Sunday, January 26, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 4: Levi Evans Briggs

I just realized - I should have written this yesterday!   I thought when I looked last week, that the anniversary of Levi Evans Briggs' death was on Sunday - but now I see, it was really yesterday!

Levi Evans Briggs

Levi Evans Briggs was my Great Grandfather.  He was born on 10 December 1885 in Bountiful, Utah.   He was the son of Ephriam Briggs and Ann Evans.

Levi's father was a polygamist and had 2 wives, who were also sisters - Ann Evans and Mary Elizabeth Evans.    The 2 families both lived in Bountiful, but in separate homes.  There were a total of 18 children.   One of Levi's sisters, Lucy,  writes that even though she would hear people ask her mother which were "her" children, Lucy was a "large girl" before she realized that she had half brothers and sisters.

Levi's father was convicted of unlawful cohabitation in 1888 and served 6 months in jail, and had to pay a $25.00 fine.

When Mary Elizabeth died, Ann and her children moved into what had been Mary's house and took care of all of the children together.

In the 1900 Census, Levi is listed as attending school, and able to read, write and speak englisth.

In the 1910 Census, Levi is in Hollbrook, Idaho.  Living in the same town as his brother Ephriam.  He is listed as owning a farm, and occupation is farmer

In 1911 Levi married Selena Mae Bennett (She went by Mae).  Their first child, Mary, was born prematurely and died that same day on July 8, 1912.  My grandfather, Lawrence Bennett Briggs was born on October 23, 1913, and 5 children followed - Leo, Alvin, Ruby, Barbara and Stephen.   Both Ruby and Stephen died as very young children.

Levi and Mae Briggs

In 1918, Levi signed up for the WWI draft.   He is listed on his draft card as being tall, slender build with brown hair and blue eyes.   He lists his occupation as Pickle Maker for Cudahy Packing Company.  I'm pretty sure, after reading history about Cudahy Packing plant, and with the description in the 1940 census that he pickled meat - that the pickles he made, were not from cucumbers!

The 1920 census  has him back in Bountiful, married with 3 children.  His occupation is listed as laborer, industry packing.

The 1930 census shows him still in Bountiful, but now his occupation is listed as farmer.

The 1940 census has him still in Bountiful, but his occupation has changed to pickling meat for Cudahy Packing

Levi and Mae Briggs

I was 6 years old when Levi Briggs died.   I have only the vaguest memories of him.  I recall going up the hill in Bountiful with my mother and visiting him.   I recall being absolutely terrified of him, and that he gave me candy.    Later - I remember visiting him in a nursing home.

Levi Briggs

I asked my uncle, Bruce Briggs,  if he had any memories about his grandfather Levi Briggs,  that I could share, and he wrote the following:

"I would go up there 1-2 times a week with dad, take him shopping, or later on just fill the shopping list he gave us + mow & attended to his lawn & yard. I really can’t remember him actually ever engaging me directly in a conversation about me or my life. I usually just listened as he & dad discussed sports, current events, other family members, etc..

One event that does stand out – we used to have a big X-Mass get together with the three brothers, dad, Leo & Alvin + all the cousins before the cousins got older, married & had their own families. It was usually the weekend before Christmas. When I was 5 or 6 Levi gave all the male cousin, about my age the same size pkg. My focus for the season was on the big items being advertised & that you asked Santa for. I opened the gift & it was a wrist watch, a very basic one but it was something that hadn’t even crossed my mind as something I would want, receive or even like. It was a total surprise & I was thrilled. I have worn a wrist watch almost constantly from that time to today. It was the biggest surprise I can ever remember getting and I was ecstatic! It was so unique & unexpected and I felt I had won the lottery. I have had hundreds of presents since then but that one really stuck out."

Levi Evans Briggs died on January 25, 1975


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