Hugh Lackey Briggs

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Hugh Lackey Briggs

Birth
Paris, Oneida County, New York, USA
Death
16 Jun 1874 (aged 78)
Denver, City and County of Denver, Colorado, USA
Burial
Denver, City and County of Denver, Colorado, USA Add to Map
Memorial ID
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Photos Note - The photographs to the left are two of Hugh's sons (top to bottom) Edmund Clarke who wrote of the family in his history of the RLDS Church, Riley William who was elected to the Iowa State Assembly (Hugh helped put him through law school).

Hugh Lackey Briggs was a New York veteran of the War of 1812 and later a western pioneer who became a strong critic of the Mormon Church which he attempted to expose in his 1857 pamphlet "A Lecture on the Moral, Social, and Political Condition of Utah Territory." His sons Jason W., Edmund C., Silas H., Riley W., Edwin R., and Peter C. helped found the Reorganized Church of Latter day Saints in 1851 and spread it across the West to California. By the end of his life he had become a colorful pioneer character in Denver, known for helping develop the early stage routes for Utah and Colorado and perhaps the Pony Express as well.

There was only one official cemetery in Denver when Hugh died in 1874, (Riverside began in 1876) so it is very likely he was buried in this old cemetery. However, when the city cemetery was closed, many of those interred were moved to Riverside cemetery.

1st Marriage: "on or about" 2 April 1815 in Madison Co., NY to Polly Damon (b. 6 May 1796 Paris, Madison Co., NY, d. 1890, buried in Wheeler Grove Cemetery in near Carson City, Pottawattamie County, IA.)

Children: (10 boys, 5 girls according to Edmund Briggs), know names:
- Silas Hugh (b. Sullivan Co., NY, about 1817, d. 21 Jun 1881, Martin Co., Min., became a Mormon ca. 1842 and in 1844 he was the only Mormon missionary sent to Wisconsin out of 350 to lead the campaign for the election of Joseph Smith for U.S. president; in 1863 accepted into the RLDS Church based on his earlier Mormon baptism and ordination as an elder: "Bro. Silas ... was a staunch defender of the faith...." - obit, "Saints' Herald," 1881, Vol. 28, page 260);
- Jason William (b. 30 Jun 1820, Pompey, Onondaga Co, NY., d. 13 Jan 1899, Harris, Colorado);
- Milo Oren (b. 19 April 1838, d. 6 May 1907 in Clinton, Iowa, buried in Glendale Cemetery, married Cynthia L. Hultz, and they had perhaps 11 children including Cynthia "Nellie" Lovenia Briggs Simmons Brackett whose picture is included below);
- Joel;
- Edwin Ruthven (b. 16 Oct. 1828, Seneca Falls (Venice), Cayuga, NY, d. 19 Aug. 1908, Nebraska City, Nebraska)
- Edmund Clarke (b. 20 Feb 1835 Wheeler, Steuben Co., NY, d. 4 July 1913 Independence, Missouri);
- Peter Conover (b. 10 June 1836, Wheeler, Steuben County, NY, d. : 1 Dec. 1918, buried little River Cemetery, Mendocino, California; he was president of the RLDS church branches in Petaluma and Healdsburg0;
- Clement Andrew (b. 5 May 1839, Jefferson Co. Wis., d. 7 - Jun 1879, Portland Oregon, of apoplexy age 40; married Elizabeth L. Walker on 27 Nov 1866 in in Healdsburg by Rev. W. Hulbert as reported in the "Sonoma Democrat");
- Riley William (b. 22 Feb 1842, Beloit, Wisconsin, d. 17 Jun 1927, Independence, Mo.; named for Polly's brother Riley Damon; married Clarissa E. Greene on 29 Jul 1870 in Tabor, Iowa; ordained an RLDS elder 8 Oct 1862 and a member of the Seventy in 1864; a lawyer, State Representative of Potawattomie Co. in the 23rd and 24th General Assemblies of Iowa; moved to Independance after daughter Pearl S. graduated and married);
- Mary (married Curtis Stiles);
- Louisa (a.k.a. Maria Louise, married Nathaniel Taylor Parkinson, their son Frank E. Parkinson was born 16 October 1842 in La Fayette Co., Wisconsin);
- Perhaps another daughter was Harriet Pearl who may have died young.

2nd Marrriage: Mary Wright, married June 1855 in Salt lake City, divorced ca. July 1859 in Salt lake City.

3rd marriage: Susanna Vine Preston, born 1801 England; they were married in Utah by May 1859, but possibly as early as September 1855 when she arrived in Utah and November 1856 when Hugh was absent from Utah until late 1858 or early 1859. They remained together until Hugh's death in 1874. She remarried in 1881 and died 21 Dec. 1887 in Denver.

Hugh was the son of Tryphena Austin and Joshua Briggs, a veteran of the Revolution. Joshua was from Rhode Island, fought for Connecticut in the Revolution, and then moved on to upstate New York looking for new land and opportunities. Tryphena was from Connecticut where Joshua met her possibly while serving with her cousins in the same company. Her first American ancestor was Anthony Austin, born ca. 1635, Bishopstock, Hampshire, England, died 22 Aug 1708, Suffield, Connecticut, age 73 years, and buried in the Old Center Cemetery in Suffield.

An interesting report on Hugh's family history was published in a Denver obituary in 1900. The story titled "Descendant of Martyred Latimer Dies In Denver......." concerned Hugh's daughter-in-law, Lousia Higley Briggs, which reported that her husband, Jason W. Briggs, was from a Highland Scott family and that his ancestors had fought with Sir William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. The obituary was found in Louisa's Bible which had been handed down in the family according to a letter from her granddaughter Hazel Briggs Asby to Samantha "Dorothy" Louisa Briggs Murray dated April 25, 1970. The veracity of this report about the Briggs ancestry has not been substantiated and would fall into the realm of family legends that are yet to be proven, perhaps something not possible due to the meager records from 700 years ago. But it does provide some tantalizing areas for further research.

Hugh's first and middle names were selected to honor the business partner of his father Joshua Briggs. By 1796 Joshua and Tryphena are noted for several land transactions in the towns of Pompey and Manlius in Onondaga County, NY where they moved at some point from Broadalbin where Joshua had been constable. The records in Manlius include a partner of Joshua named Hugh Lackey, and it appears he was the inspiration for our Hugh's name. It is also interesting that Joshua repeatedly included Tryphena's name in the land transactions which gave her equal status in a time when some husbands owned the land individually.

The first known record of Hugh is as an unnamed male teenage boy in his father Joshua's 1810 census information in Manlius, Onondaga Co., NY, but the first time his name appears in existing records is as a private of about age 18 in Swift's and Dobbins' Regiment of New York Militia in the War of 1812. This unit fought near Niagara, and some of the men were part of the forces of Winfield Scott in the key battle of Lundy's Lane on 25 July 1814 and the subsequent defense of Fort Erie. This military experience may have been the reason that Hugh was selected as a junior officer in 1816 for the Madison County militia as an ensign in the 74th Regiment, and by 1818 he had been promoted to lieutenant for this unit. This service ended when he began the first of his many moves westward, as it seems Hugh was ever looking for the next opportunity over the horizon.

Hugh had married Polly Damon soon after the close of the war. Her family, headed by her father Jason Damon, another Revolutionary veteran, is listed close to the Briggs family in the 1810 census for Sullivan, Madison Co., New York. The couple soon began their family with the birth of their son Silas Hugh Briggs about 1817.

However, Hugh had another family obligation to help his father Joshua. On 16 April 1819 Hugh appeared before Judge William Whipple in Madison County for a declaration under oath to attest to his father's need for a Revolutionary War pension. The judge added to the document that Hugh was a believable witness, and such witnesses were required by the Act of Congress that established the pensions. This document provides one of the two known samples of Hugh's signature to survive.

The next decade was an active period for the family. In 1820 Hugh's family is listed on the census for the town of Lysander, but their next son Jason William Briggs records that he was born 25 Jan. 1821 in nearby Pompey. Also there is a census record for a Hugh Briggs in Cicero, Onondaga County. Then came a move further west in New York which resulted in Hugh being listed as an early settler by 1825 in Steuben County in the area of Wheeler township. He is also listed as an early settler in the adjacent town of Avoca between 1816 and 1824, but since the two traded territory, it could be that he might not have even changed his location but simply his land was later in the other township as the territorial limits changed. In this area other children were born including Edwin in 1829, Edmund Clarke on 20 Feb 1835, and Peter Conover Briggs in 1836 (my direct ancestor). In total, Hugh and Polly gave life to ten sons and five daughters, and in addition to those above were Milo, Joel, Edwin Ruthven, Clemont Andrew, Riley William (named for Polly's brother Riley Damon), Mary, and Lucinda (Parkinson). In the 1835 New York state census for Wheeler Hugh is named as head of a family with five males, 3 females, one voter (Hugh) and one eligible for militia (also Hugh). Some of the older children must have moved out of the home by this point.

The family remained in Wheeler for perhaps a total of 15 years until they moved west again, this time to the Wisconsin Territory where they arrived 10 June 1838. There might have been a brief stay in Ohio on the way since son Milo Oren listed his birth place as Cleveland on April 19, 1837. A book about the early Mormon/RLDS Church in Wisconsin recorded that the Briggs family was aboard the first steam ship to sail across the Great Lakes to Milwaukee on a regular route. There was no wharf built at the site, so the large animals on board were forced over the side to swim ashore. An additional anecdote records that the family had the first oil stove seen in this region, and many misunderstood its design and believed that it might blow up since they misconstrued that it worked like a steam boiler.

After a year in Milwaukee, Hugh moved the family yet again, this time to Montgomery County as one of the early settlers near the town of Aztalan, and he is named on the town census in 1840. This community arose on a key road junction on the Milwaukee to Mineral Point Territorial Road (now Jefferson County Highway B) and the stage coach road from Janesville to Fond du Lac and points north (now Aztalan Mound Road). The location of the town was near an ancient Native American settlement mound and stockade which today are part of a state park. The fast growing town nearly became the state capital but came in second to Madison when the state was admitted to the Union.

After establishing a farm near Aztalan which his adult son Silas oversaw and expanded (with public land purchases in 1840 and 1843), Hugh moved the family to Rock County outside the town of Beloit where he also bought public land for homesteading. On 10 Sept. 1844 he filed a purchase in the Milwaukee office for 36.92 acres, and he bought an additional 36.72 acres on 1 July 1846 (document numbers 11901 and 14355). His adult sons Joel and Jason purchased nearby land on the same dates.

It was at Beloit where much of the family history became important since on 6 June 1841 son Jason W. was baptized into the Mormon faith at Potosi, Wisconsin and brought it home to Beloit where he began to preach and establish a church. There had long been a strong religious vein in the family with Hugh's brother Austin a minister and Methodist wife Polly Damon reading the children Bible stories in the main room of their homestead out on the Wisconsin prairie and diligently sending them to hear circuit ministers. With Jason's urging, the family home at Beloit served as a meeting house after his mother Polly and other family members converted to LDS as well. In nearby Waukesha, Jason established another congregation with the help of his first cousin, Almon H. White.

According to the family history by Edmund Briggs, his father Hugh was less enthusiastic than the others but did support his son. Silas, the oldest brother, also took up the religion vigorously, became an elder with Jason, and probably traveled repeatedly to the Mormon center at Nauvoo, Illinois to confer with Joseph Smith and the other church leaders. Such was the case on 15 April 1844 when the "Times and Seasons", the official church newspaper, published a list of the elders who attended a special conference along with the subsequent destinations where they were to help further the church. S.H. Briggs was the only one sent to Wisconsin. Just over two months later Smith was murdered and the church thrown into turmoil.

After Joseph Smith was killed in 1844 and Brigham Young assumed leadership for most Mormons, Jason and Edmund Briggs did not follow him, particularly since they objected to the polygamy that Young was now supporting. The brothers led many of their Wisconsin brethren to break with his sect, and after several years of searching for an acceptable leader, Jason reported a revelation in 1851 that the true Mormons should wait for Joseph Smith III to become an adult and assume the leadership of his father's flock. To this end, a new organization was formed, and Jason was elected the First (Acting) President of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints (RLDS). For the rest of the 19th century the Briggs family would play a major role in this organization.

Son Edmund C. Briggs' biographical RLDS history in chapters 1 and 2 includes his recollections of the family which included Hugh's conversations with Polly about Mormons and Jason's initial conversion to the LDS church and the introduction of it into the family:

"In February 1842, was the first time I remember of hearing anything of the people called 'Mormons,' except horrible stories of their wickedness. My father (Hugh) had been gone about a week to Milwaukee, and on his return home stopped overnight at the Rock River Hotel in Beloit, Wisconsin. After he reached home, and while he was hanging up his overcoat, he remarked, 'Mother, I heard a strange thing last night. I stayed at the Rock River Hotel, and it was crowded with strangers from all parts of the country; beds all full and barroom and dining room floors; and I slept in the dining room. During the evening, a stranger from Quincy, Illinois, was telling about Joe Smith, the Mormon prophet. He said he was a swearing, drunken blackguard, a gambler, horse racer, and blackleg; that he gambled on the boats up and down the river. As he made this remark, the landlord, who was behind the counter, said to him, "Stranger, I keep hotel here to make money, and your money is as good as anyone's, but you are too g __ d____ mean a man to stay under my roof. I kept hotel in Quincy, and Mr. Smith has been at my house hundreds of times, and a more marked gentleman never ate at my table. I do not know or care a d____ about his religion, but you know every word you said about Mr. Smith is a g__ d____ lie, and you can take your duds and leave my house".' This terrible rebuke to a stranger under such circumstances, and in such horrible language by the rude man, was a real surprise to me and made a lasting impression on my mind. I thought, 'Is it possible he told the truth? And if he did, and Mr. Smith is a real gentleman, what could I think of the clergy who had always spoken of Smith as a wicked man, and the "Mormons" as the roughest, most wicked, and most ignorant people in the world? In fact, I had never heard any good of them before. Could it be a fact that this wicked hotel keeper had told the truth?' These thoughts crowded themselves on my mind for some time.

"Our house was the home of all the ministers at quarterly meetings for a long time. Elders Merriam, Ostrander, and the great revivalist, Knapp, a Methodist but later joined the Baptist Church, were frequently at our house. There were also several ministers at Beloit who called at our house. They always appeared to be so kind and good that I naturally reverenced them…

". . . mother(Polly Damon) received a letter from my eldest sister, Louisa Parkinson, saying that my brother, Jason, was coming home and that he had joined the 'Mormons' (referring to the Latter Day Saints), and when we received him we would receive a "Mormon" preacher. We were all surprised. Father and mother talked in undertones and felt grieved at heart, and wondered how it was possible he could be so deceived and led away among such bad people. They expressed the hope that when he returned he would be easily shown the error of his way and reclaimed to the Christian church.

"I was sent off on an errand; but none knew how sad I was over the news of my sister's letter. While walking along, I thought what a disgrace it was on the family for him to join such a church. And the thought, 'Oh, what a disgrace it would be on the whole neighborhood!' suddenly burst in on my mind as if someone spoke to me. I then sat down and wept bitterly over it for some time.

". . . One evening, father came home from Beloit, and as we sat down to supper, he said, 'Jason, some of the friends at Beloit sent word for you to come down and preach in the Methodist church.'

"Jason replied very quietly, 'All right. Give out an appointment and I will go down.'

"Father smiled, but none of us said a word about it. After we had gone to bed, I heard father say to mother, 'What does the boy mean? Does he really mean he will go and preach in the church at Beloit?'

"Mother said, 'I do not know, I am sure.'

"The next morning father was going to town, and I now remember very distinctly how perplexed he looked as he took up the lines to start. Looking up, he called to Jason who was then in the house. When Jason came to the door, father said, 'Do you really mean that you will preach in Beloit if the friends there make an appointment for you?'

"'Yes. Why not?'

"The appointment was made. My brothers were getting out fencing for father, and worked as usual every day. The second evening before the appointment came, father asked mother if she had seen Jason writing his sermon. She had not.

"'What does the boy mean?' said father. 'I guess I will tell him he need not work tomorrow.'

"The next morning, while we were around the breakfast table, he told Jason he need not work that day, for he was in no hurry for the fencing. But Jason replied, 'I'd just as leave work, and I am in a hurry to get through,' and so went to work as usual.

"The evening finally came for the meeting, and Jason asked father how he was going to town. Father replied, 'Are you going to town?'

"Jason answered, 'Is not this the evening of our appointment for meeting?'
Father smiled, and said, "I will take you"; and mother went along.

"After they had returned and had retired, they (Hugh and Polly) talked over his sermon and expressed surprise at his information of the Bible; so father concluded to take him up to Aztalan, and on the way call on Elder Ostrander, a Methodist minister, and visit Elder Merriam also; and see if they could not bring the boy around all right again.

"Silas (Edmund's oldest brother) was still living there on the old farm near Aztalan, but we had moved forty miles south, near Beloit, and were living on a new place. Father was not going to tell Jason the object of the visit. The journey and visit were made; and on their return father reported that on the way they called upon Elder Ostrander, and just before they went into the house he said to the elder, 'My boy has come home a Mormon, and I have brought him up here to have you show him his error.'

"'Oh, that is all right, Brother Briggs; that will be an easy job!'

"And father related, 'When we went into the house they were soon busy in conversation. Jason quoted the Bible, answered every question, and seemed to understand the whole Bible. Brother Ostrander could not do anything with him. After dinner we talked about two hours, and Elder Ostrander arose and went outdoors. I followed him. I saw he was bothered, and so was I; and just as we got outdoors Elder Ostrander turned around to me, and said, "Brother Briggs, we can do nothing with your son. The only thing that can be done is to hop on (attack) old Joe Smith." I replied, "My, you must not do that."'

"'When we got up to Aztalan the ministers there could do nothing with him, and became angry. Jason had the Bible on his tongue's end. My, I do not see when the boy learned it!'
I could see father was disturbed about my brother, and disgusted with the manner in which he was used by the ministry. He thought he ought to be met with Bible arguments instead of scandalous stories about Mr. Smith.

"As time passed on, I became more and more interested in the doctrine of the Latter Day Saints. The 'Times and Seasons', monthly published at Nauvoo, Illinois, was a welcome visitor at our house. I could not read much in it, but mother, sister, and brother, Edwin, read it; and I was very anxious to hear it all read when it came . . . .

". . . It was this year (1843) the revivalist, Elder Knapp, was at our house the last time and soon after went to Chicago, attended the Baptist conference, became concerned about baptism, and to quiet his conscience was there immersed and joined the Baptist Church. Soon after this, while in the harvest field, my father's remarks about it were, 'Elder Knapp has been a Methodist all his life, has preached until he is an old man, and has just found out he has not been baptized, and that sprinkling is not baptism' and said, 'Boys, before you undertake to jump a stream, be sure you can light on the other shore, lest you may fall in the water'; that is, be sure you are right before you join any church. And then he continued, 'I understand a man may be a gentleman and a moral man, yet not a Christian. But no man can be a Christian that is not a gentleman. Christianity commences where a gentleman and moralist stops.'

"These remarks led me to decide that I would not hastily join any church, but be careful and watch all churches and accept none that did not have the form of doctrine, claim the power, and have the organization of the Church just as the New Testament said it was during the apostles' times; and when I was twelve years old I would get permission of my parents to visit some of our relatives, and while gone from home, go to Nauvoo, see Mr. Smith, and if I became fully satisfied I ought to be baptized, I would join the Latter Day Saints. The history of Joseph Smith and the persecution of the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, were being published then, and I was very much interested in it.

"Sometime during the spring of 1843, I heard father tell of some strange things he had seen, where someone had been mesmerized and was completely under the control of the one who mesmerized him. It made a very strong impression on my mind for days, and in the fall of 1843 my brothers, Silas and Jason, and cousin, Almon White, came to our house on their way to Nauvoo to attend conference. The night before they were to start, I requested Jason to ask Mr. Smith what mesmerism is. He promised to do so, and next morning, when they were all ready to leave, I renewed my request. When he came back, the first question I asked him was, 'What did Joseph Smith say about mesmerism?'

"He replied, 'I asked Joseph the question. He answered, "It is the power that spirits of men, in tabernacles, under clairvoyant influence, may wield over each other." Said it was a similar power as that of lying spirits, foul spirits, called devils in the days of Chris - only the one which is of men cannot have so much power over others in the flesh; disembodied spirits can have much more power, and are the means by which devils would work miracles in the last days to deceive, if possible, the very elect - and the Saints ought not to have anything to do with it.'

"This was some satisfaction to me, yet I could not comprehend devils working miracles. And all those instances so frequently mentioned in the Bible of devils, foul spirits, unclean spirits, were inexplicable mysteries. I could not say I believed there were any such things as evil spirits, or that they could do anything among men.

"In the winter of 1843-1844, I had become fully satisfied that Smith was a prophet of God. Mother had read to us the Voice of Warning, a pamphlet published by Elder P. P. Pratt, which was explicit and vigorous in its defense of the gospel of Christ, and the government and Kingdom of God as understood by the prophets and apostles of old."

From this point in the story, Edmund turns his focus on the developing church and provides only a few glimpses into the family, but in the last reference to Hugh in chapter 14, he corroborates information about his military service in 1812 as well as that of both grandfathers in the Revolution when he discusses the need for courage to oppose religious biogtry:

"Monday, July 18 (1858). A feeling of persecution exists and some threats are made against us; and two men from Missouri visited us today, claiming to be a committee sent to warn us not to hold any more meetings in this part of the country. They said, 'You must think we are g__ d____ fools to allow you to build up a church in our midst. You will soon rise up and undertake to drive us out of the country.' We very plainly in-formed said committee that we were American citizens and preaching the gospel of Christ, and were not in any manner connected or associated with the (polygamist) Mormons in Utah; and after some little explanation of our doctrine, they made apologies to us, and said, 'Gentlemen, go ahead; we have been misinformed in relation to you, and we will not do anything to hinder your work.' They bade us good-bye, and we took no further notice of the rumors that were put afloat against us. But we observed the little opposition against us in this place was indicative that Satan was aware a great work was going to be done in here. We did not then think that near this place would be the headquarters of the Church. Lamoni is only about fourteen miles from where this committee waited on us July 18, 1859, ever memorable in my history, for I admit I felt a little indignant at first to have a committee wait on me on such business. MY OWN GRANDFATHERS WERE IN THE WAR, to secure the liberty of our country from all oppression, and that our government might be enjoyed as an asylum where religious intolerance should not have one breath of God's free air; and MY FATHER WAS IN THE WAR OF 1812, to perpetuate that sacred boon for all ages to come - and to have these two men come to warn me to cease preaching the gospel of Christ - well, I may say it served to stir up all the latent powers of my mind against intolerance and persecution, that had culminated and been fostered by religious fanaticism since the world began."

One might read between the lines of Edmund's narrative that Hugh was never an enthusiastic supporter of the Mormon movement in contrast to the rest of the family that embraced it, including Polly. This might have led to some strain in the family, and despite the portrait of Hugh and Polly as loving and supportive parents of 15 children, perhaps the religious differences were part of the cause that led to the separation of Hugh and Polly by 1855 when Edmund records she purchased land on her own. At some point the couple separated, but perhaps they never officially divorced (see below).

Another possible contributing factor is a family memory that Hugh left for the West Coast with two of his sons when gold was discovered in California, but there is no specific evidence for this except the record of an H. Briggs in the 1850 San Francisco directory living at a building called the Bee Hive on Broadway below Battery St. However, such a trip to the Coast fits well with his long record of searching for opportunity in the West. Edmund's family history does not include Hugh in the family scenes after the mid 1840s, and perhaps the appeal of the Golden State was the cause. There is evidence concerning Peter C. Briggs that might add to evidence for Hugh in the California.

For 3 Aug. 1858 the Amador County archives record a civil suit Peter C. Briggs brought against Henry Cook (file #6674.502). The name of Almon H. White appears as well and it seems he was a witness or provided an affidavit, so this makes certain this case involves our Peter since Almon was his cousin. However, an agent for Peter is also named, a certain A. H. Rose, so Peter might not have been in the state but rather had Rose acting for him. The abstract for the file refers to "Volcano Ditch" which was a canal associated with mining in Amador County as well as "Indian Diggings" which was mining site. Mining rights were involved, and this makes a stronger case for Hugh Briggs having come to California for the Gold Rush. Possibly Hugh had established some claims and perhaps passed them on to his son who had yet to come West, and by 1858 Peter had brought a suit from another state to assert his rights. Hugh was in Utah in 1855 and 1859, so if he had been in California earlier, he had left before the case was filed. There is also the possibility that teenage Peter had accompanied his father to California for gold as well.

Another family member was in California in the 1850s who might have gone with Hugh. This was Mary J. Briggs who went with her husband Curtis F. Stiles to the Golden State but returned to Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1859 when Edmund states he met them on 9 Dec. in the home his brother Edwin. He had not seen them since 1852. On their way east they had seen the site of the Mountain Meadows massacre of 1857. Bleached bones were still visible of the 120 immigrants who had been killed, and they said they saw local Mormon women wearing the victims' clothes with bullet holes in them. While in the vicinity they heard of two local Mormon leaders who admonished their flocks to remain silent about what happened. But Mary and Curtis seemed incensed that these leaders said nothing about burying the dead or wearing their clothes. They also identify John D. Lee as one of the leaders of the massacre who was the talk of the Territory (Lee was the only person tried, convicted, and executed for the crime 20 years later).

A fascinating document has surfaced that shows more about what was happening in the 1850s in the family. Hugh Lacky Briggs published an essay in the forum of a lecture (at 18 pages it was more a pamphlet) which attacked the Mormon authorities in Utah. The title is "A Lecture on the Moral, Social, and Political Condition of Utah Territory, written by Hugh L. Briggs, Esq" with a publication date of 1857 and no named publisher (Hugh probably published it himself in size 8vo). The piece is mentioned in Volume II of "A Dictionary of Books Relating to America from its Discovery to the Present Time" by Joseph Sabin, published in 1869. Sabin gives Hugh's book the catalog number H. 7949, and lists it on page 485.

This book is tantalizing since 1857 proved to be a very significant year in Utah when a wagon train of settlers passing through the territory was besieged by a group of Mormons and allied Paiute tribes in the famous Mountain Meadows Massacre on 11 September. When the immigrants surrendered to the Mormons who promised they would protect them from the Paiute warriors, the unarmed men, women, and children were attacked and executed. About 120 were killed (and the only person who was ever held to account for this was the Mormon leader John D. Lee who was convicted in 1877 and executed by a firing squad on March 23 at the site of the massacre twenty years after the fact).

In addition to the attack, bigger events would happen a few months later. The Utah War broke out between the LDS militia and the U.S. Army. As noted in Wikipedia:
"The Utah War, also known as the Utah Expedition or President Buchanan's Blunder, was an armed dispute between Latter-day Saint ("Mormon") settlers in Utah Territory and the United States federal government. The confrontation lasted from May 1857 until July 1858. While not fully bloodless, the war consisted of no pitched battles and was ultimately resolved through negotiation. Nevertheless, according to historian William P. MacKinnon, the Utah War was America's "most extensive and expensive military undertaking during the period between the Mexican and Civil wars, one that ultimately pitted nearly one-third of the US Army against what was arguably the nation's largest, most experienced militia."

In the text Hugh begins with the typical self-effacing statement asking for the audience's indulgence in his meager learning and limited abilities to present his views, but then he goes on to demonstrate an effective level of diction, usage, and historic understanding that reveals he is a learned man.

The main thrust of his argument is that the Mormon authorities are using their power for personal gain, and manipulating many of their followers through fear and violence to remain in Utah. He states that he was in Salt Lake City in 1855 and attempted to discover what was happening behind the closed doors on the large estates of the leaders whom he paints as hypocrites. For his trouble he had a run-in with one of the Danite guards used by the leadership to intimidate their flocks.

In particular Hugh attacks the practice of attracting young women to Utah form across the United States and England, and then making the situation impossible for them to leave and forcing them to become wives in a polygamuous marriage.

Hugh was on hand in the city in the spring of the year when Col. Steptoe, U.S. military commander for the territory, was leaving with his troops and was approached by several women who wished his column's escort to cross the 800 miles of dangerous territory to escape Utah. After hearing of this, hundreds of other women approached Steptoe and begged simply be to be escorted; they would provide their own provisions and care. Hugh was a witness to these events and ridicules an article in the December issue of "Graham's Magazine" in which the author S. N. Carvahlo attempts to whitewash the episode. In particular, he sites the situation of a Mrs. Wheelock who wanted her freedom after enduring the indignity of polygamy, and she was willing to give up everything to become friendless and penniless in California where the column was headed rather than endure life in Utah.

Hugh saves his attack on polygamy for the latter pages of the essay since it is in essence the climax of his lecture as a demonstration of the moral corruption of the leadership. The young women who were trapped into polygamy were victims of the dangers presented by the Mormon leadership. Toward the end of the essay he states his point directly:

"Every branch and ramification of the civil government (of Utah) has been essentially and substantially annihilated, paralyzed, or perverted by the ecclesiastical organizations and by their theocratic government. The office of Governor, and that of Superintendent of Indian Affairs, is nominally filled by President Young, the head of the Mormon Church, who professes to hold his office and power directly under, or rather in joint tenancy with the Supreme Being; the civil duties and power of Governor are regarded as mere attributes of Priesthood.

"The legislature is the mere echo of the ecclesiastical councils, the officers of this body being taken in due order, and with proper regard to rank from ecclesiastical councils and organizations. The delegate in Congress is the representative and agent, not of the organized Territory of Utah as a political body or civil community, but of the Mormon religion. In the Federal councils of the nation, his election has, on one occasion, taken place on Sabbath in their public place of worship [in Salt Lake City], and he has, on all other occasions, been sent to, and controlled, while a delegate of Congress, by the same theocratic government. (For particulars of this head, see Brigham Young's Discourse, Journal of Discourses, page 185 to 191). The subordinate or inferior magistracy are taken from the ranks of the church or still worse from the creatures and tools which the church employs to intimidate, and over awe the community into obedience to their ecclesiastical mandates. The courts of justice, designed for the free, impartial, speedy, and economical administration of justice, have fallen into the hands of the creatures of the church, and are converted into a powerful auxiliary, in defrauding and robbing those who do not comply with the ecclesiastical ordinance, and who are unwilling to trust their fates and fortunes in such corrupt hands. Formerly, when the judges were unbiased, and capable and willing to administer justice according to law, they were thwarted and baffled by Mormon juries, being tampered with and made subservient to the views and objects of Mormon leaders. These things have existed to some extent for years, growing worse, until in substance there is no vestige of civil or political liberty, or of the equal and unprejudiced administration of justice through the courts of law, which are now being worked most profitably by the Mormon community; and we hear day after day of the Mormon code or the Mormon laws...."

The latter part of this long paragraph continues with a point that has tragic parallels. Since Hugh does not mention the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 11 Sept., it seems it has not yet occurred or he has not yet heard of it, but his description of immigrants avoiding the Mormons provides a background for what happened when contact does occur:
"These facts have been so well established in the minds of those at all acquainted with the affairs in Utah, that the overland trader and immigrant to California, Oregon and Washington, avoid their settlements, as they would an infected district, knowing as they do the impotence of the law and the facility of trumping up pretexts in which they may be involved, and the facilities then furnished by their corporations and tribunals to despoil and rob them, while a portion of the community, fully sensible of the facilities thus furnished them, are constantly stretching their settlement until they now extend from Salmon river in Oregon, to San Barnadino (sic), in Lower California, forming a connected chain some fifteen hundred miles in length, which it is impossible to flank in passing from the valley of the Mississippi and Missouri, to the States and Territories on the Pacific. Of the outrages committed in this Territory, but little is likely to be heard by the citizens of the United States generally, as those committed on the transient emigrant IF NOT FATAL [emphasis mine] or serious in nature, are forgotten or effaced by the stirring incidents in a long and hazardous journey, before he reaches a point where they can be given to the public. Those committed upon, or falling under the observation of Mormons, or Gentiles resident among them, are passed by without comment, as personal safety, the preservation of the property, and the dictates of interest and policy suggest silence, while every nobler impulse of a man's nature urges him to speak out in open condemnation."

Hugh finishes this point by stating that only a portion of the Mormons are "corrupt and depraved" but that the entire community can not be described this way, and he adds that such prejudice against a group as a whole should be avoided since "universal and indiscriminate censure is aught but a pleasing duty. This community, like all others, is formed of a contrariety of elements, and contains much material for forming good and worthy citizens, whenever they can be relieved from the pressure of that despotism exercised by the leaders of the Mormon Church; but unfortunately, the corruptions, crimes, and impurities complained of, exist in the directing and controlling power of the territory."

To support his views, Hugh cites the printed statements of several leading Mormon authorities, and toward the end of the piece he provides a chilling statement by Brigham Young toward a Mormon who had challenged his authority and was supporting another leader. Hugh identifies the dissident as a "man by the name Smith, now living in Council Bluffs [Iowa], got some wrinkle in his brain, that, at the death of Joseph (Joe Smith,) the mantle of prophecy should have fallen on one Gladden a Bishop, instead of on the shoulders of Brigham Young, and like all philanthropists possessed of a great truth he believed it his duty to communicate it to the world...he delivered several discourses in the streets. Being denied this method of exposition by the police authorities of the City of Great Salt Lake, he then made appointments to deliver his views and opinions to the curious and inquisitive, who would assemble at his own house; suffice it to say that he was emphatically informed that if he did not hold his peace, the earth should not long be disturbed, and the peace of God's people endangered by his clamors. The excitement reached that point that the country became unhealthy for Smith and his Gladdenite doctrines, and he found it saftest (sic) to leave the vallies (sic) of the mountains in the beginning of winter, with a wife and three little children, and encounter the dangers and perils of a winter trip of twelve hundred miles, through an Indian country with his helpless family, than to remain among these tolerant people of Zion, and entertain opinions disagreeable to the heads of the Mormon church. I will give you an extract from President Young's discourses on this subject, and would earnestly recommend the perusal of the same throughout. (See Journal of Discourses, from page 81 to 84.)
"'I say again to you Gladenites do not court persecution, or you will get more than you want, and it will come quicker than you want it. I say to you Bishops, do not allow then to preach in your wards. Who broke the roads to these valleys? Did this little nasty Smith and his wife? No, they staid in St. Louis, while we did it; peddling ribbons, and kissing the Gentiles. I know what they have done here - they have asked exorbitant prices for their nasty stinking ribbons. (Voices, "that's true.") We broke the roads to this country. Now, you Gladdenites, keep your tongues still, lest destruction come upon you... Now you nasty apostates, clear out, or judgement will be put to the line and righteousness to the plummet....'"

Hugh let Young's threats against free speech speak for themselves as those which should never come from the mouth of the governor of any American territory. And in the end of the lecture he ends with a personal statement about his purpose and reason for this attack on the Mormon authorities.
"Personally, I feel deep solicitude on this subject, from the fact that I have suffered from its effects and consequences through those nearly allied to me by the ties of kindred and of blood; who have been either duped by its fallacies, or without that poor apology have used its delusions for the purpose of misleading others; and I conceive it my duty to neutralize the influence of their misdirected zeal or chicanery by every means in my power.
For your kind anbd polite attention to me, a stranger, I return you my sincere thanks."

HUGH L. BRIGGS

This ending statement must refer to his ex-wife Polly and several of their sons who embraced the LDS and then switched to the RLDS which they founded in 1851.

But could this really have been written by our Hugh? Yes it was: Hugh was on the scene in this period. A lawsuit (see below) places him in Salt Lake City in 1859, and he turns up with his third wife Susaanna Vine Preston in the 1860 US census in Summit County, Utah. This location was very significant since it held the main route through the mountains into Utah along Echo Canyon, and Hugh is listed there as a trader (family #36), and there were only 42 households in the county).

Hugh's wife Susanna had married Richard Weekly Preston in England but emigrated without him from with funds paid by the LDS church. She made the trip with a young woman, her niece Mary Ann Loveless. She was the daughter of her sister Mary Vine Loveless, but the family stores of Susanna's children state that Susanna's husband Richard Preston was the father, and they raised Mary Ann in their home. Mary Ann's birth date was recorded as 15 November 1840, and the place of birth as Shelford, London, England. One cam imagine the strain this must have put on the marriage which led to their separation.

Susanna and Mary Ann were passengers on the ship "Siddons" which sailed from Liverpool 27 February 1855. Shipping records show Susanna Preston's age as 57, from 117 Clawson Street; Mary Ann Loveless was age 15. Upon landing the immediately crossed the plains in Captain Richard Ballentine's company of 402 emigrants who reached Salt Lake City 25 September 1855.

According to one source after Susannah married Hugh, the niece was know as Mary Ann Briggs. Since she entered into a polygamus marriage with William "Harry" Harrison Walton on 8 January 1857 (in the office of Brigham Young), Susanna and Hugh could have been been married by this point for her to be carrying the Briggs name before she was married to Harry. Later in the year she and Walton had a daughter, Adelaide, and were living in the 13rth ward of Salt lake City.

Susanna's English relatives referred to Hugh as "Governor Briggs" as early as 1859, but actually the title is found earlier so they are not the source for this. It seems he was named this as early as 1857 as noted in a diary of a Mormon who identified Governor Briggs as a Mormmon apostate.

The legal episode noted above is partly explained in the diary of Hosea Stout, a Mormon pioneer, politician, and attorney who represented the church in a case against Hugh which seems to have been tried in Salt Lake City where the two attorneys in the action had their practices. Stout's entry for 4 May 1859 reads
"Suit before Esqr Clinton. Perpetual Emmigrating Fund Co vs Hugh L. Briggs Demand 20 68/100 dollars. I was attorney for Plff and T. S. Williams for deft.
This case arose on a promissory note given by Susanna Preston to the P. E. F. Co for her emmigration from England to this place & Briggs marreying her refused to pay her debt was sued, & called for a jury of 12 denying the liability of the Husband for the debts of the wife contracted before coneture. Jury found a verdict for the plff & deft appealed" (original spelling included).

So Hugh refused to pay the very organization he accused of transporting women to Utah where he stated they were coerced into polygamy. He even asked for a jury trial in Utah which was unlikely to give him a sympathetic audience, at least publicly. The twenty dollars was not a significant amount, so Hugh must have acted on principle. I can imagine what he must have said when they first asked him to pay the debt. And when he lost, he would not give up but then filed an appeal. He must have paid his attorney more than the debt cost him.

Susannah's Mormom descendants recall that while she was at Echo, she helped send money to her daughter Ann Preston Longhurst in England to sail to Amercia and join them in Utah. Suannah's grandaughter Marintha (Rinney) recalled how she looked: "about five feet or five feet two inches tall, weighed about 170 pounds, round and plump. Her eyes very light blue, hair thiin and fine, medium fair skin, short fingers, small round tands and feet, rather large nose, small eyes, hair rather low on her forehead, quick of speech, and very ggod health.... She never wore glasses and her hearing was good."

Supposedly as Susanna and Hugh were preparing to leave Utah circa 1860 (researcher James Bailey notes family letters about this), Mary Ann wanted out of the polygamous marriage with Walton and she soon left with them for Colorado. But this story is erroneous. By 1860 Mary Ann had left the marriage with Walton and had remarried by to Charles Holmes as noted in the US census (daughter Adelaide is in their home). According to Susanna's descendants, the reason for this divorce was not a rejection of polygamy but rather due to the jealousy of one of Walton's wives, Frances.

Years later Mary Any was living in Kansas City with two daughters and a son from this second marriage, and Susannah was still writing her and sending presents in the 1880s. But Susanna also retained fond memories of the Walton family, and she told her Longhurst relatives to give them her best wishes in Utah, so there was no anatgonism between the familes.

Concerning the Longhurst's,

Susannah stayed in close contact with her daughter's family in Utah, and she visited them on occassion, such as in 1882 when her son-in-law William wrote a letter to her husband Collyer stated she had arrived.

Also of note, in the 1860 census for the small community of Summit county, Hugh's oldest son Silas H. was just eight homes away from his father. He is mistakenly identified as 36 (should be 46) but he is with his wife Sarah and 13 year old Horatio S. Briggs who must be his son. Silas is also described as "trader" which suggests they might have been working as partners since such a small community is unlikely to have supported many traders. In addition, home #42 close by belongs to John W. Myer, another trader who could have been a partner with the Briggs men. This is significant concerning the Pony Express since one of the men in Myer's home is a Herman S. Hunt whose occupation is "express rider" (see below).

Because of the reference to stage drivers in Hugh's obituary and the "station" he ran as discussed in the obituary of his daughter-in-law Louisa Higley Briggs, it seems in the early 1860s he was involved with the new Overland stage station at La Porte on the Cache la Poudre River in Larimer Co, Colorado. This was at the settlement of La Porte which was the headquarters for the Mountain Division of the Overland Trail Stage Route (about 70 miles north of Denver). The stage fare from there to Denver was $20.00, and there was also a toll bridge built across the river with a charge of anyhwere from $.50 to $8.00.

Some of Susannah's relatives interviewed in the 1930s recalled that she and Hugh lived in Bountiful and Echo, and in 1857 were in Salt lake City when some of the Mormons moved south to get away from the US Army column that was headed for Utah under Col. Albert Sidney Johnson. There is also a family story that Hugh and Susannah were involved with a toll bridge and also the Pony Express station at the Head of Echo Canyon in Summit County where they are located in the 1860 census.

The station at the head of Echo Canyon was called Castle Rock and was just 8 miles southeast of the first Utah Pony Express station at Needle Rock on the boarder with Wyoming. In addition, a further 8 miles northeast from Needle Rock was the Bear River Pony Express station, thus the last one in Wyoming before crossing the Utah border into Summit County. According to a 1971 document by the U.S Bureau of Land Lanagement, Bear River Station was also called "Briggs Station after the proprietor." This places it just 16 miles from where Hugh and Susannah could be found in the census. Another publication by the National Park Service for the route stations in Wyoming states that that a certain Mormon named Myers was the agent there (their source is Raymond W. Settle and Mary Lund Settle, "Saddles and Spurs: The Pony Express Saga," Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Stackpole Company, 1955). Since John W. Myers had an express rider living in his home and was a trader in Summit along with Hugh and his son Silas, it is possible that all three were associated with the station at Bear River to which their names are attached by tradition.

If we put all this together, it is quite possible Hugh and Susannah were involved with the short lived Pony Express since Hugh, Silas and John Myers conducted some sort of trade business on the route which would have allowed them to set up a station in 1860, if not at Echo Canyon, then at Dear River Station 16 miles away. Perhaps when the service stopped after 18 months as telegraph lines reached coast to coast in 1861, Hugh and Susannah switched their focus to the stage lines which carried mail, and they became involved with the new station at the Cache la Poudre River where they might have controlled the toll crossing. The bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1864 which might have been the reason that Hugh and Susannah moved on, but a ferry worked the crossing for several years until the county built a bridge. This is supported by the 1871 city directory for Denver where Hugh's progression is as a "Ferry"man (page 265).

The biograph of Hugh's grandson Frank E. Parkinson refers to his role with the mail. It was published in the "Biographical Review of Dane County, WI." (Chicago: Biographical Review Pub. Co. 1893, Vol I):
"Mr. [Frank E.] PARKINSON's grandfather, H. L. BRIGGS, was a son of a Revolutionary officer, a soldier in the war of 1812; was superintendent of western mail service, and lived during the reign of four British monarchs and
twenty-two American presidents" (299-300). The biography is accurate in giving an ancestor (Joshua) a role in the Rvolution, and Hugh was indeed in the War of 1812, so it would seem the most recent information would be fairly accuate that he was involved in the mail service.

There is one document that places Hugh on the Cache La Poudre River on 2 Oct. 1864. He was arrested by the army there for apparently selling beer and wine to the troops stationed at Camp Collins. The soldiers regularly were in the area of La Porte to guard the stage coaches and mail shipments, and Hugh as a trader had a chance to sell them what they wanted.

According to the "History of Larimer County, Colorado" by Ansel Watrous (Fort Collins, Colorado: The Courier Printing & Publishing Company, 1911), when Capt. Evans assumed command of new Camp Collins (6 miles down river from La Porte where the camp had been flooded in Jan. 1864), the second general order he issued circa late June 1864 concerned civilians selling alcohol to the troops: "any citizen who shall be detected in Larimer County of giving or selling liquor to soldiers of Company F 11th Ohio Cavalry, without the written permit of the commander of Camp Collins, will be visited with the severest punishment."

"The work on the buildings (at Camp Collins) progressed rapidly and on September 28th Capt. Evans ordered Lieut. E. L. Pettijohn to take command of the new camp and all the troops and government property, and on the 2nd of October Lieut. James W. Hanna was ordered to the new camp and take command of the detachment of Company F 11th O. V. C. On the same day Lieut. Hanna was ordered to go down the Cache la Poudre with a detachment of soldiers and arrest 'Gov. Briggs' with his wagon and all stores in his charge. In executing the 'Gov. Briggs' order Lieut. Hanna seized seven kegs of sour lager beer and four gallons of wine. The beer was poured on the ground and the wine turned over to Dr. Smith for hospital uses." Hugh was 70 years old at this time, but obviously he was still an active man. Too active for Capt. Evans.

No other information is provided in the orders, but it must have been that Hugh was selling alcohol to the troops without written authorization. At the time, there were no designated sutlers for the troops, and Hugh as a trader from his place on the river must have found the opportunity to conduct business not withstanding the general order #2. In fact, he probably was doing it when the camp was at La Porte before it was flooded and moved down river. There were others attempting the same thing, and two trespassers on the four square mile military reservation of camp Collins were ordered out on Oct. 12. "The History of Larimer County" concludes they were squatters likely trying to sell alcohol to the troops. In fact, Evans must have realized that his men would buy what they wanted and needed, so to control the situation on 7 Oct. he appointed two civilians, Mason and Chamberlin, to build a log cabin on the post at Camp Collins and conduct business for the troops.

Hugh was in some interesting company in selling to the troops from his place at La Porte. On 10 November of 1864 Capt. Evans issued an order directly related to this: "In consequence of soldiers from this post returning from LaPorte and that vicinity intoxicated, due notice is hereby given to all venders of liquors in the vicinity that they are prohibited from selling liquor of any kind, to any soldier or soldiers or giving in trade to them, either personally or through any citizen. For violation of this order, the party or parties so offending will without distinction of person be arrested and their stock confiscated." "The History of Latimer County" notes that this was particularly addressed to John B. Provost and Henry Arrison who had drinking establishments at La Porte. Arrison was the sheriff of the county and must have been the person intended in the order's "without distinction of person."

The antagonism between Capt. Evans and civilians in the area worsened when he issued another order on 10 November that any civilian cattle found eating government hay would be confiscated. The problem was the government hay was stacked in the open on the prairie without any fence, and cattle might wander over to it. The Larimer history reports that "The ill-feeling engendered between the settlers and the commanding officer by this order was intensified by other arbitrary and uncalled for acts of what the settlers called oppression, and while Captain Evans remained in command there was much bitter feeling towards him by the citizens."

One other amazing story needs to be considered about Hugh and Susanna leaving Utah. This was printed in the "Denver News" about Susannah and Gov. Briggs the week after she died with a retorspective about their relationship. Some of the facts are wrong, but the spirit of the piece seems to capture Hugh's anatgonism toward the Mormon hierarchy.

"They Escaped the Danites"
------------------
"The Death of Mrs. Briggs at Denver Recalls the Days of Mormon Terrorism" (From the Denver News)

"The death of Mrs. Briggs which occurred on Wednesday, is not in itself a matter of much public comment, but it brings once more to light the story of a miraculous escape of a couple from the notorious Brigham Young and his Territory in the days when capture meant certain death at the hands of the ever-watchful and much-dreaded Danites, who were then in the full zenith of their power. Then it was that murder was no crime in the eyes of the zealous apostles of Mormondom, and it needed but a significant nod from chosen leader to send a soul from the narrow confines of the earth. There was no retaliatory vengeance, and the story of the escape of Mr. and Mrs. Briggs becomes more romantic when the facts in regard to the affair become fully known.

"It was 29 years ago when the couple made their first appearance in Denver. They came in the usual way in those days – by trams – and their story first was hardly credited. Years before, imbued with the Mormon principles, they had gone to Utah and became willing subjects of Brigham Young who was at the height of his power. Mr. Briggs became a chosen disciple and an elder of the Mormon Church, and bid fair to become a fixture in the Territory. But he remained true to his first wife, and never would consent to avail himself of the Mormon privilege by increasing the number of his 'better-halfs.'

"Where the trouble between Briggs and the Church arose is not exactly known, although some say that his disinclination to be a much-married man aroused the suspicions of his brother elders , who seemed to think he was not doing quite the right thing in not practicing what he preached. Another story is that the amorous Brigham Young was slightly inclined to fall in love with Mrs. Briggs, and as it was a well-known fact that anything the 'old man" wanted he was sure to have sooner or later, Briggs concluded to shake Utah and the Mormons and thus save his wife from becoming famous and probably having her hair pulled by some score or more of other Mrs. Youngs.

"Both stories are probable, but which is the strict truth is not known. Suffice it that the Briggses arrived in Denver in the fall of 1858, and Briggs was nick-named "Gov." Briggs after the Governor of Massachusetts. It was not long after that Briggs passed to the home of his fathers and left the wife he had snatched from Mormon hands a widow.

"Mrs. Briggs went into mourning for the good old man and was much bereaved at his demise, especially after the troubles they had gone through in the wild and wooly West together. Five years ago, however, she brightened up, looked young again, and astonished her friends by remarrying, at the ripe old age of ninety years, a miner by the name of O. E. Collyer, who was considerably younger than she was."

The couple's relocation from Utah to Colorado was clearly influenced by Hugh's critical view of the Mormons. It might be that they were in Denver on several occasions, ca. 1857 when Hugh delivered and published his lecture, ca. 1860-1 when they took Mary Ann out of Utah, and in late 1865 when they eventually settled there. On 30 Nov. 1865 Hugh purchased a warranty deed for $50 from Omer O. Kent for a small piece of land 22 x 90 feet in the old part of the town, perhaps the best at that time, near 11th and Larimer Street which was then the main thoroughfare.

Hugh and Susanna do appear in the 1870 census for Denver, page 104, entry 954, but the census taker made a mistake with his first name:
Henry Brigs, occupation - none, age 75, M (male), W (white), born in New York.
Susanna, occupation - nurse, age 65, F, W, England.
Value of property - blank
Value of personal property - $400.00

It is unclear how well Hugh continued contact with his children. Silas had been a neighbor and possibly a partner in 1860, but he ended up in Minnesota by 1870. Jason, who was the major force establishing the RLDS, was constantly on the move as a leader in the church (he was in Salt lake City in 1873-4 leading a local RLDS movement against Brigham Young), but he left that organization in the 1880s when he too came to question basic RLDS beliefs. And as noted above, Peters C. was involved in the 1858 lawsuit in California which might have been from mining rights he received from Hugh. However, the 15 April 1865 edition of the RLDS newspaper "The latter-Day Saints' Herald" lists receipts of those who had recently sent in their subscription, and listed there is H. L. Briggs. The newspaper would have been a good means to keep up with the family since so many of his children had leadership roles in the church. In fact, Jason, Edmund, and Riley are all named in the edition as being sustained in their roles by votes in the most recent chruch conference (all three are pictures on the right as noted above).

Another piece of evidence that Hugh was still concerned with his family ia a letter from Susannah's 3rd husband Collyer to her son-in-law William H. Longhurst on 29 Jan. 1888 stated that the property Hugh bought in Denver (possibly with Susannah's money) produced a rent which he sent to Riley Briggs to pay for law school. After Hugh's death Collyer bought the property, and he was informing Longhurst that his deceased mother-in-law had no property. The family long suspected Collyer hid her wealth so he would not have to give it to relatives.

Whatever the case, the family was aware of Hugh's passing, and since his sons were so important in the RLDS, his brief obituary appeared in the organization's weekly newspaper under the headline "Died at the age of 82."
"He was the father of Bm. Jason W., E. C., and R. W. Briggs. He has led a long and busy life, and has gone to the sleep that knows no waking till the resurrection" - "Saints Herald", 1874, Vol. 21, pg.571.

As noted above, the obituary published in Denver by the "Rocky Mountain News" of 19 June 1874 gives us more information that helps us see his later years:
"'Governor' Briggs, an old-timer of Denver and Salt Lake City, died here on Wednesday, at the round age of three score-and ten, more or less. He was a peculiar old gent, of genial manners and idiosyncracies. All the old stage drivers between Denver and Utah looke
Photos Note - The photographs to the left are two of Hugh's sons (top to bottom) Edmund Clarke who wrote of the family in his history of the RLDS Church, Riley William who was elected to the Iowa State Assembly (Hugh helped put him through law school).

Hugh Lackey Briggs was a New York veteran of the War of 1812 and later a western pioneer who became a strong critic of the Mormon Church which he attempted to expose in his 1857 pamphlet "A Lecture on the Moral, Social, and Political Condition of Utah Territory." His sons Jason W., Edmund C., Silas H., Riley W., Edwin R., and Peter C. helped found the Reorganized Church of Latter day Saints in 1851 and spread it across the West to California. By the end of his life he had become a colorful pioneer character in Denver, known for helping develop the early stage routes for Utah and Colorado and perhaps the Pony Express as well.

There was only one official cemetery in Denver when Hugh died in 1874, (Riverside began in 1876) so it is very likely he was buried in this old cemetery. However, when the city cemetery was closed, many of those interred were moved to Riverside cemetery.

1st Marriage: "on or about" 2 April 1815 in Madison Co., NY to Polly Damon (b. 6 May 1796 Paris, Madison Co., NY, d. 1890, buried in Wheeler Grove Cemetery in near Carson City, Pottawattamie County, IA.)

Children: (10 boys, 5 girls according to Edmund Briggs), know names:
- Silas Hugh (b. Sullivan Co., NY, about 1817, d. 21 Jun 1881, Martin Co., Min., became a Mormon ca. 1842 and in 1844 he was the only Mormon missionary sent to Wisconsin out of 350 to lead the campaign for the election of Joseph Smith for U.S. president; in 1863 accepted into the RLDS Church based on his earlier Mormon baptism and ordination as an elder: "Bro. Silas ... was a staunch defender of the faith...." - obit, "Saints' Herald," 1881, Vol. 28, page 260);
- Jason William (b. 30 Jun 1820, Pompey, Onondaga Co, NY., d. 13 Jan 1899, Harris, Colorado);
- Milo Oren (b. 19 April 1838, d. 6 May 1907 in Clinton, Iowa, buried in Glendale Cemetery, married Cynthia L. Hultz, and they had perhaps 11 children including Cynthia "Nellie" Lovenia Briggs Simmons Brackett whose picture is included below);
- Joel;
- Edwin Ruthven (b. 16 Oct. 1828, Seneca Falls (Venice), Cayuga, NY, d. 19 Aug. 1908, Nebraska City, Nebraska)
- Edmund Clarke (b. 20 Feb 1835 Wheeler, Steuben Co., NY, d. 4 July 1913 Independence, Missouri);
- Peter Conover (b. 10 June 1836, Wheeler, Steuben County, NY, d. : 1 Dec. 1918, buried little River Cemetery, Mendocino, California; he was president of the RLDS church branches in Petaluma and Healdsburg0;
- Clement Andrew (b. 5 May 1839, Jefferson Co. Wis., d. 7 - Jun 1879, Portland Oregon, of apoplexy age 40; married Elizabeth L. Walker on 27 Nov 1866 in in Healdsburg by Rev. W. Hulbert as reported in the "Sonoma Democrat");
- Riley William (b. 22 Feb 1842, Beloit, Wisconsin, d. 17 Jun 1927, Independence, Mo.; named for Polly's brother Riley Damon; married Clarissa E. Greene on 29 Jul 1870 in Tabor, Iowa; ordained an RLDS elder 8 Oct 1862 and a member of the Seventy in 1864; a lawyer, State Representative of Potawattomie Co. in the 23rd and 24th General Assemblies of Iowa; moved to Independance after daughter Pearl S. graduated and married);
- Mary (married Curtis Stiles);
- Louisa (a.k.a. Maria Louise, married Nathaniel Taylor Parkinson, their son Frank E. Parkinson was born 16 October 1842 in La Fayette Co., Wisconsin);
- Perhaps another daughter was Harriet Pearl who may have died young.

2nd Marrriage: Mary Wright, married June 1855 in Salt lake City, divorced ca. July 1859 in Salt lake City.

3rd marriage: Susanna Vine Preston, born 1801 England; they were married in Utah by May 1859, but possibly as early as September 1855 when she arrived in Utah and November 1856 when Hugh was absent from Utah until late 1858 or early 1859. They remained together until Hugh's death in 1874. She remarried in 1881 and died 21 Dec. 1887 in Denver.

Hugh was the son of Tryphena Austin and Joshua Briggs, a veteran of the Revolution. Joshua was from Rhode Island, fought for Connecticut in the Revolution, and then moved on to upstate New York looking for new land and opportunities. Tryphena was from Connecticut where Joshua met her possibly while serving with her cousins in the same company. Her first American ancestor was Anthony Austin, born ca. 1635, Bishopstock, Hampshire, England, died 22 Aug 1708, Suffield, Connecticut, age 73 years, and buried in the Old Center Cemetery in Suffield.

An interesting report on Hugh's family history was published in a Denver obituary in 1900. The story titled "Descendant of Martyred Latimer Dies In Denver......." concerned Hugh's daughter-in-law, Lousia Higley Briggs, which reported that her husband, Jason W. Briggs, was from a Highland Scott family and that his ancestors had fought with Sir William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. The obituary was found in Louisa's Bible which had been handed down in the family according to a letter from her granddaughter Hazel Briggs Asby to Samantha "Dorothy" Louisa Briggs Murray dated April 25, 1970. The veracity of this report about the Briggs ancestry has not been substantiated and would fall into the realm of family legends that are yet to be proven, perhaps something not possible due to the meager records from 700 years ago. But it does provide some tantalizing areas for further research.

Hugh's first and middle names were selected to honor the business partner of his father Joshua Briggs. By 1796 Joshua and Tryphena are noted for several land transactions in the towns of Pompey and Manlius in Onondaga County, NY where they moved at some point from Broadalbin where Joshua had been constable. The records in Manlius include a partner of Joshua named Hugh Lackey, and it appears he was the inspiration for our Hugh's name. It is also interesting that Joshua repeatedly included Tryphena's name in the land transactions which gave her equal status in a time when some husbands owned the land individually.

The first known record of Hugh is as an unnamed male teenage boy in his father Joshua's 1810 census information in Manlius, Onondaga Co., NY, but the first time his name appears in existing records is as a private of about age 18 in Swift's and Dobbins' Regiment of New York Militia in the War of 1812. This unit fought near Niagara, and some of the men were part of the forces of Winfield Scott in the key battle of Lundy's Lane on 25 July 1814 and the subsequent defense of Fort Erie. This military experience may have been the reason that Hugh was selected as a junior officer in 1816 for the Madison County militia as an ensign in the 74th Regiment, and by 1818 he had been promoted to lieutenant for this unit. This service ended when he began the first of his many moves westward, as it seems Hugh was ever looking for the next opportunity over the horizon.

Hugh had married Polly Damon soon after the close of the war. Her family, headed by her father Jason Damon, another Revolutionary veteran, is listed close to the Briggs family in the 1810 census for Sullivan, Madison Co., New York. The couple soon began their family with the birth of their son Silas Hugh Briggs about 1817.

However, Hugh had another family obligation to help his father Joshua. On 16 April 1819 Hugh appeared before Judge William Whipple in Madison County for a declaration under oath to attest to his father's need for a Revolutionary War pension. The judge added to the document that Hugh was a believable witness, and such witnesses were required by the Act of Congress that established the pensions. This document provides one of the two known samples of Hugh's signature to survive.

The next decade was an active period for the family. In 1820 Hugh's family is listed on the census for the town of Lysander, but their next son Jason William Briggs records that he was born 25 Jan. 1821 in nearby Pompey. Also there is a census record for a Hugh Briggs in Cicero, Onondaga County. Then came a move further west in New York which resulted in Hugh being listed as an early settler by 1825 in Steuben County in the area of Wheeler township. He is also listed as an early settler in the adjacent town of Avoca between 1816 and 1824, but since the two traded territory, it could be that he might not have even changed his location but simply his land was later in the other township as the territorial limits changed. In this area other children were born including Edwin in 1829, Edmund Clarke on 20 Feb 1835, and Peter Conover Briggs in 1836 (my direct ancestor). In total, Hugh and Polly gave life to ten sons and five daughters, and in addition to those above were Milo, Joel, Edwin Ruthven, Clemont Andrew, Riley William (named for Polly's brother Riley Damon), Mary, and Lucinda (Parkinson). In the 1835 New York state census for Wheeler Hugh is named as head of a family with five males, 3 females, one voter (Hugh) and one eligible for militia (also Hugh). Some of the older children must have moved out of the home by this point.

The family remained in Wheeler for perhaps a total of 15 years until they moved west again, this time to the Wisconsin Territory where they arrived 10 June 1838. There might have been a brief stay in Ohio on the way since son Milo Oren listed his birth place as Cleveland on April 19, 1837. A book about the early Mormon/RLDS Church in Wisconsin recorded that the Briggs family was aboard the first steam ship to sail across the Great Lakes to Milwaukee on a regular route. There was no wharf built at the site, so the large animals on board were forced over the side to swim ashore. An additional anecdote records that the family had the first oil stove seen in this region, and many misunderstood its design and believed that it might blow up since they misconstrued that it worked like a steam boiler.

After a year in Milwaukee, Hugh moved the family yet again, this time to Montgomery County as one of the early settlers near the town of Aztalan, and he is named on the town census in 1840. This community arose on a key road junction on the Milwaukee to Mineral Point Territorial Road (now Jefferson County Highway B) and the stage coach road from Janesville to Fond du Lac and points north (now Aztalan Mound Road). The location of the town was near an ancient Native American settlement mound and stockade which today are part of a state park. The fast growing town nearly became the state capital but came in second to Madison when the state was admitted to the Union.

After establishing a farm near Aztalan which his adult son Silas oversaw and expanded (with public land purchases in 1840 and 1843), Hugh moved the family to Rock County outside the town of Beloit where he also bought public land for homesteading. On 10 Sept. 1844 he filed a purchase in the Milwaukee office for 36.92 acres, and he bought an additional 36.72 acres on 1 July 1846 (document numbers 11901 and 14355). His adult sons Joel and Jason purchased nearby land on the same dates.

It was at Beloit where much of the family history became important since on 6 June 1841 son Jason W. was baptized into the Mormon faith at Potosi, Wisconsin and brought it home to Beloit where he began to preach and establish a church. There had long been a strong religious vein in the family with Hugh's brother Austin a minister and Methodist wife Polly Damon reading the children Bible stories in the main room of their homestead out on the Wisconsin prairie and diligently sending them to hear circuit ministers. With Jason's urging, the family home at Beloit served as a meeting house after his mother Polly and other family members converted to LDS as well. In nearby Waukesha, Jason established another congregation with the help of his first cousin, Almon H. White.

According to the family history by Edmund Briggs, his father Hugh was less enthusiastic than the others but did support his son. Silas, the oldest brother, also took up the religion vigorously, became an elder with Jason, and probably traveled repeatedly to the Mormon center at Nauvoo, Illinois to confer with Joseph Smith and the other church leaders. Such was the case on 15 April 1844 when the "Times and Seasons", the official church newspaper, published a list of the elders who attended a special conference along with the subsequent destinations where they were to help further the church. S.H. Briggs was the only one sent to Wisconsin. Just over two months later Smith was murdered and the church thrown into turmoil.

After Joseph Smith was killed in 1844 and Brigham Young assumed leadership for most Mormons, Jason and Edmund Briggs did not follow him, particularly since they objected to the polygamy that Young was now supporting. The brothers led many of their Wisconsin brethren to break with his sect, and after several years of searching for an acceptable leader, Jason reported a revelation in 1851 that the true Mormons should wait for Joseph Smith III to become an adult and assume the leadership of his father's flock. To this end, a new organization was formed, and Jason was elected the First (Acting) President of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints (RLDS). For the rest of the 19th century the Briggs family would play a major role in this organization.

Son Edmund C. Briggs' biographical RLDS history in chapters 1 and 2 includes his recollections of the family which included Hugh's conversations with Polly about Mormons and Jason's initial conversion to the LDS church and the introduction of it into the family:

"In February 1842, was the first time I remember of hearing anything of the people called 'Mormons,' except horrible stories of their wickedness. My father (Hugh) had been gone about a week to Milwaukee, and on his return home stopped overnight at the Rock River Hotel in Beloit, Wisconsin. After he reached home, and while he was hanging up his overcoat, he remarked, 'Mother, I heard a strange thing last night. I stayed at the Rock River Hotel, and it was crowded with strangers from all parts of the country; beds all full and barroom and dining room floors; and I slept in the dining room. During the evening, a stranger from Quincy, Illinois, was telling about Joe Smith, the Mormon prophet. He said he was a swearing, drunken blackguard, a gambler, horse racer, and blackleg; that he gambled on the boats up and down the river. As he made this remark, the landlord, who was behind the counter, said to him, "Stranger, I keep hotel here to make money, and your money is as good as anyone's, but you are too g __ d____ mean a man to stay under my roof. I kept hotel in Quincy, and Mr. Smith has been at my house hundreds of times, and a more marked gentleman never ate at my table. I do not know or care a d____ about his religion, but you know every word you said about Mr. Smith is a g__ d____ lie, and you can take your duds and leave my house".' This terrible rebuke to a stranger under such circumstances, and in such horrible language by the rude man, was a real surprise to me and made a lasting impression on my mind. I thought, 'Is it possible he told the truth? And if he did, and Mr. Smith is a real gentleman, what could I think of the clergy who had always spoken of Smith as a wicked man, and the "Mormons" as the roughest, most wicked, and most ignorant people in the world? In fact, I had never heard any good of them before. Could it be a fact that this wicked hotel keeper had told the truth?' These thoughts crowded themselves on my mind for some time.

"Our house was the home of all the ministers at quarterly meetings for a long time. Elders Merriam, Ostrander, and the great revivalist, Knapp, a Methodist but later joined the Baptist Church, were frequently at our house. There were also several ministers at Beloit who called at our house. They always appeared to be so kind and good that I naturally reverenced them…

". . . mother(Polly Damon) received a letter from my eldest sister, Louisa Parkinson, saying that my brother, Jason, was coming home and that he had joined the 'Mormons' (referring to the Latter Day Saints), and when we received him we would receive a "Mormon" preacher. We were all surprised. Father and mother talked in undertones and felt grieved at heart, and wondered how it was possible he could be so deceived and led away among such bad people. They expressed the hope that when he returned he would be easily shown the error of his way and reclaimed to the Christian church.

"I was sent off on an errand; but none knew how sad I was over the news of my sister's letter. While walking along, I thought what a disgrace it was on the family for him to join such a church. And the thought, 'Oh, what a disgrace it would be on the whole neighborhood!' suddenly burst in on my mind as if someone spoke to me. I then sat down and wept bitterly over it for some time.

". . . One evening, father came home from Beloit, and as we sat down to supper, he said, 'Jason, some of the friends at Beloit sent word for you to come down and preach in the Methodist church.'

"Jason replied very quietly, 'All right. Give out an appointment and I will go down.'

"Father smiled, but none of us said a word about it. After we had gone to bed, I heard father say to mother, 'What does the boy mean? Does he really mean he will go and preach in the church at Beloit?'

"Mother said, 'I do not know, I am sure.'

"The next morning father was going to town, and I now remember very distinctly how perplexed he looked as he took up the lines to start. Looking up, he called to Jason who was then in the house. When Jason came to the door, father said, 'Do you really mean that you will preach in Beloit if the friends there make an appointment for you?'

"'Yes. Why not?'

"The appointment was made. My brothers were getting out fencing for father, and worked as usual every day. The second evening before the appointment came, father asked mother if she had seen Jason writing his sermon. She had not.

"'What does the boy mean?' said father. 'I guess I will tell him he need not work tomorrow.'

"The next morning, while we were around the breakfast table, he told Jason he need not work that day, for he was in no hurry for the fencing. But Jason replied, 'I'd just as leave work, and I am in a hurry to get through,' and so went to work as usual.

"The evening finally came for the meeting, and Jason asked father how he was going to town. Father replied, 'Are you going to town?'

"Jason answered, 'Is not this the evening of our appointment for meeting?'
Father smiled, and said, "I will take you"; and mother went along.

"After they had returned and had retired, they (Hugh and Polly) talked over his sermon and expressed surprise at his information of the Bible; so father concluded to take him up to Aztalan, and on the way call on Elder Ostrander, a Methodist minister, and visit Elder Merriam also; and see if they could not bring the boy around all right again.

"Silas (Edmund's oldest brother) was still living there on the old farm near Aztalan, but we had moved forty miles south, near Beloit, and were living on a new place. Father was not going to tell Jason the object of the visit. The journey and visit were made; and on their return father reported that on the way they called upon Elder Ostrander, and just before they went into the house he said to the elder, 'My boy has come home a Mormon, and I have brought him up here to have you show him his error.'

"'Oh, that is all right, Brother Briggs; that will be an easy job!'

"And father related, 'When we went into the house they were soon busy in conversation. Jason quoted the Bible, answered every question, and seemed to understand the whole Bible. Brother Ostrander could not do anything with him. After dinner we talked about two hours, and Elder Ostrander arose and went outdoors. I followed him. I saw he was bothered, and so was I; and just as we got outdoors Elder Ostrander turned around to me, and said, "Brother Briggs, we can do nothing with your son. The only thing that can be done is to hop on (attack) old Joe Smith." I replied, "My, you must not do that."'

"'When we got up to Aztalan the ministers there could do nothing with him, and became angry. Jason had the Bible on his tongue's end. My, I do not see when the boy learned it!'
I could see father was disturbed about my brother, and disgusted with the manner in which he was used by the ministry. He thought he ought to be met with Bible arguments instead of scandalous stories about Mr. Smith.

"As time passed on, I became more and more interested in the doctrine of the Latter Day Saints. The 'Times and Seasons', monthly published at Nauvoo, Illinois, was a welcome visitor at our house. I could not read much in it, but mother, sister, and brother, Edwin, read it; and I was very anxious to hear it all read when it came . . . .

". . . It was this year (1843) the revivalist, Elder Knapp, was at our house the last time and soon after went to Chicago, attended the Baptist conference, became concerned about baptism, and to quiet his conscience was there immersed and joined the Baptist Church. Soon after this, while in the harvest field, my father's remarks about it were, 'Elder Knapp has been a Methodist all his life, has preached until he is an old man, and has just found out he has not been baptized, and that sprinkling is not baptism' and said, 'Boys, before you undertake to jump a stream, be sure you can light on the other shore, lest you may fall in the water'; that is, be sure you are right before you join any church. And then he continued, 'I understand a man may be a gentleman and a moral man, yet not a Christian. But no man can be a Christian that is not a gentleman. Christianity commences where a gentleman and moralist stops.'

"These remarks led me to decide that I would not hastily join any church, but be careful and watch all churches and accept none that did not have the form of doctrine, claim the power, and have the organization of the Church just as the New Testament said it was during the apostles' times; and when I was twelve years old I would get permission of my parents to visit some of our relatives, and while gone from home, go to Nauvoo, see Mr. Smith, and if I became fully satisfied I ought to be baptized, I would join the Latter Day Saints. The history of Joseph Smith and the persecution of the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, were being published then, and I was very much interested in it.

"Sometime during the spring of 1843, I heard father tell of some strange things he had seen, where someone had been mesmerized and was completely under the control of the one who mesmerized him. It made a very strong impression on my mind for days, and in the fall of 1843 my brothers, Silas and Jason, and cousin, Almon White, came to our house on their way to Nauvoo to attend conference. The night before they were to start, I requested Jason to ask Mr. Smith what mesmerism is. He promised to do so, and next morning, when they were all ready to leave, I renewed my request. When he came back, the first question I asked him was, 'What did Joseph Smith say about mesmerism?'

"He replied, 'I asked Joseph the question. He answered, "It is the power that spirits of men, in tabernacles, under clairvoyant influence, may wield over each other." Said it was a similar power as that of lying spirits, foul spirits, called devils in the days of Chris - only the one which is of men cannot have so much power over others in the flesh; disembodied spirits can have much more power, and are the means by which devils would work miracles in the last days to deceive, if possible, the very elect - and the Saints ought not to have anything to do with it.'

"This was some satisfaction to me, yet I could not comprehend devils working miracles. And all those instances so frequently mentioned in the Bible of devils, foul spirits, unclean spirits, were inexplicable mysteries. I could not say I believed there were any such things as evil spirits, or that they could do anything among men.

"In the winter of 1843-1844, I had become fully satisfied that Smith was a prophet of God. Mother had read to us the Voice of Warning, a pamphlet published by Elder P. P. Pratt, which was explicit and vigorous in its defense of the gospel of Christ, and the government and Kingdom of God as understood by the prophets and apostles of old."

From this point in the story, Edmund turns his focus on the developing church and provides only a few glimpses into the family, but in the last reference to Hugh in chapter 14, he corroborates information about his military service in 1812 as well as that of both grandfathers in the Revolution when he discusses the need for courage to oppose religious biogtry:

"Monday, July 18 (1858). A feeling of persecution exists and some threats are made against us; and two men from Missouri visited us today, claiming to be a committee sent to warn us not to hold any more meetings in this part of the country. They said, 'You must think we are g__ d____ fools to allow you to build up a church in our midst. You will soon rise up and undertake to drive us out of the country.' We very plainly in-formed said committee that we were American citizens and preaching the gospel of Christ, and were not in any manner connected or associated with the (polygamist) Mormons in Utah; and after some little explanation of our doctrine, they made apologies to us, and said, 'Gentlemen, go ahead; we have been misinformed in relation to you, and we will not do anything to hinder your work.' They bade us good-bye, and we took no further notice of the rumors that were put afloat against us. But we observed the little opposition against us in this place was indicative that Satan was aware a great work was going to be done in here. We did not then think that near this place would be the headquarters of the Church. Lamoni is only about fourteen miles from where this committee waited on us July 18, 1859, ever memorable in my history, for I admit I felt a little indignant at first to have a committee wait on me on such business. MY OWN GRANDFATHERS WERE IN THE WAR, to secure the liberty of our country from all oppression, and that our government might be enjoyed as an asylum where religious intolerance should not have one breath of God's free air; and MY FATHER WAS IN THE WAR OF 1812, to perpetuate that sacred boon for all ages to come - and to have these two men come to warn me to cease preaching the gospel of Christ - well, I may say it served to stir up all the latent powers of my mind against intolerance and persecution, that had culminated and been fostered by religious fanaticism since the world began."

One might read between the lines of Edmund's narrative that Hugh was never an enthusiastic supporter of the Mormon movement in contrast to the rest of the family that embraced it, including Polly. This might have led to some strain in the family, and despite the portrait of Hugh and Polly as loving and supportive parents of 15 children, perhaps the religious differences were part of the cause that led to the separation of Hugh and Polly by 1855 when Edmund records she purchased land on her own. At some point the couple separated, but perhaps they never officially divorced (see below).

Another possible contributing factor is a family memory that Hugh left for the West Coast with two of his sons when gold was discovered in California, but there is no specific evidence for this except the record of an H. Briggs in the 1850 San Francisco directory living at a building called the Bee Hive on Broadway below Battery St. However, such a trip to the Coast fits well with his long record of searching for opportunity in the West. Edmund's family history does not include Hugh in the family scenes after the mid 1840s, and perhaps the appeal of the Golden State was the cause. There is evidence concerning Peter C. Briggs that might add to evidence for Hugh in the California.

For 3 Aug. 1858 the Amador County archives record a civil suit Peter C. Briggs brought against Henry Cook (file #6674.502). The name of Almon H. White appears as well and it seems he was a witness or provided an affidavit, so this makes certain this case involves our Peter since Almon was his cousin. However, an agent for Peter is also named, a certain A. H. Rose, so Peter might not have been in the state but rather had Rose acting for him. The abstract for the file refers to "Volcano Ditch" which was a canal associated with mining in Amador County as well as "Indian Diggings" which was mining site. Mining rights were involved, and this makes a stronger case for Hugh Briggs having come to California for the Gold Rush. Possibly Hugh had established some claims and perhaps passed them on to his son who had yet to come West, and by 1858 Peter had brought a suit from another state to assert his rights. Hugh was in Utah in 1855 and 1859, so if he had been in California earlier, he had left before the case was filed. There is also the possibility that teenage Peter had accompanied his father to California for gold as well.

Another family member was in California in the 1850s who might have gone with Hugh. This was Mary J. Briggs who went with her husband Curtis F. Stiles to the Golden State but returned to Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1859 when Edmund states he met them on 9 Dec. in the home his brother Edwin. He had not seen them since 1852. On their way east they had seen the site of the Mountain Meadows massacre of 1857. Bleached bones were still visible of the 120 immigrants who had been killed, and they said they saw local Mormon women wearing the victims' clothes with bullet holes in them. While in the vicinity they heard of two local Mormon leaders who admonished their flocks to remain silent about what happened. But Mary and Curtis seemed incensed that these leaders said nothing about burying the dead or wearing their clothes. They also identify John D. Lee as one of the leaders of the massacre who was the talk of the Territory (Lee was the only person tried, convicted, and executed for the crime 20 years later).

A fascinating document has surfaced that shows more about what was happening in the 1850s in the family. Hugh Lacky Briggs published an essay in the forum of a lecture (at 18 pages it was more a pamphlet) which attacked the Mormon authorities in Utah. The title is "A Lecture on the Moral, Social, and Political Condition of Utah Territory, written by Hugh L. Briggs, Esq" with a publication date of 1857 and no named publisher (Hugh probably published it himself in size 8vo). The piece is mentioned in Volume II of "A Dictionary of Books Relating to America from its Discovery to the Present Time" by Joseph Sabin, published in 1869. Sabin gives Hugh's book the catalog number H. 7949, and lists it on page 485.

This book is tantalizing since 1857 proved to be a very significant year in Utah when a wagon train of settlers passing through the territory was besieged by a group of Mormons and allied Paiute tribes in the famous Mountain Meadows Massacre on 11 September. When the immigrants surrendered to the Mormons who promised they would protect them from the Paiute warriors, the unarmed men, women, and children were attacked and executed. About 120 were killed (and the only person who was ever held to account for this was the Mormon leader John D. Lee who was convicted in 1877 and executed by a firing squad on March 23 at the site of the massacre twenty years after the fact).

In addition to the attack, bigger events would happen a few months later. The Utah War broke out between the LDS militia and the U.S. Army. As noted in Wikipedia:
"The Utah War, also known as the Utah Expedition or President Buchanan's Blunder, was an armed dispute between Latter-day Saint ("Mormon") settlers in Utah Territory and the United States federal government. The confrontation lasted from May 1857 until July 1858. While not fully bloodless, the war consisted of no pitched battles and was ultimately resolved through negotiation. Nevertheless, according to historian William P. MacKinnon, the Utah War was America's "most extensive and expensive military undertaking during the period between the Mexican and Civil wars, one that ultimately pitted nearly one-third of the US Army against what was arguably the nation's largest, most experienced militia."

In the text Hugh begins with the typical self-effacing statement asking for the audience's indulgence in his meager learning and limited abilities to present his views, but then he goes on to demonstrate an effective level of diction, usage, and historic understanding that reveals he is a learned man.

The main thrust of his argument is that the Mormon authorities are using their power for personal gain, and manipulating many of their followers through fear and violence to remain in Utah. He states that he was in Salt Lake City in 1855 and attempted to discover what was happening behind the closed doors on the large estates of the leaders whom he paints as hypocrites. For his trouble he had a run-in with one of the Danite guards used by the leadership to intimidate their flocks.

In particular Hugh attacks the practice of attracting young women to Utah form across the United States and England, and then making the situation impossible for them to leave and forcing them to become wives in a polygamuous marriage.

Hugh was on hand in the city in the spring of the year when Col. Steptoe, U.S. military commander for the territory, was leaving with his troops and was approached by several women who wished his column's escort to cross the 800 miles of dangerous territory to escape Utah. After hearing of this, hundreds of other women approached Steptoe and begged simply be to be escorted; they would provide their own provisions and care. Hugh was a witness to these events and ridicules an article in the December issue of "Graham's Magazine" in which the author S. N. Carvahlo attempts to whitewash the episode. In particular, he sites the situation of a Mrs. Wheelock who wanted her freedom after enduring the indignity of polygamy, and she was willing to give up everything to become friendless and penniless in California where the column was headed rather than endure life in Utah.

Hugh saves his attack on polygamy for the latter pages of the essay since it is in essence the climax of his lecture as a demonstration of the moral corruption of the leadership. The young women who were trapped into polygamy were victims of the dangers presented by the Mormon leadership. Toward the end of the essay he states his point directly:

"Every branch and ramification of the civil government (of Utah) has been essentially and substantially annihilated, paralyzed, or perverted by the ecclesiastical organizations and by their theocratic government. The office of Governor, and that of Superintendent of Indian Affairs, is nominally filled by President Young, the head of the Mormon Church, who professes to hold his office and power directly under, or rather in joint tenancy with the Supreme Being; the civil duties and power of Governor are regarded as mere attributes of Priesthood.

"The legislature is the mere echo of the ecclesiastical councils, the officers of this body being taken in due order, and with proper regard to rank from ecclesiastical councils and organizations. The delegate in Congress is the representative and agent, not of the organized Territory of Utah as a political body or civil community, but of the Mormon religion. In the Federal councils of the nation, his election has, on one occasion, taken place on Sabbath in their public place of worship [in Salt Lake City], and he has, on all other occasions, been sent to, and controlled, while a delegate of Congress, by the same theocratic government. (For particulars of this head, see Brigham Young's Discourse, Journal of Discourses, page 185 to 191). The subordinate or inferior magistracy are taken from the ranks of the church or still worse from the creatures and tools which the church employs to intimidate, and over awe the community into obedience to their ecclesiastical mandates. The courts of justice, designed for the free, impartial, speedy, and economical administration of justice, have fallen into the hands of the creatures of the church, and are converted into a powerful auxiliary, in defrauding and robbing those who do not comply with the ecclesiastical ordinance, and who are unwilling to trust their fates and fortunes in such corrupt hands. Formerly, when the judges were unbiased, and capable and willing to administer justice according to law, they were thwarted and baffled by Mormon juries, being tampered with and made subservient to the views and objects of Mormon leaders. These things have existed to some extent for years, growing worse, until in substance there is no vestige of civil or political liberty, or of the equal and unprejudiced administration of justice through the courts of law, which are now being worked most profitably by the Mormon community; and we hear day after day of the Mormon code or the Mormon laws...."

The latter part of this long paragraph continues with a point that has tragic parallels. Since Hugh does not mention the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 11 Sept., it seems it has not yet occurred or he has not yet heard of it, but his description of immigrants avoiding the Mormons provides a background for what happened when contact does occur:
"These facts have been so well established in the minds of those at all acquainted with the affairs in Utah, that the overland trader and immigrant to California, Oregon and Washington, avoid their settlements, as they would an infected district, knowing as they do the impotence of the law and the facility of trumping up pretexts in which they may be involved, and the facilities then furnished by their corporations and tribunals to despoil and rob them, while a portion of the community, fully sensible of the facilities thus furnished them, are constantly stretching their settlement until they now extend from Salmon river in Oregon, to San Barnadino (sic), in Lower California, forming a connected chain some fifteen hundred miles in length, which it is impossible to flank in passing from the valley of the Mississippi and Missouri, to the States and Territories on the Pacific. Of the outrages committed in this Territory, but little is likely to be heard by the citizens of the United States generally, as those committed on the transient emigrant IF NOT FATAL [emphasis mine] or serious in nature, are forgotten or effaced by the stirring incidents in a long and hazardous journey, before he reaches a point where they can be given to the public. Those committed upon, or falling under the observation of Mormons, or Gentiles resident among them, are passed by without comment, as personal safety, the preservation of the property, and the dictates of interest and policy suggest silence, while every nobler impulse of a man's nature urges him to speak out in open condemnation."

Hugh finishes this point by stating that only a portion of the Mormons are "corrupt and depraved" but that the entire community can not be described this way, and he adds that such prejudice against a group as a whole should be avoided since "universal and indiscriminate censure is aught but a pleasing duty. This community, like all others, is formed of a contrariety of elements, and contains much material for forming good and worthy citizens, whenever they can be relieved from the pressure of that despotism exercised by the leaders of the Mormon Church; but unfortunately, the corruptions, crimes, and impurities complained of, exist in the directing and controlling power of the territory."

To support his views, Hugh cites the printed statements of several leading Mormon authorities, and toward the end of the piece he provides a chilling statement by Brigham Young toward a Mormon who had challenged his authority and was supporting another leader. Hugh identifies the dissident as a "man by the name Smith, now living in Council Bluffs [Iowa], got some wrinkle in his brain, that, at the death of Joseph (Joe Smith,) the mantle of prophecy should have fallen on one Gladden a Bishop, instead of on the shoulders of Brigham Young, and like all philanthropists possessed of a great truth he believed it his duty to communicate it to the world...he delivered several discourses in the streets. Being denied this method of exposition by the police authorities of the City of Great Salt Lake, he then made appointments to deliver his views and opinions to the curious and inquisitive, who would assemble at his own house; suffice it to say that he was emphatically informed that if he did not hold his peace, the earth should not long be disturbed, and the peace of God's people endangered by his clamors. The excitement reached that point that the country became unhealthy for Smith and his Gladdenite doctrines, and he found it saftest (sic) to leave the vallies (sic) of the mountains in the beginning of winter, with a wife and three little children, and encounter the dangers and perils of a winter trip of twelve hundred miles, through an Indian country with his helpless family, than to remain among these tolerant people of Zion, and entertain opinions disagreeable to the heads of the Mormon church. I will give you an extract from President Young's discourses on this subject, and would earnestly recommend the perusal of the same throughout. (See Journal of Discourses, from page 81 to 84.)
"'I say again to you Gladenites do not court persecution, or you will get more than you want, and it will come quicker than you want it. I say to you Bishops, do not allow then to preach in your wards. Who broke the roads to these valleys? Did this little nasty Smith and his wife? No, they staid in St. Louis, while we did it; peddling ribbons, and kissing the Gentiles. I know what they have done here - they have asked exorbitant prices for their nasty stinking ribbons. (Voices, "that's true.") We broke the roads to this country. Now, you Gladdenites, keep your tongues still, lest destruction come upon you... Now you nasty apostates, clear out, or judgement will be put to the line and righteousness to the plummet....'"

Hugh let Young's threats against free speech speak for themselves as those which should never come from the mouth of the governor of any American territory. And in the end of the lecture he ends with a personal statement about his purpose and reason for this attack on the Mormon authorities.
"Personally, I feel deep solicitude on this subject, from the fact that I have suffered from its effects and consequences through those nearly allied to me by the ties of kindred and of blood; who have been either duped by its fallacies, or without that poor apology have used its delusions for the purpose of misleading others; and I conceive it my duty to neutralize the influence of their misdirected zeal or chicanery by every means in my power.
For your kind anbd polite attention to me, a stranger, I return you my sincere thanks."

HUGH L. BRIGGS

This ending statement must refer to his ex-wife Polly and several of their sons who embraced the LDS and then switched to the RLDS which they founded in 1851.

But could this really have been written by our Hugh? Yes it was: Hugh was on the scene in this period. A lawsuit (see below) places him in Salt Lake City in 1859, and he turns up with his third wife Susaanna Vine Preston in the 1860 US census in Summit County, Utah. This location was very significant since it held the main route through the mountains into Utah along Echo Canyon, and Hugh is listed there as a trader (family #36), and there were only 42 households in the county).

Hugh's wife Susanna had married Richard Weekly Preston in England but emigrated without him from with funds paid by the LDS church. She made the trip with a young woman, her niece Mary Ann Loveless. She was the daughter of her sister Mary Vine Loveless, but the family stores of Susanna's children state that Susanna's husband Richard Preston was the father, and they raised Mary Ann in their home. Mary Ann's birth date was recorded as 15 November 1840, and the place of birth as Shelford, London, England. One cam imagine the strain this must have put on the marriage which led to their separation.

Susanna and Mary Ann were passengers on the ship "Siddons" which sailed from Liverpool 27 February 1855. Shipping records show Susanna Preston's age as 57, from 117 Clawson Street; Mary Ann Loveless was age 15. Upon landing the immediately crossed the plains in Captain Richard Ballentine's company of 402 emigrants who reached Salt Lake City 25 September 1855.

According to one source after Susannah married Hugh, the niece was know as Mary Ann Briggs. Since she entered into a polygamus marriage with William "Harry" Harrison Walton on 8 January 1857 (in the office of Brigham Young), Susanna and Hugh could have been been married by this point for her to be carrying the Briggs name before she was married to Harry. Later in the year she and Walton had a daughter, Adelaide, and were living in the 13rth ward of Salt lake City.

Susanna's English relatives referred to Hugh as "Governor Briggs" as early as 1859, but actually the title is found earlier so they are not the source for this. It seems he was named this as early as 1857 as noted in a diary of a Mormon who identified Governor Briggs as a Mormmon apostate.

The legal episode noted above is partly explained in the diary of Hosea Stout, a Mormon pioneer, politician, and attorney who represented the church in a case against Hugh which seems to have been tried in Salt Lake City where the two attorneys in the action had their practices. Stout's entry for 4 May 1859 reads
"Suit before Esqr Clinton. Perpetual Emmigrating Fund Co vs Hugh L. Briggs Demand 20 68/100 dollars. I was attorney for Plff and T. S. Williams for deft.
This case arose on a promissory note given by Susanna Preston to the P. E. F. Co for her emmigration from England to this place & Briggs marreying her refused to pay her debt was sued, & called for a jury of 12 denying the liability of the Husband for the debts of the wife contracted before coneture. Jury found a verdict for the plff & deft appealed" (original spelling included).

So Hugh refused to pay the very organization he accused of transporting women to Utah where he stated they were coerced into polygamy. He even asked for a jury trial in Utah which was unlikely to give him a sympathetic audience, at least publicly. The twenty dollars was not a significant amount, so Hugh must have acted on principle. I can imagine what he must have said when they first asked him to pay the debt. And when he lost, he would not give up but then filed an appeal. He must have paid his attorney more than the debt cost him.

Susannah's Mormom descendants recall that while she was at Echo, she helped send money to her daughter Ann Preston Longhurst in England to sail to Amercia and join them in Utah. Suannah's grandaughter Marintha (Rinney) recalled how she looked: "about five feet or five feet two inches tall, weighed about 170 pounds, round and plump. Her eyes very light blue, hair thiin and fine, medium fair skin, short fingers, small round tands and feet, rather large nose, small eyes, hair rather low on her forehead, quick of speech, and very ggod health.... She never wore glasses and her hearing was good."

Supposedly as Susanna and Hugh were preparing to leave Utah circa 1860 (researcher James Bailey notes family letters about this), Mary Ann wanted out of the polygamous marriage with Walton and she soon left with them for Colorado. But this story is erroneous. By 1860 Mary Ann had left the marriage with Walton and had remarried by to Charles Holmes as noted in the US census (daughter Adelaide is in their home). According to Susanna's descendants, the reason for this divorce was not a rejection of polygamy but rather due to the jealousy of one of Walton's wives, Frances.

Years later Mary Any was living in Kansas City with two daughters and a son from this second marriage, and Susannah was still writing her and sending presents in the 1880s. But Susanna also retained fond memories of the Walton family, and she told her Longhurst relatives to give them her best wishes in Utah, so there was no anatgonism between the familes.

Concerning the Longhurst's,

Susannah stayed in close contact with her daughter's family in Utah, and she visited them on occassion, such as in 1882 when her son-in-law William wrote a letter to her husband Collyer stated she had arrived.

Also of note, in the 1860 census for the small community of Summit county, Hugh's oldest son Silas H. was just eight homes away from his father. He is mistakenly identified as 36 (should be 46) but he is with his wife Sarah and 13 year old Horatio S. Briggs who must be his son. Silas is also described as "trader" which suggests they might have been working as partners since such a small community is unlikely to have supported many traders. In addition, home #42 close by belongs to John W. Myer, another trader who could have been a partner with the Briggs men. This is significant concerning the Pony Express since one of the men in Myer's home is a Herman S. Hunt whose occupation is "express rider" (see below).

Because of the reference to stage drivers in Hugh's obituary and the "station" he ran as discussed in the obituary of his daughter-in-law Louisa Higley Briggs, it seems in the early 1860s he was involved with the new Overland stage station at La Porte on the Cache la Poudre River in Larimer Co, Colorado. This was at the settlement of La Porte which was the headquarters for the Mountain Division of the Overland Trail Stage Route (about 70 miles north of Denver). The stage fare from there to Denver was $20.00, and there was also a toll bridge built across the river with a charge of anyhwere from $.50 to $8.00.

Some of Susannah's relatives interviewed in the 1930s recalled that she and Hugh lived in Bountiful and Echo, and in 1857 were in Salt lake City when some of the Mormons moved south to get away from the US Army column that was headed for Utah under Col. Albert Sidney Johnson. There is also a family story that Hugh and Susannah were involved with a toll bridge and also the Pony Express station at the Head of Echo Canyon in Summit County where they are located in the 1860 census.

The station at the head of Echo Canyon was called Castle Rock and was just 8 miles southeast of the first Utah Pony Express station at Needle Rock on the boarder with Wyoming. In addition, a further 8 miles northeast from Needle Rock was the Bear River Pony Express station, thus the last one in Wyoming before crossing the Utah border into Summit County. According to a 1971 document by the U.S Bureau of Land Lanagement, Bear River Station was also called "Briggs Station after the proprietor." This places it just 16 miles from where Hugh and Susannah could be found in the census. Another publication by the National Park Service for the route stations in Wyoming states that that a certain Mormon named Myers was the agent there (their source is Raymond W. Settle and Mary Lund Settle, "Saddles and Spurs: The Pony Express Saga," Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Stackpole Company, 1955). Since John W. Myers had an express rider living in his home and was a trader in Summit along with Hugh and his son Silas, it is possible that all three were associated with the station at Bear River to which their names are attached by tradition.

If we put all this together, it is quite possible Hugh and Susannah were involved with the short lived Pony Express since Hugh, Silas and John Myers conducted some sort of trade business on the route which would have allowed them to set up a station in 1860, if not at Echo Canyon, then at Dear River Station 16 miles away. Perhaps when the service stopped after 18 months as telegraph lines reached coast to coast in 1861, Hugh and Susannah switched their focus to the stage lines which carried mail, and they became involved with the new station at the Cache la Poudre River where they might have controlled the toll crossing. The bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1864 which might have been the reason that Hugh and Susannah moved on, but a ferry worked the crossing for several years until the county built a bridge. This is supported by the 1871 city directory for Denver where Hugh's progression is as a "Ferry"man (page 265).

The biograph of Hugh's grandson Frank E. Parkinson refers to his role with the mail. It was published in the "Biographical Review of Dane County, WI." (Chicago: Biographical Review Pub. Co. 1893, Vol I):
"Mr. [Frank E.] PARKINSON's grandfather, H. L. BRIGGS, was a son of a Revolutionary officer, a soldier in the war of 1812; was superintendent of western mail service, and lived during the reign of four British monarchs and
twenty-two American presidents" (299-300). The biography is accurate in giving an ancestor (Joshua) a role in the Rvolution, and Hugh was indeed in the War of 1812, so it would seem the most recent information would be fairly accuate that he was involved in the mail service.

There is one document that places Hugh on the Cache La Poudre River on 2 Oct. 1864. He was arrested by the army there for apparently selling beer and wine to the troops stationed at Camp Collins. The soldiers regularly were in the area of La Porte to guard the stage coaches and mail shipments, and Hugh as a trader had a chance to sell them what they wanted.

According to the "History of Larimer County, Colorado" by Ansel Watrous (Fort Collins, Colorado: The Courier Printing & Publishing Company, 1911), when Capt. Evans assumed command of new Camp Collins (6 miles down river from La Porte where the camp had been flooded in Jan. 1864), the second general order he issued circa late June 1864 concerned civilians selling alcohol to the troops: "any citizen who shall be detected in Larimer County of giving or selling liquor to soldiers of Company F 11th Ohio Cavalry, without the written permit of the commander of Camp Collins, will be visited with the severest punishment."

"The work on the buildings (at Camp Collins) progressed rapidly and on September 28th Capt. Evans ordered Lieut. E. L. Pettijohn to take command of the new camp and all the troops and government property, and on the 2nd of October Lieut. James W. Hanna was ordered to the new camp and take command of the detachment of Company F 11th O. V. C. On the same day Lieut. Hanna was ordered to go down the Cache la Poudre with a detachment of soldiers and arrest 'Gov. Briggs' with his wagon and all stores in his charge. In executing the 'Gov. Briggs' order Lieut. Hanna seized seven kegs of sour lager beer and four gallons of wine. The beer was poured on the ground and the wine turned over to Dr. Smith for hospital uses." Hugh was 70 years old at this time, but obviously he was still an active man. Too active for Capt. Evans.

No other information is provided in the orders, but it must have been that Hugh was selling alcohol to the troops without written authorization. At the time, there were no designated sutlers for the troops, and Hugh as a trader from his place on the river must have found the opportunity to conduct business not withstanding the general order #2. In fact, he probably was doing it when the camp was at La Porte before it was flooded and moved down river. There were others attempting the same thing, and two trespassers on the four square mile military reservation of camp Collins were ordered out on Oct. 12. "The History of Larimer County" concludes they were squatters likely trying to sell alcohol to the troops. In fact, Evans must have realized that his men would buy what they wanted and needed, so to control the situation on 7 Oct. he appointed two civilians, Mason and Chamberlin, to build a log cabin on the post at Camp Collins and conduct business for the troops.

Hugh was in some interesting company in selling to the troops from his place at La Porte. On 10 November of 1864 Capt. Evans issued an order directly related to this: "In consequence of soldiers from this post returning from LaPorte and that vicinity intoxicated, due notice is hereby given to all venders of liquors in the vicinity that they are prohibited from selling liquor of any kind, to any soldier or soldiers or giving in trade to them, either personally or through any citizen. For violation of this order, the party or parties so offending will without distinction of person be arrested and their stock confiscated." "The History of Latimer County" notes that this was particularly addressed to John B. Provost and Henry Arrison who had drinking establishments at La Porte. Arrison was the sheriff of the county and must have been the person intended in the order's "without distinction of person."

The antagonism between Capt. Evans and civilians in the area worsened when he issued another order on 10 November that any civilian cattle found eating government hay would be confiscated. The problem was the government hay was stacked in the open on the prairie without any fence, and cattle might wander over to it. The Larimer history reports that "The ill-feeling engendered between the settlers and the commanding officer by this order was intensified by other arbitrary and uncalled for acts of what the settlers called oppression, and while Captain Evans remained in command there was much bitter feeling towards him by the citizens."

One other amazing story needs to be considered about Hugh and Susanna leaving Utah. This was printed in the "Denver News" about Susannah and Gov. Briggs the week after she died with a retorspective about their relationship. Some of the facts are wrong, but the spirit of the piece seems to capture Hugh's anatgonism toward the Mormon hierarchy.

"They Escaped the Danites"
------------------
"The Death of Mrs. Briggs at Denver Recalls the Days of Mormon Terrorism" (From the Denver News)

"The death of Mrs. Briggs which occurred on Wednesday, is not in itself a matter of much public comment, but it brings once more to light the story of a miraculous escape of a couple from the notorious Brigham Young and his Territory in the days when capture meant certain death at the hands of the ever-watchful and much-dreaded Danites, who were then in the full zenith of their power. Then it was that murder was no crime in the eyes of the zealous apostles of Mormondom, and it needed but a significant nod from chosen leader to send a soul from the narrow confines of the earth. There was no retaliatory vengeance, and the story of the escape of Mr. and Mrs. Briggs becomes more romantic when the facts in regard to the affair become fully known.

"It was 29 years ago when the couple made their first appearance in Denver. They came in the usual way in those days – by trams – and their story first was hardly credited. Years before, imbued with the Mormon principles, they had gone to Utah and became willing subjects of Brigham Young who was at the height of his power. Mr. Briggs became a chosen disciple and an elder of the Mormon Church, and bid fair to become a fixture in the Territory. But he remained true to his first wife, and never would consent to avail himself of the Mormon privilege by increasing the number of his 'better-halfs.'

"Where the trouble between Briggs and the Church arose is not exactly known, although some say that his disinclination to be a much-married man aroused the suspicions of his brother elders , who seemed to think he was not doing quite the right thing in not practicing what he preached. Another story is that the amorous Brigham Young was slightly inclined to fall in love with Mrs. Briggs, and as it was a well-known fact that anything the 'old man" wanted he was sure to have sooner or later, Briggs concluded to shake Utah and the Mormons and thus save his wife from becoming famous and probably having her hair pulled by some score or more of other Mrs. Youngs.

"Both stories are probable, but which is the strict truth is not known. Suffice it that the Briggses arrived in Denver in the fall of 1858, and Briggs was nick-named "Gov." Briggs after the Governor of Massachusetts. It was not long after that Briggs passed to the home of his fathers and left the wife he had snatched from Mormon hands a widow.

"Mrs. Briggs went into mourning for the good old man and was much bereaved at his demise, especially after the troubles they had gone through in the wild and wooly West together. Five years ago, however, she brightened up, looked young again, and astonished her friends by remarrying, at the ripe old age of ninety years, a miner by the name of O. E. Collyer, who was considerably younger than she was."

The couple's relocation from Utah to Colorado was clearly influenced by Hugh's critical view of the Mormons. It might be that they were in Denver on several occasions, ca. 1857 when Hugh delivered and published his lecture, ca. 1860-1 when they took Mary Ann out of Utah, and in late 1865 when they eventually settled there. On 30 Nov. 1865 Hugh purchased a warranty deed for $50 from Omer O. Kent for a small piece of land 22 x 90 feet in the old part of the town, perhaps the best at that time, near 11th and Larimer Street which was then the main thoroughfare.

Hugh and Susanna do appear in the 1870 census for Denver, page 104, entry 954, but the census taker made a mistake with his first name:
Henry Brigs, occupation - none, age 75, M (male), W (white), born in New York.
Susanna, occupation - nurse, age 65, F, W, England.
Value of property - blank
Value of personal property - $400.00

It is unclear how well Hugh continued contact with his children. Silas had been a neighbor and possibly a partner in 1860, but he ended up in Minnesota by 1870. Jason, who was the major force establishing the RLDS, was constantly on the move as a leader in the church (he was in Salt lake City in 1873-4 leading a local RLDS movement against Brigham Young), but he left that organization in the 1880s when he too came to question basic RLDS beliefs. And as noted above, Peters C. was involved in the 1858 lawsuit in California which might have been from mining rights he received from Hugh. However, the 15 April 1865 edition of the RLDS newspaper "The latter-Day Saints' Herald" lists receipts of those who had recently sent in their subscription, and listed there is H. L. Briggs. The newspaper would have been a good means to keep up with the family since so many of his children had leadership roles in the church. In fact, Jason, Edmund, and Riley are all named in the edition as being sustained in their roles by votes in the most recent chruch conference (all three are pictures on the right as noted above).

Another piece of evidence that Hugh was still concerned with his family ia a letter from Susannah's 3rd husband Collyer to her son-in-law William H. Longhurst on 29 Jan. 1888 stated that the property Hugh bought in Denver (possibly with Susannah's money) produced a rent which he sent to Riley Briggs to pay for law school. After Hugh's death Collyer bought the property, and he was informing Longhurst that his deceased mother-in-law had no property. The family long suspected Collyer hid her wealth so he would not have to give it to relatives.

Whatever the case, the family was aware of Hugh's passing, and since his sons were so important in the RLDS, his brief obituary appeared in the organization's weekly newspaper under the headline "Died at the age of 82."
"He was the father of Bm. Jason W., E. C., and R. W. Briggs. He has led a long and busy life, and has gone to the sleep that knows no waking till the resurrection" - "Saints Herald", 1874, Vol. 21, pg.571.

As noted above, the obituary published in Denver by the "Rocky Mountain News" of 19 June 1874 gives us more information that helps us see his later years:
"'Governor' Briggs, an old-timer of Denver and Salt Lake City, died here on Wednesday, at the round age of three score-and ten, more or less. He was a peculiar old gent, of genial manners and idiosyncracies. All the old stage drivers between Denver and Utah looke