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Biography of Jabez Spriggs

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Jabez Spriggs, a farmer residing near Kansasville, represents one of the old families of the County. He was born in Northamptonshire, England, April 26, 1838, a son of John and Mary (Nursey) Spriggs, who were likewise natives of the same country, the former born in 1803 and the latter in 1801. Their respective parents never left that country, but some years after their marriage the parents of Jabez Spriggs sailed for the new world, arriving on American shores in 1848. Continuing their journey into the interior of the country, they settled at Burlington, Wisconsin, where they remained for a year and then removed to Dover Township, where Mr. Spriggs purchased about two hundred and twenty acres of land, securing tracts of eighty, forty and sixty acres at different times. He rented a place in Burlington before he was able to purchase property, for he was in very straitened financial circumstances when he came to this country and it was the hope of improving his condition that led him to seek a home beyond the Atlantic. His life was characterized by diligence and determination and as the years passed he won a very substantial and gratifying measure of success, becoming one of the prosperous as well as popular residents of his community. He was well liked, winning friends where-ever he was known, and his upright and honorable career constituted an example well worthy of emulation. He engaged in preaching as a local minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which both he and his wife belonged. In politics he was a republican and took a firm stand in support of abolition prior to the time when the Republican Party was formed. To him and his wife were born eight children but only two are now living, Jabez and Naomi, who is the wife of Joseph Tye, of Griswold, Iowa.

Jabez Spriggs began his education in the district schools of his native country and afterward continued his studies in the district schools of Dover Township. In 1865 he married Isabella Caley, who was born in Dover Township, a daughter of John and Charlotte (Clague) Caley, who were natives of the Isle of Man and in 1840 arrived in Racine County, at which time the father entered a claim of government land in Dover Township. To Mr. and Mrs. Spriggs was born two sons. Archie Everett, born December 2, 1865, is a very prominent and influential citizen of Montana, where he served as a member of the legislature for a number of years and afterward as lieutenant governor of the state. He is now chairman of the Labor Union and exerts a marked influence in shaping public opinion in the northwest. The second son, Harvey J., born October 8, 1868, is living upon his father’s farm in Dover Township and carrying on the work of the home place. The sons were accorded liberal educational opportunities, attending school in Dover, in Rochester and in Valparaiso, Indiana.

Throughout the entire period of his active connection with business affairs Jabez Spriggs followed agricultural pursuits. He was formerly the owner of one hundred and forty-five acres of rich and productive land in this County and he still owns one hundred acres situated near Kansasville. He likewise has three hundred and thirty-eight acres of land in Florida. He has always raised good stock and he carries on general farming and dairying. His business affairs have been wisely managed and his unremitting industry, determination and honorable dealing have proved salient features in his growing success.

In public affairs, too, Mr. Spriggs has been deeply and helpfully interested and in politics he has always given his support to the Republican Party. For years he served as clerk of the school board and for a quarter of a century was justice of the peace, in which connection he rendered decisions that were strictly fair and impartial. He belongs to the Health Circle of the World and is also a member of the Red Cross Society. Since a youth of ten summers he has resided in this County and he is now seventy-eight years of age. His career, upright and honorable at all times, has commended him in the confidence and goodwill of all and he is numbered among the valued residents of his district.

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