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Fayette County, Iowa
Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910
Author: G. Blessin
B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
Vol. I, Biographical Sketches
Chauncey Jasper Briggs
Farmer and stock raiser and one of the leading citizens of Scott township, Chauncey J. Briggs is a native of Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, where his birth occurred on the 26th day of November, 1839. On the paternal side, he is descended from German ancestry and combines many of the sterling characteristics for which that nationality is distinguished. The first of the Briggs family to come to America were two brothers, Anthony and James Briggs, who settled in a very early day near Tower Hill, New York. Pelig Briggs, son of Anthony, was born near Tower Hill and there married and reared a family, among his children being a son by the name of Jeremiah Briggs, father of the subject of this sketch.
Jeremiah Briggs went to Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, in an early day, where he married Rosalind Stanton, of Connecticut, and engaged in agricultural pursuits. Later, in 1849, he sold out and migrated to Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin, where he purchased land and improved a farm on which he lived for a period of forty years, removing at the expiration of that time to the town of Oakfield, where he lived in retirement until his death, in 1899, at the age of eighty-seven. His first wife, whose name is given above, died in Pennsylvania and he afterwards married her sister, who preceded him to the grave by about six years. Of the nine children born of his first marriage, the following survive: Chauncey J., of this review; Hannah, who lives on the family homestead in Wisconsin; Jeremiah, a farmer of that state; Alva, of Racine, Wisconsin, and for thirty years an engineer on Lake Michigan; Marietta of Santa Pala, California, and James S., a farmer of Fayette county, Iowa. Mr. Briggs’ second wife bore him two children, one of whom, Alice, of Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin, is living.
Chauncey Jasper Briggs spent his childhood in his native state and until the age of nine years attended at intervals the schools of Luzerne county. In 1848 his father purchased land in Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin, and the same year the subject and an older brother were sent there to clear and improve as much of the land as they could and prepare it for the reception of the rest of the family, who rejoined them the year following. Chauncey attended school for several years after going to Wisconsin and remained with his father until attaining his majority, when he engaged in the pursuit of agriculture upon his own responsibility. On August 17, 1861, in Wisconsin, he was untied in marriage with Mary E. Walters, who was born in Plattsburg, New York, following which he continued farming in Fond du Lac county until 1869, when he moved to Clermont, Iowa, driving through by wagon and being six days o the road. On arriving at his destination Mr. Briggs entered the employ of ex-Governor Larrabee, for whom he hauled flour from Clermont to Postville, this being before the railroad was completed to either of those towns. After six months of teaming he severed his connection with Mr. Larrabee and hired to John Thompson, of Clayton, with whom he remained two years, at the end of which time he moved to Fayette county and rented a farm in Jefferson township, where he continued to reside until buying land of his own in 1875.
Mr. Briggs’ purchase consisted of eighty acres in section 17, Scott township, which he at once proceeded to improve and which by industry and good management he has since made one of the best farms of its size in the county. Among the various improvements which he has added from time to time are the handsome and commodious modern dwelling, a fine large barn, and other buildings in keeping therewith, his place, known as “Cedar Lawn Farm,” being both beautiful and attractive and one of the most desirable country homes in the township. Mr. Briggs is an enterprising, up-to-date farmer, who made a careful study of agricultural science, and never fails to realize abundant returns from the time and labor expended on his fields. In connection with general farming, he devotes considerable attention to livestock, his Holstein cattle and Chester White hogs being among the finest in this part of the state and yielding him no small share of his income.
Mr. Briggs is public spirited in all the term implies, takes an active interest in whatever tends to the advancement of the community and all enterprises for the benefit of his fellow men find in him a zealous and liberal patron. He has served thirty-one years on the local board, during a large part of which time he was president of the body, and as a Democrat he is a leader of his party in his township and stands high in political circles throughout the county. Personally, he is a companionable gentleman of pleasing presence and address, enjoys great popularity among the people and possesses those rare qualities of mind and heart which win and retain warm friendships. His integrity has ever been above reproach and in all of his mingling and dealing with his fellow men his conduct has been upright and honorable and characteristic of the true neighbor and citizen.
Mrs. Briggs, who was the only child of Aaron and Rosanna (Averal) Walters, of Plattsburg, New York, bore her husband one child and departed this life on the 25th of September 1904. She was an excellent woman, a loyal wife and help-meet and all with whom she came in contact spoke in high praise of her beautiful character and many suitable and amiable traits.
Fred Walter, son of Mr. And Mrs. Briggs, was born October 11, 1863. He has always lived at home and is now managing the farm, being one of the progressive agriculturists of Scott township as well as an enterprising man of affairs. He has served as president of the school board, keeps in touch with the times on matters of public interest and uses his influence in the furtherance of every laudable means for the general good. He was married, December 5, 1889, to Ann May Lincoln, whose parents, Jonathan and Evaline (Novice) Lincoln, came to Fayette county in 1884 and settled in Scott township.
~transcribed by Doris A. Smith
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