History of Butler and Bremer Counties,
Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.
H. T. Briden, son of William Briden, now of Janesville, was born in Cook county, Illinois, in 1837. When he was four years of age his parents returned to England, their native country, but the subject of this sketch remained in America with friends, and as his mother died during their stay in England, he has no recollection of seeing her. His father returned to America in 1843, and settled in St. Joseph county, Michigan; there H. T. was reared on a farm and received but a limited education. In 1854, he came to Bremer county with his father and brothers, making the entire trip by them, being something over five weeks on the way. They settled in Jefferson township near where Mr. Briden now lives. He remained with his father until he was twenty-three years of age, after which he rented land for some time, and in about 1861, his father presented him with the farm where he now resides. Mr. Briden has been a member of the school board for some time, and has held other minor offices in the town. He was married in 1860, to Miss Susannah Gish, a native of Marion county, Ohio. She came to Bremer county with her parents in 1855, and settled in Waverly. They are the parents of six children - William M., residing at home; Edward U., attending college at Cedar Rapids; Lulu Belle, Jacob A., Charles H. and Mary B. Mr. and Mrs. Briden and their oldest son are active members of the Methodist Church.
H. W. Briden, one of Jefferson's enterprising and much respected farmers, is a son of William and Mary Briden, both natives of England, and was born in Illinois, about sixty miles from Chicago, in 1840. Soon after his birth his parents returned to England, where his mother died. After a short stay he returned to America with his father and was reared on a farm in St. Joseph county, Michigan, where he received a common school education. In 1854 he came to Iowa with his father and settled in Jefferson township. Mr. Briden attended school in the primitive log school house, for about three years, after coming to this county. He has always kept out of politics, and has never accepted any of the offices of the town, excepting serving as a member of the school board, which position he held for some time. He has, since 1854, lived on the farm where his father first settled, and, since that date, has never been out of the town, except on short visits to friends in the east. A portion of his extensive farm, which consists of 430 acres, is the piece of land on which Charles McCaffree settled, it being the first claim taken by any white man in Bremer county. Mr. Briden is one of those unassuming, retiring men that are always respected, and rarely, if ever, make an enemy. By hard work and good management, supported by his most excellent wife, he has accumulated a large competency, and is probably the wealthiest man in Jefferson township. He was married in 1864 to Miss Marian Spencer, a native of Michigan. She came to Janesville with her parents in 1855, where her father died in 1861, after which she returned to Michigan, where she remained until 1863. They are the parents of nine children, seven of whom are living - George William, Adell, Francis A., Gertrude, Jennie, Pearle and Earle, (the latter died in infancy) and DeWitt.
William Briden, a native of Yorkshire, England, and an early settler of Bremer county, was born January 6, 1808. In 1831 he left his native country for the United States. Upon landing in New York City, he immediately proceeded to Livingston county, on the Hudson river, where he was engaged as gardener. One year later he removed to Westchester county, New York, where he had charge of a stable of thoroughbred horses. During the fall of 1834 he removed to Chicago, Illinois, and the following spring made a claim at Des Plaines, Cook county, which he immediately began improving. January 8, 1837, his marriage with Miss Elizabeth Curtis, a native of England, occurred in that country. They have had two children - H. T. and Henry W. She died in England, January 25, 1842; she was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1843 Mr. Briden removed to White Pigeon, Michigan, where he married Mrs. Mary Burnan, a native of Yorkshire, England. They had one child - John. She died January 28, 1852; and was, also, a member of the Methodist Church. May 18, 1854, Mr. Briden was married to Mary Ann Cleaver, who was born February 9, 1826, in Columbia county, Pennsylvania. They have had one child - Mary E., now the wife of George E. Sevison, of Janesville, Iowa. The same year of Mr. Briden's last marriage, he came to Bremer county, Iowa, and settled in Jefferson township, where he continued to reside until 1868, when he removed to his present place in the town of Janesville. He came to this country a poor man, but by economy and good management, has accumulated a very comfortable property, and has also been able to give each of his children a good start in life. At one time Mr. Briden owned 1440 acres of land in the central part of Iowa.