Ansel Briggs

Obituary of Ex-Governor

Omaha, Neb., May 5—This morning at 3 o’clock, the Hon. Ansel Briggs died at the residence of his son, John S. Briggs, in this city, in the 75th year of his age.

The deceased was a native of New York, first removing to Ohio, and then to Iowa in 1838, of which State he was elected Governor in 1846, which office he held until 1850. In 1860 Mr. Briggs made a trip to Nebraska and Colorado, spending some months in those Territories. He then returned to his home in Davenport, and in 1863, in company with his son, John S., and large party, made a trip to Montana, and did not return for two years.

He invested in real estate in Omaha, Florence, Bellevue, and Columbus, this State, and six years ago came to Omaha to live. Mr. Briggs was the father of eight children, Mr. John S. Briggs being the only survivor. The deceased has two brothers living in California.

The physicians pronounced the disease ulcer of the stomach. The funeral will take place Saturday next at 10 a.m.

Source: Daily Inter Ocean, Published 06 May 1881)
Submitted By: Cathy Danielson

Death of Ex-Governor Ansel Briggs

For the last six or seven years there has been a man living among us in so quiet a way as to be almost unknown to a majority of the people of Omaha, but who, in years gone by, filled an important place, and was a marked character in the earlier history of this part of the West. This venerable man was Ansel Briggs, who passed away yesterday after a short sickness at the ripe age of seventy-six years.

Ansel Briggs was a native of New York and came to the west in 1838, making his home in Davenport, where he was a prominent citizen for many years. He was an active and stirring man in those days. It was he who established the early stage lines from that place to Dubuque, and from Dubuque to Iowa City. He enjoyed the honorable distinction of having been the first governor of our neighboring state after its admission to the Union, in which position he served the new state ably and well from 1846 to 1850. Among his contemporaries in the pioneer life were the Dodges, George W. Jones, and other founders of the now imperial commonwealth.

Charles Mason, of Burlington, and John F. Kisney, of our own state, received their commissions at his hands as the judges of Iowa. The late Dr. Enos Lowe, of this city, was president of the state senate of Iowa when he was its governor.

Governor Briggs lived in Andrew, Jackson county, a long time, and came out to Nebraska and Omaha in 1854. He was a member of the Florence Land company, and staked and lost his property fortunes on a faith that was in him that Florence would be the Omaha of the new state. He was interested in Bellevue, the other formidable rival of this place in those years, and also in Columbus and other towns.

In 1860 Governor Briggs accompanied his son John to Colorado on a mining expedition, and also to Montana in 1863, when he returned to resume his residence in Andrew, where he remained until about six years ago when he came back to Omaha where he lived until the sad summons came which called him to eternal rest and peace.

The death of Governor Briggs will be much regretted wherever he was known. Iowa will, we trust, not neglect, to suitably honor the good name of her first governor. He was an honest man, quiet and unpretentious in his manner, and intelligent and genial in social life. Governor Briggs used to say, when he felt the weight of years upon him, and before the railroad advent here, that he wished to live, and believed he would live, to see a railroad train cross the continent. That wish was long since gratified, and it has permitted the venerable man whose death removes another of the leading pioneers of the West, to be spared to see results flowing from the great achievement which must have amazed one who lived in this region forty years ago, when the continental railway was ranked among the wildest of dreams.

(Source: Omaha World Herald, Omaha, Nebraska, 06 May 1881)
Submitted By: Cathy Danielson

The Death of Gov. Briggs

In view of the death of the first of his predecessors, Gov. Gear on Friday issued the following: State of Iowa, Executive department Des Moines, May 6, 1881

To the People of Iowa -- It is with deep sensibility that the governor formally announces to his fellow citizens the death of Ansel Briggs, first Governor of the State of Iowa, which event occurred at 3 o'clock on the morning of Thursday, the 5th day of May, instant, at the city of Omaha, Nebraska.

The people of Iowa will not fail to do honor to the memory of one who was deemed worthy by the hardy pioneers of this commonwealth to be its first chief magistrate. He, with them, laid well the foundations, in this prairie wilderness, of a mighty state, destined to be the home of millions of people, coming from our own and other lands Serving her faithfully in her day of feebleness, he retired with the respect of all to private life, and now, having retained that respect throughout, he goes to his grave in a serene old age, having lived to witness the growth of the state he loved so well.

The funeral will be held at North Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday the 7th inst., at 10 o'clock a.m. In respect to the memory of the departed, a gun will be fired every half hour on the day of the funeral from sunrise to until noon, in the city of Des Moines, the capital of the state. The national flag will be displayed at half mast on that day from the various public buildings.

[Nonpareil, Pottawattamie Co., Iowa, Published May 8, 1881]
Submitted by Darlene Vergamini


The funeral of ex-governor Ansel Briggs takes place from the family residence, Division Street, Omaha, at 10:30 o'clock this (Saturday) morning. Friends from Council Bluffs desiring to attend should take the 8 o'clock car.

[Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Iowa, May 7, 1881]
Submitted by Darlene Vergamini


The body of Ansel Briggs, after resting in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Omaha, NE, for more than twenty-eight years was disinterred on May 20, 1909 and was brought to Council Bluffs preparatory to being taken to Andrew, Jackson County, Iowa, for burial in Iowa soil. The body will be held in this city (Council Bluffs) at the undertaking parlors of Baird, Longenecker and Boland until Thursday, when it will be taken to Andrew, which town was the former governor's home.

[Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Iowa, Published May 19, 1909]
Submitted by Darlene Vergamini

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