Griswold, William

William Griswold
abt. 1839-Died March 14, 1911

Niles Daily Sun, Wednesday, March 15, 1911, page 1, col. 8, microfilm Niles District Library

Eccentric Wanderer Met His Death at Mishawaka
To Avoid one Train he Stepped in Front of Another


William Griswold, aged about 72 and well-known in Niles, was struck by a Grand Trunk passenger train and instantly killed at Mishawaka Tuesday.  His death is the second of the kind in Mishawaka within less than 20 hours, the other victim being Joshua Smalley of Chicago, who met death Monday night on the Lake Shore.

As far as can be learned Griswold left Mishawaka about 1 o'clock and started east on the Grand Trunk.  When about two miles east of the city he noticed the approach of a freight train on the track in which he was walking and he at once stepped to the other track to await the passing of the freight. The noise of the freight prevented the man from hearing the whistle of a west bound passenger train and before it could be stopped the engine had struck him with such force as to cause instant death.

The engineer stopped the train and the dead man was placed on board and taken to Mishawaka.

Griswold was an eccentric character and was known in practically every town in northern Indiana and southern Michigan.

He usually walked about from place to place and depended mainly upon charity for his living. He arriived in Mishawaka early Tuesday morning and was seen in a number of places about town during the forenoon. When he left he declared his intention of going to Sturgis, Mich. He had about $24 on his person at the time of the accident and also a number of old neckties for which he had a peculiar weakness.  The police were at first not sure as to the identity of the man but several persons who have known him for years declared beyond doubt it was William Griswold.

Griswold was well known among the newspaper fraternity in nearly every town in northern Indiana and southern Michigan.

One of his favorite methods of getting money was to organize what he termed a "Warm Member " club of which he was president, treasurer, and secretary and board of directors. Anyone was eligible to membership who was kind hearted enough to pay the dues whenever "Billy" called. In this way he accumulated enough to get along comfortably. His traveling expenses were light as he always walked and his lodging and meals were given him by acquaintances.



Griswold, Harrison W.

Harrison W. Griswold
Died July 7, 1878

Niles Mirror, Wednesday, July 12, 1876, page 4, col. 5, microfilm Niles District Library

Harrison W. Griswold, formerly of this city, died at Dubuque on Monday morning last, of bronical affection of the throat and lungs, and kidney complaint.  Harrison was one of a family of seven that came to this place from Lockport, N.Y., in 1830. He left here about 1855. He was once elected to the legislature from this county and was universally respected. One of his daughters, Mrs. Saunders, resides here. The remains will arrive here today.



Griswold, Mary (Griffin)

Mary Griswold
Abt. 1818-April 12, 1881

Niles Democrat, Saturday, April 23, 1881, page 3, col. 3, microfilm Niles District Library

Mrs. Mary Griswold, for many years a resident of this city, died at the residence of her son-in-law, F.P. Udall, of Dubuque, Iowa, on Tuesday evening of last week, of apoplexy, in the 63rd year of her age.  Mrs. Griswold was the widow of Harrison W. Griswold, who died in this city some years ago, and the mother of Charles Griswold of Chicago and W.L. Saunders of South Bend. Her remains were brought to this city for interment. Thus another old and esteemed citizen has passed from time to her everlasting rest, and we trust to a world fairer and brighter than this.


Griswold, Fannie Rounds

Fannie Rounds Griswold
1878-Oct. 18, 1880

Niles Mirror, Wednesday, October 27, 1880, page 5, col. 3, microfilm Niles District Library


Of diptheria, in Chicago, on Monday night, at 12 o'clock on the 18th last, Fanny Rounds, daughter of Charles B. and Clara A. Griswold, aged 2 years and 2 months.

The bereaved parents brought the remains to the old family burying  ground in Silver Brook Cemetery, on Wednesday evening last, and they were interred on Thursday at 10 o'clock.  Little Fanny was the joy and life of the household, a bright little star that attracted the admiration of all and the whole neighborhood testified their love by numerous presents and boquets[sic] to ornament her little casket.


Niles Democrat, Saturday, October 30, 1880, page 3, col. 2, microfilm Niles District Library

Fannie Rounds, daughter of Charles B. and Clara E. Griswold, of Chicago, died on Monday night, Oct. 18, of diphtheria, in the 3rd year of her age.



Finch, William

William Finch
Feb. 22, 1859-July 11, 1913

Niles Daily Sun, Tuesday, July 15, 1913, Page 1, col. 1-2, microfilm Niles District Library

Was last seen on Friday. Police suspect it was case of suicide.
Deceased had worked for Michigan Central for 27 years

The body found floating in the St.Joseph river late yesterday afternoon by Lawrence Schrumpf and Edward Miller, and which was recovered a little later near Brown's Eddy, has been positively identified as that of William Finch, a Michigan Central railroad employe, who worked under Walter Garrett, in the bridge and water department.

The first clue to identification was obtained from a torn and water soaked envelope addressed to "Wm. Finch, Niles, Mich., care Wm. Rogge."

The letter was in a feminine hand and was dated at Chadron, Nebraska, the post mark bearing date July 8, 1913.

Other letters were written on stationery of J.W. Irwin, a building contractor of Chadron, Neb., and one that was especially legible and written in a bold and clear hand was addressed to "Dear Uncle."

It told of family affairs and how one was going to a Normal School, and other matters of interest such as a younger relative might write to an uncle with whom there was a bond of affection.

After the finding of these letters Lloyd Finch, an employe at the Kawneer was notified and he positively identified the letters and other personal effects as belonging to his father.

Lloyd was taking with his father as recently as last Thursday evening, July 10.

The condition of the body which was terribly bloated and distorted byond recognition, decomposition having set in, led Coroner Skalla and others who viewed it, to believe that it had been in the water from ten days to two weeks.

The extreme heat recently and the belief that the body may have lain in shallow water where the solar rays reached it, thus hastening decomposition, accounts for its condition and the fact that it rose to the surface so soon after drowning.

Whether he accidently fell into the river or committed suicide, is of course a mere matter of conjecture, and can probably never be determined.

The body was in such a terrible condition that it was decided to bury it at once, which was done last evening at Silver Brook Cemetery.

The flesh on the ends of the fingers cleaved from the bones and had the appearance of having been eaten by turtles.

The face was also lacerated, and this led to a report that the man might have been murdered and his body thrown into the river.

Aside from the letters nothing of value was found in the pockets.

There was no money. A few stamps were found in the empty bill book, an empty match safe and a bunch of rusted keys.

The body was so swollen the clothing was filled almost to the bursting point.

Mr. Finch is survived by a wife and five children, three sons and two daughters.

Mrs. Finch and three children are at Chadron, Neb., where they went last September for the benefit of her health. Her son, Earl, has a position there under his uncle, J.W. Irwin, who has a railroad position as foreman.

Mr. Finch has been employed by the Michigan Central for over 27 years having entered their service in 1886. He preferred to remain with the company with Niles as his headquarters rather than go west, and he provided regularly for his family in Chadron.

Since September he has boarded with Mrs. William Rogge. He worked everyday and most of the time his work took him away from Niles for several days at a time.  On July 3 he laid off for the Fourth and had not worked since.

On Thursday night he talked with his son and the latter said he would see him the next night. Mrs. Rogge says Mr. Finch left the house at noon on Friday and she never saw him again.

His son called on Friday evening and his father's absence made him think he was out of [illegible].

Mr. Finch as one brother James, of Niles.  Two nephews, Louis Finch and William Bradford reside in South Bend.

Mrs. Finch is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Webster, prominent farmers residing near South Bend.

The pay check for the dead man for last month's work is at the M.C. office.

The deceased was a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and was in good standing.  He carried $2,000 insurance in this order.

A jury was impanelled comprising the following  who after viewing the body adjourned to meet this eveing in the council room, August Ausmus, Thos. Roach, Henry Bowerman, Jack Lambert, John Kline and Ernest Reagle.


Niles Daily Sun, Wednesday, July 16, 1913, Page 1, col. 1, microfilm Niles District Library


The coroner's jury in the case of William Finch, whose body was found in the river Monday afternoon by Lawrence Schrumpf and Edward Miller, met at the city hall last eveing and returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased was found dead as stated, but how he came to his death was unkown to the jury.  The two boys who made the grewsome[sic[ discovery were the main witnesses.

No new facts have been discovered and whether it is a case of accidental drowning or suicide is left an unsolved mystery.

The formal verdict was as follows:

The said William Finch was found in the river, the cause of death being unknown.