JAMES H BRIGHAM
James H. Brigham is a western man who throughout his life has been identified with this section of the country and is therefore imbued with the true spirit of progress and enterprise. He was born in Andrew county, Missouri, March 5, 1851, his parents being Thomas and Elizabeth (Riley) Brigham, the former a native of England and the latter of Kentucky. He came to America in 1835, reaching St. Louis with only seventy-five cents in his pocket. He was truly a self-made man and deserved much credit for the success he achieved. Scorning no employment that would yield to him an honest living, he worked in a stone quarry and afterward secured a situation in a livery stable. Subsequently he went to Boone county, Missouri, and from there to Andrew county, where he married. Employed as a farm hand through the summer months, during the winter he worked at slaughtering hogs and made some trips to New Orleans in flat boats, carrying produce to the southern market. After his marriage he purchased land and improved a farm. In 1844, with a small party, he made an inspecting tour to this part of Kansas and located one hundred and sixty acres of land, on which he made some improvements. The following year he moved his family to this state and two years later he sold his claim and took up another claim upon which he now resides. When it came into market he entered it and throughout the remainder of his life devoted his energies to the further development and cultivation of the land. He died August 20, 1897, and his wife passed away July 24, 1899. She was a daughter of William Riley, of Kentucky, a farmer who removed to Missouri at an early day in the history of the state. She was the eldest of three children, the others being Mrs. Ann Short and Martha, whose first husband's name was Pendleton, her second husband being Mr. Frasier. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Brigham are Susanna, widow of J. Simpkins, and a resident of Oklahoma, and James H., of this review. The father, Thomas Brigham, was a self-made man who, without aid save that of his faithful wife, worked his way steadily upward. Together they bore the hardships and trials of pioneer life and overcame disadvantages and difficulties. Their second home in this county was located on the main road and their home was the home for travelers who visited this neighborhood, the hospitality of the Brigham family being widely celebrated. Mr. Brigham was a member of the Church of England, his wife of the Baptist church, and in political views he was a Republican.
During his early boyhood James H. Brigham accompanied his parents on their removal to Kansas, where he was reared, pursuing his education in the common schools. When he had attained the age of twenty years he took charge of the old home farm, and adding to the land from time to time as his financial resources have increased, he is now the owner of over eight hundred acres and carries on general farming and stock-raising, buying and feeding stock which he ships to market. His work has been diligently prosecuted and he yet follows stock-raising to some extent, but has put aside the arduous labors of the farm and has rented his land, the income from which supplies him with the necessaries and many of the luxuries of life.
In 1872 occurred the marriage of Mr. Brigham and Miss Alice Stevens, who was born in De Kalb county, Missouri, November 19, 1854, a daughter of Orin and Catherine (Vanarden) Stevens. The mother was born in the Empire state. They were married in Missouri, where the father carried on farming until 1859, when he settled in Nebraska, locating land there which he transformed into a good farm. Subsequently he came to Kansas. After his death his widow became Mrs. McGuire and now resides on the McGuire homestead in Hamlin township, Brown county. The children of the first marriage are: Alice; Mrs. Amelia Mangold and Mrs. Mary Berkly. Of the second marriage there were also three children: Ellen, wife of C. Frater; Maggie, wife of C. Berkly; and Charles, who is living on the old homestead.
The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Brigham has been graced with five children: Thomas, Bessie, Mabel, Joseph C. and Lulu. The family circle is yet unbroken and the household in noted for its hospitality, our subject and his wife having long enjoyed the friendship of many of the best residents of the neighborhood. In politics Mr. Brigham is a stalwart Republican, unswerving in his advocacy of the principles of the party. He has served as township treasurer and school treasurer, yet has never sought the honors or emoluments of office, his time being fully occupied with his business affairs. It is now meet that after a useful and valuable business career he should enjoy a rest from its more arduous duties, especially as his prosperity has been won by his well-directed labors.