Family Stories

Mrs. Benjamin Helm Bristow Biography

There are few biographies of women written during the late 1800, early 1900 time period.  It seems that almost every county in every state during that time period wrote a county history and included biographies of many of its citizens.  I always smile when I see a woman included in the list!  But true to the time period she was listed as ‘Mrs. Benjamin Helm Bristow’ rather than Abigail Slaughter Briscoe Bristow (how confusing – maiden name and married name so similar!)!  Unfortunately most of the information is about her husband and others – but, still, it is listed in her name!

from Who Was Who In Hardin County, Kentucky

Mrs. Benjamin Helm Bristow (nee Abigail Slaughter Briscoe) was born  February 16, 1835, in Lewis County, Missouri, the daughter of William Chenoweth Briscoe, born August 9, 1807, in Hardin County, Kentucky, and his wife, Amanda Malvina Slaughter, born December 13, 1811, in Hardin County, the daughter of Robert and Nancy Hynes Slaughter.

William Chenoweth Briscoe was the son of Walter and Hester Henton Briscoe, who were married in Nelson County, Kentucky, July 23, 1792.  Hester was a granddaughter of the pioneer, Jacob VanMeter, Sr., of Hardin County.  William C. Briscoe was married September 23, 1832, in Hardin County, to Amanda M. Slaughter.  He and his bride went horseback to Lewis County, Missouri.  Three children were born to this union:  Dr. Robert Slaughter Briscoe, a leading physician of Lewis County; Abigail Slaughter Briscoe and Nannie Miles Briscoe.  The mother died in 1838.  The two daughters were brought to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and were reared by their mother’s sister, Abigail Slaughter, who married George L. Miles, an early resident of Elizabethtown.

Abigail Slaughter Briscoe married at Elizabethtown, November 21, 1854, to Hon. Benjamin Helm Bristow, son of Francis M. and Emily E. Helm Bristow, the latter the daughter of Benjamin Helm of Elizabethtown.  Hon. Benjamin Helm Bristow was born June 20, 1832, at Elkton, Todd County, Kentucky, and was graduated from Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, in 1851.  He was admitted to the bar in 1853, and practiced law in Kentucky.  On the outbreak of the Civil War he enlisted in the Union Army as a Lieutenant-Colonel of the 25th Kentucky Infantry, and distinguished himself on the battlefield where he won the rank of Brigadier-General.  At the close of the war he removed to Louisville, where in 1870 he became the law partner of General John M. Harlan.  In 1871 President Grant appointed him Solicitor General (upon the organization of the Department of Justice), and in 1874 Secretary of the Treasury.  At the Republican National Convention of 1876 he received on the first ballot 123 votes, the largest number cast for any candidate on the ballot for President of the United States.  He removed to New York City, where he practiced law until his death, June 22, 1906.  Mrs. Bristow died in New York City, April 7, 1915.  They were the parents of two children:  William Benjamin Bristow, a lawyer of New York City, and Nannie Bristow, born January 15, 1858, at Elkton, Kentucky, and married November 21, 1883, in New York City to Eben Sumner Draper, of the noted Draper family of Massachusetts.  He was born June 17, 1858, at Hopedale, Massachusetts, and was Governor of Massachusetts several terms.  He died April 9, 1914, leaving his large cotton mills at Hopedale and many millions to his family.

Nannie Miles Briscoe (sister of Abigail Slaughter Briscoe) married J. F. Weller, of Louisville, Kentucky, son of Captain Samuel and Phoebe Larue Allen Weller.  Captain Samuel Weller was born in Frederick County, Maryland, and came to Nelson County, Kentucky, in 1796.  He was an officer of the War of 1812, under General William Henry Harrison.  He died at his home on Nolin River in 1854.  His first wife was a daughter of Samuel Allen and Elizabeth Larue, daughter of Jacob H. Larue.  Nannie Miles Briscoe Weller died in 1898, leaving two children.

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