Look back

Malcolm Goodelle talks about the American Revolution at Dixson Willson cemetery near Springport Sunday afternoon. More than 40 descendants of Revolutionary War veteran John Griggs gathered to trace their roots and meet their relatives. At left is Andrew Pickard, 13, of Port Byron Boy Scout Troop 56, which participated in the ceremony.

July 12, 1999

MENTZ — John Griggs lived at the dawn of the American republic. 

He emigrated to the United States from Germany as a young man, fought in three wars on American soil, served under Gen. George Washington, and lived for 110 years from 1724 to 1834, an unusually long lifespan for his times.

Between wars, he started a family with his wife, Molly.

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That family still thrives today, generations removed from their founding father. 

Dozens of Griggs' descendants gathered Sunday at the Dixon-Willson Cemetery for the unveiling of Griggs' new headstone at his final resting place. The family reunion, organized by Sharon Griggs Stewart, brought together family members from eight states, including Oregon, Utah and California.

"I think the Lord wanted it done," Stewart said, as she looked out among her kin gathered in the cemetery, many of whom she had never met before beginning her genealogical study.

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— Compiled by David Wilcox