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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Howard County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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W. H. Briggs, the present efficient sheriff of Howard County, Ark., is a native South Carolinian, his birth occurring in that State in 1842, he being the sixth of eight children born to the marriage of Chane Briggs and Martha Reeder, who also owed their nativity to the Palmetto State. After following the occupation of farming in their native State until 1853, they emigrated to Arkansas and settled on a farm of 640 acres near the present site of Nashville, and here the father made many improvements in the way of buildings, etc., and prior to his death, which occurred in 1862, he had 250 acres cleared and under cultivation. He, as well as his wife, who passed from life in 1869, were members of the Missionary Baptist Church, in which he was an active worker, and for which he acted as clerk for many years. W. H. Briggs attended school in South Carolina prior to his removal from that State, but received the greater part of his education in the State of Arkansas. When the war became an assured fact he enlisted in the first company raised at Nashville, known as the "Davis Blues," and after the battle of Oak Hill returned to Nashville and joined Company D, which became a part of the Nineteenth Arkansas Regiment Infantry, and after the battle of Elkhorn he operated in the Indian Territory with Gen. Pike. During the summer he was sent to Camp White Sulphur near Pine Bluff, and in the fall to Arkansas Post, participating in the battle at that place, and was captured when the post was taken by the Federals. While at Camp White Sulphur he had been appointed sergeant-major. Upon being captured he was sent to Camp Douglas, Chicago, and at the end of three months was exchanged at City Point. After the re-organization of his regiment he was in the battles of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, the engagements in front of Atlanta, Jonesboro, and after the fall of Atlanta was in the Tennessee campaign with Gen. Hood, taking part in the engagements at Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville, Corinth and Tupelo. About this time he received a furlough for a seventy-five days' visit home, but at the end of that time could now cross the Mississippi River, and became a member of Gen. Joe Shelby's command. After the war was over, he returned home, resumed farming on the old homestead, continuing for nine years, after which he moved to Centre Point. In 1868, when the militia came through this part of the county, Mr. Briggs, with six others, was arrested for treason and murder, and after a trial before a sort of militia court, he was sent to Little Rock, being tied on the back of a pony, the escort in charge being Zara L. Cotton, a United States commissioner, now in the prison at Detroit. Mr. Briggs was released on giving bonds to the amount of $25,000, but this was afterward reduced to $15,000, and still later the case was dismissed, as no grand jury would ever return a bill. Mr. Briggs erected his present residence at Centre Point, has always taken an active part in the politics of the county, and in 1881 was elected by his Democrat friends to the office of county sheriff, a position he has filled very satisfactorily ever since. Mr. Briggs is a Mason, a member of Centre Point Lodge No. 87, and of Mineral Springs Chapter No. 179. He was married in the month of February, 1866, to Miss Eleanor E. Bishop, a native of Hempstead County, and a daughter of Harmon and Mary Bishop, early pioneers of the same, from Virginia and Tennessee, respectively. To the above named union the following family of children have been born: Chane Harmon, Lena (who died at the age of fourteen years), Percy (who died in infancy), Thomas H., Pauline, Polk, Ernest, Carrie (who died when six years of age), Mary, Clare and Rufus Bennett. The family are members of the Missionary Baptist Church.

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This family biography is one of 116 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Howard County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Howard County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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