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Oldest Londoner Ever?? Dies


March of Medicine in Western Ontario by Edwin Seaborn

On Saturday March 3rd, 1894 at 5:30 pm, Henry Griffith, London's oldest resident, died. If he had lived until June 24th, he would have celebrated his 108th birthday.  His loyal friend, Rev. William Minter Seaborn, father of Dr. Edwin Seaborn, officiated at the funeral. Henry was born in County Cavan, Ireland  in 1786 and received a university education from Trinity College in Dublin where he became good friends with Benjamin Cronyn.  The London Free Press reported that he immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts in 1830 and a year later he came to London.  He plied his trade of weaving and when his strength began to wane, he secured the position of grave digger and watchman for St. Paul's Cemetery on Dundas Street East (now the site of the Western Fairgrounds).  He was married twice and fathered 12 children of which six daughters were alive at the time of his death.  He had lived in London since coming to Canada and had used tobacco all his life.  The London Free Press stated that "the children and grandchildren of the couple are said to number 120."  Two days after the March 5th article about her father's death, one of the daughters (unnamed) wrote a letter to the editor of the London Free Press to correct a couple of errors.  She stated that her father had come to London in 1849 not in 1831.  The London Advertiser reported that her father had stayed in Boston for 22 years (implying that he had immigrated in 1820) and then came to London in 1842.  The daughter also pointed out that the number of descendants could only be 45 at the most.  The number probably was 42 - 16 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren.



March of Medicine in Western Ontario by Edwin Seaborn

March of Medicine in Western Ontario by Edwin Seaborn. 1944, p. 208. Original drawing by Stanley Dale, 1935.