Recent Discoveries from Oral History Compiled by a Local Mayfield Historian – Part II

As indicated in a prior story (see: The Virtues of Town Historians and Oral Histories, March 13, 2024), I obtained copies of handwritten notes on the Griffis family that lived in Mayfield, New York in the mid 1800s through the 1930s. The three pages of handwritten notes were kept by a former Town of Mayfield, New York Historian, the Reverend Edward Ruliffson. Ruliffson’s notes were based on information he received in 1935. [0]

There are ten major points of interest or facts that local Mayfield historian Edward Ruliffson raised in his notes. The first five observations were discussed in a previous story.

Part two of this story analyzes the remaining five points raised by Ruliffson. For each of the historical observations I have compared the results of my genealogy research with his observations.

The remaining observations of the Reverend Ruliffson deal mainly with William Gates Griffis and his son William J. Griffis and their families.

The following family tree provides some context to place the individuals that Ruliffson mentioned in his notes in the Griffis family tree. He discussed William Gates Griffis, his wife Eliza King and son William J. Griffis. William G. Griffis was one of three sons of Daniel Griffis. His brother Joel Griffis who is also mentioned in this story, is my third great grandfather and is the second great grandfather of Harold Griffis. The family tree below only depicts the descendants of William G. Griffis .

The Family Tree of Daniel Griffis & William Gates Griffis

Ruliffson also mentioned Thomas Wetherbee, his wife Eunice (Clark) Wetherbee, and their daughter Charlotte Wetherbee who married William J. Griffis. The following family tree only traces Thomas’ grandchildren through William J. Griffis and does not provide information on his other grandchildren.

The Family Tree of the Wetherbee Family

The following Griffis family photograph was taken on July 14, 1935. “Griffis Reunion” and the date that the photograph was taken is written on the back of the photograph. It was taken at the Mayfield farm, home of William J. Griffis. It includes William J. Griffis and his wife Charlotte Wetherbee Griffis and his extended family at the Griffis farm in Mayfield, New York. James and Charlotte “Lottie” are highlighted in the photo. My paternal great grandmother, Ida (Sperber) Griffis, the mother of Harold Griffis, is in between James and Lottie. Her second husband, George Griffis, is standing in the back row, second to the right.

Griffis Family Reunion July 14, 1935

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Charlotte Wetherbee Griffis is pictured in the following photograph at the farm in 1935 during the July 4th celebration.

Charlotte (Wetherbee) Griffis at the Farm in 1935

Click for Larger View | Source: Family Photographs. “Grandmother Griffis at the farm” written on back.

Key Observations from Ruliffson’s Notes

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“Daniel’s son William married Eliza King. He died quite young.”

Although documentation on the marriage has not been found, Eliza is listed as ‘daughter-in-law’ in the household of Daniel Griffis in 1855. [1] At the time Eliza and William have two children: William James Griffis age 3 and Jeremiah Griffis age 2. This would imply that William married Eliza in 1857 or earlier but not before the prior Federal census was taken in July 1850. [2] In 1850, William G. Griffis was helping Daniel Griffis on his farm.

1855 New York State Census – Household of Daniel Griffis

After 1855, William and Eliza had two additional children: Robert H. (born 1855) and ElizabethA (born 1859). Unfortunately for the family, William Gates Griffis died in 1860. Based on the inscription on his head stone, William G. Griffis died at the age of 56 on December 19, 1860. He was buried in Riceville Cemetery in Mayfield. [3]

Headstone of William G. Griffis

In 1865, Eliza, age 36, had remarried and had a child, Eunice Pierce, in 1865, with Suel Pierce who was 65. [4]

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“A son of William J of William and Eliza King Griffis married Miss Weatherbee (sic) daughter of Thomas Weatherbee (sic) in Jan 1870. They are both alive and in apparent health 65 years after. William J. Griffis has been justice of the peace of the town of Mayfield for 28 years (1935). The road on wich they lived is known as Griffis Rd.”

The Reverand Ruliffson has noted four facts: (1) William J Griffis married a daughter of Thomas Wetherbee in January 1870; (2) They were both alive and married for 65 years in 1935; (3) William was Justice of the Peace for Mayfield for at least 28 years; and (4) they live on Griffis Road.

andMarriage of William J. Griffis and Charlotte Wetherbee

Ruliffson notes that Charlotte and William were married in January of 1870. The year and month of the marriage is corroborated by the 1870 census enumerator Assistant Marshal W. M. Stark in the 1870 Federal Census. William is living in his father-in-law’s house with Charlotte. Both married at a young age. William was 18 at the time of the census taking on July 7, 1870 and Charlotte was his senior by a year at the age of 19. Column 14 of the census schedule asks what month an individual was married if they were married within the year the census was taken. [5]

Household of Thomas Wetherbee – 1870

It is interesting to note that Archibald Clark, age 77, is living in the house in 1870. Archibald Clark was the father of Eunice who is Thomas Wetherbee’s wife.

In ten years time, William and Charlotte are running the farm that was Thomas Wetherbee’s. William J. Grifis is head of the household and the Griffis family has two young children, George (age 3) and Laura (age 1). Charlotte’s mother Eunce is living with them as well as Charlotte’s maternal grandfather, Archibald Clark [6] .

Household of Griffis and Wetherbee Household – 1880

Based on the 1900 Federal Census, William reported that he had been married for 30 years. William still remembered how many years he was married! [7]

William J Griffis Household – 1900 Federal Census

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At the time of Ruliffson’s note taking on the Griffis family in 1935, William and Charlotte were married for 65 years.

A newspaper article from the Leader-Republican newspaper in January 25, 1934, corroborates when William and Charlotte were married. The newspaper article also points out the Charlotte lived her entire life in the house that her father built.

Mayfield Center News – January 25, 1934

Click for Larger View | The Leader-Republican (Gloversville, N.Y. ; Johnstown, N.Y.) Dates of publication 1912-1955, Johnstown, NY; a daily newspaper except for Sunday and holidays,

William was Justice of the Peace for Mayfield for at least 28 years

While I have been able to find William J. Griffis in various newspapers contesting various local political positions in the Mayfield area, I have not been able to validate his election to the post of Justice of the Peace. The lack of available sources to validate the claim that he was a Justice of the Peace for 28 years does not prove he was not Justice of the Peace. The lack of newspaper documentation of election results or stories of William as a Justice of the Peace in the Mayfield area or records on past incumbents in various local government roles make it difficult to corroborate Ruliffson’s statement.

The fact that William Griffis was Justice of the Peace for Mayfield for 28 or more years is oral family history that can perhaps be verified in the future.

They live on Griffis Road

William and Charlotte lived in their farm house for the entirety of their marriage. As indicated earlier in this story. It is not known when the road was renamed as Griffis Road. The 1920 Federal census is the only census that explicitly identifies the Griffis Road and its inhabitants in Mayfield. [8]

Griffis Road 1920

In the 1930 federal census the same famlies are living on the road. In 1930, William and Charlotte (ages 78 and 79 respectively) have one of their daughters, Grace (age 46), who was divorced, and her son, Clinton Argotsinger (age 9), living with them. [9]

Griffis Road – 1930

The Griffis farm is identified in a 1905 county land ownership atlas map of Fulton county. The street is only identified as RFD No. 1. . [10] The acronym “RFD” does not directly relate to county roads in New York State in the 1900s. Instead, RFD stands for “Rural Free Delivery,” which was a service begun by the United States Post Office Department in 1896 to deliver mail directly to rural farm families. [11]

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There is corroborating documentation that William J. Griffis and his family lived in Griffis Road. It is not known, however, when the road was renamed as Griffis Road.

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“The house where Mr. & Mrs. Griffis live was built by her father, Thomas Wetherbee. (see Wetherbee).”

Edward Ruliffson also compiled three pages of notes on the Wetherbee family. [12] His notes on the Wetherbee family are referenced in the notes he had taken for the Griffis family.

In his notes on the Wetherbee Family, Ruliffson indicated that around 1840 Thomas Wetherbee bought the property that William J. Griffis eventually would inherit as a son-in-law. Land deed records confirm that Thomas Wetherbee bought a parcel of land from Nicholas P. Demerits, part of lot 40 of the Sagandaga Patent. [13]

Index of Deeds – Thomas Wetherbee Grantee 1840

However, a review of the index of land deeds for Fulton county also indicate an earlier transfer of property from Jonathan Hawley and wife to Thomas Wetherbee on August 4, 1834. It appears that Thomas Wetherbee had owned land in two separate locations in the Mayfield area. [14]

Index of Deeds – Thomas Wetherbee Grantee 1834

Ruliffson also indicates that Thomas was a local carpenter in the area. Not only did he build his own farm house but a local school.

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The census enumerator in the 1850 Federal census indicated that Thomas Wetherbee, age 41, was a carpenter. The dwelling contained ‘two households’, one household was headed by Thomas and his wife Enuice (age 31) along with their children Clark (age 8), Caroline (age 7), and Lucy (age 3). Another household in the same dwelling is Josiah (age 23), Silvia (age 18), and Mary (age 1). The other house old comprised a young family headed by Josiah Wetherbee (age 23) and his wife Sylvia Wetherbee (age 18) and their daughter Mary (age 1). [15]

1850 Federal Census – The Household of Thomas Wetherbee

It appears that Thomas Wetherbee conferred all property and personal property rights owned in Mayfield as well as Broadalbin to his wife Eunice Wetherbee in his will [16]

A review of land deed records in Fulton county reveal the transfer of property to “Wetherbee & Griffis” and to “William Griffis” in 1899. [17]

Index of Deeds – Eunice Wetherbee Grantor and ‘Wetherbee & Griffis’ Grantees

Index of Deeds – Eunice Wetherbee Grantor & William Griffis Grantee

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“Aug 1863 Hugh H Woodworth and his wife conveyed a half acre of land on Lot #236 on Eastern Allotment of Kingboro Patent to Eliza Griffis.”

The information is accurate and can be substantiated by information found in the Fulton County Index of Deed for property (below). [18] As indicated in point number six, Eliza’s husband William Gates Griffis died in 1860. Based on information in point ten below, Eliza purchased this land after the estate of William G. Griffis was settled in 1862. [19]

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“Joel Griffis was executor of the estate of William G. Griffis who died about 1862. That was farm owned by Daniel Griffis. Farm was sold to John Warren who in turn sold to Sara Athony who transferre to Jay Anthony in turn to Alfred Snewt and he to Wesley Moore. Joel Griffis on store book 1849.”

Ruliffson’s notes on the disposition on the transfer of title and disposition of the farm originally owned by Daniel Griffis appear to be correct. Joel Griffis was executor of his brother’s estate. [20]

As administrators of the estate of William G. Griffis, Eliza Griffis and Joel Griffis are found in the Fulton County of Deeds, conferring property to J.J. Warren on October4, 1862. [21]

Index of Deeds, Fulton County


As indicated in the first part of this story, the notes taken by the Reverend Ruliffson on the Mayfield Griffis family are an invaluable resource for establishing certain facts about the Griffis family genealogy. Ruliffson may have compiled some of these notes when the Griffis family had a July 4th celebration in 1935.

While his notes are not complete and raise many questions, they do contain interesting leads on ‘new’ facts for further research. The information contained in his notes also corroborate facts that have been documened from other sources. Some of his statements cannot be corroborated with facts. We perhaps have additional tales that can be added to the family folklore.


Feature photograph: An amalgam of (1) notes taken by Mayfield Historian Edward Ruliffson in 1935 on the Griffis Family in Mayfield, New York; (2) part of the 1920 Federal Census that documents three Griffis households on Griffis Road in Mayfield, New York; and (3) the July 4th Griifis family picnic in 1935.

[0] The following are copies of the original three pages:

[1] New York State Archives; Albany, NY, USA; Census of the state of New York, 1855, Fulton County, Mayfield, Election District 1, Page 499, Lines 27 – 31

[2] Compare the 1850 Federal Census and the 1855 New York state census:

1850 U. S. Federal Census, New York, Fulton County, Town of Mayfield, Page 38 , Lines 6 -10

1855, New York State Census, Fulton, Mayfield, E.D. 1, Page 499 Line 27 – 31

[3] William G. Griffis, Memorial ID. , Riceville Cemetery, Mayfield, Fulton County, New York, Find A Grave,

[4] 1865 New York State Census, Fulton County, Mayfield., Page 661, Lines 10-16

[5] 1870 United States Federal census, New York, Fulton County, Mayfield, July 7, 1870, Page 258, Lines 16-21

[6] 1880; Census Place: Mayfield, Fulton, New York; Roll: 834; Page: 260a; Enumeration District: 012, Page 260, Lines 34 – 38

[7] 1900 United Stated Federal Census, New York, Fulton County, Mayfield, Page 4 enumeration District 025: Mayfield Town (PT) All that Part of Town Lying east of Main Line of Fonda Johnstown and Gloversville Rr, Page 155, Lines 58 – 63

[8] 1920 U.S. Federal Census, New York, Fulton County, Mayfield, District 36, Page 2A, Line 4 – 13

[9] 1930 U.S. Federal census New York, Fulton County, Mayfield, District Page 2a Lines 17- 19

[10] Land ownership maps are portrayals of land purchased, granted, or inherited. They range in complexity from rough outlines of the boundaries of one tract of land to detailed county atlases showing every landowner at the time of compilation. A key element that sets county land ownership atlases apart from most other maps is they list property owners’ names. They also indicate township and county boundaries and can include photos of county officers, landholders, and some buildings and homes.

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Montgomery and Fulton, 1905, New York, Montgomery and Fulton, 1905, U.S. Indexed County Land Ownership Maps 1860 – 1918, Page 104, Collection Number: G&M_9; Roll Number: 9

[11] County routes in New York, Wikipedia, This page was last edited on 29 December 2023,

Rural and Urban Origins of the U.S. Postal Service, Report Number RISC-WP-19-007, August 26, 2019,

Rural Free Delivery, This page was last edited on 15 January 2024,,Wikipedia,

List of county routes in Fulton County, New York, Wikipedia,This page was last edited on 9 February 2024,,_New_York

[12] The following are the three pages of notes on the Wetherbee family:

[13] “United States, New York Land Records, 1630-1975”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 1 March 2023), Thomas Wetherbee, Grantee, 1840. Index of Deeds, Fulton County, Page 116 , Line 2

[14] “United States, New York Land Records, 1630-1975”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 1 March 2023), Thomas Weatherbee, Grantee 1834, Index of Deeds, Fulton County, Page 184, Line 35

[15] Thomas Wetherbee, 1850 U.S. Federal Census, New York, Fulton County, Mayfield, Page 14 (double page 8), Line 5 – 9

[16] U.S. Wills and Probate Records 1659 – 1999,, Fulton County, Wills, Vol0006 – 0007, 1865 -1884, Page 399 – 401, Probate reading of the will of Thomas Wetherbee on August 4, 1879

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[17] “United States, New York Land Records, 1630-1975”, database with images, FamilySearch (  : 1 March 2023), Eunice E Wetherbee, 1899.  Grantee’s Employer: Wetherbee & Griffis, Grantor’s Name: EuniceE. Wetherbee, 30 Jun 1899, entry Number 102, Page 52 

“United States, New York Land Records, 1630-1975”, database with images, FamilySearch( : 1 March 2023), Eunice E Wetherbee in entry for William Griffis, 1889. Grantee’s name: WIlliam Griffis, Grantor’s name : Eunice Wetherbee, Sep 19 1889, Entry Number 74, Page 33

[18] “United States, New York Land Records, 1630-1975”, FamilySearch ( , Entry for Hugh H Woodworth and Eliza Griffis, 20 Aug 1863. Entry 29, Page 225,

[19] William G, Griffis, Minutes, Vol 0003-0004, 1856-1873, Probate Records, 1789-1955; General Index, 1830-1967; Author: New York. Surrogate’s Court (Fulton County); Probate Place: Fulton, New York,

[20] Probate Records, 1789-1955; General Index, 1830-1967, Minutes, Vol 0003-0004, 1856-1873, New York. Surrogate’s Court (Fulton County); Probate Place: Fulton, New York, Page 229 – 230

[21] It appears that Joel Griffis and Eliza Griffis sold William Gates Griffis’ property pursuant to the authority of probate court as administrators to a J.J. Warren on 4 Oct 1862. Fulton County, Index of Deeds, Page 293, Deed located in Book 28, Page 391

“United States, New York Land Records, 1630-1975”, , FamilySearch ( : Thu Mar 07 14:39:53 UTC 2024), Entry for Eliza Griffis and Joel Griffis, administrator, and J J Warren, 4 Oct 1862, Entry 28 Page 391

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