Herman Sylvester Griswold

Below is a closeup of the picture from Herman S. Griswold's obit from the Fredonia (NY) Censor, 12/12/1957. This is the only picture I have so far of him or his family. He looks so much like my grandfather (his nephew) L. D. Griswold it's hard to even believe. If I had no idea who he was, I could easily have picked him out of a crowd as being related to my grandfather.

The article next to it, from the Fredonia Censor, Thursday, July 30, 1953, was kindly provided by Joy Harper and Doug Shepeard of the Darwin R. Barker Museum in Fredonia.

Oldest Resident of Fredonia at 91,
H. S. Griswold Celebrates Birthday

Ramrod straight, steady afoot and clear-eyed, the man made his way quickly to his vegetable garden. Pointing out its crops, he turned to a visitor to say, "Next year, I'm going to plant more flowers."

"Next year" the man will be 92 years old. He is Herman S. Griswold of 104 East Main Street, who turned 91 on Tuesday, perhaps Fredonia's oldest citizen in years but certainly one of its youngest in spirit. He still lives for the future.

Mr. Griswold retired from business a generation ago, after more than half a century first as partner and later as sole owner of a well known retail shoe sales concern. But retirement to him has been just another form of activity as the years have passed, and even at his advanced age today he is his own housekeeper and cook, mows his own lawn, drives his automobile and, of course, plants and cultivates his garden.

Keeps Up with the News

His sight is not as keen as it used to be, Mr. Griswold confesses, although he is able to enjoy the television, but his hearing is good and he delights in the radio. "I keep abreast of the news, anyway," he says, "and I get a kick out of hearing the ball games. Baseball, I mean. I don't understand football, never did."

Mr. Griswold, a modest as well as a venerable man, not only offers no formula to improve the world but disclaims even the right to give advice on longevity. "I can't tell you why I'm still here," he says. "The only reason I might think of is that I did some hunting and fishing when I was younger - got out of doors - but I don't really believe that's had much to do with it."

Whatever the reason, Mr. Griswold enjoys remarkable health. He is as slim and trim as one of Mel Allen's panatelas though he eats anything he chooses and as much as he wants, without ill effect. He does much of his own cooking, and keeps his own apartment in the house where he has lived for 65 years.

Came here at 20

Mr. Griswold was born in Beaver City, Pa., July 28, 1862, a year after Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural. "I don't know where Beaver City is," Mr, Griswold says. "because I left there as an infant and never went back." The family moved to Conneaut, 0., where he remained until he was 20. Then he came to Fredonia.

He took a job here with J. Henry Clark, who had a dry goods store on the present site of the Park Diner. Within two years, Mr. Clark sold out the business and Mr. Griswold caught on with H. P. Perrin in his shoe store, which was located where the Endicott Johnson shoe store now is. This was Mr. Griswold's niche. He Joined Mr. Perrin in partnership two years later, then bought him out. He ran the business successfully in locations now occupied by the Savon Shop and the Fredonia Electric Company until he retired in 1935.

Has Two Sons

A year after his retirement, Mr. Griswold's wife, the former Miss Margaret Hall, died. They were the parents of two sons, Marion. S., who is a factory representative of the Willys-Overland Company at Silver Creek, and Howard S. Griswold of Fredonia, who perfected a foot medication which has been enthusiastically received by a large patronage.

A lifelong Democrat, Mr. Griswold cast his first vote for Grover Cleveland, and not long afterward was himself elected to office here. He served five years as Pomfret town clerk, and takes pride in the fact that he was endorsed by the Republicans his final term.

A quiet gathering with his son, Howard, marked Mr. Griswold's birthday anniversary Tuesday. Last Sunday, however, both sons and their wives and other relatives gathered at Marion's house in Silver Creek for a family celebration, complete with cake. Mr. Griswold liked it fine, had two pieces of cake, and is looking forward to another such get-together - next year.

The unidentified picture below was found in with some pix of L. D. Griswold. It says 1903 on the back. Could it be Uncle Herman's shoestore in Fredonia? The one at 7 E. Main St? At that address now is the Danza! Performing Arts Academy. I asked Krista Taylor, Artistic Director there if she'd be kind enough to take a look for me and here's what she said: "I did take a look, unfortunately it has changed significantly over the years so it is difficult to identify. The lighting fixtures look similar to the original on the third floor where we are located."