BRIGGS, Charles C.
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 1031-1032
This former prominent citizen of Rockford [Winnebago County, IL] was born in Dover [Windham County], VT, 06 Sep 1817, the son of Calvin and Lucy (WASHBURNE) BRIGGS, and died in Rockford, 24 Jan 1892. In the city of his birth he grew to manhood, and early in life became interested in those matters that were of general interest among the people. In his youth he commenced to fight the liquor traffic, and never afterward faltered in what he regarded as his duty to mankind.
After receiving an excellent education at Dartmouth College, from which famous institution he was graduated, Mr. BRIGGS established and carried on the "Green Mountain Freeman," a paper which did an immense good in the cause of antislavery, and which is still in existence, although the cause it first advocated no longer needs its active help. In every possible way Mr. BRIGGS urged the abolishment of slavery, and was a conductor of an underground railroad for the freeing of slaves, having charge of one of the leading "depots" in New England. With his own money he purchased one slave, in order that he might secure his freedom, and found great pleasure in afterward recounting his thrilling experiences in the days of slavery. Especially was he pleased to tell how the man whom he bought out of slavery rose from his degraded condition to one of honor and influence, and has for 30 years or more been one of the under clerks in the State Treasury at Boston. When old age came to Mr. BRIGGS, he was as enthusiastic in the cause of temperance as in years gone by when he had been foremost in the cause of antislavery, and he enjoyed the personal friendship of many men who have been influential factors in creating a sentiment among the people against the liquor traffic. He edited the Burlington (VT) "Gazeette" for four years, and also edited other papers for some years.
In Montpelier [Washington County], VT, Mr. BRIGGS was married to Miss Emeline M. PECK, an estimable woman who during their long married life was the devoted companion and cheerful helpmate of her husband. They became the parents of five children. James and one unnamed died in infancy, and Emma when a small child. Charles E. married Anna LOREE, of Vinton [Benton County], IA, and makes his home in Rockford [Winnebago County], IL; George S. married Miss Mary TAGGART, and is connected with Waverly & Company, of Rockford. Mr. and Mrs. BRIGGS reared an adopted daughter, Lizzie M., who died after her marriage to D. H. FERGUSON, of Rockford.
In 1853 Mr. BRIGGS removed from VT to IL, where he located in Rockford, and soon became President of the firm of BRIGGS, SPAFFORD & PENFIELD, bankers. He continued at the head of the private bank for ten years, until the business was merged into the Third National Bank, which is now in operation. Later Mr. BRIGGS became financial manager for the company that was organized to build 28 miles of the Kenosha Railroad, of which he was one of the prominent supporters through the hardships attending the financial crisis of 1857, and until the road was completed in 1859.
For some years afterward Mr. BRIGGS was engaged very extensively as a real estate dealer, and was the owner of eight improved farms in the vicinity of Rockford, besides much valuable city property. In his business affairs he had times of depression and also of prosperity, but never lost courage, no matter what obstacles opposed his progress. In 1868 he became connected with the firm of BRIGGS, MEAD & SKINNER, dealers in agricultural implements, and continued in that capacity for several years, the business being conducted under the name of BRIGGS, ENOCH & SKINNER Manufacturing Company, and after Mr. SKINNER's death the firm was BRIGGS & ENOCH until 1880, when it was organized as a stock company, under the name of the Rockford Plow Company. Mr. BRIGGS sold [p 1032] out his interest in 1886, and afterward devoted his attention to the insurance business, representing a number of the leading companies.
Mr. BRIGGS was a Republican in politics and a strong temperance man both in example and precept. He had firm convictions and the courage to stand true to them, even under great opposition and bitter enmity. His estimable wife, who survives him, has a host of friends in the community, and is of such hospitable nature as to win the esteem of all whom she entertains beneath her roof. [See also the Winnebago County, IL, biography of Chester E. BRIGGS, who is also a descendant of Calvin & Lucy BRIGGS.]
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.