Announcement before his death:
We are pained to chronicle that Rev. J. S. Griffing’s attack on the brain has so seriously affected his mind that his physicians recommend his removal to the Insane Asylum. He was one of the pioneer preachers of Kansas, and a large circle of friends will be surprised and grieved to learn of the affliction that has befallen him. His family has the sympathy of the entire community, whose earnest prayer is that this bereavement will not be of long duration.
Announcement after his death:
resolutions were unanimously adopted at the meeting of the Manhattan District
Conference, held at Clay Center, May 16th to 18th, 1882, and their publication
in the Manhattan papers was requested.
in the death of our beloved brother J. S. Griffing, the church has lost one of
its true and trusted friends, and its ministry a self-sacrificing and loyal
Resolved, That we hereby tender the bereaved family our sympathy in their great sorrow, and earnestly pray that the God of the widow and the fatherless may sustain them in their bereavement. Signed, John Pipher, E. W. Vanderenter, E. Gill, Committee
Obituary in Owego Gazette, 13 April 1882:
News was received early in the week of the sad and sudden death of Rev. James S. Griffing, a Methodist clergyman, stationed at Manhattan, Kansas, who died of brain fever, cause, it is said by over effort in conducting a series of revival meetings. He was the son of the late Rev. John Griffing, of the town of Tioga, who died some 30 years ago at the age of 67 years; a brother of Mrs. Brooks, wife of Rev. Asa Brooks, of Vestal, Broome County; Mrs. G. N. Pike, of Waverly; and Samuel B. Griffing, of this village, who survive him. His wife is a sister of Miss Sarah Goodrich, Mrs. Gurdon Horton, and Mr. Stephen Goodrich of Tioga, and Mr. R. L. Goodrich, of Little Rock, Arkansas. He was a zealous, earnest, able preacher of the gospel, as was, also, his father before him, and his death is a heavy loss to the [church].
Obituary in Methodist publication:
Rev. James S.
Griffing was born in Owego, New York, October 1822, and died April 3rd,
1882, aged fifty-nine years and six months. He was blessed with religious
training from childhood. Converted in youth, he turned his attention to a
thorough preparation for the work of the ministry, to which he was called of
Early in life
he entered Wesleyan University at Middletown, Connecticut, and completed the
course, graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. In 1854, having received
a license to preach, he was appointed missionary to the Indians at Wyandotte,
with Rev. W. H. Goode as superintendent of the mission. He continued in his work
two years. In the History of
Methodism beyond the Mississippi, Brother Goode refers to him as a very
promising young minister, and very successful as a missionary.
In the fall of
1856 he became a member of the Kansas and Nebraska Conference. He was one of the
number who organized the conference. He received the following appointments in
the conference: In 1856, Topeka; 1857, Fremont; 1858, Indianola; 1859, Big
Springs; 1860, Tecumseh; 1861-2, Auburn; 1863, Tecumseh; 1864-5-6, Seneca; 1867,
Centralia; 1868, Junction City; 1869, N. Lawrence; 1870-1, Riley; 1872-3, Blue
Valley; and from 1874 until the close of the last conference, in March, he was
in charge of Manhattan Second Church. It was his great desire to continue in the
regular work of the ministry until death should close his labors. His desire was
granted. He served the church as a true and faithful minister of the gospel over
As to his
Christian character, it may be truly said, “He was a good man, full of faith
and of the Holy Ghost.” He represented the Christian life in its completeness,
as but few have done. From a long life of practice in righteousness, his sense
of right, of honesty, was very clear, and his eye of faith was strong and
bright. To preach the gospel was his first work. All things else were secondary.
Very many throughout the Kansas Conference remember Brother Griffing as a
faithful preacher and a faithful pastor. He traveled far, often through storms
severe, to reach his appointments. His rule was, “Never disappoint a
congregation.” He visited from house to house, and talked with parents and
children around the hearthstone, on the subject of religion; and many fathers
and mothers in Israel were encouraged, and many children were taught to give
themselves in the days of their youth to the service of Christ.
Although his tongue is now still in death, his Christian example will live on. “Though dead, he is yet speaking.” A very great company – part in heaven and part on the way – have been saved through his agency and they will rise up and call him blessed. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for they rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.”