Last week I said that the horrific death of Tom GRIFFIN wasn’t the end of the story concerning his wife, Henrietta, and their four children. I’ll get to that in a moment.
Tom’s brother, John
First I want to back up a little in time. Tom had a brother named John Newberry GRIFFIN. John was born 19 Feb 1862, just 11 months after Tom. I expect Tom and John were close, almost like twins.
John worked in turpentine farming, like Tom, but I don’t know or not if he was working at the same place as Tom when the accident happened that took Tom’s life.
When John was 19, he married Flora Henrietta GRANT who went by Henrietta. The next year, 1882, John’s Henrietta gave birth to Catherine Henrietta GRIFFIN, who was called Katie.
Their little family was off to a good start, but tragedy struck soon after – a tornado outbreak.
According to Wikipedia,’ the Enigma tornado outbreak of February 1884 is thought to be among the largest and most widespread tornado outbreaks in American history.’ Read more about it here if you’d like.
Another young life lost
The Farmer and Mechanic newspaper of Raleigh, North Carolina, listed John’s wife, Henrietta, amongst those killed in the tornado outbreak.
John survived the tornado, and Katie did, too. The paper said that Katie was found unhurt in her dead mother’s arms. Family folklore says that during the tornado, either Katie’s grandmother or aunt held on to Katie with one arm and to a tree with the other.
John was still mourning the loss of his wife when his brother, Tom, died in 1887. John and Tom’s Henrietta consoled each other in their grief, and you probably know what happened next.
Beauty from ashes
According to Cindy, a great-granddaughter of John, ‘With the death of both their spouses, they found new love with each other.’ John and Henrietta married and combined their families and went on to have four children together.
John and Henrietta left South Carolina about 1899 for Coffee County, Alabama to work in the turpentine forests there. John was working as a distiller. I wonder if that worried Henrietta after what happened to Tom.
In 1910, John was a general farmer, but in 1920 he was back to turpentine farming. At some point, John and Henrietta moved to Opp, in Covington County, Alabama where John built and operated a service station on the Florala Highway.
The couple lived in Opp and worked John’s service station until both passed away in Manatee, Florida; Henrietta passed on 9 January 1927, and John passed 11 days later on 20 January 1927. Curious that they died so close together and not at home in Alabama, isn’t it?
John and Henrietta were buried at Friendship United Methodist Church in Covington County, Alabama. They suffered tragedies at a young age, but went on to find love again and to live full lives together.
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