Death of Silas L. Griffith

THURSDAY, JULY 23, 1903.
Dies at San Diego, Cal, After a Long Illness.

Word was received at Danby about 6 o’clock yesterday morning of the death of Silas L. Griffith of that place, which occurred at 5 o’clock Tuesday afternoon at his winter home, “The Palms,” at San Diego, Cal. Mr. Griffith had been ailing for more than two years with an unusual form of skin disease, which finally resulted in his death. He had been under the care of the most noted specialists on skin diseases in the country, but the disease with which he was afflicted is one of those for which no cure has yet been discovered.

Mr. Griffith, with his wife, went to California last January in hopes of improving his health. Mr. Griffith was widely known. He was probably the largest manufacturer of lumber in the state.

Silas L. Griffith was born at Danby June 26, 1837. He was the son of David and Sophia Griffith, being the second of four children, the others being Charles H., William B. and Mary, all of whom now live at Danby.

Mr. Griffith was educated in the village schools and at Kimball Union Academy at Meriden, N. H. In 1858 he borrowed $1000 and opened a general store. Three years later he built a store of his own. His business increased to such an extent that in 1864 he sold $48,000 worth of goods. The following year he sold his business in order to devote his entire attention to the lumber business, which he had since followed continuously.

From these small beginnings Mr. Griffith kept adding to his holdings until he became the personal owner of over 50,000 acres of land, and the present output of lumber is approximately 25,000,000 feet annually. He had on his pay roll over 6OO employees exclusive of the salaried heads of departments; 80 oxen and 213 horses were owned by him and regularly employed in the business, while a great many teams owned by others are employed during the busy season in the hauling of logs and lumber. Of the annual output of lumber about 24,000,000 feet is spruce and 1,000,000 feet hard wood. About 1000 cords of wood are also cut annually, the greater part of which is burned into charcoal, which industry is again on the ascendency to such a favorable degree that he had caused several new kilns to be built.

To manufacture this amount of lumber Mr. Griffith operated nine sawmills, and in addition to his personal business Mr. Griffith operated mills in company with Eugene McIntyre and others in Peru, Arlington, Dorset, Manchester, South Wallingford and C. L. Soule at Groton. Mr. Griffith has always been known as a public spirited man. A few years ago he installed a public water system which cost $12,000 and also built two roads leading to Lake Griffith at a cost of $27,000.

At one time Mr. Griffith took a great interest in the fish hatchery business, and expended upwards of $20,000 in fitting up a model plant. The business did not prove as successful as anticipated, and Mr. Griffith abandoned it, taking the trout to Lake Griffith. At this lake he erected a commodious building of the hotel or club house order of construction, equipped with every need for the entertainment of himself, family and guests. A special feature Mr. Griffith had made for several years is the entertainment for two days a party of some 15 or 20 old gentlemen, which gathering has come to be known as the “boys’ club.”

He spent yearly from $10,000 to $15,000 in maintaining extensive greenhouses, but never sold any flowers.

Mr. Griffith’s greatest benefaction to his native town is yet to come in the form of a public library and memorial building, plans for which are already under way. A description of what this building is to be was recently printed in these columns. It will cost about $30,000 and is endowed so as to be self-supporting. In it will be a museum which will contain the numerous mementos and curios collected by Mr. Griffith in his travels. He is also to donate an electric plant to the town.

Politically Mr. Griffith has always been an ardent supporter of the republican party. He has seldom sought political honors, preferring to give his attention to business and pleasure, but he consented to serve as a senator from Rutland county in the legislature of 1898.

Mr. Griffith is survived by his wife and one daughter, who is now at Danby. His three children all died young.

The body will be brought to Danby, where the funeral will be held.