When John Griffin was born on February 5, 1860, in Kingston Seymour, Somerset, England, his father, Samuel Bird Griffin (1834-1890), and his mother, Jane (nee Wallis) (1835-1909) were both 25. He had nine brothers and two sisters.
John married Sarah Jane Goodland on March 24, 1884, in the parish church of St. Paul in Kewstoke, Somerset, England. The banns were read on March 16, 1884. John was 25 and Sarah Jane was 28.
When Sarah Jane Goodland was born on April 13, 1857, in Lovington, Somerset, England, her father, Daniel Goodland (1829-1881), was 28, and her mother, Ann (nee Grimes) (1838-1901), was 19. Sarah Jane had two sisters and one brother.They had six children during their marriage:
- John Harold Griffin (1885-1943) married Dorothy Wilkes (1895-1974)
- Phillip Griffin (1887-1887)
- Arthur Bird Griffin (1888-1972) married Lily Moore (1891-1985)
- Roger Martin Griffin (1889-1955) married Irene Vincent Parker (1886-1980)
- Dorothy Griffin (1890-1970) married Robert Parry (1893-1956)
- Charles Owen Griffin (1892-1918)
The job of a “Relieving Officer” was a precursor to modern day social services. They were responsible for assessing the poor of the districts and their eligibility for assistance.
John Sr.’s is still a relieving officer in 1911, with the added responsibility for “registrant of births and deaths.” Apparently, the combination of the two offices of relieving officer and of registrar of births and deaths frequently occurs and is found to be convenient. In the latter capacity the official deals with all births and deaths in the population. The eldest of their children have left, and John and Sarah Jane are living just with Roger (a baker’s assistant) and Dorothy (a governess). The youngest, Charles, is living with one of his uncles. They’re living at “Fairleigh, Flax Bourton.”
The War EffortAll of the Griffin boys enlisted during World War I.
A review of his military record indicates that the eldest, John Harold, enlisted with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on November 16, 1915. He married Dorothy Wilkes in 1920 and raised his family in New Zealand.
Arthur Bird left for Canada with brother Charles in 1914. He enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces on August 31, 1915, just a month after the beginning of World War I. His enlistment paperwork suggests he had five years of military experience before enlisting. Arthur married Lily Moore one week after his enlistment. She was pregnant when he was shipped overseas. He returned to Canada and raised his family in Hamilton, Ontario.
Roger Martin enlisted in the British Armed Forces December, 1915 and was a guardsman and member of the Welsh Guard. He married his wife Irene Vincent Parker the following December. They raised their family near his parents in Flax Bourton.
Like her brothers, Dorothy Griffin also emigrated to Canada. Her exact involvement is unknown, but it is believed that she also joined the war effort. She married Robert Parry, who was a war veteran, in 1921. They raised their family in Calgary, Alberta. Son Alan Parry was a veteran of the second World War.
Son Charles Owen Griffin, as above, emigrated to Canada with his brother. His enlistment in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces came a full year after his brothers, in December 1916. His record shows a number of injuries the following year, when he convalesced in a hospital in England. He returned to the front and was killed in action on September 2, 1918. His name appears on Page 420 of the Canadian World War Book of Remembrance. He was interred not far from where he was killed, in the British Cemetery at Vis-en-Artois.