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PIERSON DOUGLAS BRIGGS
PIERSON Douglas Briggs—for more than
fifty years a resident of Cleveland, whither he came in 1856, a
young man of twenty-four years—died at the age of four-score years,
October 25, 1912. Those eighty years comprised the most eventful of
Ohio's history, and throughout this period he was an interested
spectator of events, in which he himself had a considerable share,
but with characteristic reserve kept out of the lime-light. For the
past twenty years he had lived a life of retirement in Cleveland—in
the world but not of it—and happiest when in his own home:
These familiar lines from Goldsmith give the best key to his reserved nature.
"Still to ourselves in ev'ry place consigned,
Our own felicity we make or find:
With secret course which no loud storms annoy
Glides the smooth current of domestic joy."
Mr. Briggs was born in Vernon, New York, on the twenty-third of September, 1832. He was the son of Andrew and Anna (Coon) Briggs. The boy was given liberal educational advantages, his early boyhood being spent in Mexico, New York, and later he was a student in Falley Seminary, at Fulton, New York.
In 1856, he was attracted by the rapid advance of Cleveland and decided to cast his lot with the enterprising lake city, then in the midst of extraordinary expansion.
When in 1861 the Civil War broke over the country and Lincoln sounded his first call for seventy-five thousand volunteers, Mr. Briggs was among the first to respond. It was not that he rushed into service—for he never did anything hastily—but he did everything promptly. He was a member of the Cleveland Grays and he went with them when they were assigned to the 84th Regiment for the "Three Months' Service." Near the close of the war when the country was again in need of men, Mr. Briggs served a second enlistment, with the same company, this time assigned
the 150th Regiment. He bore himself with honor as a soldier, as in every other responsibility assigned him in life.
The greater part of Mr. Briggs' business association with Cleveland was spent as purchasing agent for the Standard Oil Company. His connection with this gigantic concern commenced about 1870, continuing until 1890, when he retired to private life because of ill health. It is so often the fault of successful business men that they don't know when to stop—but in work as in all other things in life, Pierson D. Briggs was marked by temperance and actuated by the logic of consequences. From 1890 to his death in 1912 he lived a life of retirement, and none appreciated so much as he the privileges of peaceful enjoyment of the life of a private gentleman—unless it was our old friend Horace on his Sabine farm. Mr. Briggs' residence was set in spacious grounds—about two acres in all—so that he had ample opportunity to delight his taste for flowers and gardening. He
had the true nature-lover's fondness for everything
of the "deep-rooted" order. It may almost be said he never went from home of his own accord—save for the pleasures of travel. Home was his haven and his choice. While a member of Isis Lodge and a Knight Templar, Mr. Briggs was slow to avail himself of the social opportunities of fraternalism. His fondness for his own hearth-side, his own roof-tree, became even stronger as the years rolled by.
Mr. Briggs was twice married, his first wife being Miss Lucy Rockefeller. Of the two children born to him, the eldest, a son named William, died when only nine years old. His daughter Florence grew to womanhood, married the late William Wallace Benjamin of New York City, and still resides in that city with her two children, Lucy Avery and William Wallace, Jr.
In the year 1880 Mr. Briggs was married to Miss Laura E. Price, of Cleveland. Mrs. Briggs is a daughter of the late William H. and Martha (Guild) Price.
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