Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
MATTHEW BRISLAWN, who lives about
seven miles northeast of Sprague on the old Colville road, is one of the
wealthiest men of Lincoln county and every dollar has been gained by his
careful industry and wise management. Where he lives he has a section
and one-half of first class grain land, all producing excellent crops of
the cereals, one section of meadow land and pasture, one hundred and twenty-five
head of fine thoroughbred cattle, forty-five head of horses and a large
amount of farm machinery and everything needed on a large estate.
The place has a comfortable residence, supplied with plenty of good water,
large barns, granaries and other buildings, several windmills and pumps
and a perfect water-system, both for furnishing water to the stock and
for irrigating purposes. Everything about the estate shows the thrift
and taste of its owner and while Mr. Brislawn is a man capable of handling
large propositions as is evidenced by what he has done, there is no detail
to small in reference to the estate, for him to consider and have properly
executed. He has shown himself, in the years of his residence here,
a man of stability and real worth and has won the esteem, confidence and
respect of all.
Matthew Brislawn was born in Montgomery county,
Pennsylvania, on October 20,1850, the son of James and Anastasia (Magher)
Brislawn, the former born in Ireland in 1813 and the later also a native
of the Emerald Isle. They were married in their native land and came
to America in 1844. Settlement was made in Iowa where the mother
died in 1874 and the father died four years later, while enroute to Washington.
He had been a prominent citizen in Iowa and held public offices for many
years. Our subject was reared and educated in the Hawkeye state and
remained on the farm with the father until twenty-three years of age.
Five years later he came to Walla Walla and then to Tucanon creek and the
following spring moved down on the Pataha creek. In the spring
of 1879, Mr. Brislawn came thence and took a homestead where he now dwells.
Very few families were in the Big Bend country and twice a year they had
to make pilgrimages to the towns of Colfax and Spokane for provisions.
He was one of the first two men who ran a thresher in the territory which
now keeps over thirty modern machines during the threshing season.
Mr. Brislawn has the following brothers and sisters, Mrs. Ellen McGreevy,
Michael J., Mrs. Elizabeth McNamara, Ferdinand and James F.
On November 25, 1873, in Iowa, Mr. Brislawn
married Miss Mary E., daughter of John and Margaret (Hughes) Cavanaugh,
natives of Ireland and Massachusetts, respectively. Mrs. Brislawn
was born in Allegheny City, Pa., in 1854. The father came to this
country in 1840, and died in Iowa in 1878. The mother died in 1856,
while on her way to the west. Mr. and Mrs. Brislawn have been the
parents of eleven children, James F., John H., Michael T., Joseph W., Margaret
C., Matthew P., Mary A., Lewis I., Anastacia C., Charlotte E. and Mark
G. Mr. Brislawn belongs to the Catholic Knights of America, while
he and his wife are members of the Roman Catholic church. It is interesting
to note Mr. Brislawn's description of his capital when he came here.
He remarks that owned two or three head of cattle and was in debt for the
team of horses that brought him and his family to the new land. From
such a beginning as this, we now see a wealthy and leading citizen of Lincoln
county who has arrived at this position by virtue of his own labors and