Briley Farm - Family History

Briley Farm is located on a tranquil piece of land in Oakland, Florida that has been passed down through generations of the Briley family originating with Samuel J. Briley and Fannie Edna Rich.

Farming and the railroad brought the Briley family to the area before the turn of the century. Samuel J. Briley and Fannie Edna Rich were married at Chalybeate Springs, Georgia in 1884. In 1897 Mr. and Mrs. Briley and their five children moved to Tildenville by train from Wellborn, Florida. For a short while, Samuel Briley worked for I. W. Tilden on his farm in Tildenville. Samuel and Fannie moved to Oakland to a house near Lake Apopka, which would later be the home of the Croft and Smallbone families. Next, the family moved to a house on the site of the old Vick home (later the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lee Matthews).

The Briley children, Griffith, Bryon, Edgar, Linton and Audrey attended the second Oakland school, which later became the old Presbyterian Manse. They progressed to the new school at Tildenville when it was opened.

In 1900, the family moved into the present Briley home on Lake Apopka, originally owned by Mr. McDonald of England. The land had been partially cleared, but still remained mostly a wilderness. The Briley’s finished clearing the acreage making way for acres of cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers planted with the utmost care and precision. This produce was shipped to the north by way of express cars and later refrigerator cars.

In the following years, Samuel Briley purchased additional land that was turned into orange groves and later family homesteads.

The Briley family remained in the Oakland area for years to come, laying down strong roots and contributing to the success of the community at large. Besides farming, the family has been very active in education and public service.

At the center of the farm is the historic family home, which has periodically undergone renovation and modernization. Some of the original structure still remains from the home that was purchased by Samuel J. Briley back in 1900. It was later renovated by his daughter, Audrey Briley, in 1936 and his great grandson Jefferson Rich Voss in 1993 and again in 2008.

Samuel J. Briley and Fannie Edna Rich’s Family  
Married on October 26th, 1884…

Homer Griffith Briley (1886-1964), the eldest son, was born in Higley, Florida. In 1931 he was married to Miss Harriet Mason. When she died, Griffith Briley married Ethel Douglas on July 18, 1947. Ethel Briley, was a noted artist in Central Florida. Griffith Briley was a charter member and Past Master of the Winter Garden Masonic Lodge No. 145, a member of Bahia Temple Shrine and Knights Templar Shrine of Orlando. He served for many years as elder of the Presbyterian Church at Oakland, later becoming Elder Emeritus.

Byron Rich Briley (1888-1975), the second son, was born in Pine Mount, Florida. On September 17, 1932 he was married to Miss Ada Knight, a music teacher for six years in the Oakland-Tildenville school. She later transferred to Florida State College for Women in Tallahassee where she taught piano for five years. The couple was married in Ocala, returning to Oakland to make their home. Rich Briley was active in citrus and farming industries and was a member of the Florida Citrus Mutual and the Orange County Farm Bureau. Mr. and Mrs. Briley’s daughter Jane married Jefferson Pete Voss. They built their home on two acres of land that her father had bought and cleared in 1907 for a grove. Jefferson P. and Jane Voss had four children, Jefferson Rich Voss, Jennifer Jane Voss, Janet Janine Voss and John Briley Voss.

Edgar Jerome Briley (1890-1975), third Briley son, was born in Padlock, Florida (Suwannee county). On June 21, 1916 he enlisted at Orlando, in Company C, Second Florida Infantry. He served in France seeing action in the battles of Aisne, Marne, St. Mihiel, Minese, and Argonne Forest. In a critical condition he was returned to the United States, landing at Hoboken, New Jersey. There he was met by his mother and brother, Rich Briley, who stayed with him for three weeks. Later he was transferred to the Veterans Hospital in August, Georgia.

Linton Roscoe Briley (1893-1977) was born in Spring Garden, Florida. On October 17, 1923, he was married to Pearl A. Stanford, of Chicago, Illinois. Miss Stanford was a niece of Mrs. A.A. Phelps, whose husband was a retired shoe merchant of Chicago. She is the sister of Clare Stanford, husband of the former Edith Sadler. Linton Briley served in World War 1 for twenty-two months, a member of a Calvary division in Mexico. Most of his service was on the Mexican border. Active in citrus and farming interests, Mr. Briley was a member of the Florida Citrus Mutual and Orange County Farm Bureau.

Audrey Briley (1896-1985), youngest of the Briley children, was born in Wellborn, Florida. She lived in the old Briley residence on Lake Apopka. An avid gardener, Miss Briley made the grounds around her home beautiful with picturesque oaks, flowering shrubs, azaleas, and other tropical plants. Her life was devoted to her family and friends.