Alexander County

Biography - Samuel Briley

SAMUEL BRILEY, insurance agent. Elco. Dempsey Briley, the grandfather of Samuel, came from France about 1810, and settled in the State of Mississippi, near Jackson, on the Pearl River. Here John Briley, the father of subject, was born in 1811, and soon after came with his father to West Tennessee. When the war of 1812 broke out, the grandfather enlisted in the army, and was one of the soldiers wounded in the battle of New Orleans, being shot through the lungs. From the effects of that wound, he died a few years later. The father was raised in Tennessee, and after his father's death he was taken by the noted David Crocket, who was living there then, with whom he remained until a young man. When about twenty, he came to Kentucky, and there married Lavina Anderson, daughter of James M. and Mary (Carter) Anderson. There were four children born to bless that home, and of that number our subject was the oldest, and was born September 21, 1831, at Mayfield, Ky. His father came to Illinois in 1833, settling in Massac County, and there the education of our subject was received, mostly at the old subscription schools of the day.

In his seventeenth year, he commenced learning the trade of a house carpenter. He came to Jonesboro in 1852, and in that and other towns he followed his trade until the breaking-out of the war. In 1864, he returned to this county, and settled near Dongola, where he worked at his trade for a short time, and then opened a general store, and remained there until 1872, when he came to the new town of Elco, which was then being founded. He built the first store in the place, and there carried on a general store. From that time, he engaged in several enterprises of public utility, building a large number of different buildings, and carried on the grocery, dry goods, drugs and cabinet business in turn. At present he is acting as agent for the Racine School Furniture Company and the Burlington (Iowa) Life Insurance Company. He was married, April 13, 1851, to Charlotte Allen, daughter of James M. and Minerva Allen of Johnson County, Ill. She is the mother of five children, two of whom are living — Elenora (wife of William H. Ralls of Thebes) and Laura (wife of F. M. Carter). He enlisted in the Eighty-first Illinois Infantry, Col. Dollans, Company F, Capt. Campbell, in August, 1862. Remained out seventeen months; was wounded at the battle of Champion Hills, Miss., and was honorably discharged in December, 1863. In politics, he is a Republican, and has served three terms as Postmaster. He was elected Justice of the Peace in the fall of 1872, and has served in that capacity- since, with the exception of one term. He was elected County Commissioner in 1878, and served there one term. Subject is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, but is connected now with the church at Elco.

Extracted 29 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, pages 218-219.

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