecticut, married Elizabeth Gridley on the 19th of February, 1778. He served as a soldier in the colonial wars, and at Waterbury, Connecticut, enlisted for service in the Revolution, loyally aiding in the cause of independence until the English power in the colonies was overthrown. One of his children was Ebenezer Griggs, who was born September 26, 1789, and resided in Waterbury and Southington, Connecticut. He married Hepzibah Bartholomew in 181 1, and died July 4, 1823, at Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the grandfather of our subject. His wife was descended from William Bartholomew, who was born in Ipswich, Massachusetts, in 1640, and died in 1697, leaving a son Andrew, whose birth occurred on the nth of December, 1670, and who died in Wallingford, Connecticut, in 1752. The last named was the father of William Bartholomew, who was born February 2, 1699, was married in New Haven, Connecticut, on the 25th of January, 1721, and died in Northford, Connecticut. His son, Seth Bartholomew, was born on the 6th of March. 1729, and died in Waterbury, Connecticut. One of his children was Osea Bartholomew, whose birth occurred on the 7th of November, 1755, and was married in Waterbury, Connecticut. November 16, 1778, and his daughter, Hepzibah, was the mother of Edward Young Griggs. She was born on the 6th of September, 1798, and died in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the summer of 1823.

Edward Young Griggs, father of our subject, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on the 24th of October, 1818. He wedded Mary Philbene Barnett, on the 5th of August, 1847. She was born in Louisville, Kentucky, May 9, 1827. The ancestry of the Barnett family can be traced back to John Barnett, who was born near Londonderry, Ireland, in 1678, and emigrated with his family to Pennsylvania prior to 1730, making a location in Lancaster, now Hanover county. He died in September, 1734, and among his children was John Barnett, who was born in county Derry, Ireland, in 1705, and with his father came to America, his death occurring in Hanover in 1738. His son Joseph was born in county Derry in 1727, and died in Hanover in 1788, leaving, among other children, a son James, whose birth occurred in 1756, and whose death occurred in 1805. The last named was the father of Allen Barnett, who was born in 1796 and was married February 9, 1826, to Elizabeth Shaffer. His death occurred September 19, 1879. and his wife passed away on the 20th of December, 1841. Among the children who survived them was Mrs. E. Y. Griggs. On the 17th of April, 1849, the parents of our subject left Springfield, Ohio, and after traveling for five days reached Ottawa, Illinois, by canal boat, on Sunday morning. Mr. Griggs secured a clerkship in the employ of J. G. Nattinger, with whom he remained until September, 1850, and then opened a drug and book store in the three-story brick building where the National City Bank now stands. In 1853 he opened his drug store where he is now doing business, and has since been one of the leading merchants of the place.

Clarence Griggs, youngest son of Edward Young Griggs, was born on the 2d of January, 1857, and attended the common schools of Ottawa, being afterward graduated in the literary department of the University of Michigan, with the class of 1878. Determining to become a member of the bar, he took up the study of law under the direction of Mayo & Weidmer, and in 1880 was licensed to practice, and opened an office in the spring of 1881. He has since devoted his energies successfully to the work of a legal practitioner, and has held the office of master in chancery and county attorney, having been elected to the latter position for four successive terms. He is very conscientious and painstaking in the preparation of his cases, and is thoroughly devoted to his clients' interests. He is also a director of the First National Bank of Ottawa, having succeeded his father in that position in January, 1897.

On the 6th of September, 1883, Mr. Griggs was united in marriage to Lura Nash, eldest daughter of John F. Nash, who traces his ancestry back to Thomas Nash, who came from Lancashire, England, to America, landing at Boston July 26, 1637. He died in New Haven, Connecticut, on the 12th of May, 1658. His youngest son, Timothy Nash, was born in 1626. and died March 13. 1699, at Hadley, Massachusetts. Lieutenant Timothy Nash settled on a lot designated on the original plat of the town of Hadley. and his will is recorded in the probate-court records of Northampton, Massachusetts, and mentions his son Thomas. He was born at Hartford, Connecticut, in 1 66 1, and died January 8, 1727. This Thomas Nash had a son Thomas, who was born February 26, 1692, and died March 12, 1783. John Nash, son of Thomas Nash. Jr., was born October 20, 1736, in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, and had a son, John, Jr., whose birth occurred November 12, 1764, and who died October 17, 1824. Among his sons was Almerin Nash, who was born February 25, 1801, and married Mandana Warner, a descendant of Jonathan Warner, a captain in the war of the Revolution. They removed to Granville, Putnam county, Illinois, in 1840, where Mrs, Nash died January 25, 1844. John Fiske Nash, son of Almerin, was born in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, December 16, 1824, and came west with his parents. He taught school in Putnam county in 1846, edited a paper at Hennepin, and on the 2d of April, 1847, came to Ottawa, entering the law office of Dickey & Leland, being admitted to the bar in October, 1849. He served as deputy clerk under Philo Lindley and was elected to the office of clerk in 1856, serving six years in all. In 1861 he opened a law office in partnership with E. F. Bull, but in 1865, on the organization of the First National Bank of Ottawa, Illinois, became assistant cashier, and at the beginning of the new year was made cashier. He is one of the prominent Masons of the state, having served, in 1878, as grand commander of the Grand Commandery of the Knights Templar of Illinois. On the 26th of November, 1849, was celebrated his marriage to Lura M. Pennell, and her ancestry can be traced back to John Pennell, who, in 1728, left his home in Yorkshire, England, and crossed the Atlantic to America, taking up his abode in Colerain, Massachusetts. Among his sons was John Pennell, who served in the colonial wars and was a captain in the war of the Revolution. He was born in 1721, and died in Halifax, Vermont, October 21, 1797. Among his sons was John Pennell, who was born in 1758 and died June 23, 1793. He was the father of John Pennell, Jr., whose birth occurred in Halifax, Vermont, April 8, 1787, and died in Granville, Illinois, June 15, 1858. His wife bore the maiden name of Betsey Gaines, and with their family they came to the Prairie state, bringing with them their daughter, Lura M., who became the wife of John Fiske Nash. She was born at Heath, Massachusetts, January 7, 1826, and spent her girlhood in Bennington, Vermont, coming west with the family. Among her children was Lura Nash Griggs, wife of our subject. Mrs. Griggs was born August 27, 1858, and acquired her education in the common and high schools of Ottawa and in Mount Vernon Seminary, at Washington, D. C. She is particularly interested along musical lines, and for three years served as the president of the Amateur Musical Club. She is also a charter member of the Monday Club and was its secretary for a number of years. She also held the same position in connection with the board of lady managers of the Ryburn Memorial Hospital from the second year of its organization until her resignation in 1899, and is a charter member of the Illini Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Griggs has been born but one child, Lura Florence, whose birth occurred May 26, 1890. Their home is the center of a cultured society circle and many friends enjoy its gracious hospitality. Both Mr. and Mrs. Griggs are communicants of the Episcopal church. Our subject is prominent in political affairs, and has labored earnestly for the success and welfare of his party, having through several campaigns served as secretary of the Republican county central committee. He is a member of the Occidental Lodge, No. 40, F. & A. M., Shabbona Chapter, No. 37, R. A. M., and Ottawa Commandery, No. 10, K. T. He inspires personal friendship of great strength and has the happy faculty of drawing his friends closer to him with the passing years. In his profession he has gained respect, and his reputation in legal circles is no more enviable than is the high regard in which he is held among his acquaintances in social life.

Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 21-25.

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