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First West Virginia Legislature

Biographical Sketches: Benoni Griffin


Wheeling Intelligencer
September 3, 1863

BENONI GRIFFIN, from Pocahontas, &c.

Benoni Griffin, the delegate from the district comprising the Counties of Pocahontas and Webster, is a native of what is now Pocahontas county, and is near 50 years old. In person he is of medium stature, spare, but quite erect. His face is one indicating strong points of character. Features strong and rough; nose Roman and prominent; eyes dark gray; shaved clean; forehead broad and full; head finely shaped and quite bald from forehead to crown; dresses plainly, and looks like a rugged frontiersman as he is.

Mr. Griffin’s father was a farmer and hunter, and he was early initiated into those pursuits which he has followed with varied success ever since. The country was thinly settled and almost destitute of schools; but his father being a tolerable English scholer [sic], supplied the want as well as he could by teaching his children at home. His father was a Whig and in the times of John Q. Adams took a prominent stand with that party; but when Benoni became old enough to think for himself he joined fortunes with the Democratic party, though he has ever been opposed to some of its measures. He favored an United States bank, but opposed a protective tariff; and has never been a blind adherent to party, but supported men and measures most likely to promote the general good. – Mr. Griffin has ever regarded slavery as a great national and individual sin, which God would punish with fearful retribution, and has for 30 years favored separation from the aristocracy of East Virginia. He opposed the ordinance of secession, and made a public speech against it at his election precinct, in spite of threats of violence. He was afterward arrested and held a prisoner in the rebel camps near four months. When he was permitted to come home, rather than fall down and worship Jeff Davis & Co., he left his home, leaving his farm and a good part of his property in the hands of the rebels. He removed with his numerous family to Harrison County, where he has since submitted to the hardest drudgery, to gain them a support.—Such was the confidence of his neighbors in Mr. Griffin, that the refugees from Pocahontas and Webster, who were scattered through the interior counties held an election at Clarksburg and unanimously chose him to represent those counties in the House of Delegates.

Mr. Griffin has been for more than 30 years a member of the M. E. Church, and for a number of years was class leader, steward and exhorter. Never was an aspirant for political distiction [sic]. Was Postmaster in his county for several years.

As a member of the House he takes a deep interest in the progress of its business. Speaks frequently and very well. He hates the rebels cordially and is the ardent friend of the federal Union and supporter of the present administration.


Biographies of the First West Virginia Legislature

West Virginia Archives and History