Moss Griffith



Corporal Samuel Arthur "Moss" Griffith

Corporal Samuel Arthur "Moss" Griffith (b. 1837 in South Carolina) was the second oldest of four brothers to serve in the C.S.A. (see biographies of Colonel John Griffith, Private Benjamin H. Griffith, and Private Major Ellis R. Griffith). In 1860, he owned a plantation with slaves near present-day Excelsior, in Sebastian County, Arkansas. Earlier, he had married Miss Sophia Tucker near Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi in the mid-1850s. They had two children, Samuel Arthur "Bud" (b. October 10, 1856 in Mississippi) and ,Barbara Ella (b. 1858?). Sophia died probably in Sebastian County, Arkansas on May 11, 1860.

According to information provided by Arkansas CSA expert Bryan R. Howerton, Samuel Arthur "Moss" Griffith initially enlisted as a Private in River’s Battery, 1st Arkansas Light Artillery at Fort Smith, Arkansas on October 5, 1861 (see URL at http://www.couchgenweb.com/civilwar/1starty.html). Probably because of his desire to serve together with his three brothers, he then enlisted as a Private in Company B (Adam's), 17th Arkansas (Rector's) Infantry, C.S.A. by Captain Adams at Bentonville, Arkansas on February 14, 1862. His service records indicate that he was appointed Corporal on that same date. His older brother, Lieutenant-Colonel John Griffith, along with his younger brothers Benjamin H. Griffith, and Major Ellis R. Griffith all served together in the 17th Arkansas (Rector's) Infantry at the same time. Corporal Samuel Griffith was badly wounded by a Federal artillery shell fragment at the battle of Elkhorn Tavern, Arkansas on March 8, 1862. Although not known for sure, it is assumed that he was likely wounded during the furious Federal cannonade that was directed against the Confederate positions around Elkhorn Tavern that day. According to information provided in the book Pea Ridge, Civil War Campaign in the West by William L. Shea and Earl J. Hess, the 17th Arkansas Infantry was in support of Clark’s Missouri Battery at that time, located just South of Elkhorn Tavern and East of the junction of the Ford Road and Telegraph (Wire) Road. It is also possible that Corporal Griffith was wounded by Federal artillery during the retreat of the 17th Arkansas Infantry down Cross Timber Hollow as documented by authors Shea and Hess.

Family history states that Moss Griffith’s badly infected shoulder was treated by his sister Mary Harlow Griffith back at the family plantation near the present-day town of Excelsior in Sebastian County, Arkansas. Both written and oral accounts describe how Mary Harlow Griffith pulled silken handkerchiefs through her brother’s badly infected shoulder wound in order to draw puss out; this inadequate treatment along with applications of poultices, was the best available in those days before antibiotics. Corporal Samuel Arthur “Moss” Griffith then made the fateful decision to return to the 17th Arkansas Infantry before he was fully recovered from his infected wound. Accompanied only by a family slave (name currently unknown), Moss Griffith’s condition worsened during the journey and he died somewhere in transit to his brothers and comrades in the 17th Arkansas Infantry. The family slave then buried him somewhere along the road before returning to the family plantation near Excelsior with the bad news.

Corporal Griffith's two children then lived with their grandfather, Samuel Acass "Cass" and aunt Mary Harlow Griffith Bishop until they moved to Comanche County, Texas from Little River County, Arkansas after the war. They were there reunited with their uncles Colonel John Griffith and M.E.R. Griffith. Corporal Samuel Griffith's son, Samuel Arthur "Bud" Griffith, moved to Taylor County, Texas with his three uncles in 1877, while his daughter, Barbara Ella Griffith, married a Confederate comrade of her uncles, Matthew McCrary, and stayed in Comanche County, Texas.

The exact time of his death and burial place of Corporal Samuel Arthur "Moss" Griffith, Company B, 17th Arkansas (Rector's) Infantry are not known to any of his descendents who helped write this biography. The charcoal-portrait image of Corporal Griffith shown here was recently found in an old trunk by his great-granddaughter, Ella Sue Guthrie Findley; both she and her sister Rolene Guthrie Stewart remember seeing it hanging on the wall of their grandpa Samuel Arthur "Bud" Griffith’s house when they were children.

by Mag Fleming Spaeth1 - Mason, Texas
Jessie Jo Caveness 1 - Junction, Texas
Kenneth Elburn Byrd 2 - Indianapolis, Indiana
Ella Sue Guthrie Findley 3 – Junction, Texas
Rolene Guthrie Stewart 3 - Junction, Texas

(1 great-great-niece of Corp. Samuel A. "Moss" Griffith)
(2 great-great-nephew of Corp. Samuel A. "Moss" Griffith)

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Last Revised 06/07/97


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