Search billions of records on

Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 310-311

Korah BRIGGS, a retired farmer and one of the old and much respected settlers of Winnebago County, IL, was born 08 Apr 1814 at Johnstown, Fulton County, NY.  His parents, Korah and Elizabeth (SCARBORO) BRIGGS, were natives of the same place, and the father followed the arduous duties of a farmer.  To thier union were born three children, two daughters and a son, the latter being our subject, who was but an infant when his father died.  Eight years later the mother also passed away, when but a young woman.   One besides our sujbect of the above named children is now living, Anna, who became Mrs. John STEVENS, and resides in MN.

Our subject was reared on a farm in Fulton County and after reaching mature years was married in Johnstown, Fulton County, to Miss Thankful A. BONFEY, a native of the same place, born 20 Oct 1815, their nuptials being celebrated on 14 Jan 1841.  She was the daughter of Barnabas BONFEY, of Utica [Oneida County], NY, and the granddaughter of Barnabas BONFEY, of France, who came to this country with General LaFayette, as a surgeon, and died in Winfield Township, Oneida County, NY, in 1822, when very old.  Barnabas BONFEY Jr., who was a cabinet maker by trade in Johnstown village, died in NY State when over 90 years of age, and his wife, whose maiden name was Mary SMITH, died there five years later, when 91 years of age.

In the spring of 1842 Mr. BRIGGS came West prospecting, worked considerably at his trade, and purchased 80 acres in the township of Harlem.  The following spring, after a noted winter of deep snows and very cold weather, Mr. BRIGGS brought his family to his home in Harlem Township.  Two years later he sold this farm and purchased 92 acres in section 8 (1844), paying $6.40 per acre for it.  He could have purchased Government land nearby for $1.25 per acre, but this he took on a debt.  Later he purchased five acres of timber and paid for this $500.  In the spring of 1845 Mr. BRIGGS moved his family on his farm and into a very rude, open log cabin, the same having been the original claim cabin.  They then had but one child, the eldest, Barnabas D., who is now a resident blacksmith of Roscoe.  In this primitive log cabin, with new and strange surroundings, Mr. BRIGGS and his thrifty and economical wife began gradually to gather around them everything necessary for a comfortable home.  They resided on this farm until August 1891, when they moved to Roscoe, where they recently purchased a very pleasant home.  Their grandson, Charles O. BRIGGS, is renting the farm.  Mr. BRIGGS erected a good stone house on his farm in 1840, and in 1857 he built a good frame barn.  Since then he has erected good substantial buildings on his place, as he needed them, and his fine farm is now worth at least $60 per acre.

The competency which this genial and contented old couple are now enjoying has been gained by many years of industry and economy on the part of both.  They are the parents of a family of four children, and lost one son, Korah J., who enlisted as a volunteer in the Civil War (one of the last call), and was in the 8th IL Cavalry for one year.  He died at Fairfax Court House, 15 Mar 1865, when 21 years of age.  Another son, Barnabas B., was in the army, going out at the first call for troops, but after serving for five months was discharged on account of sickness.  The remaining children are as follows:  Barnabas D.; John Q., a merchant at Houston [Houston County], MN; and Mary Elizabeth, now Mrs. E. W. DYER, of San Diego [San Diego County], CA, engaged with an orange grove.  Mr. and Mrs. BRIGGS have 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.  They have both been members of the Congregational Church since [p 311] youth, and are highly esteemed by all.  Mr. BRIGGS advocated the principles of the Democratic party from early youth, and his last Presidential vote in that party was for Franklin Pierce.  Mrs. BRIGGS converted him to Republicanism, since which time he has voted the straight Republican ticket.  This much esteemed couple are the oldest of the early settlers of Roscoe, and both are nearing their 80th year.

Submitted by Cathy Kubly.