James Sayre Griffing (1822-1882) was a prolific writer. His journals, speeches, letters, and detailed notes are extensive. The fact that so much of it survives is highly unusual given that you will not find his name figuring so prominently in Kansas history as many others, though he did contribute significantly to the history of the Methodist Church in Kansas. Clearly he was more representative of the common man who came to Kansas Territory and worked behind the scenes to offer aid and comfort to the settlers of all races and nationalities who chose to make Kansas their home.
Both James and Augusta were well-educated for the period and their writing is not only legible, but relatively well-composed and easy to read. Except for very minor editing, and the correction of some often-used and misspelled words, the letters are presented here as they were written and footnoted extensively to aid the reader in understanding the people, places, and events mentioned in them.
There are nearly 500 letters in the collection represented here that span the period from 1841 to 1882. Some of the letters, photographs, and journals are in private collections. Many of the letters have been deposited by the family in two Kansas library collections. The United Methodist Historical Library at Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas holds the letters which pertain to early Methodism in the State of Kansas. The Manuscripts Department at the Kansas State Historical Society's Research Center in Topeka holds the balance of the letters not in private collections.