by Jim Powell

Sarah Lavinia Griffee Alloway was the daughter of William Charles Griffee (July 26, 1864 – June 16, 1945) and Katherine “Kate” Miller – Griffee (November, 1866 - March 29, 1939). She was born July 5, 1904 while her parents resided at 803 Walnut Street, the home of the family lumber and charcoal business. Her father was the son of John F. Griffee (1822 - January 11,1900) and Sarah Lee Griffee (born 1830). John F. Griffee was the son of James Griffee (1792-1858) and Mary Griffee (b. 1850).

The Griffee family has a long history in Camden New Jersey arriving sometime around 1850. This large family was involved in the purchase and resale of wood and charcoal. Their business thrived late into the 19th Century and included Sarah’s father William. 

Originally laying in the town of Stockton, what is now 29th Street in the city of Camden neighborhood known now as Cramer Hill was originally named Griffee Avenue. Shortly after the 1899 union of Stockton and Camden, most of the streets in Cramer Hill were renamed and where needed, homes and other properties were assigned numbers.

In A Biographical History of the Griffee Family in New Jersey it states:

James Griffee of the firm of Cramer & Griffee, well-known real estate dealers, doing business at 3303 Federal Street, Stockton, was born October 25, 1845, in Malaga, New Jersey, son of Thomas and Rebecca (Moore) Griffee. His ancestors were pioneers in section. James Griffee, his grandfather, born near Malaga, followed the occupation of a collier throughout his life, and was over sixty years of age when he died. Thomas Griffee, one of a family of twelve children, spent his active period in the coal business, mining and selling. From 1852 to 1876 he resided in Camden, where he died at the age of fifty-four years. His wife, Rebecca, was a daughter of William Moore, a glassblower. Her sister Ann is now ninety years of age. Thomas Griffee and his wife reared twelve children, of whom four sons and two daughters survive; namely, James, William, Thomas, Hannah, Clara, and Joseph. Hannah is the wife of Charles Hope, Esq., of Stockton; and Clara is the widow of the later John Owens. The mother died in 1880, aged fifty-one years. Both parents were connected with the Broadway Methodist Church at Camden, and took a very active interest in the work of that society. 

James Griffee was seven years old when his parents moved to Camden. From that time until he was sixteen he was a pupil of the city schools. When but eighteen he entered the army, enlisting in Company C of the Twentieth Pennsylvania Cavalry, a part of the Sixth Corps. He served in the Civil War for nineteen months, during which he took part in considerable skirmishing and raiding, was with General Sheridan when he went up the Shenandoah Valley, and also served under Generals Sigel and Hunter.

After receiving his honorable discharge at the close of the war, he returned to Camden, and was engaged in the wholesale charcoal business up to 1892. He then sold out, and has since confined his attention to his real estate business, which he entered in 1890. He came to Stockton in 1888 and built a home, but soon after sold it. In 1889 he erected the house in which he has since resided. He formed a partnership with James Cramer in 1892. With some exception they do the largest real estate business in this place. Nearly all the lots in this section have been sold by them. Where there was a farm seven years ago now stands the thriving village of Rosedale with its neat residences and stores, three churches and school house, and its sever hundred inhabitants. Messrs. Cramer and Griffee have built and sold about forty houses, besides many hundred building lots. Electric cars run from here to Camden every five minutes, and the place has steam-car accommodations to all parts of the State and New York and Philadelphia.

In 1864 Mr. Griffee married Anna E. Ogborn, daughter of William Ogborn, who is a tailor and clothier of Highstown, New Jersey, where she was born. Her union with Mr. Griffee has been blessed by the birth of one child, Joanna. Joann married William Grumley, a delivery clerk for a grocery house in Philadelphia, and now has five children, respectively named: Anna, Ethel, Ida, Mary, and Chauncey Brainard. In politics Mr. Griffee is a Prohibitionist, in religion a Baptist, contributing liberally when the Rosedale Baptist Church was erected.

Many members of the Griffee and Alloway family are interned at the New Camden, Evergreen and Harleigh Cemeteries in Camden..


James Griffee married Anna Eliza Ogborn January 21, 1864 at the Third Street Methodist Church in Camden, New Jersey. Anna was also known as Annie or sometimes Leiza.  James and Anna's first child was born sometime in September 1866. This was to be the only child born to James and Anna.

By 1896 James Griffee had built a stately home at 3303 Federal Street in what was then the town of Stockton. In those times Camden's city limits ended at the Cooper River, and what today is known as East Camden and Cramer Hill lay within the town of Stockton. Stockton was annexed by Camden in the spring of 1899.

James Griffee and his neighbor Joseph Cramer, who resided at next door at 3311 Federal Street entered into a partnership and went into the real estate business. Joseph Cramer's older brother Alfred Cramer had previously gone into this line and had been quite successful, so succesful, in fact, that by 1897 he had sold over 5000 building lots in East Camden and Cramer Hill, the actual hill having its peak at North 24th and Saunders Streets. James Griffee and Joseph Cramer also purchased land and sold lots, in what was then called North Cramer Hill, land lying above what is now North 27th Street, and in the South Rosedale neighborhood, in the vicinity of where they had built their homes. Merriell Avenue, which is a short walk from the site of the former Griffee and Cramer homes, was named after Joseph Cramer's in-laws.

The partners, as Alfred Cramer had done, purchased the land, laid out building lots for homes, churches, and business, got the necessary approvals, and set off to sell all the plots planned. In the original plans all the streets were named and addresses given. Many of the streets were given names of past presidents. In the spring of 1899 the town of Stockton was annexed by the city of Camden, and not long after that event the city renamed all but seven of the east-west streets numerically. What was originally Griffee Avenue became 29th Street. By 1910 this area had already become known as North Cramer Hill. While there was a street named Cramer Street, the name Griffee disappeared from the street signs to become 29th Street.

James Griffee passed away in 1917, and his wife Anna in 1916. They are both interned in Camden cemeteries. 

James and Anna's daughter Joanna married the son of a sea captain. The son's name was William S. Grumley. Joanna and her husband lived on and off for many years at the home of their parents. When Joanna's father and mother passed away the house was left to Joanna and her husband and they resided in the house at 3303 Federal Street until 1930 when they sold it, and the new owners broke it up into several apartments which they rented out. 

Joanna and her husband had eight children, five girls and three boys. All three boys were struck down during the influenza epidemic brought on after World War I. The Grumleys remained on in the house on Federal Street into the 1930s. By the time the Census was taken in 1940, they had moved to 6029 Wodruff Avenue in Pennsauken, New Jersey. 

James Powell's grandmother, Sarah Lavinia Griffee Alloway (whose father was William C. Griffee - brother of James Griffee) remembers going to visit them as a little girl, and would tell many stories of riding out to the country to visit her uncle and aunt at the "grand house" which was threee short blocks away from the park at Dudley Grange. 

William S. Grumely & Joanna Griffee Grumley

Map from early 1900s
Showing North 29th Street & Griffee Avenue street names
Click on Image to Enlarge

Map from early 1900s
Showing North 29th Street and Griffee Avenue street names

Map is of
North 29th Street from Sherman Avenue to across Concord Avenue
The mostly undeveloped land between
North 29th Street and Reeves Avenue became Von Nieda Park.
Click on Image to Enlarge

Deed from 1894
showing partnership consisting of James Griffee and Joseph Cramer

The lots referred to in this deed are what, after the annexation of Stockton by Camden and the subsequent renaming of streets, would be known as 3400 and 3402 Rosedale Avenue. No homes were ever built on these lots.

Click on Images to Enlarge

422 Main Street

Franklin Pierce Alloway & Family
Franklin P. & Sarah L. Alloway
Sarah L. Alloway - Eleanor J. Alloway
Florence M. Alloway - Franklin C. Alloway
William R. Alloway - Anna L. Alloway
Mary E. Alloway

Franklin Pierce Alloway and his wife, the former Sarah Lavinia Griffee resided at 645 Willard Street when their first child, my mother, was born on November 24, 1919. Her name was Sarah Lavinia Alloway. They resided at 815 Market Street when their second child, Eleanor Jennie Alloway, was born on December 10, 1921. They  lived at 718 Federal Streett when their third child, Florence Mae was born on February 23, 1923. They next resided at 513 South 6th Street when their fourth child, Franklin Charles "Bud" Alloway was born on November 7, 1924. They lived at 608 Carmen Street when their fifth child, William Robert Alloway was born, December 31, 1926. The family had moved to 436 Benson Street, when their sixth child, Anna Louse Alloway came on August 5, 1928. When the seventh and last child, Mary Elizabeth was born on August 30, 1930, the family was living at 422 Main Street. The reason given for the continual moving was because of the increase in the family size requiring larger accommodations. 

Jim Powell, February 2013

The bottom photo was taken in the 1930s by oldest daughter Sarah L. Alloway. Her siblings Florence, Eleanor, Franklin, William, Anna and Mary Alloway and their uncle, Milton Alloway are pictured.