Alexander D. Griggs


Capt. Griggs is building a veneered brick block on the corner of Sixth street and DeMers avenue. It is 48×60 feet and two stories high. On the ground floor are two stores and on the second floor are ten commodious rooms which will be used with his hotel. The cost will be $5,500. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Wednesday, August 23, 1882, Page 1)

The finest residence in course of construction is that of Capt. Alex. Griggs, on the corner of Third street and Griggs avenue. It will be brick veneered and will be made in the most substantial manner. It will have all the modern conveniences and will cost close to $15,000. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Wednesday, August 23, 1882, Page 1)

Grand Forks’ New Mayor. Capt. Alexander Griggs was the pioneer of Grand Forks – the first settler. To the visitor of the present handsomely built city of 7,000 population, it seems like fiction to be told that Capt. Griggs selected the site for the city half a decade after the close of the (Civil) war. In 1870 he entered upon that almost unknown, and as was generally believed, uninhabitable country. He struck the Red river at the now abandoned Fort Abercrombie, and followed its swelling waters northwest 100 miles, looking for the right place to locate a city, and when he saw the present site of Grand Forks, he said, “Here is the place for the future metropolis of North Dakota.” He built a log cabin where the elegant Syndicate block now stands, and has never since wavered in the faith that the largest city of the North would grow up there. The captain is a member of the railroad commission, and his name is a house hold word in North Dakota. He is a staunch Democrat and elected mayor this week over one of the oldest and most popular Republicans (David M. Holmes). (The Saint Paul Daily Globe, Saturday Morning, April 7, 1888, Volume X, Number 98, Page 9)

Page 701. CAPTAIN ALEXANDER GRIGGS, the present mayor of the city of Grand Forks, will form the subject of our present article. No man in North Dakota has done more to promote the interests of that locality, nor been more prominently identified with its growth and progress, and his name is indissolubly associated with the history of the Red River Valley as well as the Northwest. A man of iron determination, of energy, enterprise and perseverance, he recognizes no such thing as defeat in any project he undertakes, and the many gigantic enterprises which he has inaugurated and carried to successful completion demonstrate the characteristics of the man. Captain Griggs is a native of the State of Ohio, born in Marietta, on the 27th of October, 1838, and is the son of William and Esther (McGibbon) Griggs, natives of New York and Ohio, respectively. Alexander remained in his native State until about two years old, when he removed with his parents to Beetown, Grand county, Wisconsin, where he lived for five or six years, and in 1849 removed to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he secured a position as cabin boy on a steamboat. From that position he was promoted rapidly, and at the age of nineteen we see him captain of the steamboat Iola. He acted as pilot when he was so small that he had to stand on a box to manage the wheel.

He remained on the Mississippi river and tributaries until 1870, when he removed to Fort Abercrombie, which he made his headquarters. He was engaged in the transportation business in connection with J. J. Hill, president of the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railroad, and during 1870 and 1871 had headquarters at that place. In June they removed their headquarters to McCauleyville and then to Grand Forks, North Dakota. While at Fort Abercrombie they built the steamer Selkirk and a number of barges, which run on the Red river. When our subject first located in Grand Forks he took a farm where the heart of the city now is, and owing to the unsettled condition of the country it was five or six years before he moved upon it. He located there with the determination to build up a city, and platted his land, graded the first street and built the first sidewalk. He built a steam saw-mill, and opened a general store, doing a general milling and merchandising business with the firm known as Griggs, Walsh & Company. After two years they sold out to the Hudson Bay Company, and our subject then went into the steamboat business, increasing the trade year after year until they had seven steamboats and fourteen barges. Since that time the railroad competition has about retired this line of industry, until the business is carried on by two

Page 702. steamers and a few barges. The captain followed navigation actively for thirty years, during which time he was captain of the following steamers: Humboldt, Little Dorrit, Aerial, Chippewa Falls, Favorite, Jennie Baldwin, Albany, Otter, Countess, Mankato Otter, St. Anthony Falls, City of St. Paul, Selkirk, Cheyenne, Manitoba, International, Alpha, Dakota, Alsip and Pluck. He is without a doubt the oldest man in that line in the West, and is widely known. Since settling in Grand Forks he has been closely identified with all the interests of the city, and to-day is recognized as the literal “father of Grand Forks.” He has done more to advance the prosperity of the locality than any other man, and is yet the most prominent public citizen of the city. He built the first saw-mill, as well as grist mill, and is now the heaviest stockholder in the gas works. He is president of the Second National Bank and is serving his fourth year as railroad commissioner for Dakota. Since coming to the city he has been connected with the following business firms: Red River Transportation Company, McCormack, Griggs & Company, Griggs & Company, Griggs, Grosvener & Company, Budge, Griggs & Company, Henderson & Griggs, Griggs & Son, in livery business, etc. In 1888 he was elected mayor of the city, which position he still holds.

The captain was united in marriage in Le Sueur, Minnesota, on the 27th day of December, 1865, to Miss Ettie Strong, the daughter of Lucius E. and Ann (Sheppard) Strong, natives of Massachusetts. The Captain and his estimable wife have been blessed with the following named children – Lois A., Charles E., Ansel, Mary (who was the first white child born in Dakota), Ettie, Bruce, James and Clifford, all of whom are living except Charles. Ansel is engaged in the livery business in Grand Forks. In political matters our subject affiliates with the republican (Democratic) party. He has held a great many local offices, and since the organization of the county has filled various county offices at different times. He is prominently connected with the business interests of the city and vicinity, and is a man of the strictest honor and integrity, his word being considered as good as a bond. (Album of Biography of the Famous Valley of the Red River of the North and the Park Regions, Alden, Ogle & Company, Chicago, 1889)

THE GOOD OLD DAYS. Capt. Griggs Talks of His Experiences When the Red Was Twenty Miles Wide. Capt. Alex. Griggs, the old Red river steamboat man, is visiting friends in St. Paul, and has gone through the interviewing process. The Pioneer Press says: From 1846 to 1870 Capt. Griggs was on the river below St. Paul, and in the latter year, in connection with President Hill, of the Great Northern, he established the first line of steamboats on Red river and platted the town site of Grand Forks, which he has seen grow up into a substantial city of 6000 people. He is known along the Red river as “Father of Grand Forks” and though the captain has held many other titles, he likes this one best of them all. “I remember the time,” said Capt. Griggs reflectively, as he smoked a clear Havana cigar, “when the Northwest was not so dried up as at the present time. The Red river used to be a good deal of a stream. I remember once I was going down from Grand Forks to Pembina when there had been a flood up that country. The Red in some places was twenty miles wide, and we hadn’t a sign of landmark to go by. On the boat was a little Englishman who was frightened to death for fear we would all be drowned. Our pilot was lost, and one morning when we awoke we found ourselves about six miles from the river, close to a little patch of timber. The Englishman wanted to be let ashore, so, after we had used every argument to have him stay by the boat, we let him off. He started to walk over to the settlement which we thought ought to be about a mile through the timber, and found out, after we had gone on to Pembina, that he was on an island. Fortunately a hay scow came along that way the next day and rescued the poor little cuss before he starved. But he ought to have stayed by me – I never lost a passenger in my life.” (Grand Forks Weekly Plaindealer, Saturday Evening, March 14, 1891, Volume 8, Number 233, Page 1)

Not So Serious. Capt. Griggs Not in So Bad Condition as Reported Yesterday. The friends of Capt. Griggs who so anxiously awaited intelligence as to his condition all day yesterday and last evening will be gratified to learn that his case is not considered particularly serious, and at no time was he as bad as reported. He was able, with a little assistance, to walk down stairs and return to his room again. The paralytic stroke with which he was sticken was light and only affected his right leg and arm. Dr. Senkler, of St. Paul, has been sent for and will arrive this morning. Mrs. Griggs, who was visiting friends at Henderson, Minn., is expected to return home this morning. If the Captain takes no turn for the worse he will doubtless be out before long. The shock was undoubtedly brought on by exposure. He has been paying very close attention to the sewer contracts, in which he is interested, and was on the work in all sorts of weather. The shock came upon him about 12 o’clock Wednesday night. He awoke with a peculiar sensation in his right arm and leg. He was able to call for help, and Dr. Wheeler was summoned at once. The doctor has at no time anticipated immediate serious consequences. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Friday Morning, October 16, 1891, Volume XX, Number 276, Page 5)

Alexander Griggs. The Red River, which was such an important factor in the development of this section cannot be mentioned in this connection without recalling the name of Capt. Alex. Griggs, the “ancient mariner” who first navigated the tortuous channel of that stream. He came to McCauleyville in 1870 to superintend the building of the steamer Selkirk, for Hill, Griggs & Co., he being in partnership with J. J. Hill in the deal. He made his first trip down the river on flat boats to Winnipeg in the fall of ’70, and was prominently identified with navigation before the advent of railroads. He located on a claim which is now the original townsite of Grand Forks, and has taken a most important part in the development of the city. His family followed him the next year and their daughter Jennie was the first white child born here. Mrs. Griggs brought a medicine chest of homeopathic remedies, and for a long time was the only doctor, and many a half-breed will declare he owes his life to her. She entertained the first minister who visited here and the first religious services were held in their house. She started the first hymn, helped organize the first Sunday School, and gave the first party and dance. Frank Viets. Mr. Frank Viets, of Grand Forks, first saw the shores of fair Dakota on the 20th of September, 1870. Himself and wife and little daughter came up the lakes from Ashtabula, O., to Duluth; from there they traveled by rail to St. Paul, and thence to St. Cloud, where Mr. Viets bought a “prairie schooner” outfit and drove the remaining 230 miles to Georgetown. He remained there about two years in the employ of the Hudson Bay company. He drew lumber from St. Cloud the first winter, making five trips, the total distance of which was nearly 2,500 miles. He was then appointed manager of the company’s hotel at Georgetown. He came to Grand Forks in 1873. He finished the interior of the Northwestern hotel and opened it for the company. He went into business for himself in 1875 and opened the Viets, now the Richardson, in 1878. He also built the first flour and saw mill in Grand Forks, the first named being still in operation and two large store buildings, one of which was destroyed by fire. He platted Viets’ addition, the first addition to the original townsite, so it will be seen that he was prominently identified with the development of the city during the seventies. He has been east for a few years but has returned to his first love. Since his first settlement in Dakota he has amassed a competence. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Friday Morning, December 11, 1891, Volume XXI, Number 35, Page 2)

Page 159. CAPTAIN ALEXANDER GRIGGS, the “Father of Grand Forks,” is one of the most widely known and highly esteemed men who cast their lot with North Dakota. He is now a resident of the state of Washington, but until recent years was engaged in navigation throughout the Red river district, and was identified with the financial growth of the city of Grand Forks and vicinity. Our subject was born at Marietta, Ohio, in October, 1838, and was a son of William and Esther (McGibbon) Griggs. He removed with his parents to St. Paul, Minnesota, when a boy, and later his family removed to Grand Forks, where his parents died. Our subject was reared and educated in St. Paul, and at an early age began running on

Page 160. the boats of the Mississippi river, and at the age of twenty years was given command of a boat. He continued there until 1870, and then, in company with others, went up the Red river to Fargo with a view of establishing a line of boats, and during that year the Hill, Griggs & Company Navigation Company was formed. In 1871 Mr. Griggs went to where Grand Forks is now located, and he entered a claim to the land on which the old town is located, and named the place Grand Forks on account of the junction of the two rivers. He continued to operate a line of boats between Grand Forks and Winnipeg for many years and continued in command until 1890. He was always active in the upbuilding of the town of Grand Forks, and was one of the founders of the Second National Bank, of which institution he was president for many years. He also acted in the capacity of president of the First National Bank of East Grand Forks for some years, and established the gas works in company with William Budge, and was also a large owner in the Grand Forks Roller Mill.

He served as railroad commissioner for some years, and was the third postmaster of Grand Forks and was mayor of the city. He assisted in building the two bridges across the river, and by his hearty support and influence endeared himself to the people as a man of active public spirit. In December, 1892, Mr. Griggs left Grand Forks on account of failing health, and is now engaged in boating on the Upper Columbia river. Our subject was married December 27, 1865, in Minnesota, to Miss Ettie I. Strong, a native of Brooklyn. Eight children, seven of whom are now living, have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Griggs, named as follows: Lois, now Mrs. W. H. Pringle; Ansel; Jennie; Esther; Bruce; James and Clifford. The family all reside in the state of Washington at present. Mr. Griggs in an ardent Democrat and is a man who keeps pace with the times. (Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1900)

Page 62. Captain Alexander Griggs is a native of Ohio, and was born at Marietta, the first town that was founded in his native state. He is next found in early life living at St. Paul. For sometime prior to July, 1870, he was captain of a steamboat called the “St. Anthony Falls” that ran on the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. Howard R. Vaughn, now residing at Walhalla, was clerk on this boat. Captain Griggs’ home was at Henderson, Minn., a town on the Minnesota river about sixty miles above St. Paul. About July 1, 1870, Capt. Griggs took the contract to build for the Hill Transportation company a steamer to run on Red river. This was the boat afterwards known as the Selkirk.

Page 63. Being a man of sagacity and practical business habits,

Page 64. he realized his opportunity, and the sites of Moorhead and Fargo being either claimed or of doubtful utility just at that interval, he accordingly made choice of the next best site to be found between those points and Winnipeg, liking the looks of this locality the best and himself and Vaughn decided to take claims here, or rather locate squatter’s claims and settle upon them afterward. The township lines had been run by the government surveyors in that part of the valley that year, hence it was not a very difficult matter to locate corners of quarter-sections, at least approximately, by measuring and ranging from these lines. Capt. Griggs selected a claim, upon which, over three years afterward, he filed a homestead entry and later still had platted upon a part of it the original townsite of Grand Forks; that chosen by Vaughn was below this, he thinks the land now comprising Riverside or in that vicinity.

Page 66. When Capt. Griggs returned to Henderson late in the fall of 1870, he arranged with Thomas Walsh to come to Dakota in the spring and settle upon the site he had chosen at the forks of Red river. This understanding was had in December and Mr. Walsh was to have a half interest in the townsite. Griggs interested others at Henderson in the proposed settlement on or about the same time. The captain with Walsh and Hurd, were to erect a steam saw-mill at the settlement and Walsh was also to assist in establishing a general store there. Accordingly, in the spring of 1871, Thomas Walsh, Burton Haney, James Jenks, and Alexander Blair left Henderson for the Red River Valley. (History of Grand Forks County, With Special Reference to the First Ten Years of Grand Forks City, H. V. Arnold, Larimore Pioneer, Larimore, North Dakota, 1900)

Deceased was One of the Pioneers of Grand Forks, and One of the Foremost Citizens During His Entire Residence Here – The Funeral Will Take Place Friday Next. Seldom has the news of the death of a pioneer been received in Grand Forks with the genuine regret and sorrow as marked the reception of a telegram Sunday by Wm. Budge of the death of Capt. Alexander Griggs at Wenatchee, Wash., and at once the flags of the city were placed at half-mast. The news was entirely unexpected, as for some time past Captain Griggs has been in better health than when he left Grand Forks. He was taken with his fourth paralytic stroke on Saturday evening, and died Sunday morning at 10:30 at his home in Wenatchee, and the funeral will take place there Friday next, and the body will be laid to rest there. Wm. Budge, a life-long friend of the deceased, and a daughter residing here, Mrs. W. H. Pringle, left last evening to attend the funeral, and Mr. Pringle, who is now in New York, will also proceed at once to Wenatchee.

Capt. Griggs was one of the pioneers of Grand Forks, and was the pioneer steamboat captain on the Red river, and devoted a great portion of his time and attention to the river traffic for many years. He came to Grand Forks in the fall of 1870, and the year following brought his family here also, and remained here till he was forced to go west about 12 years ago for the benefit of his health, which was failing. During his residence in Grand Forks, Capt. Griggs was one of the foremost citizens. To his efforts are due many of the advantages possessed by the city, as he was very public spirited and was ever to be found in the front ranks in any movement for the betterment of the city in any and every way.

During his residence here he was quite prominent in politics, and was a member of the constitutional convention. He was also elected mayor of Grand Forks two terms, in 1888 and 1889. He was associated in a business way with Wm. Budge and Jacob Eshelman under the firm name of Budge, Griggs & Co., which firm built the Syndicate block and was largely interested in city property and other real estate. After his first trip to Grand Forks, Capt. Griggs returned to St. Paul and succeeded in interesting J. J. Hill in the construction of a saw mill here, the establishing of a store and the building of a steamboat. The firm name was Hill, Griggs & Co. Prior to this time Capt. Griggs settled on the land which comprises a great portion of the city of Grand Forks. His cabin was 12×12 and five logs high, and that was his home for some time. Griggs county was named after him when it was organized.

With Mr. Budge, Capt. Griggs also built the gas plant now owned by the Grand Forks Gas and Electric Co. He also erected the Griggs house and a number of the smaller buildings of the city. The residence he erected for himself still stands on North Third street, and is one of the land marks of the city. Capt. Griggs was also in the livery business for several years, and was the proprietor of a barn located just this side of the building occupied by Stephen Collins, which has since burned down. He was also interested in other things in this city in a business way, and was at one time president of the Second National bank.

As stated, about 12 years ago his health was greatly impaired and he left for the west. After traveling about for some time he finally settled at Wenatchee, where his family followed him later. He soon became interested in traffic on the Columbia river, and built a boat. From that time forward his interests in that line increased rapidly, till at the present time he has five boats plying the Columbia river, and was building the sixth at the time of his demise. Recently he built a very fine brick block in Wenatchee also, and was interested to a considerable extent in other lines. Since locating west he had established the same enviable reputation he enjoyed here for truth, veracity, uprightness in business dealings, public spiritedness and generosity.

Capt. Griggs was born 64 years ago at Marietta, O., and his parents were natives of that state, who came with him here later and died but a few years ago in East Grand Forks. He lived for several years in Ohio, and later moved to Minnesota, where he lived for a number of years. In Minnesota, he married Miss Etta Ione Strong, of Le Sueur. Seven children were born, all of whom are married with the exception of Miss Jennie Griggs, and all are in Washington with the exception of Mrs. W. H. Pringle, of this city. The others are Ansel, Bruce, Louis, John and Clifford, and Essie. Capt. Griggs was one of a family of nine children, Capt. Bruce Griggs, Mrs. John Cavanaugh, Mrs. R. W. Cutts, of this city, Mrs. J. T. Conley, of St. Paul, Wm. Griggs, of Lisbon, John Griggs (now dead), Mrs. Henry Hagadorn, Brainerd, Mrs. Geo. Walsh, and Mrs. Williams, who died in Washington, D. C., some time ago.

On receipt of the news of the death of Capt. Griggs the following message was sent by a number of his old associates here: Mrs. Alex. Griggs, Wenatchee, Wash.: Captain Griggs is dead. The city of which he was the father mourns. We, his friends, sorrowing, know not how to comfort you, his wife and family. Let the hopes of the future be your solace. John Dinnie, Mayor, D. M. Holmes, W. J. Anderson, Geo. B. Winship, John M. Cochrane, Stephen Collins, Don McDonald, J. H. Bosard, J. B. Wineman, James Elton, Wm. H. Brown, S. S. Titus, Thomas Walsh, Geo. W. Aaker, Tracy R. Bangs, H. M. Wheeler, John Zerfass, A. C. Mather, C. P. Trepanier. (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Tuesday, January 27, 1903, Page 1)

GRAND FORKS’ FOUNDER DIES. Capt. Alexander Griggs, Once a Partner of James J. Hill. Special to The Globe. GRAND FORKS, N. D., Jan. 26. – Capt. Alexander Griggs, who died yesterday at his home at Wenatchee, Wash., was the founder of Grand Forks, and the pioneer of steamboating on the Red river. He was born in Ohio sixty-four years ago, and came, while a boy, to Minnesota. Up to 1870 he was engaged in boating on the Minnesota river between St. Paul and St. Peter, and there became acquainted with James J. Hill. The two formed a company (…Hill, Griggs & Co., being owned by James J. Hill, Alex. Griggs and C. W. Griggs (History of Grand Forks County with Special Reference to the First Ten Years of Grand Forks City, H. V. Arnold, Larimore Pioneer, Larimore, 1900, Page 67)) to engage in transportation from Caledonia to Fort Garry, and carried on a thriving business the first year by means of flat boats. The second year a steamer was built and this was followed by several others. The Hudson’s Bay company was doing a large business, and settlers were beginning to farm. Capt. Griggs at that time took up a claim at Grand Forks and later platted the townsite. From the lines of steamers was gradually developed what is now the Great Northern railway system. Capt. Griggs lived here until 1889, and was a prominent figure in the political history of the territory. In the year named he moved to Wenatchee, Wash., and there began the navigation of the Columbia river. He built up a splendid business, and was the owner of several steamers at the time of his death. (The Saint Paul Globe, Tuesday, January 27, 1903, Volume XXVI, Number 27, Page 3)

Page 170. Alexander Griggs, “the Father of Grand Forks,” was widely known in the Northwest. He was born in Marietta, Ohio, in October, 1838, and was the son of William and Esther Griggs. He removed with his parents when a boy to St. Paul, Minn., and later his family removed to Grand Forks, where his parents died. In December, 1865, Mr. Griggs was married to Miss Ettie I. Strong, a native of Brooklyn. Mr. Griggs was reared and educated in St. Paul, but at an early age began running on the boats of the Mississippi river, and at the age of twenty had been promoted to the command of a boat. He continued there until 1870, and then in company with others went to the Red river with a view of establishing a line of steamers to ply between Winnipeg and Fargo. In 1871 the company was organized and was known as the Hill, Griggs & Co. Transportation & Navigation Company. This year he went

Page 171. to where Grand Forks is now located and entered a claim to the land on which is now located the old town of Grand Forks, he giving it that name on account of the junction at this place of the Red Lake river with the Red River of the North. He continued to run a line of steamers on the latter river between Grand Forks and Winnipeg until 1890.

He was always active in the upbuilding of his adopted home city and state; was one of the founders of the Second National Bank, and was the active president for many years. He was also president of the First National Bank of East Grand Forks for a number of years, establishing the gas works of the city in company with William Budge, and was a large owner of shares in the Grand Forks roller mills. He served the state as railroad commissioner for some years, was the third postmaster of Grand Forks, and was mayor of the city. His active, energetic life, and his counsel was always eagerly sought. In December, 1892, on account of failing health, he left here and located on the upper Columbia river, where he established a line of boats for passenger and freight transportation service. The change of location, however, failed in its object, the regaining of health, and he succumbed on the 25th of January, 1903. (History of The Red River Valley Past and Present, Volume I, C. F. Cooper & Company, Chicago, 1909)

EARLY SETTLER DIED TUESDAY. Wife of Captain Alexander Griggs Passed Away In Washington. Word was received here Tuesday of the death of Mrs. Alexander Griggs, 77, widow of the late captain Alexander Griggs, and one of the early settlers in Grand Forks, at Wenatchee, Wash., Tuesday morning. She died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. John Scaman, with whom she has made her home during the past several years. No announcement of the funeral had been received here last evening. Captain and Mrs. Griggs came to Grand Forks in 1871 from Henderson, Minn. They lived here until about 20 years ago, when they moved west. The captain died about 10 years ago. Mrs. Griggs, formerly Miss Ettie I. Strong, was born in Brooklyn, N. Y., April 8, 1847. She was married to Alexander Griggs at LeSueur, Minn., in 1865. When they came to Grand Forks they made their first home where the Herald building now stands. Later they built a new home where the Red River Power company plant is now located and gave the old home to a widow with three children. Although Captain Griggs was identified with practically all the interests of the community in those days, Mrs. Griggs was always known as a “home body,” and always took pride in her home and family. The only organization with which she was affiliated was the Episcopal church. Of eight children five survive: Bruce, Jay, Jerome and Clifford Griggs reside in Seattle, Wash., and Ansel Griggs and Mrs. Scaman at Wenatchee. Local relatives are: Mrs. C. C. Gowran, Mrs. J. B. Wineman and Mrs. Robert Hughes, nieces; Alexander and Stuart Griggs of East Grand Forks, nephews and Mrs. George Walsh, a sister-in-law. (Grand Forks Herald, Wednesday, January 14, 1925, Volume XLIV, Number 65, Page 5)

Page 1. Life of Pioneering Closed. Mrs. Ettie Griggs Passes. The Mississippi river has been the inspiration of much romance and song, but none more romantic than the story of the young girl, who on a summer’s day, long ago, sang and swung above the banks of the Mississippi, and while she sang she attracted the attention of a tall dark captain of a passing steamboat who mentally vowed he would return and meet and marry the seventeen year old singer. He carried out his intentions only a few months later, and Ettie Ione Strong became the bride of Cap-

Page 12. tain Alexander Griggs. With the passing (January 13, 1925) of Mrs. Ettie Ione Griggs of Wenatchee, there closes a pioneer life of more than usual interest. A pioneer in three states, Mrs. Griggs witnessed at first hand, the development and decline of an industry in North Central Washington, which in spite of it’s decline, is a significant part of the history of Wenatchee, namely, the old steamboat business on the Columbia river which in the early days before the railroad took it’s place, was an important factor in the shipping of apples, wheat, ore, cattle and other commodities to Wenatchee, from the Big Bend and upper country.

Moved to Brewster. Captain and Mrs. Alexander Griggs, with their children, came west in 1892 and settled in what was then called Virginia City. Later the whole townsite was moved and the town renamed Brewster. At this time Captain Griggs became the first man to operate a steamboat on the Columbia river, a business which lasted until the railroad took it’s place a number of years later. In 1900 the family moved to Wenatchee, where they have lived ever since. Captain Griggs passed away in 1903.

Born in 1848. Mrs. Griggs was born in 1848 near New Haven, Connecticut, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lucius Strong, a pioneer Connecticut family. Mr. Strong was a scout in the Indian War, and the earlier ancestors of the family were among the little band of settlers who arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620. When Mrs. Griggs was but seven, the family moved to Henderson, Minn., where they were living when she met and married Captain Griggs. (Wenatchee Daily World, Thursday, January 15, 1925)


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