Prisoners contributed their pennies for G.S. Goldsborough's memorial marker

Goldsborough Griffith established the Prisoners Aid Society in Baltimore. Grateful prisoners raised money for his headstone in Green Mount Cemetery.

Goldsborough Griffith established the Prisoners Aid Society in Baltimore. Grateful prisoners raised money for his headstone in Green Mount Cemetery.

Goldsborough S. Griffith
1814 – 1904

Goldsborough Griffith was described as one of "nature’s noblemen" by John Weyler, a Maryland Penitentiary warden in the late 19th and early 20thcentury. 

Mr. Griffith owned G.S. Griffith & Co., a wholesale and retail company that dealt in oilcloth, mattings, linens and upholstery goods. The company was located at 403 and 405 E. Baltimore Street, where the present-day Gayety Theater is located.

His prosperity allowed him the time and resources to spend much of his life in improving the lives of people often left behind in society including prisoners, the poor, orphaned children and people of color. He was a religious man and life-long teetotaler. 

He founded the Children's Aid Society, Union Soldiers Orphan Asylum, the Asylum and Training School for the Feeble Minded, the House of Reformation and Instruction for Colored Boys, the Industrial Home for Colored Girls, and the Society for the Protection of Children from Cruelty and Immorality.

He also established the Prisoners Aid Society in 1869 and was its president for years. As president, Griffith traveled throughout the state each year, inspecting conditions. Over the years, he advocated for laws that prevented prisoner abuse and bettered their living conditions. A religious man, he also sought to bring Sunday School and worship into prisons. 

Upon his death Goldsborough Griffith bequeathed his estate to charitable purposes. There was nothing left to place a monument on his grave at Green Mount Cemetery.

John Weyler, the penitentiary warden, felt that Goldsborough Griffith’s works should be recognized. He appealed to the inmates at the penitentiary to make small contributions to erect a memorial stone for this great man.  Some of the prisoners gave their last cent to help pay for the memorial in Griffith’s honor.

The stone on Goldsborough Griffith’s grave reads:

GOLDSBOROUGH S. GRIFFITH
1814 – 1904
MEMORIAL

ERECTED BY THE PRISONERS IN THE
MARYLAND PENITENTIARY FEBRUARY 24, 
1909, AS AN AFFECTIONATE TRIBUTE TO
HIS MORE THAN 35 YEARS OF
FAITHFUL SERVICE AND ZEALOUS INTEREST
IN THE MORAL AND SPIRITUAL UPLIFT OF THE
CONVICTS CONFINED IN THAT INSTITUTION.

“I WAS IN PRISON AND YE CAME UNTO ME!” -MATTHEW, XXV, 36.

Read more: 

He is 87 years old today: Mr. Goldsborough The Sun (1837-1992); Nov 4, 1901; The Baltimore Sun

Convicts honor him: The Sun (1837-1992); Feb 05, 1909; The Baltimore Sun

History of Baltimore, Maryland, from Its Founding as a Town to the Current, page 929edited by Henry Elliot Shepherd, accessed from Google Books, May 5, 2018