J.W. Griffiths was a foundation member of the King William's Town Naturalists' Society, founded in July 1884, and was elected joint vice-president for the first year. Thereafter he acted as the society's secretary for a short period. In 1886 he donated a valuable collection of geological specimens to the society's museum (which developed into the Kaffrarian Museum), but left King William's Town before November that year. In 1896 Griffiths and E.B. Seaville were associated with a diamond discovery on Prieska commonage.