Tag Archives: Boone County Illinois

Challenge: who are these residents of “the valley of the northwestern lakes”

While on GenealogyBank, I found my brickwall ancestor Oren Briggs inside a document entitled ‘Petition of citizens of the United States residing in the valley of the northwestern lakes, praying the adoption of measures to procure the free navigation of the St. Lawrence. April 11, 1850. Referred to the Committee on Commerce. June 4, 1850. Ordered to be printed.’ Publication: Serial Set Vol. No. 563, Session Vol. No.1; Report: S.Misc.Doc. 111;

Is the “valley of the northwestern lakes” the area around Lake Michigan and other Great Lakes? Can anyone confirm? Several of these men lived in Belvidere, Boone County, Illinois in 1850.

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Divorce 1848 style!

My 4x great grandparents Oren Briggs (also spelled Orren, Orrin or Orin) and Susan Bowder have got an unusual and mysterious past. Their marriage was her second and at least his third marriage! She was 25 and he was 51 years old.

The following took place in Belvidere, Boone County, Illinois in 1848.

  • May 16: Sarah Ann Briggs files for divorce 
against husband Oren
  • May 17: Oren’s civil lawsuit settled
  • May 18: Susan’s divorce to John Tittle granted
  • May 20: Oren’s divorce granted
  • May 24: Oren and Susan get married

Busy week!

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Oren Briggs (1797-1882)

Oren (also spelled Orren, Orrin or Orin) Briggs is my 4x great grandfather. He is also one of my ‘brick wall’ ancestors. Oren’s story fascinates me. He was born about 1797 in Massachusetts (according to his census entries) or Maine (according to his children’s later census records). Maine was once part of Massachusetts so it probably is Maine. Prior to 1839, I can find no definitive record of him, though two potential matches have been identified. Orren Briggs married at least three times, and I descend from his third wife, Susan Bowder.

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