Thomas Cott Griggs


Thomas Cott (T.C.) Griggs (1845-1903)

T.C. Griggs was a polygamist with two wives, Jeanette Scott Ure and Mary Ann Ferguson Price. He fathered 20 children between the two wives.

The story goes that T.C. Griggs was setting up Sunday schools in Wyoming and he might have been up there when he died.

He and his mother (Charlotte Willis Foreman) emigrated to America, arriving in Boston in 1861 and arrived in Salt Lake City on 13 Sep 1861.

T.C. Griggs was involved in the "Mormon Tabernacle Choir" during part of his life.  He wrote music, the first song that is sung on Sunday mornings, when the Tabernacle Choir is broadcast on the radio is "Gently Raise the Sacred Strain", he wrote the music to it and he wrote a lot of hymns that are in the music books of the LDS church.

There is a book out called "The Mormon Tabernacle Choir", written by Charles J. Calman that mentions T.C. Griggs in it.

--Charles Ure Griggs (son) died on a bar stool. He used to take his nephew (Lynn Griggs Varley) to the movies when he was a kid. His marriage didn't last long.

--James Foreman Griggs (son) was a musician, owned a music store in Sugar House. His nephew, Lynn Griggs Varley, used to take music lessons from him. He was very religious.

--Albert W. Griggs (son), his wife died in Santa Monica also. He worked for J.C. Penny's, was head comptroller, worked in New York City. He was very wealthy. There is a story about him and his brother-in-law, Thomas Varley. Albert W. Griggs had a daughter who was sick and lived in Denver and Albert W. Griggs couldn't get to her so Thomas Varley said he would go from Salt Lake City to Denver and be with her. He stayed with her for quite some time and when she got well, he came back to Salt Lake. Albert W. Griggs sent Varley a check with the money part left blank and Thomas Varley tore up the check.

--Robert Elmer Griggs (son) kept a ranch in Driggs, Idaho. He used to own all the land west of the Tetons in Idaho.

--Ivy Lorraine Griggs (daughter) and her husband were both deaf and mute and worked at a deaf & dumb school in Montana.

--Lester Ure Griggs (son) died in Hayward, CA and worked for J.C. Penny's. He had lots of money.

The music for “Gently Raise the Sacred Strain” was written by Thomas Cott Griggs and is performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir before each service.