Biography of George A. Briggs
Bristol County, MA Biographies

Briggs, George Alfred, civil engineer, is the son of George Briggs, jr., and Cynthia Jones, and was born in Dighton, Bristol county, January 6, 1820. According to tradition there came from Yorkshire, England, John Briggs, who settled in Dartmouth, and afterward in Norton; Richard Briggs, in Taunton; and Clement Briggs, on Cape Cod. Mr. Briggs's great great grandfather, David Briggs, lived in Berkley; his great grandfather, Nathan, and grandfather, George Briggs. sr., resided in Dighton, where the latter was especially prominent in settling estates. His maternal grandfather. Salathiel Jones, was a captain of militia. Mr. Briggs received a common school education, and through his own efforts secured a thorough and practical knowledge of civil and hydraulic engineering, which he practiced during a portion of his early life, as assistant engineer in making surveys and the construction of railroads, under his uncle, Seth H. Ingalls, one of the foremost structural engineers and architects of his day. In 1845 Mr. Briggs became assistant engineer on the construction of the Bridgewater division of the Fall River & Boston Railroad. Following this he was successively principal assistant engineer on the surveys for the railroad through West Randolph in 1846; principal assistant engineer in charge of the preliminary surveys for the New Bedford & Fall River and the Taunton & Middieboro Railroads in 1847; assistant engineer and draughtsman in charge of the surveys for the New Haven & New London Raiiroad in 1848; assistant engineer on the New Haven & Northampton, and principal engineer in charge of the construction of the Old Town (Me.) extension of the Bangor & Old Town Railroad in 1849; engineer and master carpenter on the construction of a wooden bridge, single span, 105 feet long, for this road, and assistant engineer in charge of the State surveys for the European & North American Railway from Bangor to Calais, Me., in 1850; assistant engineer on the location and construction of the New Haven & New London Railroad from 1850 to 1852; and division engineer in charge of the preliminary surveys, location, and construction of the Clinton Line Railroad in Ohio from 1852 to 1855. In 1860 he became assistant engineer on the preliminary surveys for the New Bedford water works, and in 1865 was principal engineer on further surveys for this enterprise; when the location and construction were commenced in 1866 he was made chief engineer, which position he held until 1871. From 1871 to 1874 he was chief engineer on the construction of the Fall River water works, completing them as he had completed, in 1869, the New Bedford system. Since then he has been engaged in the'general practice of his profession in New Bedford and Fairhaven, having resided in the latter place since 1877. From 1861 to 1868 he also served as city engineer of New Bedford, and was selectman and chairman of the board of Fairhaven from 1879 to 1884, and chief engineer of the Coggeshall street bridge between these two places. Mr. Briggs is one of the oldest and best known civil engineers in the southern part of the State. In 1844 he married Sarah Ann. daughter of Nathaniel Stetson, of Fairhaven. She died at Cleveland, Ohio, December 16, 1888, leaving Rosweii Emmons Briggs, a graduate of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, and now a civil engineer of Denver, Col.; Emma O., wife of Daniel A. Wightman, general manager and superintendent, of the Pittsburg (Pa.) Locomotive Works; and Mary Louisa S. (Mrs. Edward Knowles), of Cleveland, Ohio.

Our county and its people
A descriptive and biographical history of
Bristol County, Massachusetts
Prepaired and published under the auspices of
The Fall River News and The Taunton Gasette
With assistance of Hon. Alanson Borden
The Boston History Company, Publishers, 1899.

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