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HON. ALBERT BRIGGS. – Ever green in the memory of the pioneer of the Pacific coast remain the trials and hardships they endured while establishing civilization in the far west. These pioneers, constituted no ordinary class; they were hardy, brave and energetic men; and thousands to-day are reaping the benefits which have accrued from the trials and hardships endured by the early pioneer. None among them deserve more tribute than the subject of this sketch, an excellent portrait of whom is placed in this history, from a photograph taken when he was in his seventy-fifth year.
Mr. Briggs was born in Sholam, Addison county, Vermont, August 26, 1813, and is the son of Benjamin I. and Electric Trippman Briggs. When he was seven years of age his parents moved to Northem county, Pennsylvania, and one year later to Guernsey county, Ohio, where our subject resided, learning the carpenter’s trade, until the winter of 1835, when he, with his wife and one child, moved to Seneca county and lived until 1844. He then removed to Indiana, and after spending some months there and in Chicago, finally located in Andrew Jackson county, Iowa, of which his brother Ansil afterwards became governor.
In the spring of 1847 he started with ox-teams, and with his wife and four children made the weary march across the almost trackless plains to Oregon. In the same train were Honorable L.B. Hustings, now deceased, and David Shelton, a respected citizen of the little city that now bears his name. Arriving at The Dalles in October, 1847, our subject with his family came down the Columbia to Portland in small boats. January 1,1848, he located in Oregon City, and found employment at his trade. He remained there but a short time, however, soon locating a farm on the Santiam river. In 1849 he went to the gold fields of California, but remained only three months, when he returned to his Oregon home, where he worked at his trade until 1852. He then came to the present site of Port Townsend, Washington Territory, at that time there being but one house where now stands the beautiful city of the port of entry. He then located a Donation claim of six hundred and forty acres adjoining the present city of Port Townsend. Here he has lived for thirty-seven years. He followed farming and other pursuits until his property, through the development of Puget Sound, became very valuable, when he began to sell off his estate, all of which he has disposed of with the exception of fifteen acres, which are now very valuable.
Mr. Briggs, through his genial ways and generous disposition, has won the confidence and esteem of the entire population of Puget Sound; and now in the sunset of his life it is gratifying to his hosts of friends to know that he has an abundance of this world’s goods, which will enable this old argonaut to enjoy the comforts that he so richly deserves. Mr. Briggs’ official life has been quite active. He first held the office of county superintendent of schools, and then county commissioner, and for fourteen years held the office of probate judge.
From 1861 to 1864 he represented Jefferson and Clallam counties in the territorial legislature. All the positions he filled with credit to himself and satisfaction to the people.
Mr. Briggs was united in marriage in Guernsey county, Ohio, August 13, 1833, to Miss Isabel Cook, a native of Ohio and grand-daughter of Captain Cook of Revolutionary fame. They had seven children, all of whom are deceased. Mr. Briggs suffered the irreparable loss of her who had been his companion of his life for over fifty-four years. Mrs. Briggs died November 22, 1888, and was interred in the cemetery at Port Townsend in sight of the pioneer home.