Marion Griffin, the leading real-estate dealer of Cottonwood, was born in St. Omer, Decatur County, Indiana, September 1, 1858, the son of Charles and Catherine Griffin, the former a native of Vermont and the latter of Kentucky. Mr. Griffin's great-grandfather, Mr. Lyman Griffin, was a physician, and came from England and settled in Vermont, where our subjectís father and grandfather were born. Mr. Griffin's grandfather on the maternal side was Jesse Cain, a wealthy Indiana farmer. Mr. Griffin's parents had fourteen children, seven of whom are now living.
Our subject, the eleventh child, was educated in his native State, first at the St. Omer Academy, and then graduated from the Indiana State Normal School at Terre Haute. He was then a teacher in the public schools for two years. In 1884 he came to Napa County, California; some of his relatives had died with consumption and he was advised to come to this State for a milder climate, but while in Napa County he was informed that it would be better for him to go to the foothills, and accordingly, on April 9, 1885, went to Cottonwood with his younger brother, Scott Griffin, and went into the real-estate business. Griffin Bros. took hold of the business with a will and since that time have spent about $1,000 a year advertising Cottonwood Valley, as a result of which they soon built up a good business and induced scores of settlers with money to go in and develop the latent resources of that valley. In 1887 they purchased 400 acres of land in Rogue River Valley, Oregon, and laid out the town-site of Tolo, of which Scott Griffin took charge and our subject continued the management of their business at Cottonwood.
When Griffin Bros. located at Cottonwood the place contained only one school-house, an old discarded saloon building. But under their manipulation, and that of a few active young business men, who arrived about the same time, or soon afterward, the aspect of the town radically changed. They now have a fine large two-story brick school house, which is a credit to the town, two large new churches, four stores and all other kinds of business duly represented. The large quantities of rich land about the town have been subdivided and sold to industrious settlers; and where there were only evergreen manzanitas, there are now pleasant homes, vineyards and orchards. The people who were wont to be satisfied with cheap buildings are now building elegant brick structures, and Cottonwood is now a clean, healthy, thriving village, with the best of social and educational advantages. The people of Cottonwood give Mr. Griffin much praise for his efficient aid in bringing about this desirable state of affairs. The people who have purchased the rich fruit lands have planted trees, and have been pleased to see them bear fruit in two years from planting, and four-year-old peach, almond, nectarine and prune orchards bear fruit that yield handsome returns. Such orchards are worth $500 per acre.
In addition to his real-estate business, he is a notary public, and is a bright, wide-awake, energetic gentleman. Mr. Griffin says several thousand acres of land have recently been sold to capitalists, who purchased them for fruit ranches; that they are to be planted to vines and orchards, and that 100,000 fruit trees will be set out this spring (1891) near Cottonwood . He now has valuable tracts of fruit land for sale from ten acres up, at $30 per acre.
After coming to Cottonwood, Mr. Griffin became acquainted with Miss Alice McLain, an accomplished teacher in the schools, and a native daughter of the Golden West; and at Cottonwood, December 18, 1887, they were united in marriage, in the Congregational Church, by their pastor, the Rev. J.A. Jones. Mrs. Griffin was born at Roseburg, Oregon, October 22, 1865, and reared in Shasta County; is a graduate of the Anderson Normal School, and for several years was a successful teacher. In addition to his other good qualities, Mr. Griffin is an active Republican, and a strong temperance man, not even using tobacco in any way, and has never tasted intoxicating liquor of any kind. He and his wife are both energetic and enthusiastic workers in the Congregational Church.
Source: Memorial and Biographical History of Northern
California, Lewis Publishing Co., 1891, pages 780-781\
Transcribed by: Melody Landon Gregory August 2004