John W. Griggs was born in Newton, New Jersey on July 10, 1849. His education was attained at the Collegiate Institute in Newton, and at Lafayette College, where he graduated in 1868. He went on to study law, and in 1871 was admitted to the bar. Griggs first entered politics as a member of the New Jersey House of Representatives, a position he held from 1876 to 1878. He also served as the city attorney of Paterson from 1879 to 1882; was a member of the New Jersey State Senate from 1882 to 1885; and served as a delegate to the 1888 Republican National Convention in Chicago. Griggs next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote on November 5, 1895. During his tenure, a commission was organized to revise state statutes; anti-gambling laws were sanctioned; and construction was approved to build a dam on the Delaware River. Griggs resigned from office on January 31, 1898, to accept an appointment to serve as the U.S. attorney general, an office he held until 1901. He also served on the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague from 1901 to 1912. Governor John W. Griggs passed away on November 28, 1927, and was buried in the Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Paterson, New Jersey.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.