February 12, 2014

Genealogy research can turn into surprising local history facts


An anti-slavery supporter, he didn’t live to see the Civil War. Eliakim died in 1861 at the age of 66, with patents pending on his new inventions. His wife died in 1862, and Janette was put in charge of the family fortune. Like her father, she became well-known for philanthropic efforts in South Bend, Ind. When she died in 1916, she left $15,000 to an orphanage and $12,000 to the YWCA, a total that would be about $500,000 in today’s world.

Thank you, Eliakim Briggs, for touching our world from a little border town in northern New York, and thank you to people like Larry Gooley for sharing their research. It sure made my day.

One last thought, as always, please be kind to each other. The world needs more kindness.

Susan Tobias lives in Plattsburgh with her husband, Toby. She has been a Press-Republican newsroom employee since 1977. The Tobiases have six children, 18 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. They enjoy traveling to Maine and Colorado, and in her spare time, Susan loves to research local history and genealogy. Reach her by email at

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