BRIGGS, Gleason F.
Past and Present of the City of Rockford & Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke, 1905, pp 569-570
Gleason F. BRIGGS, now living retired in Winnebago [Winnebago County, IL], where for the past 20 years he has been engaged in loaning money, has resided in this county for 67 years. He was born in Erie County, NY, near Buffalo, 25 May 1825, his parents being Albey and Zerviah (JEWELL) BRIGGS, natives of RI and MA, respectively. Following their marriage they resided in the state of NY until 1838, and on 02 Jul 1838 they arrived at Dixon [IL], afterward locating at Westfield Corners. They had sold their farm in the east, and were accompanied on the westward journey by a family of old neighbors from NY. Mr. BRIGGS purchased 240 acres of land at Westfield Corners, and for 30 years owned the four corners there. He conducted the post office there for a long period. He devoted his energies to the tilling of the soil and raised stock, and was very successful in his business affairs, the entire family being noted as moneymakers, having the sound judgment and indefatigable energy which always results in the acquirement of prosperity. Mr. BRIGGS served as school director and also as a church officer, and the chapel at Westfield Corners was erected on his farm. He lived a very honorable, upright life, and truthfully said that he never sued any man or was ever sued by anyone, a fact which indicates a business career that will bear the closest investigation and scutiny. He died 08 Dec 1878 at the age of 86 years, while his wife passed away 28 Aug 1870, whe 72 years of age. G. F. BRIGGS, of this review, like his father, can say that he has never sued or been sued by any man. He has two brothers and three sisters: (1) Paulina became the [p 570] wife of Horace HUDSON, and died 10 Mar 1879, in the village of Winnebago, where they made their home. (2) Irene married Levi BURCH, and died 27 Dec 1877, in Byron Township, Ogle County, IL. (3) Mary Ann is living with her brother, Curtis BRIGGS, in Winnebago. (5) Irvin died in 1840, at the age of nine years. (6) Curtis, born in Erie County, NY, 14 Mar 1823, and now living in the village of Winnebago, owns a fine farm in Winnebago Township. He married Rachel WOOD, who died about 1880, and he afterward wedded Narcissa FULSOM, who died in Apr 1901. (7) Byron B. BRIGGS, the next member of the family, was born 14 Jul 1838, soon after the arrival of his parents in this county. He lives in Winnebago and married Miss Jennie LEGGETT, whose father, Jacob LEGGETT, came to this county about 1850.
G. F. BRIGGS spent a portion of his youth in NY, and the remainder in Winnebago County, whither he came with his parents at the age of 13 years. He has always followed farming, and to a considerable extent has engaged in real estate operations. In all that he has undertaken he has been successful, making judicious investments, and during the past 20 years he has loaned money. At one time he owned two farms, which he afterward sold, and he has recently disposed of the old home property.
Mr. BRIGGS was married to Rebecca Ann HUNT, who was born in Mount Pleasant, NJ, and is a daughter of Joseph HUNT, who went west, settling in Independence, IA, but soon returned to Rockford, and later purchased a farm near Byron, Ogle County, where he resided until he retired from business life, when he took up his abode in Byron about 10 or 12 years prior to his death, there passing away when over 80 years of age. His widow still resides at Byron, and is now more than 94 years of age, making her home with her son, who is the postmaster there. In 1903 Mr. BRIGGS was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died 17 Jun 1903, in the 68th year of her age.
Studying the issues and questions of the day, Mr. BRIGGS has found that his views have long been in harmony with the principles of the republican party, which has always received the support of the family. He served as constable 40 years ago, but has never been active as an office seeker. He belongs to the Methodist Episocopal church of Winnebago, and his life has been actuated by its teachings. The residence of few men in the county antedates that of our subject, who during the 67 years has witnessed the changes that have occurred, as roads have been made, the land subdivided, farms cleared and cultivated, schools and churches built, and business interests established. He has taken much pride in what has been accomplished and has borne his part as a citizen of worth who desires the best good of the county. He is now over 80 years of age, and says he has never missed a meal.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.