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JOHN LEWIS GRIFFITH


Rev. John Lewis Griffith now (1922) stationed at Williamson, W. Va., is one of the Fathers in Israel in the A. M. E. Connection. Though he has already passed the allotted three score and ten, he is still active, and still has his face to the front. He has been a member of the church for nearly sixty years and has been preaching the Gospel for a generation. To appreciate the man and his work one must recall the condition of his early years. He was born a slave at Flemingburg, Ky., on January 25, 1849. So it will be seen that he was a youth of sixteen at the close of the Civil War. His father was Squire Griffith, he married Lucinda Holliday.

The future preacher grew up on the farm and after emancipation learned the carpenters trade which was later to be of much help to him in his church building operation. Of course, there has been no opportunity for education till after the close of the war. He then went to the public school of Portsmouth, Ohio, but most of his education has been acquired by patient reading and study during the years and through a correspondence course in theology, Speaking of his own life and work Dr. Griffith say, "I worked in the brick yard in the summer, and worked for my board and clothes in the winter so I could get some learning. Since I have been preaching scores of souls have been added to the church, many of whom have crossed over the river. I have joined in matrimony over two hundred, and from first to last have some of the smallest and some of the greatest churches in our connections. Now in my old age I want to say like the Apostle Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith, and am now ready." My last hymn shall be:

Servant of God well done
Rest for thy soul employ,
The battle fought, the victory won.
And thou are crowned at last.

Dr. Griffith was married on May 25, 1884, to Miss Virginia Moore, daughter of Henry and Harriet Moore. They have one child, a son Leslie M. Griffith.

The Doctor's religious experience dates back to about the close of the war when he was converted at the age of sixteen. He was called to preach in 1880, and joined the Conference at Lexington, Ky. He began the active pastorate at Old Town, Ohio, and has been in the harness since. He went from there to Greenup, Ky., for one year, and from there to Louisa, Ky., where he preached for two years and erected a new house of worship. His next pastorate was Belfry, two years, where he combined preaching and teaching. His next appointment brought him into West Virginia, and he preached at Wayne, C. H. one year and went from there to Huntington and while on that work assisted the presiding elder for some time. His next move was to Elkins, where he remained for five years and built the church and parsonage. From there he went to Weston and Sutton five years, rebuilt the church at Weston and built a parsonage. His next appointment took him to Meriden for five years where he erected a new house of worship. After that he served Freeman and Good Will three years, Roseville one year, and Bluefield two years. He was then given the College Hill Station, Cincinnati, Ohio, and during a pastorate there of five years finished the church and built a parsonage. He came to Williamson in 1917 and the work there has had splendid growth under his ministry. The membership has grown from 30 to 200 and the parsonage has been repaired.

Dr. Griffith has had a fruitful ministry and has brought a great number of new members into the church. The reader will not be surprised to know that he puts the Bible first in his reading. After that he is fond of history.

In politics Dr. Griffith is a Republican and among the secret orders has long been identified with the Masons, Odd Fellows and Pythians. He believes the progress of the race may be promoted by a spirit of mutual helpfulness and a practical spirit of cooperation.


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