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Mary Francis Duffy Seidle Briggs 1860-1923


Posted By: Merllene Andre Bendixen (email)
Date: 5/16/2011 at 02:09:33

The Passing of Mrs. L. E. Briggs
An Old Resident of Dickinson and Emmet Counties Died Friday, May 18th
Mrs. L. E. Briggs passed away at her home in Superior, Friday, May 18th after much suffering.

Mary Frances Duffy was born at Ayrshire, Scotland, May 25th, 1860.When 3 years of age she came with her mother and brother to Winneshiek county, Iowa, and at the age of nine years moved to Dickinson county, living just west of Superior and attended the first school in Superior township. The building was sided with sod and built on the farm which J. E. Meikle owns and where he resides. When the grasshoppers came and hardships increased, the people left until there were only two families remaining, leaving only three children of school age in the district. Later fire destroyed the school building.

Later the McCulla family move on the farm now owned by Charles Christ. Here Mrs. Briggs again attended school by furnishing bed and bedding and staying at the McCulla home. Under such difficulties she gained an education and taught in Dickinson and Emmet counties. In the year 1881 she married Joe Sidles, residing in Estherville. To this union two children were born, Joe and Frank Sidles. Joe passed away several years ago and Frank holds a government position in China and was unable to attend his mother’s funeral.

After the death of Mr. Sidles, leaving the little boys with her mother, she again took up teaching and taught until she was married to L. E. Briggs, Nov. 4, 1894. They resided in Wallingford, then Estherville and Superior. To this union two children were born, one a boy who died in infancy, and the other the daughter Ruby at home with the father.

Mrs. Briggs has had poor health for a number of years which she has borne patiently and cheerfully. Her daughter Ruby has cared for her constantly. The mother will be greatly missed in the home and among her old friends.

The family have the sympathy of the entire community in this their sad bereavement.

Funeral services were held at the Catholic church in Estherville at 10 a.m. Monday and the weary body laid to rest.

Those from away attending the funeral were Mr. Will Kriebs of Minnesota, Mr. and Mrs. Trenhalle of Sheldon and Mr. Martens of Sioux City. – Superior Correspondent. (Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, May 23, 1923)

Mrs. Briggs Dies at Home in Superior
Former Resident of Estherville and Well Known
Invalid for Many Years
Came to Dickinson County in 1874 – Lived at Wallingford and Taught School Here
Mrs. E. L. Briggs passed away at her home in Superior on Friday evening after an illness of seven weeks with a relapse of the flu. When she contracted a severe cold some time ago and later flu developed the family and friends entertained little hopes of her recovery. For twelve years she had suffered from rheumatism and she did not have the strength to successfully combat the disease. She made a noble effort, however, and a week prior to her death hope brightened and it was thought she would recover but later a relapse came and she passed away very suddenly. Deceased was well and favorably known to many Estherville people, especially the older residents of this city. Thirty-six years ago she was a resident here. Her husband, Joseph Seidle, was a machinist employed in the B.C.R. & N. round house. He was a lover of outdoor life and when not at his work you would find him either hunting or fishing. It was on one of these hunting trips near Swan Lake that he was accidentally shot while taking a loaded gun from his wagon. The writer remembers the circumstances and how he was rushed to this city in hopes of saving his life but he died before reaching her. Eleven years after the death of Mr. Seidle she was married to E. L. Briggs and for a long time resided at Wallingford where Mr. Briggs managed a grain elevator for Jo. Hardie and later going to Superior for H. S. Greig where they had since made their home.

Mary Francis Duffy was born May 25, 1860, at Ayrshire, Scotland. Her parents were Irish. Her father died in Scotland and when but three years of age she came to this country with her mother, brother and uncle, James McKanna. They located near Decorah and resided there eight years. In 1874 they packed their belongings into two covered wagons and came to Dickinson county with two teams of oxen. They settled on a homestead one mile west of Superior and endured the hardships of early day life. There were no railroads here at that time and their nearest trading point was Emmetsburg. They survived the blizzards and prairie fires which regularly came to this country and grasshoppers were their only visitors. Her first school days were in a sod house built by the parents of the children attending the school but late it was destroyed by one of the sweeping prairie fires and she later educated herself and at sixteen was given a teacher’s certificate and taught her first term of school in Superior township. Many people residing near Superior speak of this remarkable lady as having been their first teacher. At the age of twenty-one she married Joseph Seidle and to this union two sons were born, Joseph and Frank. Joseph passed away at the age of twenty-one and Frank is located in Hong Kong, China, vice counsel from America. Her only regret was that she could not see her son before she passed to the great beyond.

After the death of Mr. Seidle she again took up teaching and was employed in the schools of Emmet and Dickinson county for eight years. After her marriage to Ernest L. Briggs two children were born. A son, Linwood, passed away in infancy, and Ruby, who has been a great comfort to her mother during her many years of suffering. Deceased was a kind hearted, generous woman and a friend to all who knew her. She will not only be missed by her immediate family but by many neighbors and friends of whom she was a favorite. Funeral services were held in the Catholic church in this city Monday morning at ten o’clock, Rev. J. P. Conway preaching the sermon. She had been a member of this church since early childhood. Interment was in the Catholic cemetery. The many friends of the Briggs family will hasten to extend their sympathy to the bereaved husband, son and daughter. (Estherville Democrat, Estherville, IA, May 23, 1923)

Pioneer Lady Passes Away
Mrs. E. L. Briggs of Superior Was Well Known in Emmet and Dickinson Counties
Formerly a Resident Here
Has Been Ill for Many Years. Obituary Written by a Kind and Loving Neighbor
The messenger of death has again visited our community and taken one of our pioneer women, Mrs. E. L. Briggs. She was called home about 1:30 Friday, May 18th, after an illness of seven weeks.

Mary Francis Duffy was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, May 25, 1860. At the age of three she came to Decorah, Iowa, with her mother, brother and uncle. About the age of eight they came to Dickinson county and located on a farm west of town. Three or four families made up the neighborhood at this time. The first school Mrs. Briggs attended in Dickinson county was west of Superior and the building was part of the old barracks at Estherville. This was joined to the claim shanty of Mr. Sellick. The following year a school house was built on the farm not owned by J. E. Meikle, where she attended school for two years, but the hardships of pioneer days the people left until there were only three children of school age, the little sod building was destroyed by fire. About this time the McCulla family came on the farm now owned by Geo. Landmesser. A school was held at their home and Mrs. Briggs was given another opportunity to attend school. But with the many disadvantages she prepared herself to teach and for many years was a successful teacher in Dickinson and Emmet counties. She taught her first term of school at the age of sixteen years. In 1881 she was united in marriage to Joe Seidle of Estherville. To this union were born two sons, Joe who with his father has preceded her, Frank who is now in Hong Kong, China, as Vice Council for U.S.

On November 4, 1898, she was united in marriage to Ernest L. Briggs. To this union were born a son and daughter, the son dying in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Briggs resided in Wallingford for several years and from there they moved to Estherville and then to Superior where they have since resided.

For years Mrs. Briggs has been in poor health, but bore her suffering patiently. She was interested in the work of the community and when able took an active part.

She was a faithful member of the Catholic church, a loving wife and mother. During her last illness she wished only her husband and daughter to care for her.

Those left to mourn her loss are her husband, daughter, Ruby, and son, Frank, and many friends. The entire community join us in extending sympathy to the bereaved relatives. Funeral services were held Monday, May 21, at the Catholic church in Estherville conducted by Father Conway and the body laid to rest in the Catholic cemetery.

The many floral offerings were beautiful and bespoke the esteem in which the deceased was held. (Estherville Enterprise, Estherville, IA, May 23, 1923)


Emmet Obituaries maintained by LaVern Velau.
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