There are few men in southern Idaho better or more favorably known than Hon. Burdice J. Briggs, a lawyer of ability and success, an up-right and patriotic citizen, and the constant promoter of the best interests of the state and its people. His effective work in the legislature in behalf of irrigation entitles him to a prominent place in any volume which purports to give an account of Idaho and her leading useful citizens.
Hon. Burdice J. Briggs was born at Bellevue, Nebraska, November 21, 1859, a son of Alpheus N. and Harriet (Green) Briggs. The Briggs family in America is of English origin and Burdice J. Briggs’ ancestors came over previously to the Revolution and located in New England and New York. Alpheus N. Briggs was born in Vermont. While yet a young man, unmarried he settled with his parents in Michigan, where he was a pioneer. He married Miss Harriet Green, of Allegan, that state. Judge Henry C. Briggs, of Kalamazoo, long a legal light in Michigan, was his brother. The family were Baptists for a long period in their earlier history. Later some of them became Congregationalists. During his younger and more active years Alpheus N. Briggs was a carpenter and a farmer, and he has always proven himself a man of good knowledge and understanding and influential as a citizen. He has attained the age of sixty-four years. He lives at Council Bluffs, Iowa, with his daughter, Mrs. H. C. Compton, whose husband is battalion sergeant of the Iowa volunteers in the United States service at Manila. His wife died at Georgetown, Montana, in January 1891, aged forty-nine.
Alpheus N. Briggs removed with his family to Nebraska in 1853, and located at Bellevue, where Burdice J. was born. The future lawyer gained a common-school education at Columbus, Nebraska, and began his legal studies in Nebraska and finished them in Idaho. He came to this state in 1881 and was so fortunate as to secure as a preceptor F. S. Dietrich, a man thoroughly grounded in the law and now a prominent legal practitioner at Pocatello. Mr. Briggs was admitted to practice in 1887 and located at Idaho Falls, and he has built up a large and lucrative business in Bingham and adjoining counties. He is a member of the popular law firm of Briggs and Reeves, Judge William T. Reeves being his partner, and they have offices at Pocatello and at Idaho Falls.
Politically Mr. Briggs is a Populist, and he is active and influential in the inner circles of his party. Mr. Briggs was a Republican until 1896, when he became a Populist because he could no longer support the financial theories of the Republican Party. He was elected to the first legislature as a Republican and to the fourth legislature as a Populist, and was prominent in connection with much important legislation. He took deep interest in the passage of a bill to promote the irrigation of the state, on which the fortunes of southern Idaho greatly depend. He is a prominent Mason and is now (1899) filling an important office in Eagle Rock Lodge, No. 19, A. F. & A. M., of Idaho Falls. He has a beautiful residence at Idaho Falls and a hundred and sixty acre farm, seven miles north of that place.
Mr. Briggs was married October 7, 1885, to Miss Isabelle W. Gordon, a native of Scotland and daughter of James Gordon, of Castle Douglas, Scotland. They have four children: Ethel Gordon, Milroy Green, DeForest Graham and Jane. Mrs. Briggs is a member of the Presbyterian Church.