Permelia Griffin (née Gillett) was born in 1795. She was married to Apollos Griffin and had several children, including three sons (Charles, Joab, and William), before moving to Manatee. Here, she lived with her son Joab in his house near the Manatee River. She died in 1857 at the age of 62.
Joab was a prosperous member of Manatee society becoming a Road Commissioner and partnered with Josiah Gates to give land for Manatee County’s first Courthouse (the 1860 Courthouse currently at Manatee Village Historical Park). Despite his efforts he was subject to romantic heartbreak. One notable prospective wife, Lavonia Branch, showed promise for a time. They went buggy riding together and things appeared to be moving in the right direction. Joab even began to build a house he hoped to share with her. Then a dashing but impoverished Methodist circuit preacher named Jasper Glover came into town. It is said that Lavonia and Jasper fell in love at first sight. He swept her off her feet and they were married shortly thereafter. Joab never married.
A couple years after Permelia’s passing, her sons would exemplify why the American Civil War has been called the “Brother’s War.” One son, Charles, held the rank of major general and commanded the Union Army’s V Corps in Virginia. Joab was made an agent to distribute aid to Confederate families in Manatee, which became a necessity after Tampa fell to the Union Navy in 1864 and supplies dwindled.
Her last son, William, married Mary “Janey” Gates, daughter of Manatee’s first permanent white settlers, Josiah and Mary Gates. Janey was also the first settler’s child to be born in Manatee. Both William and Charles Griffin died of Yellow Fever in separate incidents unrelated to the Manatee outbreaks in the late 1880s. Joab died in 1887. His burial location is unknown.
Permelia Griffin - Grave #26 (2020)
All images taken by MVHP staff in 2022 unless otherwise noted.