Taken from the Fredonia Censor
Fredonia, New York
Wednesday, March 11, 1925
In Days Of Old
A letter written to the Censor by Oscar Langford, former Fredonian now living at the Printers’ Home at Colorado Springs, resulted in several replies. We print below a letter to John Griswold, which should be of interest to many of the older readers.
Union Printers’ Home
Colorado Springs, Colorado
January 27, 1925
John D. Griswold
Cassadaga, N. Y.
Your letter was duly received yesterday and read with interest. I hardly think your grandfather, John Griswold, was related to Ben Griswold of Laona, but I often heard of John Griswold of Arkwright, when I was a boy. I think I met your grandfather once or twice. Ben Griswold’s wife was a sister to a Mr. Smith’s wife ( I think they called him “Squire Smith.”) He was one of the Arkwright farmers. I knew a plasterer named “Choke” Johnson, of Arkwright, who did some work for “Pa” Griswold. I remember working in your neighborhood for a man named Phelps. Some of his boys told me if I would go up on Mount Pisgah I would see Buffalo. I went up, but couldn’t see Buffalo, though the steamboats sailing on Lake Erie were visible on the blue waters.
When I was a big boy a party of my schoolmates went out sailing on Cassadaga lake. The boat capsized and some of them were drowned. Levi C. Clough’s daughter, a schoolmate of mine, was with them, but was saved. Her name was Dorinda, her mother was Mrs. Ben Griswold’s sister.
I used to go fishing on Cassadaga lake and caught many “Pumpkin Seeds.” Perhaps some of your old friends may remember that accident of the boat. A school master of the Laona School, named Putnam, saved several of the passengers, including Dorinda Clough.
Ben Griswold, whom I called “Pa” ran a big dairy farm and cheese factory on the old Harrington farm near Laona and I was his “cowboy” and one of his milkers. The farm afterwards passed into the hands of Bill Moore. He was a great horse speculator, and was pretty deaf, but it was said he could hear any proposition about horses even in a whisper.Levi Harrison, a relative of Harrington, also lived on that farm. He also had a son, Levi, who was one of my schoolmates, also his brother George. The family afterwards moved to some farm in Arkwright, and they probably all died years ago.
Ben Griswold afterwards moved to Batavia. His second wife was Emily Gardner, sister of Wilson Gardner, who once was leader of the Fredonia brass band. He also moved to Batavia.
One of the old time merchants of Fredonia was Alvah H. Walker
How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood,
When fond recollections present them to view;
The orchard, the meadow, the deep tangled wildwood,
And every loved spot that mine infancy knew.
If I lived until February 20, next, I will be 88 years old. Aside from defective eyesight, and partial deafness, I am yet in very fair condition. There is a man called Pat Murphy about a mile from the Printers’ Home, who is 103, and is yet quite active.
I guess I have written enough to satisfy you. I love that old familiar name Griswold and that is one reason I wrote the letter. I also wrote one to the Fredonia Censor, which you probably read.
Thanking you for your interesting letter, I remain,
Very truly yours,
P. S. -- Jason E. Haynes, crippled, in same room sends a picture card with a short sketch of himself and a poem of his own composition and writing on it.