ELMER A. GRIFFITH, now one of the board of commissioners of Pawnee County, had demonstrated his ability as a business man and as a farmer and stock raiser long before this office was urged upon him by his fellow citizens. His interests as a farmer and stockman are chiefly identified with Browns Grove Township.
Mr. Griffith barely missed being a native of Pawnee County. His birth occurred in Lee County, Iowa, November 27, 1876, and he was brought to Pawnee County at the age of two years in a covered wagon, went through the preliminaries of home making on a frontier homestead, and as years and strength came to him he did his share in the development of that home. Mr. Griffith is a son of one of the pioneers of Ash Valley, William P. Griffith, whose trials and experiences as a Western Kansas farmer and whose varied and interesting life has been detailed at some length on other pages of this publication.
Mr. Griffith laid the foundation of his education in country schools. He lived at home and worked for his father until the age of twenty-five, and then came to Browns Grove Township, where he bought a tract of raw land. He was single and for several months he boarded with a neighbor before building his first shelter, a small two-room house of frame. From the old homestead he had brought the nucleus of a herd of stock, and stockraising has always been one of his chief interests. At the same time he sowed extensively of the staple grain crops, and through his efforts as a grain grower and stock man he now enjoys the possession of 800 acres. His home farm is 300 acres in sections 4 and 5, township 20, range 20, while in Ness County, Kansas, he has a ranch property of 1,000 acres near Beeler. This ranch is stocked with graded Shorthorns. His main farm is one of thoroughly substantial improvements, including residence, barn 60 by 84 feet, and a standard silo of 150 tons capacity. The silo Mr. Griffith has found one of the most profitable investments he has ever made as a stock farmer. He is also a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator Company at Burdett.
In 1915 Mr. Griffith took up his home at Burdett and has erected there a bungalow home probably the equal in convenience and appointment of any residence in the county. It contains nine rooms and is of most modern construction and furnishing throughout. At Burdett Mr. Griffith is also interested as a partner in an implement house.
While in the country he served as a director of the schools. In 1912 he was elected a county commissioner from the second district and was re-elected in 1916. On the county board Mr. Griffith has been associated with Messrs. Brinkman, Zook, Shady and Posey. The chief matter which has come before the board has been the movement for the construction of a new court house for Pawnee County. Recently the contract for that building has been let. The board has planned to pay for this building by direct taxation in a period of five years. The first levy for that purpose was made in August, 1917. During the time Mr. Griffith has been on the Board Pawnee County has done a great deal of development of roads and bridges, and the county now is one of the leaders in improved highways. The few remaining debts of the county have also been paid by the board, and Pawnee County is one of the Kansas counties that has no bonded debt.
Mr. Griffith was twenty-four years of age before he was privileged to cast his first presidential vote. It was given to Mr. McKinley in 1900. Political aspirations have not been in his line, and he was practically commanded to come out and stand for the office he now holds. He is of progressive principles but has always supported the republican candidate for president.
In Pawnee County January 25, 1905, Mr. Griffith married Miss Nellie Shafer, daughter of Matis and Lizzie (Williams) Shafer. Her father was born in Indiana of German parentage. Mrs. Griffith was one of fourteen children. Four children share the comforts and pleasures of the beautiful Griffith home at Burdett. Their names are Bernice, Beatrice, Blanche and Cecil.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
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