John A. Griswold
1817 - 1872


from The New York Times, Nov. 1, 1872:

              OBITUARY.
         Hon. John A. Griswold.
  The death of Mr. Griswold occurred at 7 1/2
P.M. yesterday at his residence, near Troy, af-
ter an illness of several weeks. During the
early part of yesterday unmistakable evidence
of improvement in his condition was visible
and his case began to be considered not utterly
hopeless. A less favorable turn in his disease
set in soon afterward, from which he was too
weak to rally, and he gradually sank under it.
His wife and daughter, who arrived home from
Europe at 1:40 P.M. Wednesday, were present.
Mr. Griswold's family consists of a wife and six
children.
  John A. Griswold was born in the town of
Nassau, Rensselaer County, N.Y., in the year
1817. While in his boyhood, his home was with
his relative, the late Major-Gen. John E. Wool,
in the City of Troy. His first connection with 
business was found in a wholesale drug-store,
but he finally embarked in the manufacture of
iron from the native ore found in the neighbor-
hood of Troy in such vast quantities. In 1857
Mr. Griswold became a large owner in the iron
mills of Troy, and from that time the business
grew to great proportions under his manage-
ment and direction. The Bessemer steel process
was the means of still further extending the
business of the Troy mills, as Mr. Griswold be-
came the owner of the Bessemer patents for
this country, he being also the first
among American manufacturerers to recog-
nize the importance of the invention.
So great was the business in the mills over
which Mr. Griswold had control that his income
was a very large one, and he became, during the
past few years, one of the richest iron masters
in the Union.
  During the early part of the war Mr. Gris-
wold evinced his stern loyalty to the Govern-
ment by building the first Ericsson monitor at
his individual expense, taking the risk of being
repaid if the novel vessel proved a success.
Had it not been for his belief in the feasibility
of Ericsson's idea, it is very probable that our
Government would never have secured so im-
portant and addition to its navy.
  Mr. Griswold's active mind naturally carried
him beyond the routine of iron and steel mak-
ing, and his fellow-citizens made him Mayor of
Troy in 1855. Thus, entering the political field,
he received the Democratic nomination for Con-
gress in 1857, but was defeated by his opponent,
Hon. A.B. Olin. In 1862 he was again nomi-
nated for Congress as a Democrat, and elected
by a majority of 1,287. While in Congress Mr.
Griswold was a war Democrat, and earnestly
supported the Government in its efforts
to put down rebellion. This course led to his
being made the Republican candidate for Con-
gress in his district, in the year 1864, and he was
elected to his seat by a decided vote. At the ex-
piration of his second term the Republicans of
Rensselaer County again nominated and elected
him their representative. During his Congres-
sional career of six years Mr. Griswold served
on the Committee on Naval Affairs, and on the
Committee of Ways and Means, being conspicu-
ous at all times for his unswerving loyalty and
earnest condemnation of treason. That period
was a marked one in Congress, and he always
held a prominant place among the leaders in
the House. In the year 1868 Mr. Griswold was
nominated by the Republican Party in this State
as its candidate for Governor against John T.
Hoffman, and was undoubtedly elected, but was
counted out by frauds. This closed Mr. Gris-
wold's political life, as he declined to run for
any office, preferring to attend to his private
business.


Maintained by Sue Greenhagen.
E-mail: greenhsh@morrisville.edu