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BRIGGS, Joseph Bennett
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
Pesented by Nancy Rayburn
II, page 324, 1923.
BRIGGS, JOSEPH BENNETT, of Lake Wales, is an influential figure in connection with real
estate enterprise and development in Polk County, and is an enthusiast in exploiting the
manifold advantages and attractions of this favored section of Florida.
Mr. BRIGGS was born at Russellville, Kentucky, on the 10th of February, 1878, and is a son
of Captain J. B. and ANNIE L. (LONG) BRIGGS, both likewise natives of the fine old Bluegrass
State and representatives of families that were founded in Virginia in the Colonial days and
that in a later generation gained pioneer honors in Kentucky. NIMROD LONG, maternal grandfather
of the subject of this review, was a banker in Kentucky, and was the first man to be robbed
by the famous bandits, the James Brothers, by one of whom he was shot, but not fatally.
The fourth in a family of six children, JOSEPH B. BRIGGS was reared and educated in Kentucky,
and after attaining to his legal majority he there became identified with the insurance business.
He was finally placed in charge of the offices of the Travelers Insurance Company in the City
of Chicago, Illinois, as well as in the company's offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He continued
his effective service with this company fifteen years, and he made his first visit to Florida
in 1882, before any railroad facilities had been supplied in the favored section of the state
in which he now maintains his home. His father here became the owner of a citrus grove of 1,000
acres, and for some time this had status as the largest grove in the state. The father died
at Palm Beach, this state, in 1906, he having done much to advance the development of Florida
and having been one of the first promoters at Winterhaven (sic). Though he continued his
residence in Kentucky, Capt. J. B. BRIGGS passed his winters in Florida for a term of years,
and it was here his death occurred.
JOSEPH B. BRIGGS early gained familiarity with conditions in Florida through the family residence
in the state during the winter seasons, and in 1913 he became a pioneer in the now thriving
little City of Lake Wales, where he erected the fifth house to be constructed in the town. He
was influential in bringing to the new town many other permanent settlers, and he has continued
one of the most prominent in the splendid development and progress of Lake Wales and Polk County,
where he has been a leader in the handling of real estate and where he owns not only valuable
property in his home city but also a fine citrus grove. He is a stockholder in the Lake Wales
Bank. In the Masonic fraternity he has become a Knight Templar and a member of the Mystic
Shrine, and he is affiliated also with the Elks and the Knights of Pythias. He holds membership
in the Crooked Lake Golf Club and the Highland Park Golf Club, and is a graduate of Bethel
College, Russellville, Kentucky, he is affiliated with the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He and
his wife hold membership in the Baptist Church.
In 1912 Mr. BRIGGS wedded Miss SARAH S. SAMPLE, of Bartow, Polk County, and they have one
child, ELSA. By a former marriage Mr. BRIGGS has three daughters, ALICE DARNELL, BESSIE LONG
This page created August 24, 2010
© 2010 Fran Smith