Davis Uriah I | Born 1707

BRIGGS, Wilmer Arthur

Male 1899 - 1981  (82 years)

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  • Name BRIGGS, Wilmer Arthur 
    Born 12 Mar 1899  Spalding, Nez Perce County, Idaho Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 16 Jul 1981  Eugene, Lane County, Oregon Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Springfield, Lane County, Oregon Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I4860  Uriah Davis I - Genealogy
    Last Modified 21 Jun 2018 

    Father BRIGGS, John Levi,   b. 8 Nov 1860, Wabash County, Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Jan 1929, Durham, Butte County, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 68 years) 
    Mother HAYTER, Viola Luella,   b. 14 Aug 1865, Freemont, Brown County, Nebraska Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Sep 1955, Durham, Butte County, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 90 years) 
    Married 2 Apr 1888  Brown, Co., Nebraska Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Brown Co., Nebraska Marriage Book A (10-05-1883 to 11-13-1902)
      Page 306.
    Family ID F1886  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family TODD, Irene Christine,   b. 7 Sep 1896,   d. Aug 1984, Springfield, Lane County, Oregon Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years) 
    Last Modified 24 Jun 2018 
    Family ID F1904  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Served in WWII as a Chaplain for the USAF for 3 years.
      (Source: Briggs Heritage, by Clara Jean (Briggs) Whan, copyright 1985)
      (On-line posting by Anna Marie Dahlquist)

      I was born on an Indian reservation at Spaulding, Idaho, on March 12, 1899. My father, John Levi Briggs, was the justice of peace for the Indians, and he also had a store there. The Indiana called me Augonilda, which is a name of a Philippino rebel. I was the first white baby they had ever seen. Today a state park is located there, with the history of the axes written about it.

      When I was about two years old, the family moved by flat boat down the Snake River to the Columbia, and thence to Portland, going around the Celilo Falls and Cascade Locks. Father did carpentry work in Portland for a while, and we then moved on down the Coquille River about three miles below Riverton where he had a dairy farm. To get there, we took the steamer Breakwater to Bandon, and then the Dispatch, a sternwheeler, up the river to where the farm was located.

      Nine years we lived there. The next move was to Jonah Islet out of South Slough, where Dad rented a dairy ranch. This was not very profitable, so we stayed only two years, moving by scow boat back to Marshfield, where we lived a couple of years.

      Then Dad rented a place on the middle fork of the north fork of the Coquille. We stayed here long enough for me to attend a couple years of school at McKinley. Then Dad rented a small place above Gravel Ford, where I attended school and graduated from the eighth grade.

      Getting restless again, Dad loaded up the covered wagon and started for Oakridge. This was rough going, and it took us quite a while to travel over the rough road. The railroad was not finished any further than Oakridge, and that was the only road that went over the mountain. My brother-in-law and I had an animal farm while we lived at Oakridge. We had 60 skunks, 3 wildcats and some raccoons. I caught the wildcats in box traps and carried them on my back to the farm. In the summertime, I fought forest fires for the Forest Service. We often slept out on the fire line under a big log, with no bedding, for weeks at a time. Once a bear raided our camp and destroyed the food.

      We lived at Oakridge for three years, and then Dad decided to have a look at. eastern Oregon. So we took a covered wagon and set out up the old road to the Rigdon ranger station, on over to Crescent, down by LaPine to Silver Lake, and then to Summer Lake, where we lived for several years. My brother-in-law and I brought 14 new wagons from Bend to Paisely, camping along the way under the wagons for shelter. I handled lots of wild horses and had two of my own. Working on stationary threshing machines which went from place to place, my wages were $35 per month.
      It was at Summer Lake that I hunted rabbits for bounty and received 5 cents for the ears. Once when my brothers and I were returning from a hunting expedition, the snow had frozen hard across a ravine, allowing us to slide down it on a board. I did not know my brothers were lifting the end of the board when they wanted to stop. I started down, but lost the board and went down on my head, feet, etc., and headed for a big drop below. I thought I was doomed. My brothers knew I would stop before going over the edge, and they had a good laugh at my ignorance.

      We also lived at Dufur on the slopes of Mt. Hood. One November, the first snowfall left about six inches on the ground. Frank, a friend of mine, suggested we go bear hunting. It. was cold, but we took the old Ford and started out. Snow came up to the front axles, and icicles formed on the fenders, but we covered the old car with quilts and drove ten miles up in the hills looking for tracks. Soon finding a trail, we followed it to a big dead tree. There the tracks ended. Digging around in the snow, we found a hole underneath the stump, and poking a stick in the hole, we found our beer. We kept digging until the bear stuck his head out. I shot at him, but just hit him in the nose. He pulled back into the hole. Frank was up the hill about 100 ft., with his gun setting behind the tree stump. My gun was setting close, and when we finally agitated the beer into coming out, I grabbed the gun and tried to shoot, but it was frozen. Dropping the gun, I ran down the hill and climbed a small tree. The bear walked around the stump, knocked my friend's gun down in the snow, and scratched mine around. After circling the tree a couple of times, the bear crawled back in his hole. I stayed in the tree until Frank came down and got his gun. We started a fire and thawed mine out, then we started again to try to get the bear out. Finally getting hold of both hind legs, we tried to pull him out, but that didn't work. After a half-hour or so of struggling, we shot him through the flank. That brought the old bear out of his hole; we finished the job; and got back home about 5 o'clock with our bear.

      Summer Lake didn't suit Dad, so we took the covered wagon and traveled through Lake View to Pine Creek, and on to Redding, California, from there to Red Bluff, then to the Los Molinos Colony, where we purchased a small 30 acre place near Dairyville. It was from here I attended the College of the Pacific in San Jose, California and met my wife and lifelong partner, Irene Todd.

      This was written by Wilmer A. Briggs, at the age of 80, in 1979.