Danby’s Great Loss

Southern Vermont Mirror.
FRIDAY, JULY 24, 1903
By the Death of Hon. S. L. Griffith Danby Has Received a Blow, the Effects of Which Will be Felt for Many Years to Come.

Although more or less prepared for the shock, the people of this community keenly felt the blow that was dealt them when the news of the death of Hon. S. L. Griffith reached here early last Wednesday morning. Mr. Griffith left us six months previous for a three or four months’ stay in Southern California, in the hopes that the mild climate of that region would greatly benefit his impaired health and permit him to return to his native town and put into force a number of cherished benefactions which involved the outlay of a considerable part of the money accumulated here through the skillful prosecution of his vast lumber and large mercantile enterprises.

Though Mr. Griffith had been afflicted more or less with blood and skin diseases all his lifetime, they did not assume a dangerously virulent form till upwards of a year ago. Just a year ago he was confined to the house and was seriously ill for many weeks; but his condition afterwards became so much improved that he was able to make an extended trip into Iowa in the search of horses for use in his extensive lumber business during the then approaching winter. Shortly after this he decided to go to California and remain through the period when Vermont is wrapped in snow and the air uncomfortably keen and penetrating, even to people of rugged physique.

The subsequent purchase of the fine fruit ranch near San Diego is a matter that has been so recently told about in the MIRROR that we will not repeat the details, and for the same reason we will not biographically sketch his life. Our issue of May 29 contained such information quite as fully as would now be possible to give it.

Mr. Griffith had fixed several dates for starting upon the long journey to his beloved Vermont home, but either I his unsatisfactory physical condition or the hope that he would receive greater benefits by remaining in California a still longer time caused him to postpone his return. Had he started upon his journey home at the first appointed time his townsmen would have again had the pleasure of grasping his hand and knowing that he was again among them in the flesh. Had he returned to us weeks ago, however, it is not probable that it would have prolonged his life—and it is possible that it would have hastened his death.

..return to Danby, Mr. Griffith decided to go into Mexico, to some noted hot springs, and he did so. Here he took what are termed mud baths—that is, was virtually buried in the hot mud of that locality for stated periods. We are told that this treatment was detrimental to his condition, rather than beneficial—in fact, it left him in a state that it made it impossible to then withstand the fatigue of the long journey home, and his sufferings increased till death released him.

Mr. Griffith’s really dangerous condition was not fully realized here till the receipt of a telegraph message late last Saturday afternoon, which caused his head financial representative, Mr. Wilbur H. Griffith, to take the first train that would start him upon his journey to California. Within twenty-four hours another dispatch was received which expressed the fear that the latter would not arrive there in time to find his suffering employer alive.

As we have told our readers, Mr. Griffith had arranged for the erection of a handsome library building in this village and endowing it with a fund that would insure its perpetual maintenance. We presume the carrying out of this purpose is provided for in his will, but it is probable that there are many other benefactions of a similar nature that he had in mind that are forever lost to this community by Mr. Griffith’s untimely death—among them an electric light plant, a plant for the bottling of mineral and spring waters and carbonated beverages, the erection of a fine building for his mercantile business, tenement houses, and several others of a greater or lesser public benefit.

Some of our contemporaries, in their published accounts of Mr. Griffith’s death, have stated that he had donated an electric light plant to this village. Such, however, is not the case. He has had in mind the installation of such a plant as a business proposition in connection with his own needs in the way of lighting facilities; but he well knew that the people of this village would not undertake the burden of the maintenance of such a plant with, the limited demand that now exists.

Negotiations are also in progress for the sale of about all of Mr. Griffith’s timber land holdings, and parties still hold options on the same, which do not expire till the middle of next month. General Manager Riddle was in New York the early part of this week with regard to the deal, but the holders of the options have not yet accepted or rejected any of them. Mr. Griffith’s death will not in any way prevent the deal going through, if the parties desire the property. Mr. Riddle thinks, however, that it would be of advantage to concerning his death, which distance now prevents us securing for this issue. The disposition of his property will not be authoritatively known till the reading of his will, and it would be unwise and unfair to offer any speculations regarding the provisions he has made in that respect. It is known that Mr. Griffith has for many years carried heavy insurance upon his life, but those who know the exact figures deem it prudent not to give them out for publication.