Biography of John W. Brigham

A large and well improved ranch eight and a half miles southeast of the city of Moscow, in Latah county, is owned by John Warren Brigham, who is regarded as one of the most enterprising and progressive agriculturists of this part of the state. His business ability, untiring industry and capable management have been the chief elements in his success and have gained him a position among the substantial residents of the county.

Mr. Brigham is a native of California, his birth having occurred in Placer County, on the 22d of March 1857. On the paternal side he is of English and Welsh lineage, and on the maternal side of English and Dutch descent. The original American ancestors of the Brigham family left the “merrie isle” to become residents of New England, and his great-grandfather fought in the Revolutionary war, participating in the battle of Bunker Hill. He was a resident of Massachusetts, and was a shoemaker by occupation. The grandfather, Curtis Brigham, was born in Massachusetts and became a Baptist minister. With his family he removed to Michigan in an early day, locating in Plainwell, Allegan County, where he entered the government land that now lies within the corporation limits of that city. He improved his property and there made his home until his death, which occurred when he was eighty years, of age, his wife surviving until she had passed the eighty-fourth milestone on life’s journey. They were members of the Baptist church, and were people of sterling worth.

Curtis Brigham, the father of our subject, was ten years of age when the family settled in Michigan, and was therefore reared amid the wild scenes of the frontier. He was educated in the public schools and in the academy of the town and was a man of much intelligence and broad general information. In his religious views he might have been termed a liberal Baptist. He married Miss Esther Metcalf, a native of Ohio, and in 1854 went to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama. Two years later his wife and two young sons joined him in the Golden state, and in order to support his family he devoted his energies to farming in the San Joaquin valley, where he owned a large ranch and was also extensively engaged as an apiarist. In 1875 he came to Latah County, Idaho, where he died in the sixty-sixth year of his age, his wife passing away in her fifty-fourth year. Their Christian piety was manifest in their upright lives, and they were faithful laborers in the Master’s vineyard. The father was the founder of the first Baptist Church in Plainwell, Michigan, and it grew to be a very large and influential organization. Mr. and Mrs. Brigham had a family of six children, five of whom are living.

John Warren Brigham, the third in order of birth, was educated in the public schools of California and came to his present home in Latah County in 1878. This was then a new and undeveloped district, and he secured both a preemption and homestead claim from the government. With characteristic energy and determination he began transforming the raw land into rich and fertile fields, and now has one of the fine farming properties in this section of the state. The improvements include a good residence and barn, an excellent fishpond, and orchards covering sixty-five acres. He raises nearly all kinds of fruit, grain, vegetables and stock, uses improved machinery in the cultivation of the fields, and follows the most advanced and progressive methods in all departments of his farm work. Through his well directed labors he has attained a position among the substantial farmers of Idaho, and his success is the just reward of his efforts.

For a number of years Mr. Brigham lived alone upon his ranch, but in 1893 he was united in marriage to Miss Nellie Wilson, a native of Nebraska and a daughter of William Wilson, now of Latah county. Idaho. They now have two interesting little children: John Wilson and Verna Esther. The parents are valued members of the United Brethren church, and in political faith Mr. Brigham is a Republican. He was a member of the fifteenth territorial council, the state convention which framed the present constitution of Idaho, was a member of the first state senate, and at the present writing, 1899, also occupies a seat in the upper house of the general assembly. He is a man of ideas, viewing broadly and in an unprejudiced manner the questions that come up for consideration, and having at heart the best interest of his fellow men and the state of his adoption. He considers carefully all issues, and his mature judgment has had a marked and beneficial influence upon the legislation of the commonwealth. During campaigns he has labored earnestly for the success of his party, delivering many addresses in support of its principles and is a recognized leader in its ranks. His career, both public and private, is irreproachable, and such men are an honor to Idaho.



Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899.

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