The Big Swamp

The yarn that you are about to read, written by my father Lewis Richmond Griffin, spans a period of approximately two hundred years, beginning with the arrival from Vermont of John Griffin who settled in the area.
In his quest for peace, what he discovered was a river flowing into the St. Lawrence, leading him to what would later be named Gananoque Lake. The Griffins’ hardships as pioneers are very clear. Yet the area known as The Big Swamp sustained both their survival and economic needs for many years, in fact, for nearly the next two centuries.
The characters, who dwell around the lake, add colour and texture to this patchwork quilt. Yet, in spite their many and colourful antics, they remain very loyal to one another. This attribute is also sustained throughout the personal narrative until the story concludes in 1999.
In Lew’s homespun dialogue and vivid details, the reality of life then comes through clearly. The balance between social life and hard work is very evident, and one required the other. Lewis definitely shows both his rough and softer side in this tale and, as it progresses, the need to be supportive and understanding of others, and to value them for all of their complexity.
His devotion to and for his family is entirely evident. And for those who come to this wonderful homestead, he cherished their generosity and loyalty. Although Lew had no higher education than the fourth book, back in 1927, he definitely attained a master degree in character evaluation. He and his brother, Ernie, were incredibly fortunate to have married two sisters, who became their lifelong partners through both difficult and more prosperous times.
He leaves us with the message to be good to one another, to be thankful for the gifts the good Lord has given to us all, and to never forget the influence of The Big Swamp on—not just the Griffin family—but on the countless folks, who love the area and continue to journey here annually to enjoy its beauty, the fishing and the good times still to come.
The storyline includes a fair bit of profanity and coarse language. It was Lew’s hope as an artist that this would provide a more vivid account of life the way it used to be. (But it may not be suitable for some readers.) Some of the descriptions and characterizations may be more fiction than fact, keeping in mind that stories were passed down from one generation to the next, with each one embellishing them with more graphic details.
Enjoy the story! Lew wrote it to make us laugh and also to make us aware of the challenges we face daily. Yet, with hard work and time, he believed that everything works out, that we should all follow our dreams and our hearts in our quest to leave the world a better place than we found it, and that laughter and fun are essential to bring meaning along the road of life.
Often, it’s the crazy times that help and sustain us through difficult times. Perhaps, this little book might help you to evaluate where you’ve been and where you’re going. As Ernie would say, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you.”
That pretty much summed up life back then and still applies pretty much today. Robert (Bob) Griffin