Mystery Place: Hollinshead farm traversed Briggs Road

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Ginny Hall | February 17, 2017

The former Hollinshead farm is located in sections 3, 4, 9 and 10 in the town of Delavan. It is on both sides of Briggs Road, north of Highway 11. 

According to the 1882 History of Walworth County, William Hollinshead came to this area on June 20, 1837. By the time of this book, he owned 420 acres. 

He was born near Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 3, 1806. In 1842 he returned to Stroudsburg and married Caroline Burson on June 20 of that year. She was born Nov. 11, 1815. They returned to his farm, where they had one daughter, Elizabeth, on June 1, 1843.

Elizabeth eventually married Herman A. Briggs, her cousin, on April 23, 1880. The 1900 plat book shows that this land was owned by Elizabeth Briggs. The history indicates that they lived in her former home … the Hollinshead farm. She died on Sept. 20, 1908.

William Hollinshead held various town offices, including town supervisor. He was the first county treasurer in 1839. He retired from farming in 1880 and turned over the operation to his son-in-law. Herman had been living in the town of Sugar Creek and served as associate supervisor for that township in 1879.

According to Beckwith's History of Walworth County, Herman was born on June 22, 1851. He was one of six children of Adam and Jane (Hollinshead) Briggs. He attended Delavan High School. 

He served as president of the Walworth County Agricultural Society (county fair board) in 1891. He was president of the Old Settlers Society, the forerunner of the county historical society, in 1892. He was a town of Delavan associate supervisor from 1888 to 1891 and was town chairman 1903 to 1905.

Apparently Briggs retired from farming because Beckwith lists him as representative of the First Ward in Delavan on the county board.

He moved to 202 Main St. in Delavan — some will remember that I wrote about that house several months ago. He sold his horses and farm in 1910. He belonged to the Knights of Pythias in Delavan and was a member of the Baptist Church.

The 1921 and 1930 plat books show that the Hollinshead property was owned by Frank Johnson. The latter book shows the farm name as Prairie View.  The book labeled “after 1937 and before 1942” and the 1948 book show the ownership as Frank Johnson, est. The 1961 and 1964 plat books indicate the ownership as Johnson Farms.

The 1966 and 1975 plat books show the owner as Jon Dyke Inc.  Then from 1977 to 2014 the books show the owner as Dean Kincaid Inc.

Ginny Hall, a Delavan historian, is author of the “Walking around ...” and “Meandering ... ” books, which highlight the history of Walworth County communities.

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