Biography of Griffin, Cyrus - Archontology
Griffin, Cyrus

Cyrus Griffin

b. 16/27 Jul 1748, Farnham, Richmond County, Virginia [1]
d. 14 Dec 1810, Yorktown, Virginia

Title: President of Congress
Term: 22 Jan 1788 - 2 Nov 1788
Chronology: 22 Jan 1788, elected to the office of the President of Congress, session of Congress, City Hall, New York City [2]
2 Nov 1788, term of delegate (and subsequently as the President of Congress) is deemed to have expired upon convening of a new Congress [3]
Educated in England; studied law at the University of Edinburgh and the Middle Temple; had a law practice in Lancaster, Virginia; entered politics as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses (1777-1778); elected delegate from Virginia to the Continental Congress (1778-1780); appointed a justice in the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture (1780-1787); elected again to the Virginia House of Burgesses and returned to his native state; sat in the state legislature in 1786-1787; delegate from Virginia to the Continental Congress (1787-1788); upon achieving quorum, he was elected the President of Congress; served during the period when American politics were dominated by the struggle over the new Constitution between Federalists and Anti-Federalists; presided the sessions until 1 Nov 1788; was re-elected to the Continental Congress on 31 Oct 1788, but because of the organization of the new government, the Continental Congress never transacted any business in 1788-1789; chosen a member of Virginia's Council of State (27 Dec 1788); briefly served as president of the supreme court of admiralty (1789) and then received an appointment as commissioner to the Creek Nation for negotiating a peace treaty to end the war with the Creeks (1786-1790); returned to Virginia and for more than 20 years held the office of the judge of the U.S. District Court of Virginia (10 Feb 1790 - 14 Dec 1810).
Biographical sources: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (2005), p. 1157; "The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789-1800", ed. by Maeva Marcus, James R. Perry (Columbia University Press, 1985), vol. 1, p. 631.

[1] "Extracts from the Register of Farnham Parish, Richmond county, Virginia" in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, published quarterly by the Virginia Historical Society, for the year ending June 1900. Vol. VII - No. 1, July 1899, p. 55: "B. Cyrus, son LeRoy and Maryan Griffin, July 16, 1748"
[2] Journals of the Continental Congress, 34:9.
[3] Journals of the Continental Congress, 34:604.
Image: portrait by Lawrence Sully, 1799 (special thanks to Vladislav Melnikov).