from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906
New Sharon is an attractive haven to many retired farmers, who after long and close connection with agricultural interests are now enjoying well earned rest, having acquired through earnest and indefatigable labor the competence that enables them to put aside further cares and spend the evening of life in honorable retirement. To this class belongs Mr. Briggs and his genuine personal worth and up right life have made him a representative citizen to his community. He was born in Belmont county, Ohio, February 4, 1837, a son of William and Jane (Romans) Briggs, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Pennsylvania. He is a great grandson of Ismel Shreeve, who was a colonel of the Revolutionary war. His maternal grandparents were from Holland and his paternal grandparents froni Scotland. In Holland there is a fortune of sixty million dollars to which Mr. Briggs is rightfully one of the heirs, but they have never been able to prove their claim, and there is also an estate in Scotland, a portion of which should come into his possession. William Briggs and Jane Romans were married in Ohio and the latter died in that state during the early boyhood days of her son Thomas. The father afterward married again, his second wife being Hannah Krew, who was born in Virginia, and following her death he wedded Rachel Kirk. He was a farmer by occupation and owned and occupied a farm in Belmont county, Ohio, where he made his home until 1868, when he disposed of his property there and came to Mahaska county. Here he purchased a farm in Union township, whereon he made his home until his death, which occurred when he was sixty-three years of age. In his family born of his first marriage there were four children: Mary, now the wife of Miflin Ong, living with her son in North Dakota; Thomas, of this review; Evan, who resides on a farm in Prairie township; and Jordan, who died at the age of two years. One son, Elwood R., born of the second marriage, is living in Oberlin, Kansas. Thomas Briggs remained with his parents during the period of his minority, and in early life he attended a district school held in a log building, but later became a student in a classical school, which was superior to the district school, for the members of the Society of Friends, believed in giving their children good educational privileges and provided them with a competent teacher and a good school building. At the age of twenty one years he went to work on a farm by the month, being thus employed for one season. His father then purchased more land, and Mr. Briggs of this review worked his father's land for a year. The father then sold out and came to Iowa, while our subject continued to cultivate a rented farm for two years. In the meantime he sent money to his father to buy land for him and in 1871 he came to Mahaska county, settling on a tract of land of seventy acres, which the father had previously purchased for him. This was but partially improved. There was a small log house upon it and a prairie stable, and he lived in the little log cabin home for several years. He then purchased another farm of eighty acres, upon which he built a good frame barn and later a house. He now owns two hundred and forty acres of rich and productive land on sections 28 and 29, Union township, and there were two good houses upon this farm, which are now occupied by his son and son-in-law. For many years he carried on the work of the fields and annually gathered good crops, but in October, 1905, he left the farm and purchased a nice home in New Sharon, where be is now living retired. On the 3d of October, 1868, Mr. Briggs was married to Miss Margaret E. Spear, who was born in Guernsey county, Ohio, February 10, 1842, her parents being John and Elizabeth (Meek) Spear. The father was born in Scotland and died in Jefferson county, Ohio, at the age of ninety-five years. He was a wheel wright by trade, and always followed that pursuit. His wife, a native of Ohio, died in Guernsey county, that state, at the advanced age of eighty-five years. In their family were twelve children, five of whom are living, four being residents of Ohio. Unto him and Mrs. Briggs have been born eleven children: Estella J., the wife of G. W. Baker, a railroad conductor, of California, by whom she has four children; Dilwin H., a carpenter of Whittier, California, who married Dora Castor, of Iowa; Albert A., who is residing on his father's farm and he married Sadie Branson, by whom he has three children; Carrie E., the wife of Rastus Shadley, who is working for her brother, Albert, and by whom she has one child; Eldon T., of Rudd, Iowa, who married Jessie Roundie and has one child; Cora, who died of scarlet fever when ten years of age; Carl Lewis, a barber, of Chicago, who marned Isa Graham and has one child; Mary Edith, the wife of W. F. Orr, living in Lacey, Mahaska county; Clifford, who died at the age of five years; Hattie M. D., at home; and William, who died at the age of two years. Mr. Briggs has always been a stanch advocate of republican principles. He has held school offices but would accept no other positions of a public nature. He is a brithright Friend; and both he and his wife are members of the Friends church, and are faithful Christian people and earnest students of the Bible. In former years he found one of his principal sources of recreation in hunting prairie chickens and often came in with ten at a time, while on one occasion he killed five at a single shot. Wolves were numerous in those days and there are still some in the woods to the north. Through many years he gave his attention largely to farm labor and his enterprise and diligence brought him the success which enables him to live retired in the enjoyment of the fruits of his former toil.
Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy