Biographical Sketch of Anna H. Griffin

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Anna H. Griffin, 1859-1926

By: Michelle Schabowski, Archivist, Physician Assistants Historical Society

Anna H. Griffin was born around 1859 to Mary Elizabeth Powers and Daniel Griffin. She lived the happy life of a spinster with her sister, (Mary) Theresa Griffin, in Columbus, Georgia. Her father was a distinguished engineer, who immigrated from Ireland to help in the construction of a bridge. He took another job after its completion and moved to Columbus. Mary E. Powers was his second wife.

Anna Griffin worked as a stenographer for the city of Columbus and for various construction companies around town. She and her sister took the responsibility of raising two small cousins that had been orphaned. Parental responsibilities did not stop them from joining the local Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and, for Anna Griffin, taking an active role in the Atlanta chapter of the suffrage movement, the Equal Suffrage Party of Georgia. In 1914, Griffin was elected to be a member of the executive committee of the Equal Suffrage Party of Georgia. She took on the role of press representative for the state party.

Being well known for her work as a member of the temperance and suffrage movements, she was voted the first woman commissioner for the town of Columbus in 1921. She shared the post with four men, and the group effectively ran the city for two years until Griffin hurt her chances for re-election when she sided with local constable Mitch Huling. Huling shot a man, who he claimed was a bootlegger. Huling, well known for his intolerance for bootleggers, was made the darling of the local temperance society, whose leader was Griffin's sister, Theresa. Claims that Anna Griffin was biased during the murder trial lead to her defeat during the following election. After failing to be reelected, she stayed busy with her memberships in her church and local clubs.

Anna H. Griffin died on August 25, 1926, due to complications of an appendectomy in St. Augustine, Florida, while visiting a cousin. She was 66 years old. She is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Georgia, with other members of her family.

SOURCES:

Find a Grave. Anna H. Griffin. Accessed June 21, 2018. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/150335765/anna-h.-griffin.

Harper, Ida Husted, ed. “Georgia.” Chapter X in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920, 121-143. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922. [LINK]

“Miss Anna Griffin, Columbus Woman, Is Near Death.” Atlanta Constitution. August 25, 1926, p. 2. Newspapers.com.

Obituary, Anna H. Griffin, Enquirer-Sun (Columbus, GA), August 26, 1926, pp.1 & 3.

Telfair, N. (1929); A History of Columbus, Georgia: 1828-1928. Higginson Book Company: Salem, MA.

United States Census 1860-1920, s.v. “Anna H. Griffin; Columbus, Georgia.” HeritageQuest.

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