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Francis William Griffin, great-nephew

Clay was born on September 26, 1900, the second child of Albert and Maude Griffin. Clay was 19 and living with his parents in Henry County Georgia when the 1920 census was taken.

On January 11, 1920 Clay married Bessie Florence Wade in Crawford County. Bessie was born April 30, 1905 in Crawford County. Clay and Bessie had one child, Leroy Earl Griffin, born April 18, 1922

Clay and Bessie divorced sometime before 1930.

bulletBessie Florence Wade remarried and had other children before her death on March 12, 1988 at age 82.
bulletLeroy Earl Griffin died on October 21, 1995 in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia at the age of 73.

I knew Uncle Clay had been married before but until I started researching the family, I never knew who she was. I knew he had a son named Leroy by his first wife because Leroy would come to visit him occasionally.

Sometime before 1930, Clay married Allene Petty, the daughter of Phillip and Annie Bell Thomas Petty in Clayton County, Georgia and they made their home there for a time. They were listed on the 1930 Federal Census for Clayton County on April 7 and their first child, Juanita, was born in Clayton County in 1930. Between 1930 and 1934 they moved to Upson County, near Thomaston, west of Macon, Georgia,  where Albert Clay was born in 1934. It appears they remained in Upson County at least until January of 1939 when Mildred was born. Between January 1939 and November 1941 when Bill was born, Clay and Allene made their way into Gilmer County. 

From the information furnished me, it appears Clay and Fred moved into Gilmer County first and both purchased land that became their home places. When Fred was killed in 1941, Maude and Albert inherited his property and moved to Gilmer County at that time. One of the relatives told me that Maude blamed Clay for the death of her baby, Fred, since the accident happened at Clay's sawmill. Reportedly, Granny never spoke to him again. I can not verify or dispute this but maybe some of Clay's children remember. Either way, it was a tragedy for the Griffin family.

In 1943, Clay built the home that would be his final stop. It was at this house Clay and Allene raised their family, farmed, and lived until his death.

In addition to farming, Clay managed to take on other occupations at varying times. I know he worked with heavy equipment because he would sometimes come home driving the truck and hauling the equipment. I always thought it was neat that someone we knew really got to drive those motor-graders and bulldozers.

Uncle Clay also dabbled in the fine art of making 'shine' from time to time. I know, because I used to help my cousin Bill cut firewood and carry water if necessary. The longest day Bill and I ever spent together was when the lawmen walked upon Clay's still one day and we had to run. We were teenagers -  scared to death -  and it took us forever to walk up a creek, through the woods and make a big circle back to the house. By the time we had done all this fretting and sweating, Uncle Clay had already been taken to town and made bail and was waiting at home and laughing at us when we got there.

Aunt Allene seemed to be the one always doing the garden work. One of my fondest memories of her is going by and seeing her hoeing in her apron and dress. I don't think I ever saw Aunt Allene in jeans or pants. She and my mother used to compete with each other to see who could raise the 'hottest' pepper. I have seen each of them stop and pull a pod of pepper off, clean it with their apron, bite into it, chew, snort, stomp, and cry and then exclaim, "Boy, that's good." I don't see how either of them ever had a sinus problem.

We lived about a quarter of a mile around an old dirt road from Clay and Allene in the old original house that Clay had built. Those days growing up and being a part of their family are precious memories. I remember days when the work was done that all the children [about a dozen of us all together in the neighborhood] would be out in his front yard using whatever we could find for a bat and a patched ball, using the corn field across the road as part of the playing field.

I also remember the week ends later when many of the children and in-laws would return for visits. There was always a nickel-dime poker game in the front room or on the front porch. You could play all day and only be a couple of dollars up or down. If you had a really bad day, you got to go home early.

On June 21, 1966, death visited the Griffin home and Clay answered the door. He was 65 years old and was buried in the Ellijay City Cemetery. Twenty-one years later on December 4, 1987, death returned again to gather Allene to be with Clay. At the age of 83, she was laid to rest beside Clay in the Ellijay City Cemetery.




Clay and Allene had 8 children.

Janie Juanita Griffin-Whitaker 1930 - 1993 Albert Clay Griffin [Buddy] 1934 - 1991
James Earl Griffin 1937 - 2002 Mildred Daisy Griffin-Whitaker 1939 - 2003
Bill Franklin Griffin 1941 - Rose Marie Griffin-Easley 1943 -
Raymond Charles Griffin 1945 - Helen Louise Griffin-Craig 1948 -

Clay's father Albert

Clay's first son Leroy

Clay's brother Fred

Allene and her boys -- only James is missing

Allene and daughters along with Leroy and Buck and Mattie.
Allene and her mother, Annie Belle Thomas Petty.

All the Griffin children except James at Clay's funeral
An older photo of Clay and Leroy - location unknown

Juanita with her uncles, Allene's brothers
The only picture I have of James -- a pallbearer at my brother Fred Griffin's funeral

Photo of James E Griffin burial lot in the Ellijay City Cemetery, taken in 2002 by Francis William Griffin, cousin.

James is buried near his mom and dad.

Descendants of Alfonso Clay GRIFFIN

First Generation

1. Alfonso Clay GRIFFIN , son of Albert Thomas GRIFFIN, Sr. and Mary Maude BELCHER , was born on 26 Sep 1900, died on 21 Jun 1966 in Ellijay, Gilmer County, Georgia, at age 65, and was buried in Ellijay Cemetery. The cause of his death was heart attack following an extended illness with emphysema.

Research Notes: I knew Uncle Clay had been married before but until I started researching the family, I never knew who she was. I knew he had a son named Leroy by his first wife because Leroy would come to visit him occasionally.
Through research, I found her name: Bessie Wade and she had remarried and had other children.

Alfonso married Bessie Florence WADE on 11 Jan 1920 in Crawford County, GA. Bessie was born on 30 Apr 1905 in Crawford County, GA and died on 12 Mar 1988, at age 82.

Children from this marriage were:

+ 2 M    i. Leroy Earl GRIFFIN was born on 18 Apr 1922 and died on 21 Oct 1995 in Macon, Bibb County, GA, at age 73.

Alfonso next married Allene Mildred PETTY , daughter of Phillip PETTY and Annie Belle THOMAS , before Apr 1930 in Clayton Co., GA. Allene was born on 14 Oct 1904 in Upson County, Georgia, died on 4 Dec 1987 in North Georgia Medical Center, Ellijay, Georgia, at age 83, and was buried on 6 Dec 1987 in Ellijay Cemetery.

Children from this marriage were:

+ 3 F    i. Janie Janita GRIFFIN was born on 19 Apr 1930 in Clayton Co., GA., died on 11 May 1993 in Atlanta, Fulton, GA., at age 63, and was buried in Atlanta, Fulton, GA.

+ 4 M    ii. Albert Clay GRIFFIN, [Buddy] was born on 29 Apr 1934 in Upson County, Georgia, died on 30 Jan 1991 in Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta, GA., at age 56, and was buried on 2 Feb 1991 in Forest Hill Cemetery, Fairburn, Ga.

+ 5 M    iii. James Earl GRIFFIN was born on 16 Jun 1937 in Upson County, Georgia, died on 16 Mar 2002, at age 64, and was buried in Ellijay Cemetery.

+ 6 F    iv. Mildred Daisy GRIFFIN was born on 18 Jan 1939 in Upson County, Georgia, died on 9 Aug 2003 in Woodstock, Georgia, at age 64, and was buried on 11 Aug 2003 in Georgia Memorial Park Cemetery, Woodstock, Ga.

+ 7 M    v. Bill Franklin GRIFFIN was born on 29 Nov 1941 in Gilmer County, Georgia.

+ 8 F    vi. Rose Marie GRIFFIN was born on 12 Apr 1943 in Gilmer County, Georgia.

+ 9 M    vii. Raymond Charles GRIFFIN was born on 1 Jun 1945 in Gilmer County, Georgia.

+ 10 F    viii. Helen Louise GRIFFIN was born on 3 Mar 1948 in Gilmer County, Georgia.

Other generations of descendants are available but are not published here to protect their privacy.