Captain Alexander Griggs

Captain Alexander Griggs, the "Father of Grand Forks," is one of the most widely known and highly esteemed men who cast their lot with North Dakota. He is now a resident of the state of Washington, but until recent years was en­gaged in navigation throughout the Red river dis­trict, and was identified with the financial growth of the city of Grand Forks and vicinity.

Our subject was born at Marietta, Ohio, in Oc­tober, 1838, and was a son of William and Esther (McGibbon) Griggs. He removed with his par­ents to St. Paul, Minnesota, when a boy, and later his family removed to Grand Forks where his par­ents died. Our subject was reared and educated in St. Paul, and at an early age began running on the boats of the Mississippi river, and at the age of twenty years was given command of a boat. He continued there until 1870, and then, in company with others, went up the Red River to Fargo with a view of establishing a line of boats, and during that year the Hill, Griggs & Company Navigation Company was formed. In 1871 Mr. Griggs went to where Grand Forks is now located, and he en­tered a claim to the land on which the old town is located, and named the place Grand Forks on account of the junction of the two rivers. He con­tinued to operate a line of boats between Grand Forks and Winnipeg for many years and continued in command until 1890. He was always active in the up-building of the town of Grand Forks, and was one of the founders of the Second National Lank, of which institution he was president for many years. He also acted in the capacity of president of the First National Bank of East Grand Forks for some years, and established the gas works in company with William Budge, and was also a large owner in the Grand Forks Roller Mill. He served as railroad commissioner for some years, and was the third postmaster of Grand Forks and was mayor of the city. He assisted in building the two bridges across the river, and by his hearty support and in­fluence endeared himself to the people as a man of active public spirit. In December, 1892, Mr. Griggs left Grand Forks on account of failing health, and is now engaged in boating on the Upper Columbia River.

Our subject was married December 27, 1865, in Minnesota, to Miss Ettie I. Strong, a native of Brooklyn. Eight children, seven of whom are now living, have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Griggs, named as follows: Lois, now Mrs. W. H. Pringle; Ansel; Jennie; Esther; Bruce; James and Clifford. The family all reside in the state of Washington at present. Mr. Griggs is an ardent Democrat and is a man who keeps pace with the times.

Source:  Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota 1900 Page 159

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