As previously stated the Griffins located a homestead of 800 acres. At the present time there are living on the Griffin property the following descendants of Richard Griffin, namely, Mr. Isaac Wardell, Mr. W. F. H. Patterson, Mr. John Woodruf Hill.
Let us follow briefly the early activities of some members of this interesting family, the Griffins. Smith Griffin was a younger son of Richard Griffin and was an enterprising young man possessed of considerable business ability. His mother was a Smith from which family he received his christian name. His wife was a sister of Solomon Hill and his sister, Bethiar Griffin, was Solomon Hill’s wife. He was the grandfather of the Rev. Wm. S. Griffin, who in 1912, was stationed in Toronto, one of Canada’s ablest Methodist ministers.
If we analyze the word Smithville we find that it contains the idea of Smith-Ville or Smith-Village, deriving its name from Smith Griffin . Smith’s Village, as we know it in its abbreviated form, becomes Smithville. Smith Griffin was not only a thrifty, capable business man, but a God-fearing citizen of splendid character and reputation for honest dealing. The Griffins soon became one of the most widely known and most highly respected families in District No. Six. I say ‘District,’ as the Townships were not formed at this time, but were divided into Districts of which North and South Grimsby comprised District No. Six. Smith Griffin in 181o, as previously stated, started a tread mill for grinding wheat. Now anxious to utilize the water of the Twenty Mile Creek, he built a dam to hold back the water and ran his stone mill by this power. It was no longer necessary that the farmers’ oxen should furnish the power to turn the stones. Thus we see another step in the development of milling. Many changes and improvements were to follow before we could have the modern equipped mill of which Smithville can now boast. But Smith was taking a step in the right direction. His mill was located near the sight of the present mill. The next enter-prize in which he became engaged was that of a saw mill which he built across the Twenty from his grist mill and near the sight of the Samuel Woodlan foundry but nearer the stream This was also operated by water power. This saw-mill supplied the lumber with which log buildings were replaced or improved and was the beginning of the construction of more modern homes in the locality. He also started an ashery which was the most important industry of that day in rural communities. He manufactured soda and shipped it by the barrel to Montreal, At this time Smith and Ned Griffin started a general store in Smithville, the only one in the village for several years to follow. Thanel and Isaiah helped Smith to operate the two mills and Ned the store. The farmers of the district sold their pork and beef to the Griffins in exchange for the goods they required, a form of barter, which was practiced by the fur companies in trading with the Indians, and a system used largely in rural districts at this early time before currency came into general use. The large merchants controlled trade, exchange, and were the bankers of the country. The Griffins sent these products by sleigh to Montreal, bringing a load of goods back for the store. The return trip occupied six weeks’ time. Calico which cost a shilling in Montreal, sold for four shillings in Smithville. Considering the distance which was required to haul these goods, the price was not exorbitant. At a later period sailing vessels came from Montreal to points along Lake Ontario from which shipment to and from Montreal were made. It was then that Smith Griffin cut a road through the forest to the Thirty mountain, to facilitate the transfer of his goods to and from the lake.
As roads opened up Smith also started a branch store in Canboro. The clerks in the Smithville store for a time were Abishia Morse and Captain Waddel. Ned at this time became a farmer and settled on what afterwards became the Joe Trembley place, at the end of Canboro Street, where Mr. Hanson Gracey now lives.
While Smith had these several businesses in operation, and controlled practically all the trade of the district, financial disaster was overtaking him. After sustaining heavy losses he and his family moved to Brantford, leaving the village which his thrift and perseverance had built, and settled on a two hundred acre farm. It was here that Smith Griffin died. All that remains in Smithville as a memorial of her first merchant and industrial leader, the son of her first pioneer family, is the village name and the memory in the hearts of her citizens of the sterling qualities of one of her first sons.
Richard Griffin and his wife, Smith’s father and mother, spent the remainder of their days in Smithville, having raised a family of eleven children who were indeed a credit to their name. These sturdy old Loyalist Pioneers were buried in Smithville’s first cemetery, situated near where the Post Office now stands on Griffin Street.
Edward Griffin, or Ned, as he was known in his own time continued to farm in Smithville and was a useful respected citizen. He died at the age of 98 and was buried in the Methodist Cemetery at Smithville. His tombstone still marks his resting place and the inscription reads as follows:
Edward Griffin, died August 13th, 186o. Age 98 years.
I trust that this brief story of Edward Griffin’s life, and the fact that he was Smithville’s first white inhabitant, that he felled the first tree, chose the village site, built the first house and was its first occupant, that he cleared the first acre of land, lived his entire life from early manhood in Smithville, was a God-fearing, honest Loyalist, I say, I trust that these facts will inspire the citizens of our native village, and his, to raise a monument, over his last resting place, as a memorial of his work and life. It is fitting that the name of his brother, Smith, also appear on such a memorial as the builder of the village and the one after whom it was named.