A Gravesite Marker for Griffin


Published on October 16 2012 4:35 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The consensus is that Griffin Tipsword was the first permanent white settler in Effingham County.  Now, one of his descendants wants to make sure there is a marker here in his honor.

There's a sandstone rock in Tipsword Cemetery near Beecher City that is reportedly the burial place of Griffin and wife Ruth, who arrived in Effingham County in 1814, four years before Illinois became a state.  Visitors to the cemetery through the years, though, have seen the stone disappearing.  That led Charla Fischbach to begin raising funds to pay for a tombstone for Griffin and Ruth.

Fischbach and other descendants of Viola Tipsword Lilly have already raised $1,000 for three projects.  One was to re-set Viola Lilly's tombstone because the concrete foundation was crumbling, another was to clean the tombstone of Agnes Dowty Tipsword's tombstone and engrave her information on the back of her tombstone because the original engraving had eroded after 100 years in place in the cemetery, and the third was to purchase a tombstone for Anna Waller Tipsword, daughter-in-law of Griffin and Ruth whose husband Thomas, Griffin and Ruth's son, left Anna in 1851 with eight children and headed to Kansas with another woman.  Viola Lilly was Griffin and Ruth's great-granddaughter, and Agnes was Griffin and Ruth's granddaughter-in-law.

The new project, a tombstone for Griffin and Ruth, hopes to raise $1,600 to be matched with $200 already in hand to pay for the marker.  Fischbach has scheduled a Tipsword Reunion on Sunday, October 28, from 2-4pm at the Community Building in Beecher City.  They plan to serve dessert, coffee and hot cocoa.  Donations for the tombstone will be collected at the event. 

If you can't attend, you can stop by the First State Bank of Beecher City and leave a donation in the Griffin and Ruth Tipsword Tombstone Account.

Fischbach joked that if everyone related to the Tipswords would donate $20, there'd be more than enough money on hand to pay for the tombstone.  She will also have her new book on hand at the reunion that weaves the story of Griffin and his family from the 1600's forward and is titled "Beyond the Horizon--A Trove of Tipsword Family Lore."