George William Griffin

Male, #11560, (6 Jun 1882 - 3 Jun 1979)
Father*William Henry Griffin (20 Oct 1847 - 21 Feb 1924)
Mother*Clarissa Eugenia Culpepper (13 Apr 1848 - 29 Nov 1947)
Birth*6 Jun 1882 George was born at Good Hope (near Lineville), Clay Co., Alabama, on 6 Jun 1882. 
Census*1900 He was in the in 1900 census at Clay Co., Alabama
Marriage*5 Jun 1919 He married Tomera Leslie Handley at Lineville, Clay Co., Alabama, on 5 Jun 1919 at age 36. 
Death of Father21 Feb 1924 His father William Henry Griffin died on 21 Feb 1924 at Olive Branch, Clay Co., Alabama
Birth of Son12 May 1930 His son William Handley Griffin was born on 12 May 1930 at Washington, District of Columbia
Death of Son29 Jan 1931 His son William Handley Griffin died on 29 Jan 1931 at Washington, District of Columbia
Death of Mother29 Nov 1947 His mother Clarissa Eugenia Culpepper died on 29 Nov 1947 at Ashland, Clay Co., Alabama
Death of Spouse31 Mar 1979 His wife Tomera Leslie Handley died on 31 Mar 1979 at Lineville, Clay Co., Alabama
Death*3 Jun 1979 He died at Lineville, Clay Co., Alabama, on 3 Jun 1979 at age 96. 
Burial*4 Jun 1979 His body was interred on 4 Jun 1979 at Lineville City Cemetery, Lineville, Clay Co., Alabama.1 
Biography*  George William Griffin was named William for his father and was known as "Will." A nephew, James M. Griffin, recalled that Will had brown eyes. In an article "Church plans reminder of big Lineville fire" on p. 18A of The Anniston Star Sunday, 28 May 1978, Will Griffin recalled the fire of 9 May 1913 which destroyed the First Methodist Church of Lineville: Slightly stooped but astonishingly alert, Griffin remembers standing in the street in front of the church as the flames licked around the steeple, and then, like paint dumped on a pyramid, spread down to engulf the entire two-story church. Last week he stood there again, this time in front of the citified brick edifice that replaced the weatherboard country-style church that burned. The burning was one of many things that separated Griffin from the familiar world he grew up in. He seems more in touch with dirt roads and wood-frames than with the blacktop and bricks that replaced them. "I don't know of one single thing that's like it was when I was growing up," he said. "Everything's reversed." One of those reversals was what he recalls as "a whale of a fire." He was a student at Lineville College [in a 5 Mar 1979 letter, a niece, Mrs. Charles (Margaret Whatley) Lee wrote that "Uncle Will is still wearing his class ring from 1913 when he finished the old Lineville College....], which closed its doors only two years later -- breaking another link with his past. "It took two or three hours (to burn)," he said. "There was no Lineville Fire Department. I was standing out in the street there while it was burning. We used to do that. When the fire would come, people would gather around and see it." He said he was "a little late getting down to see that fire" and missed the dashes by men of the church inside the flaming building, removing benches and church records, most of which were saved. "Of course there was a lot of regret and all, but they (the Methodists) just went right back to building a new one (church)," he said. He reflected on the days when life was hard, when "There wasn't any banks because there wasn't anything to put in them." He talked of "the good communities we used to have in the old days," and of his father, who enlisted under the Rebel flag as a 16-year-old in the waning days of the Civil War. And then, reflecting on the church fire in the scheme of his life, he said, "Sometimes these things don't seem so important in time. It makes it hard to remember them."
      Mrs. E. A. (Ellaree Dean) Speer wrote 10 Jan 1992: Anyway, years ago, Uncle [Joseph Al]Bert[us] and Uncle Will worked in Talledaga, Ala. about 20 or 25 miles from Ashland - one was at the deaf and dumb institute, the other at the blind - I don't remember Uncle Will saying what they did but I think [it was] office [work] perhaps keeping books - That's what Uncle Bert did when he went to Hackneyville to work for Uncle [James] Olin [Griffin].... Uncle Will worked for an Insurance Co. in Ashland, had office in 1st Nat'l Bank. The Insurance Co. was a B'ham headquarters, a Mr. Albert Lee Smith stayed in Ashland (boarded at our house) & taught Uncle Will the Insurance business.... He [George William Griffin] went to Washington, D.C. Aunt Tomera's brother, Curtis Handley, had the Ford-Lincoln dealership in Washington & wanted Uncle Will as a salesman.... They lived in Washington until World War II - all making of cars was frozen. He [Will] came back to Lineville - The Handley home was just being rented, Mr. & Mrs. Handley had both died & they moved back, no job but no house rent & a little acreage - they had a garden, a big potato patch - Uncle Will worked in it & had the biggest tomatoes & most vegetables.... Last years of Uncle Will's life, he sold gas heating - installed big tanks in yard...
      The following is from an unknown source: Mr. Will Griffin Honored On 90th Birthday Mr. and Mrs. Emyl Griffin and family hosted a most enjoyable birthday dinner in their home for their uncle, Mr. Will Griffin, on Sunday, June 4. Mr. Griffin was celebrating his 90th birthday. He was one of eleven children born to Mr. and Mrs. William Henry Griffin, who lived in the Good Hope community at the time of his birth. He has a brother and a sister who join him in reaching the Golden Age--Miss Maude Griffin of Lineville age 88 and Mr. J. A. Griffin of Sylacauga age 92. Mr. Griffin was married to Miss Tomera Leslie Handley of this area on June 5, 1919. They have lived in and around Clay County most of the time with the exception of 19 years in Washington, D.C. At the time of his retirement, Mr. Griffin was in business here in Lineville. He has been a very active member of the Lineville Baptist Church and continues to support its many activities and needs. Those who joined in the delicious dinner and birthday celebration were: Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Griffin, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Minter Humphries, Sylacauga; Mr. and Mrs. Joe Griffin, Birmingham; Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Farned, Russellville; Mr. and Mrs. Ted Rice, Wedowee; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lee, Mr. and Mrs. Lemuel Wallace and family, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Morris, Anniston; Mr. and Mrs. Edd [William Edmond] Samuels and family, Chattanooga, Tenn; Mr. and Mrs. Lewis W. Handley, Jr., and family, LaGrange, Georgia; Reverend and Mrs. Charles Handley and family, College Park, Georgia; Mrs. Lorin Reeves, Miss Minnie Reeves, Reverend and Mrs. John L. Higdon, Reverend and Mrs. G. L. Armstrong, Mrs. Mildred Kerley, Mr. Earl Reeves, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Reeves and family, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. DeVaughn, Mr. and Mrs. George Mendenhall, Mr. Steve Robertson of Lineville.
      The following is from the 4 Jun 1972 Bulletin of the Line Baptist Church: Mr. Will Griffin It is unusual to have a man ninety years old in your congregation. It is also unusual to have a man ninety years old to mow the lawn and work with the shrubbery at the church. It is also unusual to have a man ninety years old to donate thirty-six Broadman Hymnal Jr. to the church. Just imagine a man ninety years old still interested in juniors. That is our Mr. Will Griffin. He is celebrating his 90th birthday today. The children are going to sing him a song out of the song books he gave to them. We congratulate Mr. Will on this grand occasion. But, most of all, we congratulate him on his Christian way of living, his pleasant outlook on life, and his service to his Lord and Savior and His Church. It would be good to have many like Mr. Will Griffin.
      The following article is from an unknown source: MR. WILL GRIFFIN RECEIVES CHURCH HONOR Mr. Will Griffin, age 92, was honored during church service on Sunday, January 20th, for his faithful and untiring service as a dedicated Christian and concerned member for the care and well- being of the church building and grounds. Deacon Jack Zorn, gave a brief history of Mr. Griffin, relating the many achievements throughout his life, with the most important, a Christian background, beginning at Good Hope Baptist Church, and his baptism in Mrs. Stevens fish pond. Mrs. Rachel Parker also gave a brief account of the many attributes of Mr. Griffin in his church work and what he means to the church and its progress. Mrs. Griffin was also recognized for her faithful Christian service.
      In a 13 Apr 1977 letter, Mrs. E. A. (Ellaree Dean) Speer wrote that she had visited George William Griffin and found that "Uncle Will seemed cheerful but really isn't too well - vision so bad & nothing can be done for his eyes... seemed happy to see us." In a 10 Jun 1978 letter, Ellaree noted that "Uncle Will has been in Hospital twice since Xmas - hernia & recently a skin cancer on ear." Mrs. G. W. (Elaine DeVaughn) Mendenhall wrote in a 28 Feb 1979 letter that "Uncle Will is now hospitalized in Anniston hospital. It was found the cancer had scattered to at least two obvious areas -- mouth and throat.... In spite of the anxiety of the problem, his thinking is clear and his reasoning logical." Mrs. Charles (Margaret Whatley) Lee added in a 24 Feb 1979 letter that Will's doctor "seemed to think smoking could have caused Uncle Will's problem. I don't think that he smoked much the last few years but was always a big cigar smoker." The following obituary is from an unknown source: Griffin LINEVILLE -- Services for Will Griffin, 96, of Lineville were today [3:00 p.m. 4 Jun 1979] at First Baptist Church of Lineville with the Rev. Wayne A. Stevens, the Rev. Earnest Smotherman and the Rev. Charles Handley officiating. Burial was in Lineville City Cemetery with Benefield Funeral Home of Lineville in charge. Mr. Griffin died Sunday at his residence after a long illness. Survivors include 25 nieces and nephews. Pallbearers were Jesse McCollum, Harlon Mayall, James A. Jordan, Don Hogan, Harold Paker and Jack Whatley. Honorary pallbearers were the fellowship Bible class, deacons and trustees of First Baptist Church of Lineville. Mr. Griffin was a native of Clay County and had lived in Washington, D.C., and Talladega before returning to Lineville 34 years ago. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Lineville, the fellowship Bible class and Baptist Men's Brotherhood. He served as trustee for the church and was a former member of Lineville Town Council. Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church of Lineville building fund.
      The Lineville Baptist Church established the Will Griffin Memorial Fund with the Baptist Foundation of Alabama. The Foundation is the trust agency of the Alabama Baptist State Convention and manages and invests the funds placed with it by the church and will remit the earnings to the church to be used as determined by the church. 


Tomera Leslie Handley (28 Sep 1889 - 31 Mar 1979)
Marriage*5 Jun 1919 He married Tomera Leslie Handley at Lineville, Clay Co., Alabama, on 5 Jun 1919 at age 36. 
ChartsBenjamin (son of Joseph) Culpepper of Edgecombe Co., NC: Descendant Chart
John Culpepper of Randolph Co, AL: Descendant Chart
Last Edited20 Jan 2005


  1. Clay County Alabama Historical Society, Cemeteries of Clay County, Alabama, La Grange, GA: Family Tree, 1987.
    p 204; date from memorial pamphlet.