My research has turned up several other people with the name Oren (also spelled Orren, Orrin or Orin) Briggs on the East Coast that could be the same man as my 4x great-grandfather, Oren Briggs, or related.
Last updated April 3, 2009
Oren Briggs of Penobscot County, Maine
An Oren Briggs was found on the 1830 Federal Census for Blakesburg Plantation, Penobscot County, Maine. He married Betsey Davis, who at the time was the widow of John Forbes, in Blakesburg (known Bradford after 1831) on July 2, 1821. They had two children: Caroline born Feb 1822 and Charles born March 1824, but there are no further records found for these children.
I visited the Penobscot County Courthouse myself a few years ago and found some tantalizing information.
First, Oren is reasonably well documented in Penobscot County, Maine records, both at the courthouse and in the book ‘Bradford Heritage Scrapbook – Glimpses of our Past’, published by the Bradford Heritage Museum & Historical Society in 1981.
In a guardianship case dated August of 1813, Oren Briggs was named a minor child over age 14, son of Walham Briggs, along with brothers Erastus and Chester. Guardianship was granted to Luke Wilder, who I’ve begun researching.
Oren Briggs was elected Bradford town treasurer in 1820, and in 1824 was postmaster at Bradford Village Corner and was licensed to sell liquor until 1828. In June 1827 his occupation is noted as trader.
In June 1827 he was probate executor for James S. Davis of Blakesburg (relationship to Betsey unknown at this time). Oren was also noted as helping to administer the estate of John Forbes — yet not much later he was marrying Mr. Forbes’ widow!
Oren owned a general store (let’s not forget my Oren Briggs owned a store in Stevens Point, Wisconsin!) and was a postmaster during his time in Penobscot County. Interestingly, there is no mention of him after 1832. Betsey was living with a son from her first marriage during the 1850 census, and died April 6, 1854. She is buried in Bradford. There is evidence to suggest she married another Briggs man but I haven’t proved this yet.
There is no record of Oren’s death in Penobscot County. One theory is that he went out in the winter to hunt/trap and didn’t return. So, did he die in the wilderness or did he run off and start a new life in Illinois? Or something entirely mundane?
Or Berkshire County, Massachusetts?
I have also found an Orrin BRIGG in Lenox, Berkshire County, Massachusetts in 1830 age 30-40, who is living with a woman age 20-30, 4 younger males age 20-30, and 1 male age 15-20. I’ve done no further research on this individual yet.
The Orrin Briggs of Grafton County, New Hampshire has been eliminated as a possibility. A descendant emailed me to say this man stayed in New Hampshire his entire life.