In 1867 the "Griffin Undertakers" was founded by Elizabeth and Edward Griffin on Broadway in Greenbush which would later be Rensseaer. A painting of the original building hangs in the lobby of the current funeral home. At that time Resselaer consisted of three sections: Greenbush, East Albany, and Beverwyck. To give a historical reference in time: Abraham Lincoln had just been assassinated, the Civil War has just ended and Alaska (Seward's Folly) had just been purchased from Russia. The funeral home has conducted funerals for the heros of every war that the United States fought, including the war dead of the Civil War. One such Hero was a Congressional Medal of Honor winner. He is interred in the Beverwyck Cemetery on Washington Ave. in Rensselaer.
At the death of Elizabeth and Edward Griffin in 1899, Wm. J. Rockefeller inherited the funeral home and moved it to a new building at the corner of Second Ave. and Academy St. The cost of the building was $5,800 - can you imagine? The former building was willed to the Methodist Deaconess Home. William Rockefeller and John D. Rockefeller were both 11th generation Rockefellers and are listed in the family genealogy book. Josephine and William Rockefeller had two children. Edward Rockefeller (who was totally deaf) helped his father in the operation of the funeral home as did a Daughter Elizabeth W. Rockefeller. Edward married Ruth Bylin and both died at a relatively young age. Elizabeth married Jacob G. Teller and they too operated the funeral home upon the death of her father in 1948 until her death in 1980.
Inherited by George W. Wagner, a long time employee, the funeral home had to relocate to 165 Columbia Tpk in Clinton Heights to allow for growth as well as parking. Mr. Wagner's two sons completed high school and college and have helped their Dad ever since.