Cameron Herald, Thur., 23 Apr 1925
R. T. Griffin, Aged Confederate, is Dead
Friends of Mrs. W. L. Lutner will sympathize with her on the death of her father whose funeral she attended from the home of her sister, Mrs. John R. Baze in Snyder, Texas on April 3, 1925.
Her father, R. T. [Richard Thomas] Griffin, was an aged Confederate veteran who went from his home near Salem of the Civil War. Although very aged on Sept. 30, 1924, he gave to Mrs. Lutner the following brief account of his enlistment and service which shows his remarkable memory of wartime experiences after more than sixty years had passed:
R. T. Griffin at the age of 34 enlisted in Co. B, Captain Hargrove's company in July 1862. B. F. Ackerman was 3rd Lieutenant of the company. John M. Hefley, a boy then about 18 years was a private in the ranks so also were Bill Ferguson, John Lampkin, Jim Lampkin, Martin Cone (Jim Cone's father), Lewis Moore, Dick Story, Buck McCandless of Maysfield, John Camp, Zack Camp, Fuller Midleton, orderly sergeant, Jim Nance, school teacher, Jim Cowan, called Pegleg, and Barmore, Jim Holtzlaw, Lee Wood, Tom Moss, Wood's brother in law, Geo. Chappell and George Kissee, Dick Hurt, Clendin and York, Tom Miller, Dr. Thweat.
Tom Miller was first lieutenant and Lack Renal was second lieutenant, both lived in Washington county. Both resigned and Bill Kissee and Tome Hairston were elected to fill their places as lieutenants. Many others from other counties were in this company.
Mr. Griffin lived to be 96 years, 8 months and 24 days old. His funeral was preached by Rev. A. B. Davidson who had been is pastor twice in life and had known him while Mr. Griffin was living for periods at Dalhart, Roswell and finally at Snyder where Mr. Griffin was buried with Masonic honors.
Mr. Griffin was converted at the old Salem church near Cameron in early life and lived and died a consistent Christian and in the Methodist church. During his last years he was blind but his mind was clear to his last hour.
At Salem church he was the song leader and he loved singing always. A few days before his death he asked his daughter, Mrs. Baze to play on the piano while he sane the entire hymns, "Lord I Am Coming Home" and "Jesus Lover of My Soul."
The following interesting sketch of her father was prepared by Mr. John R. Baze and was published in The Snyder Signal:
Past four score years of age, blind and physically infirm, confined to the house and most of the time to his bed, yet with the lamp of his so brightly burning as to hold the rapt attention of his listeners as he turned the hours of Time backwards and entertains with _____and graphic _________ of the pioneer days Texas, personal chapters from the lives of Houston and other heroes of the Texas war of Independence, the Civil War, with its thrilling scenes, its clear portals of the dark days of Reconstruction, in west Snyder, with his son in law and daughter Mr. and Mrs. John R. Baze, was Richard Thomas Griffin.
The subject of this sketch was born near Montgomery, Alabama, July 8th, 1828. At the age of nine, young Griffin removed with his parents to Texas, arriving at Washington, March 18, 1838, or a little less than two years after the sanguinary battle of San Jacinto, where 783 lion hearted Texans under the leadership of General Sam Houston, humbled the pride of the self styled "Napoleon of the West," defeating his well drilled, well fed army of twice their number, killing or wounding half of this formable army and capturing most of the remainder, including their undefeated leader - this victorious army. At the time of the arrival of young Griffin and his parents at Washington, it was the temporary capital of Texas and it was here on the second day of March 1836, that the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed. Houston was serving his first term as president of the infantile Republic of Texas and many of those who participated in the world famed battle of San Jacinto, were serving as members of the senate and lower house of congress.
Among the many heroes of San Jacinto, Mr. Griffin distinctly recalls the names and faces of David G. Burnett, first provisional president of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar, afterward president of Texas, R. M. Williamson (known in history as Three Legged Willie), J. M. Hill, who for years was chairman of the San Jacinto Survivors, in their annual meetings, Deaf Smith, the noted scout who commanded the squad detailed to destroy the bridge across Sims Bayou, thereby cutting off the retreat of both the Texans and their Mexican foes, and many others whom we do not mention for lace of space and time. President Houston took a great fancy to young Richard or "Dick" as he was commonly called, and he takes pleasure in recalling the many romps he had with the great hero, who, when not engrossed with the weightier affairs of state, was very fond of the society of children and loved to amuse them. Mr. Griffin's reminiscences of those days and such men as Gen. Edward Burleson, Peter W. Grayson and John M. Wharton, who later died by his own hand, would fill volumes.
During the administration of Anson Jones, the last president of Texas, young Griffin was overseer on the president's farm. He vividly recalls the annexation of Texas to the Union and the tragic suicide of Ex-president Jones later. In 1855, Mr. Griffin moved to Milam county and the year following was made a Mason. He professed religion in 1849 and united with the Methodist Episcopal church South and has since that time been a consistent member. In November 1858, he was married to Miss Mary Jane Zellner. Of this union five sons and eight daughters were born, who, with the exception of one son and three daughters, still survive.
When the Secession Convention was held, Mr. Griffin was present and well remembers the stormy session that followed. He heard the last public speech of Governor Sam Houston before he was forever retired from public life and recalls the gloomy pall of sadness that overspread the "Lone Star State," when the broken hearted hero died. At the outbreak of hostilities, Mr. Griffin enlisted in a company raised for service in Hood's famous Texas Brigade. This company was subsequently detailed for guard duty and such against the wishes of the entire company, served within the boarders of the state during the war. This company was known as company B, Texas Cavalry. While Mr. Griffin did not get into the thick of the fight beyond the Texas boarder, his brother Robert was killed and his nephew badly wounded with Hood's Brigade at the battle of Chickamauga, the brave Captain Streetman, of this company falling at their side.
At the time of Lee's surrender, Mr. Griffin's company was in Cook county, whither it had been sent to assist in the capture of a regiment of mutineers. They had captured the recalcitrants and were on the return march to Houston when they learned at Marlin that General Lee had surrendered and immediately released their prisoners. The company went to _________ where it was disbanded. Returning to his family in Milam county, Mr. Griffin remained there until 1891, when he migrated to Coleman county, where his wife died a year later. In 1898 he came to Scurry county and, with the exception of a few visits to his children at other places, has since been a resident of this county, spending most of his time in Snyder.
Mr. Griffin was all through the dark period of Reconstruction and well remembers their trials with the "Carpet Baggers" and the exploits of the far famed "Ku Klux Klan" who were the terrors of refractory "niggers." As an instance of what happened in those days, he relates that it became necessary to flog an obstreperous "nigger," who had become too insolent for further forbearance. Through the instrumentality of one of the "Carpet Baggers" a detective came into the community to work up a case against those who participated in the flogging. In a few days the detective was told "confidentially" that he might learn something of the case by visiting certain rendezvous in the woods. He may have learned all that was necessary, but it is certain that he never reappeared to report the result of his investigations. The "nigger" who was the cause of the whole trouble also mysteriously disappeared within a few days. These are only a few of the numerous incidents related by this veteran, where summary justice had to be meted out to defend the homes, lives and honor of those who had followed the drooping fortunes of the "Stars and Bars."