Colonel George G. Briggs

Colonel George G. Briggs, patriot, soldier, gentleman, scholar, art connoisseur and patron of the arts passed away at Grand Rapids, December 8, 1912, and in his death there passed one of the long time active business men of the city and one who has left his mark on pages of history of both state and nation. He was born at Livonia, Wayne county, Michigan, January 24, 1838, attended the public schools until he was fourteen years of age, worked in a store at Battle Creek three years, took a course at Olivet College, and for five years was a bookkeeper in a store at Galesburg. In 1858 he became a partner in this concern, the name being changed to Averill, Briggs & Company. In 1862 he disposed of his business interests and organized a company of cavalry which was mustered into the service as part of the old Seventh Michigan Cavalry. He went in as first lieutenant and was successfully promoted to the rank of colonel with command of the regiment, which took part in fifty-six engagements as part of the Army of the Potomac. He was discharged from the army December, 1865, at Salt Lake City, and immediately established his home at Grand Rapids, where in the following spring he married Julia R. Peirce, youngest daughter of John W. Peirce. He was at first a member of the dry goods firm of Peirce & Briggs, but in 1869 he became one of the organizers of the Michigan Barrel Company, of which he was secretary and treasurer for seventeen years. He represented Grand Rapids as a member of the state legislature in 1868, and held numerous important positions in the city government. He had interests in many of the leading financial and commercial enterprises of the city. Particularly was he interested in art and the inculcation of its appreciation in the minds of the citizenry at large, and his home on Lafayette avenue, northeast, was especially designed for the proper display of his large collection of pictures.

Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 14 March 2005