Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GRISWOLD, John Augustus, manufacturer, born in Nassau, Rensselaer County, New York, 11 November, 1818; died in Troy, New York, 31 October, 1872. He went to Troy in 1839, and was for a time an inmate of the family of his uncle, General Wool. He became interested in the Rensselaer iron company, in which he was afterward the principal partner. He was mayor of Troy in 1850, and was an active supporter of the National government during the civil war, aiding in raising three regiments of infantry, us well as the "Black-horse cavalry," and the 21st New York, or "Griswold light cavalry." In 1861, in connection with C. S. Bushnell and John F. Winslow, he contracted to build Ericsson's "Monitor," and it was mainly due to him that the vessel was completed in the hundred days allowed by the government for her construction. The "Monitor" was built at great pecuniary risk, as her price, $275,000, was not to be paid till it had been practically shown that she could withstand the enemy's fire at the shortest ranges. Mr. Griswold was elected to congress in 1862 as a war Democrat, but subsequently joined the Republicans, and was re-elected by them, serving altogether from 1863 till 1869. He was an efficient member of the committee on naval affairs, and effectively defended the policy of the government in the construction of monitors when it was attacked in the house. He also aided in building the monitor "Dictator." In 1868 he was the Republican candidate for governor of New York, but was defeated, though his party claimed that he received a majority of the votes actually cast. Mr. Griswold did much to advance the prosperity of Troy, and contributed liberally to its charities. He was a trustee of Rensselaer polytechnic institute in 1860-'72.
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