David Golden Griffith was born October 17, 1845, at Mohawk, Herkimer County, N.Y. His father, Ira Griffith, and mother, Nancy A. Griffith, nee Golden, were natives of that state. His great-grandfather, James Eaton, and family, were among the only survivors of the great Indian massacre of Wyoming, Pa. By the death of his mother in 1853 and father in 1859, David G. was left dependent upon his relatives, but continued in school until 1861 when on October 25, at the age of sixteen, he enlisted in Company M, Second New York Artillery. He enlisted for "three years or during the war," and in November, 1863, re-enlisted as a veteran and served continuously until October 15, 1865. His regiment saw severe service in the Army of the Potomac, being attached to the First Brigade of the First Division, Second Corps (Hancock's), the famous Irish Brigade forming a portion of this. General Miles commanded the division.
The regiment ranks eighth as to the number of its losses in the war. Of the original Company M who went out with the regiment, only five returned at the close of the war, Mr. Griffith being one of the five. Entering the service as a private he returned with a commission as Second Lieutenant. Being taken prisoner near Manassas Junction at the time of its capture by Gen. Stonewall Jackson's corps, he with other enlisted men was paroled on the second Bull Run battlefield, and after three months at the parole camp at Annapolis, Md., was exchanged and returned to his regiment. He served in the battles from Spottsylvania to Petersburg, where on the night of June 16, 1864, he was wounded and was sent north for care and treatment. In November of that year he again returned to his company and served through the last campaigns against General Lee's army. At Burksville Junction, after Lee's surrender, he commanded the guard having in charge the artillery surrendered by General Lee.
On being mustered out October 15, 1865, Lieutenant Griffith lacked two days of being twenty years old. He soon after entered the office of the Utica Morning Herald to complete his trade as a printer, and after working on the Herald and Observer, in April, 1870, came to Iowa, remaining for a time at what was then called Buffalo Grove, near Aurora, Buchanan County. Here he was united in marriage December 14, 1870, with Mary A. Carpenter, a native of Trenton Falls, N.Y., and a sister of a former comrade and tent mate in the army who had laid down his life for his country.
After working at his trade at Dubuque and Chicago Mr. Griffith in 1872 returned to Dubuque and accepted a position on the Daily Herald, remaining there until August 1, 1880, when, having purchased an interest in the Register at Elkader, he moved to that place and in company with G.A. Fairfield assumed the control of that newspaper. Under their management the Register has been made one of the leading Democratic weekly newspapers of the state, having a circulation above the average and occupying a building erected especially for its use. January 1, 1893, Mr. Fairfield retired from the partnership in the Register office and was succeeded by Harry L. Griffith, the only child of Mr. and Mrs. D.G. Griffith, who was born at Buffalo Grove, Iowa, October 22, 1872. The junior member of the firm has received a liberal education in the schools of Elkader, the University of Wisconsin and Drexel Institute of Philadelphia, and although nominally a partner in the Register, is actually following his profession as an electrical engineer. David G. Griffith was Postmaster at Elkader under President Cleveland's first administration, making a popular and obliging official.