JOSEPH LAMAR GRIFFITTS
Vol. 5, p. 1813
During the twenty years since his admission to the bar in Tennessee, fifteen of which have been spent in Oklahoma, Joseph L. Griffitts has employed his talent and abilities in such a way as to place him among the front rank of Oklahoma lawyers, and he has the chief practice in his home Town of Buffalo, Harper County.
His birth occurred at Friendsville, Tennessee, July 23, 1864 and he represents old and prominent family stock of that state. His parents were John W. and Mary Elizabeth (DONALDSON) Griffitts. His grandfather, Manuel Griffiths, was a native of Virginia, and married a Georgia girl.
John W. Griffitts, who was born in Kentucky, June 13, 1831, and died December 18, 1909, spent his active lifetime as a farmer in Tennessee. He was also prominent in local affairs, and for twenty years was a member of the County Court of Loudon County, Tennessee, having filled that office up to the time of his death. He served as an elder in the Presbyterian Church forty years. He was married in 1856 to Mary Elizabeth DONALDSON, who was born February 3, 1839, in Tennessee, and died January 16, 1897. She became the mother of eight children, five sons and three daughters; James Henry, who was born July 16, 1857; Nancy Elizabeth, born September 15, 1859, was married in 1886 to Samuel S. HUTSELL, and is now a resident at Sweetwater, Tennessee; Thomas Nelson, born September 26, 1861, is a farmer at Lenoir City, Tennessee; Joseph L. was the fourth in age; Stephen Alexander was born January 22 1866, and died August 18, 1913; Jacob Lafayette, born May 20, 1868, is a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church South at Cedar Keys, Florida; Lucinda Jane, born July 11, 1875, died November 28, 1903; Nora Blanche was born March 20, 1877, and is still single.
Joseph Lamar Griffitts completed his early education in Maryville College at Maryville, Tennessee. His early life was taken up with varied labors and employments, until he realized his ambition to study law. He read his text books at Loudon, Tennessee, until 1895, and was then admitted to practice in all the courts of the state. From Tennessee he came to Oklahoma in 1900, and began practice at Tonkawa. While there he served as police judge until 1905 and was elected city attorney in 1907. However, in the same year, he resigned that office and moved to Buffalo, and after statehood was elected the first county judge of Harper County. That office he filled with distinction and credit for three years and two months. Since then he has applied all his time and energies to his large private practice at Buffalo. He is a democrat, and is affiliated with the Masonic Order.
At Alva, Oklahoma, February 5, 1909, Judge Griffitts married Miss Grace PENNINGTON. She was born February 11, 1880, in Wabaunsee County, Kansas, a daughter of J. W. and Catherine Pennington, who were natives of Illinois. Mrs. Griffitts prior to her marriage was for four years a teacher in the public schools of Dewey County, Oklahoma. To their union have been born three daughters and one son; Guendolen Grace, Josephine L., Cassius Lamar and Muriel Elaine.
Transcribed by Carole McAnally, August 6, 1999.
SOURCE: Thoburn, Joseph B., A Standard History of Oklahoma, An Authentic Narrative of its Development, 5 v. (Chicago, New York: The American Historical Society, 1916).
[NOTE: 03-21-2000 Rhodley Lewington Alden writes - Joseph Griffitts, born July 23, 1864 left TN for OK in 1900 where he practiced law at Tonkawa, served as police judge and city attorney. He later moved to Buffalo, OK where he was elected the first county judge of Harper County. In 1909 he married Grace Pennington. They had four children: Guendolen, Josephine, Cassius and Muriel. (email addy for Rhodley was bouncing and has been removed)