Jefferson County Historical Society

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James Brierton, a native of County Meath, Ireland, was born December 18,
1837.  He is the youngest son of eight children, four sons and four
daughters, born to Matthew and Ellen (Dunne) Brierton, both of whom are
natives of Ireland, of Irish and Scotch, descent, respectively. In 1852
Michael, a brother of James, left his native heath for America, and 
located in California, and four years later made his home in Johnson Co.,
Iowa.  He was followed by James in 1856, who stopped in Rome, Oneida 
Co., N. Y., for one year, and in 1857 located in Iowa City, Iowa, where
he remained two years, being employed as a common laborer.  From there
he immigrated to Irondale, Washington Co., Mo., where he secured employment
as a common laborer with John G. Scott & Co., who were then building the 
Irondale furnace, and he served them in every capacity from said occupation
to that of general manager, holding the latter position for about four years.
In the meantime the business changed into the hands of Edwin Harrison & Co.,
with whom Mr. Brierton still continued in the capacity of general manager. 
In 1879 the business depreciated to such an extent that the company decided
to cease operation and in November of that year Mr. Brierton was sent to 
Leadville, Colo., where he again was installed as general manager of the 
Harrison Reduction Works and the Argentine Mining Company. After sixteen months,
finding the climate unsuited to his health, he was compelled to return
to the east.  Here he engaged with the Iron Mountain Company, in 1881,
as assistant superintendent, serving in that capacity until 1884.  In
the month of May of that year he came to Festus, and engaged in general
merchandising, and since that time has been conducting a thriving trade.  
His marriage to Miss Catherine Byrne occurred July 3, 1864, the result of 
which was the birth of seven children, named Nellie, Ann E.,Joseph M., James,
Catherine, John and Edwin. Mrs. Brierton is a daughter of Philip and Ellen
(Mawthews) Byrne, natives of County Louth, Ireland.  Mr. Brierton and family
are members of the Catholic Church, and in political matters he is a Democrat.