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Nancy Bellzona's Picture Book
The Flood's - Aaron K. Griffing of Kentucky

Aaron K. Griffing of KentuckyAARON ROSS GRIFFING OF KENTUCKY Born: 2-7-1819, Died: 12-11-1885

Aaron Ross Griffing was a native of Kentucky. He was born in Kenton County, February 7, 1819. He continued in his native state until quite late in life. Thence he removed to Johnston County, Texas where his death occurred soon after, on the 11th of December 1885.

From the Portrait and Biographical Album, Sedgwick County, Kansas, Chapman, Brother's comes this information, to which they conclude, "These families (of the Griffings) were prominent among the pioneer settlers of Kentucky, well-to-do and substantial people, who carried on agriculture extensively, and had great influence in the Blue Grass State."

There is very little information about this gentleman, Sarah Griffing Gosney's father. This picture is greatly fascinating and would probably offer many hours of interesting research. This photograph shows a person who, no doubt, would have been interesting to know. There is something of the depth of the Kentucky culture about him.

Aaron Ross Griffing's daughter, Sarah L. Griffing Gosney was born November 28, 1848, died November 15, 1923.

Sarah was married to John William Gosney, born too in Kentucky, December 8, 1844, died in Goddard, Kansas, November 17, 1928.

Sarah and John were the parents of Honora C. Gosney, who married Henry Flood.


               Carolyn Lawson Kiemel
Aaron Ross Griffing’s story can only be told from small bits of published information.  We do know; however, that he was an influential man of courage and action.  Why did he leave his native Kentucky and relocate to Texas when he was no longer a young man?  We will never know the whole story, but it does appear that some families from the same area in Kenton County made the decision to move west together.  Perhaps the thought of unsettled acres for their expanding families was the lure. We know several members of the Griffing, Yelton, and Shannon families came from the area, united in marriage before and after the relocation, and in time had neighboring farms in Johnson County, Texas.

Aaron actually made the long trip from Kentucky at least twice. Family lore has told us that land was obtained before the Civil War; but prudently the family waited until after the war to relocate to Texas. We know Aaron Ross came to Texas with some of his older sons about 1874.  His farm established, he returned to Kentucky to prepare his remaining family to leave their beloved home state forever.  We can only imagine the tears shed by his wife and daughters as they turned their backs from Kentucky and looked west.  How long and hard the wagon journey must have been. We know that within two weeks of arriving back in Texas, Aaron left this life.  Was he ill? Was there an accident?  Was he suddenly stricken?  We may never know the answer to these questions, but we can imagine the grief of his family.

From a letter written to Carolyn Lawson Kiemel from Dorothy Hays King, September 18, 1972, Austin, Texas: “While making notes for a biographical sketch of Grandfather S.W. Hays, I found this about your great grandfather, Aaron Ross Griffing – he was a prominent and influential citizen, engaged in farming and dairying on Griffing Ferry (near Demossville, Kenton County, Kentucky), named in his honor.  But the name was afterwards changed to Alexander’s Station.  He was a strong Prohibitionist, a noted Mason, and an Elder in the Christian Church…came to Texas in 1886, locating in Johnson County, and his death occurred two weeks after his arrival.  His widow still lived (this was published 1902) on the farm he purchased. …had 12 children of whom five were in Texas, two in Kansas, one in the Nation, one in Kentucky and two deceased. Major (killed in the late war), Missouri, Mary, Sarah, Matilda (my grandmother), Bruce, Flora, Lute (Mildred’s grandfather), W.R., Carrie (your grandmother).  I guess Alexander’s Station is near Demossville, in Kenton County, Kentucky.”

I thought you might enjoy reading about Sarah Griffing Gosney's sister, Carrie Bell Griffing Lawson, my grandmother.  My sister, Sharon Lawson Mijares, is the author.

Sharon Lawson Mijares

My grandmother, Carrie Bell Griffing Lawson, was born on July 24, 1868 in Demossville, county of Kenton, in Kentucky.  She was the last of twelve children and the ninth daughter born to Aaron Ross Griffing and Mariah Louisa Yelton Griffing.  Carrie was born just three years after the close of the Civil War.  Kentucky was a slave state, but remained loyal to the Union.  Carrie’s parents had plans to move to Texas, but their plans were interrupted by the war.  The family finally moved to Burleson, Johnson County, Texas in 1886.  Carrie was eighteen years old at the time.  Tragically, her father died just two weeks after their arrival in Burleson.  We know that in 1902 Carrie’s mother, Mariah, was still living on the farm that her husband had purchased.

Burleson is located just outside of Fort Worth, Texas.  My sister Carolyn and I visited there in the spring and were enchanted with its peaceful aspect and the rolling green hills.  I noticed that Carrie’s oldest sister was twenty-five when Carrie was born - twelve children in 25 years!  I wonder if the fact that Carrie was the youngest in such a large family accounts for her famously loving and cheerful nature.

Carrie was one of the first women to attend what is now Texas Christian University, located in Fort Worth, Texas. The few letters she left attest to a good education.   Carrie drove her horse and buggy to classes there.  TCU was originally called Addrand College, established in 1873 and located in Throp Springs, Texas. The few old photos we have show us this of Carrie:  She was a tiny woman with beautiful erect posture.  My cousin, Madeline, exhibited this same wonderful posture.  In group photos, Carrie stands out because of her graceful figure, her well-fitting fashionable clothing and her thick auburn hair.  Her photos show a beautiful oval face, with high cheek bones, deep set dark eyes and a beautiful nose, just like my father’s nose.  One photo shows Carrie with several brothers and sisters.  They all appear to have a slim build, and white streaks are starting to appear in Carrie’s hair.  In later years, her hair was completely white.

Carrie was a woman who commanded great love and respect.  My father, her fourth child, stated that he never once heard her complain; nor did he ever hear her speak ill of anyone.  My cousin Madeline, who grew up in close contact with her grandmother, tells us that Grandmother was a great conversationalist with a sparkling wit. Men and women alike would make special trips to Burleson, just for the pleasure of a visit with Carrie.  My father remembers how the teenage girls of the town would gather in Grandmother’s garden on Sunday afternoons to chat and laugh with her.  In her later years Carrie sold the farm and moved into town, locating close to the school.  Madeline says that teachers from the school often dropped in for a chat with Carrie. Remember that we are speaking of a woman who lost her husband after just twenty years of marriage, was left with five children and a farm to run, but apparently did not lose her joy in life.

Carrie loved her garden and to experiment there.  In my backyard I have a golden Iris that she developed.  Grandmother loved words.  She enjoyed using new words after carefully studying the pronunciation and spelling.  Carrie loved to read.  My own mother remarked that Grandmother’s house was filled with books - scattered everywhere!  As I read now, I wonder what books we have both enjoyed decades apart - Louisa Alcott, the Brontes, Jane Austin, Henry James, etc.? The fruit of my grandmother’s reading is shown in the lovely way she expressed herself in writing.  The following are two short letters which I have in my possession and which must show us a great deal about her loving and easy-going personality.  Carrie was known as “G Mama” to her grandchildren.  The first letter was written to my father on the occasion of his marriage to my mother.

Burleson, Texas

My Dear, Dear Boy,

     Your letter with the great news came this morning, and Son, I have hoped for years you would find the “right girl”.  Give my love to my new Daughter, and may God’s richest blessings be with you both.

     We will be more anxious now (if such a thing were possible) than ever to have you home and to welcome your bride into our family.

   Again all my love,


Another letter, postmarked November 27, 1941 as written to my cousin, Madeline:

Burleson, Tex.
Thursday Afternoon

Dearest Madeline:

How glad I was to have your letter this morning.  I’ve been blest with letters from my grandchildren recently.  Juanelle wrote me such a nice letter after you were there.  Don sent me an air mail letter last week, and Elwyn sent me a wire from Midland saying “Wish I was with you to help knock the stuffing out of that turkey.”

    Bless their dear hearts; are we going to disappoint our youngsters? Honey, I don’t know any way to entertain our bunch, only, to fill our “craws.”  Now if you girls would like to plan something else, it will be just fine.  Let’s draw names - that’s fun. Plan the refreshments, and let me know just what to do.

This is the plan I had worked out.  Turkey, dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, pickles, dessert – all placed on tables in kitchen. China and silver stacked on counter. Dining and bridge tables ready – pick up, serve - go to it.

                Now Dear Heart – accept or reject any part, or the whole of my plan, and I’ll fall in line.

   Much love,
   G Mama

Carrie was a proud woman.  She and her husband were respected leaders in their community.  She was the head of her chapter of Eastern Star and did much traveling in that capacity.  She also was a leader of the local Red Cross.

Carrie was the mother of six children:  Mabel, born 1890; Roy, 1892; Easton, 1893; Wilbur, 1895; a little daughter, Sammie, who only lived one month, in 1898; and Ben born in 1905 who was only five years old when his father died.  Carrie knew great sorrow in her life as she lost her husband and three of her children before her own death in 1955, at the age of eighty seven.

I don’t have many memories of my grandmother, but I do know that we visited her once in Texas.  (I remember from that visit things foreign to my desert childhood - large green lawns, pitchers of ice tea, and chasing fireflies.)  Grandmother also once made a trip by train to California to visit us.  At three years of age I was frightened of her white hair and told her that she looked like a witch.  Now I have that same white hair!

Ross Gosney and Gov. Andrew Schoeppel of Kansas, Aug 30th, 1945
Benjamin Ross Gosney, son of Sarah Griffing Gosney and John Gosney, and brother of Honora.

  Two of Sarah's children ( #2,#3 ) were born in Burleson, Texas.  Sarah's mother, Mariah Louisa Yelton Griffing lived there .  In fact child #3, Carrie Belle Gosney, must have been named for Sarah's yougest sister, Carrie Bell Griffing Lawson.  It appears after child #3 they moved on to Kansas, where the rest of the children were born.



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