Jennie (Jennings) Griffith was born on the Fourth of July 1880 at Ohiopyle, Fayette County, PA, the daughter of John R. and Martha (Knight) Jennings. She grew up in a broken home, her parents having separated when she was age six, and who were divorced when she was nine.
Early newspaper accounts show that she and her sister Fannie, who lived together in Ohiopyle in 1898, frequently visited relatives in nearby Ursina, Somerset County, perhaps at the home of their father.
The July 14, 1899 issue of the Connellsville Daily Courier reported that she and Fannie were living in McKeesport, Allegheny County, PA, and that Jennie had "visited friends in [Ohiopyle] last week." At the time, Fannie was reported to be "very ill in the McKeesport hospital with typhoid fever." An old postcard of this hospital is seen here.
In May and June 1903, Jennie resided at the home of her brother John Jennings Jr. at Dawson, Fayette County. The following year, she testified in court at John's divorce proceeding. This testimony provides a rare glimpse of her life and words.
At the age of 22, in about 1902, Jennie married 23-year-old Robert Davis Griffith (1879-1948 ), the son of Welsh immigrants George R. and Eleanor (Davis) Griffith of McKeesport, Allegheny County, near Pittsburgh. He had brown eyes and black hair.
They had no children.
The Griffiths moved to Youngstown, Mahoning County, OH in about 1908, attracted by hiring opportunities at Republic Sheet and Tube Company. They made their home for many years at 136 South Pearl Street in Youngstown. A rare old photographic postcard showing Youngstown's Market Street Viaduct and industrial skyline is seen here.
An undated article in the old Turkeyfoot News of Confluence, Somerset County, likely in the late 1900s, carried a brief story that "Mrs. Jennie Griffith of Youngstown, Ohio, visited her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Jennings, of Park St., the past week."
Robert's primary employment over the years was as a "heater" at the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, later believed to have been acquired by Republic Steel Corporation. In 1918, during World War I, he was required to fill out a draft registration card, and listed Youngstown Sheet and Tube as his employer.
In 1920 and 1930, when the federal census was taken, the couple lived by themselves in Youngstown. During the early years of the Great Depression, when work at Republic likely was tough to come by, Robert's occupation was as a city park laborer.
Jennie suffered a stroke at the age of 66 in mid-April 1947. After lingering for several weeks, she passed away, on May 6, 1947. She was laid to rest in the Tod Settlement Cemetery in Youngstown.
Less than a year later, Robert suffering an agonizing, mortal injury at work. While eating a sandwich and pie in the Republic Steel Restaurant, on Jan. 5, 1948, a sharp object within the food punctured his esophagus. Rushed to St. Elizabeth Hospital, and suffering from shock, he died at the hospital at the age of 68. Relieved of his suffering, Robert's remains were placed into repose at the Tod Homestead Cemetery. Signing his death certificate was his brother Edward B. Griffiths.
Copyright © 2000, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2015 Mark A. Miner