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COMANCHE COUNTY, KANSAS: HISTORY & GENEALOGY
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The Western Star, June 8, 1951.

Death Comes to A Pioneer Mother

Mrs. Emma Briggs Settled In Comanche County in 1885

One of Comanche county's earliest settlers and pioneer mothers, Mrs. George Briggs of Protection, passed away in the Comanche county hospital Thursday of last week after an illness of only a few days.

Funeral services were conducted from the Methodist church in Protection Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock and were in charge of Rev. G. E. Robey pastor of the Baptist church at Ulysses, Kans., and Rev. E. J. Vaughan, the Methodist pastor.

A male quartet composed of Dr. L. G. Glenn, Robert Helman and Clarence Harden of Protection and Harlan Hughes of Ashland sang "The Old Rugged Cross" and "Sweet Hour of Prayer." Interment was in the Fairlawn cemetery at Greensburg.

The active pallbearers were W. T. Maris, A. L. Christopher, Gilbert Coate, Jack Lindsey, Charles Parkin and Charles Davis and the honorary pallbearers were T. G. Lindsay, Claude Rowland, Ralph Maris, A. B. Shoemaker, Tom Davis, R. C. Coles, Charles Allderdice and Jay T. Botts.

Obituary

Emma Mullen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Mullen, was born near Winfield, in Cowley county, Kansas, August 6, 1872, and passed away in the Comanche County Hospital in Coldwater, Kans., May 31, 1951, at the age of 78 years, 9 months and 25 days.

At the age of 14 she became a Christian and joined the United Brethern church in a small pioneer church south of Coldwater. In this faith she remained until her death. Up to the time of her final illness she faithfully attended services at the First Baptist church in Protection.

When Emma was five years old, she and her parents moved to Sumner county, near the state line, five miles east of Hunnewell. Later they moved to Udall, Kans., and spent the winter in a log cabin.

In March, 1885, the father, driving two yoke of oxen; the mother in a spring wagon; the hired man with four horses; and the two young daughters, alternately driving the herd of cattle, started for a claim and a new home in Comanche county, arriving here April 13, 1885.

Life was hard for the settlers. A terrific storm ripped away the Mullen's tent soon after reaching here, and they were soaked. Other settler's wagons were overturned by the wind and one baby southeast of Coldwater was killed.

For greater safety, Mr. Mullen dug a 14 X 4 ft. dugout in a bank for his wife and their six children. When a sod schoolhouse was built at Sunnyside, the elder children attended school and experienced a raging, leaping prairie fire, which swept over the school house as the pupils and teacher "sat tight."

After finishing school at Coldwater, Mrs. Briggs taught one term of school in the Ridge Summit district and two terms in the Stark district. She filed on a claim in the opening of the Strip, making the run with her father from Kiowa.

The blizzard of January, 1886, was etched indelibly on her memory, and there were many other hardships.

On August 28, 1894, at the home of her parents near Eagle Chief, in M county, Oklahoma, she was united in marriage with George Briggs, who had 40 acres of land on Upper Kiowa Creek in Comanche county. There they began housekeeping in a camp house, with a lean-to as a bedroom. But this was a foundation for a ranch, in time to cover nearly six thousand acres.

To this union were born three children - John and Paul Briggs, of Protection, and Mrs. Anna Hensley of Eureka, Kans. All three children, with one brother, M. A. Mullen, of Wichita, Kans., five grandsons and four granddaughters, survive. Mr. Briggs died September 6, 1939. She also leaves a host of friends to mourn her passing.

Mrs. Briggs, in her role as wife, mother and homemaker, played well her part in life. She well knew the value of education, and her children were given the advantage of college training at Kansas State College, Manhattan.

While many people fretted and rebelled against the elements and the disappointments of life, this wise mother knew the peace and quietude which make for a fuller life. She was kindly, well-read and kept an active interest in current affairs to the last. Hers was a full life, well spent.

Mrs. Briggs was endowed with the true spirit of the pioneer mother, as is indicated by the following portion from her memoirs, written a few years ago.

"When I think back over the years, I think he, Mr. Briggs and I have come a long way, from the cradle and scythe to the combine. His grandmother in England taught him to sharpen the scythe. From ox wagons to cars and planes.

"We had our share of hardships, sandstorms that buried our garden fence under four feet of sand and left our fruit tree roots bare of sod, hail storms, 16 inches of rain in an hour, floods when we didn't get a drop of rain on our crops, snow storms, blizzards and sleet storms, frosts and freezes when there should not be any; when it was 108 degrees in June; when it did not rain enough to lay the dust from September 8th until September 1st the next year.

"Still there were only four winters when we had to send our cattle away to be wintered. We have had as many good years as bad years. There have been rains just when they were needed and crops would be good. Some winters have ben mild. Sometimes hailstorms have not been bad. We have dust storms now, instead of sand storms.

"I think life has been interesting and pleasant and that the blessings outweigh the hardships."

And so concludes the personal testimony of an interesting and overflowing life.


Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!

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