Biography of Joseph H. Brigham of Dover, Illinois

The Brigham family came to this country at a very early date in the history of America, having formerly resided on a tract of land called Brigham lying between Scotland and England, and at that time belonging to neither country, but now owned by England. From this family are descended all the Brighams now in America. They are of remarkable longevity; on one tombstone in the old burying ground in New Hampshire is recorded the age of one hundred and three years. Another family of seven children lived till their average age was eighty years, and one member yet survives. Such being the physical nature of the family they were well adapted to a pioneer life in a new country.

Joseph Brigham was born in Cheshire County, N. H., in 1774. He cleared a farm among the hills and timber of his native State and resided there till 1832, when he sold out and came to Illinois. He lived near Hennepin till the Indian trouble was over, and then in the spring of 1834 came to Bureau County, and settled on the farm now owned by James

Hensel, in Dover Township, occupying a log-cabin built by his son Sylvester Brigham. The family resided here until 1837, and then moved to the present farm of Joseph H. Brigham, where Joseph Brigham died in 1846. He was married, in his native county in New Hampshire, in 1802, to Polly Fullum, also a native of Cheshire County. She died in 1861 at

the age of eighty-three years. They were the parents of nine children; three died in youth. The following reached maturity; Sylvester, Lucy (widow of David Chase, of Dover), Polly (widow of Christopher Corss, who lives in Princeton), Nancy (wife of Thomas Mercer, died in Oregon), Eliza (wife of James Porterfield, died in Dover), Joseph H. (lives in Dover Township.)

Sylvester Brigham, when twenty-two years old, left his native State in company with Warren Shirley. They crossed the lakes, and then traveled through Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and into Iowa on foot. In 1829, while traveling through the country, he located his cabin in Dover Township, Bureau County, where James Hensel now lives. In the fall of the same year he returned to his native State, New Hampshire, traveling as before on foot. In 1830 he again came to Bureau County and settled, and remained here during the Black Hawk war, in which he was engaged. He resided in Bureau County until 1855, when he removed to Cordova, Ill., and from there to Wilson County, Kan., in 1870, where he died January, 1872, at the age of sixty-four years. He was twice married, first to Lucy Gunn in 1840, who died two years later. He was again married, in 1843, to Mary Bingham, in Fitzwilliam, N. H. She is still living, and is the mother of five sons and three daughters.

Joseph H. Brigham was born January 31, 1823, in Fitzwilliam, N. H. He was but a boy when he came to this county with his parents, and has resided here ever since. His education was chiefly obtained in the log schoolhouse. His occupation has always been that of farming; he now owns the old homestead where his father settled. His farm contains 360 acres. February 29, 1848, he was married to Jane Elizabeth Mercer. She was born January 22, 1830, in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, a daughter of Aaron Mercer, who came to this county in 1834. Mrs. Brigham died June 22, 1871, leaving seven children, viz.: Harriet, Sylvester, Sarah, Mary, Joseph, Eliza, John. Mr. Brigham was married, January 1, 1873, to Carrie Dunbar, born April 21, 1841. She is the mother of two children–Curtis and Charles.

Mr. Brigham has always been a republican in politics. He and his wife are members of the Congregational Church of Dover.

Source: History of Bureau County, Illinois, H. C. Bradsby, Editor. World Publishing Company Chicago 1885

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