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Salem Pioneer Cemetery ~ Maria Willis Griffith ~ part of the Marion County Pioneer Cemeteries of Oregon
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Maria Willis Griffith
MAIDEN NAME: Clayton AKA 1:  AKA 2:  AKA 3: 
BORN: 10 Mar 1804 DIED: 20 Dec 1863 BURIED: 22 Dec 1863
BIRTH PLACE:  Virginia
DEATH PLACE: Salem, Marion Co., Oregon
BIOGRAPHICAL: "Of the immigrant caravans leaving Missouri in the year 1850, bound for the land "where rolled the Oregon," was Chrisholm Griffith and family. This intrepid pioneer was a native of Kentucky, having been born there on May 11, 1806. The good wife who accompanied him on this long journey was Mariah Willis Clayton before her marriage. She was from the fine old Virginia families of Willis and Clayton. Her father was a teacher and Mariah was his able assistant before she married Mr. Griffith. Mrs. Griffith was a natural born leader, while her husband was of the quiet, more retiring type. The Griffith family always kept colored servants and that left Mrs. Grififth free from the ordinary housework and much care of the children, so she could do fancy weaving. She enjoyed this work very much and became an expert at the loom. Many beautiful bedspreads found their way into the hands of grandchildren to be cherished and admired by them. The colored folk always called Mr. and Mrs. Griffith "Mars Crissie and Miss Mariah." Of their trip across the plains not much is known except the trains they started out with. A man by the name of Riggs was captain. Their party was badly scourged with cholera, many dying along the way, while marauding Indians continually stole their stock, until many families became discouraged and turned back. At Fort Hall what was left of this weary train joined forces with the train of Dr. John Savage, Williams and others, with Captain Lewis in charge, and finally wended their way over the mountains to the Willamette Valley. The first winter, however, they spent at Fort Vancouver, Wash ington, where two of the children, John and Elizabeth, died and were buried there. In the spring the family moved up the Willamette river and made settlement in the Waldo hills, near Macleay, where the parents lived until their passing. Mr. Griffith died on April 11, 1891, and his wife on December 20, 1863. Mr. and Mrs. Griffith were members of the Methodist church and very much interested in all its religious activities. Mr. Griffith was a republican as to politics. A large family of children were born to thia worthy couple, namely: Thomas, who married Cynthia Williams. Lewis, who married Susan Savage. Mary, who married Charles Scriber, of Salem, Oregon. Rebecca, who married Mr. Clemens of Goldendale, Washington. Minerva, who married Isham Burnett, of Cottage Grove, Oregon. Julia, who married King Hibbard of Waldo hills. John and Elizabeth, who died at Vancouver, Washington. The marriage of Rebecca to Mr. Clemens followed an elopement. The story goes that because Mr. Clemens was very much older than the charming Rebecca, her parents objected to their union. One night Rebecca stole out of her father's house, took the saddle horse from the barn, going as far as the Santiam river, where she swam her horse and arrived at the home of her brother, Thomas, who lived near the river. A minister was summoned and the wedding took place under her brother's friendly roof. Contrary to the ending of most elopements, they "lived happy ever after." From: Steeves, Sarah Hunt, BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE OF MARION COUNTY, OREGON, PIONEERS 1840 - 1860, Portland, Oregon, The Berncliff Press, 1927 (Source: Adelaide Scriber and Helen Hibbard Paget, Macleay, Oregon.), pp 192-193
On the 22d of December, 1863, in Marion county (Waldo Hills), Maria W. Griffith, in her 60th year, and wife of C. Griffith.
Weekly Oregon Statesman 4 January 1864 2:7

Died, after an illness of three months, Maria W[illis], consort of C[hisholm] Griffith, of Marion Co., Oregon, on the 22d of December 1863, in her 60th year. Weekly Oregon Statesman, Jan. 4, 1864, 2:7 Sister Griffith professed religion in 1844, joined the M.E. Church, where she lived a consistent member until death. The church has lost a devoted friend, Brother Griffith, an affectionate wife, the children, a kind mother. Society in general, all mourn her loss, but as our loss is her eternal gain, we would bow in humble submission, and say, "Father, thy will be done." 
Pacific Christian Advocate, Jan 9, 1864, 1.
Maria W. Clayton 
wife of C. Griffith 
3-10-1804  - 12-20-1863 
DAR pg 70 
Steeves, BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE, pp 192-193 
WOS 4 Jan 1864 2:7 
PCA 9 Jan 1864 pg 1

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