JOSEPH W. BRIGGS,
SURNAMES:OLDES, BENNETT, HASKELL, ADAMS,
deceased. The subject of this sketch was born in New York in 1832. He was the son of Thomas Briggs, of New York. In his childhood his father removed to Medina County, Ohio, where our subject was reared and schooled, obtaining such education as the schools of that date afforded. He early learned the details of the work on his father's farm in assisting in its management.
He made the overland journey to California, and upon his arrival joined his brother, who resided near Marysville, the two entering into extensive fruit-cultivation, thus becoming pioneers of that industry in this State. He continued in this work until 1854, when he returned to Ohio, and there married, in that year, Miss Mary J. Oldes, the daughter of Albert and Mary (Bennett) Oldes, who resided in Medina County, Ohio. After a two years' stay in Ohio, he went to Franklin County, Kansas, where he purchased land and established himself as a farmer and stock-raiser. There he made his home for several years, in fact until, in 1862, he returned to this State, and, with his brother, John G., and his brother-in-law, Edward Haskell, entered largely into fruit-culture. His family joined him in his new home in 1863. Mr. Briggs eventually bought out the interests of his partners, and for a time managed these orchards, of hundreds of acres in extent, without other assistance than that of hired help. In 1873 he sold out these interests and came to Santa Clara County, where he bought a tract of 120 acres on the Trimble road, on Coyote Creek, in the Midway School District. He immediately began the work of planting extensive orchards and small-fruit vines, and succeeded before his death in producing a splendid farm, upon which his widow now resides. Fifty acres were devoted to the raising of plums and prunes, twenty acres to pears, ten acres to apples, twelve acres to cherries, and the remainder to pasturage. Six acres of raspberries, and five of strawberries, were cultivated among the fruit-trees. Plenty of water is supplied by five artesian wells, each of which furnishes an average flow of water. These lands, being in a high state of cultivation and very productive, testify to Mr. Briggs' skill in horticulture. In addition to the supervision of this large farm, Mr. Briggs engaged largely in fruit-raising near Visalia, purchasing in 1881, 200 acres of land. His son, Frank T., bought 160 acres near this property, and in 1885 Mr. Briggs also acquired that tract by purchase. His design was the conversion of the whole into orchards, but his plans were destroyed by the hand of death, which occurred April 19, 1887.
He left three children: Frank T., married and living in San Francisco ; John G., who married Miss Lizzie Adams, of Alviso, now a resident of San Jose; and Albert L., residing on the old homestead. He also left, besides a devoted family, a host of friends, by whom his loss was deeply felt. He was a man of great strength of character, of untiring energy, as the magnitude of his enterprises proves. He was well versed in the business affairs of life, and was thus able to bring to a successful issue his many plans.
His worth in
social circles was thoroughly appreciated, and by his death many secret
organizations mourned the loss of a most useful member. He was a member of the
Masonic fraternity, being a Knight Templar, and was also connected with the
American Legion of Honor, Chosen Friends, Knights of Honor, and Ancient Order of
Pen Pictures From The
Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated.
- Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.