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Ansel Briggs

Gov. Ansel Briggs

  • December 28, 1846 - December 4, 1850
  • Democratic
  • February 3, 1806
  • May 5, 1881
  • Vermont
  • Norwich Academy
  • Married twice--Nancy M. Dunlap, Frances Carpenter; eight children


ANSEL BRIGGS, Iowa’s first governor, was born in Vermont on February 3, 1806. His education was attained in the common schools of Vermont and at the Norwich Academy in Connecticut. After moving to Ohio and then Iowa, Briggs established successful careers as a mail carrier and stagecoach driver. He entered politics in 1842, serving as a member of the Iowa Territorial House of Representatives, a position he held until 1846. He also served one term as sheriff of Jackson County. In 1846, Briggs won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and subsequently was elected governor of Iowa. During his tenure, the formation of the state government was initiated, a state school system was organized, and the Missouri-Iowa boundary dispute was resolved in 1848. When his term ended on December 4, 1850, Briggs retired from public service and returned to his various business interests. He later was instrumental in the development and the founding of Florence, Nebraska. Governor Ansel Briggs died in Omaha, Nebraska, on May 5, 1881. He was buried in Omaha, and was later reinterred at the Andrew Cemetery in Andrew, Iowa.



Annals of Iowa, 34 (1958): 238-35.

Horton, Loren. Report, Ansel Briggs project. Division of the Iowa State Historical Society. Iowa City, The Division, 1975.

Iowa Historical Record, 1 (1885): 145-52.

Palimpsest, 27 (1946): 357-68.

The Political Graveyard

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn., Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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