Lee County Biography


Emanuel Brierton, a successful farmer of Dixon Township, living on section 26, has the honor of being a native citizen of the county. He was born on his father's farm in the town of Nachusa, July 10, 1846, and is the youngest child of Joseph Brierton, an honored pioneer of this county. His father was a native of Yorktown, Mass., and his grandfather, John Brierton, was born in England and came of pure English lineage. In that land he married Jane Brewster, and were the Revolutionary War crossed the Atlantic to America. When the Colonies attempted to throw off the British yoke of tyranny, he aided in the struggle for independence. In his later life he left Massachusetts and went to Pennsylvania, where he died at an advanced age. By occupation, he was a farmer, and both he and his wife were members of the Methodist Church. In their family were eleven children, all of whom lived to be quite old, but are now deceased. With the exception of John, who engaged in merchandising for many years, the sons made farming their life work. Joseph Brierton, father of our subject, was the eldest of the family and the last to pass away. It was during his boyhood that his parents removed to the Keystone State, the family settling in Luzerne County, where he began serving an apprenticeship to a distiller in 1801, but he only worked at that trade for about two years. Subsequently, he learned the blacksmith's trade, which he followed more or less for a long period. In the early part of the '40s, emigrating Westward, he settled in Lee County, and purchased eleven hundred acres of land, which he highly improved, and as it rose in value he became quite wealthy. This county was the scene of his labors from that time until his death on the 7th of August, 1880, at the very advanced age of ninety-seven years. He was a man of prominence in the community and was widely known throughout the county. In politics, he was an inflexible adherent of Republican principles, which he advocated on account of the abolition sentiment they embodied, and in religious belief was a Methodist. Mrs. Brierton bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Garrison, and their marriage was celebrated in Luzerne County, Pa., where she was born and reared. She died at her home in Lee County, in 1870, at the age of sixty-nine years, after a noble and well-spent life. She, too, was a faithful member of the Methodist Church and many warm friends sincerely mourned her death.

No event of special importance occurred during the boyhood of our subject to vary the monotony of farm life, for in the usual manner of farmer lads his childhood days were passed. At the age of eighteen he enlisted in the late war as a member of Company C, Seventh Illinois Cavalry and for one year was in the service, but much of the time was confined in the hospital from pneumonia and a sunstroke. This so impaired his health that he engaged only in skirmishing and other light duty. On his return he continued to reside in Lee County until 1879, when he went to St. Louis. For one year he was foreman of Capt. Thompson's cane plantation, and for the three succeeding years was connected with the implement house of J. A. Field, of St. Louis. He then returned to his native county and has since given his attention to agricultural pursuits. In 1880 he purchased an improved farm of one hundred and eight}' acres on section 26, Dixon Township.

A marriage ceremony performed in that township united the destinies of Mr. Brierton and Emma Coltren, a native of the Buckeye State, who came to Illinois, when about two years old, with her parents, Elisha and Mary (Osborne) Coltren, who located at Palestine, and afterward settled on a farm near Amboy. They then came to Dixon and some years later went to Russell County, Kan., where Mr. Coltren died, near Bunker Hill, in 1888, at the age of eighty-eight years. By occupation, he was a farmer, which business he followed throughout his life. His wife, who survives him, resides with her son Orin in Nachusa Township, at the age of seventy-four 3-ears.

Eleven children grace the union of Mr. and Mrs. Brierton and the family circle yet remains unbroken. In order of birth they are as follows: Alice, Edna, Henry, Frank, Joseph, Tyler, Pearl, Blossom, Myrtle, and Daisy. This family is well and favorably known throughout the community, and the Brierton household is the abode of hospitality. In politics, our subject is a warm supporter of Republican principles and is a valued citizen of the community where he has so long made his home. He takes a just pride in the growth and upbuilding of his native county, in whose history he has been identified for forty-five years.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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