William Briskey was a London bus driver. He was an active member of the Transport and General Workers Union. On the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War he urged that the union should raise money for the Popular Front government. He was reported in The Tribune as saying that "the small political parties doing every human thing possible for spain, and he knew that these comrades could do little as they lacked the mass membership and organisation of the labour movement."
In December, 1936 Briskey joined the International Brigades. According to Jason Gurney he was "a very sincere and decent man". Briskey showed good leadership qualities and Wilfred Macartney decided to give him command of No. 3 Machine-Gun Company.
After failing to take Madrid by frontal assault General Francisco Franco gave orders for the road that linked the city to the rest of Republican Spain to be cut. A Nationalist force of 40,000 men, including men from the Army of Africa, crossed the Jarama River on 11th February.
General José Miaja sent three International Brigades including the Dimitrov Battalion and the British Battalion to the Jarama Valley to block the advance. On 12th February, at what became known as Suicide Hill, the Republicans suffered heavy casualties. Jason Gurney pointed out in his book, Crusade in Spain (1974): "I got back to Wintringham's HQ and relayed the Brigadier's orders. Runners were sent out to 1, 3 and 4 Companies to order the advance. I went up to No. 2 Company's trench to observe their movement and report back. William Briskey's No. 3 Company on the Casa Blanca hill was the first to move down the hill from its summit, followed shortly after by No. 1 Company under Kit Conway."
Later that day Tom Wintringham sent Jason Gurney to find out what was happening: "During a lull in the firing, Wintringham sent me down to the Casa Blanca hill to get a situation report from Briskey as we had received no word from him since the barrage started. I went along the sunken road and made my way across the dead ground in the rear of the hill. The firing had died down considerably but was still heavy enough to be frightening. When I reached the crest of the hill, the scene I found was really horrible. Briskey was dead and No. 3 Company had lost more than half of its total strength, either dead or wounded."
After the death of Briskey , about 30 members of No. 3 Company withdrew from their position. The battalion political commissar, George Aitken "cajoled them to return to the line but, as he freely admits, on occasions he forced some volunteers back to the front under threat of his pistol.''
I got back to Wintringham's HQ and relayed the Brigadier's orders. Runners were sent out to 1 , 3 and 4 Companies to order the advance. 1 Company under Kit Conway. But I could see no sign of Overton and No. 4 Company as they were concealed from me by a fold in the ground. Suddenly, and without any warning, all hell broke loose under a storm of artillery and heavy machine-gun fire. It concentrated first on the Casa Blanca hill, which became completely obscured in clouds of smoke and dust. Gradually it spread right along the line of our forward positions. The barrage was continued for about three hours. From my position in Harry Fry's trench I could see the chaos of Casa Blanca hill, where some of the men were working away with bayonet and tin helmet in an attempt to produce some sort of fox-hole in which to hide. None of the Colts or shossers were firing, and very few rifles, but the enemy were lying in concealed positions and had not yet started to advance. Our men seemed to be fascinated by the little white house which was already in ruins. They kept moving towards it, presumably because it was the only solid cover in the district, and seemed undeterred by the fact that the enemy were using it as a ranging mark, and that it was there that the shelling was heaviest. No. 1 Company seemed to be a little better off in their position on the knoll. They had a nucleus of experienced men, under Kit Conway, and found a certain amount of cover on the reverse slope. But from both positions there was a continual trickle of walking wounded and stretcher-bearers making their way back from the Front. Some distance away, we could hear a tremendous battle going on to the north of us, but there appeared to be no action on either of our immediate flanks and we got the impression that we had been left on our own to fight a private war. Our prospects didn't look very encouraging. We knew that ahead of us was a considerable force with a far greater fire power than we could muster, and the situation started to lose some of its field-day light-heartedness.
During a lull in the firing, Wintringham sent me down to the Casa Blanca hill to get a situation report from Briskey as we had received no word from him since the barrage started. 3 Company had lost more than half of its total strength, either dead or wounded.
The survivors seemed to be in fairly good heart but very angry. Some of them were trying to scratch some sort of cover for themselves and cursing the lack of any tools; others were trying to clear jams in the wretched shossers - spare magazines had become hopelessly clogged with dirt and had to be emptied, cleaned and reloaded. Everyone was asking for water. The situation in Overton's Company was worse. They had had equally heavy casualties but seemed to be making a much less serious attempt to prepare for the attack which must surely be imminent, and I could get no coherent sense out of Overton himself. He had a list of totally impossible requirements: reinforcements, artillery support, food, water and God knows what beside, but seemed to be making no real effort to keep the Company together. I had just got back to the sunken road when there was a storm of musketry. The enemy had started their advance.
N one more than for his General Secretary (Ernest Bevin) with his fat well-fed belly (made possible by the Bill Briskys of the working class), afraid of Fascism as he is of the whole boss class, knowing only 2 words: unofficial and Reds, who refuses to publish the speech he made at the International conference recently in London . How much longer are the rank and file going to allow their leaders to take them into retreat internationally as they have done nationally.
Bill Brasky is an unseen character who is the subject of a series of sketches on the television sketch comedy program Saturday Night Live. The sketches were a recurring feature on the program between 1996 and 1998, and were written by cast member Will Ferrell and then-head writer Adam McKay. The sketch made a reappearance on the show on December 7, 2013, during which Ferrell made a guest appearance, as the episode was guest-hosted by his Anchorman 2 co-star Paul Rudd.
COMMENTS FROM THE LOCAL THEATER COMMUNITY
My working relationship with Randy started somewhere in the late ’90’s when I was cast to do a reading of one of his plays at the Playwrights’ Center. We had a very successful reading and I would hear from Randy occasionally as to its progress. When he was commissioned by the History Theatre to write a show about Judy Garland I was asked to participate in the very first reading of the play. We did a couple of workshops on the script and then did a public reading at the History Theatre. It was decided that a full production would be done. The show was now called “Beyond the Rainbow.” I auditioned and was cast. It originally was a cast of 5 women and 2 men. It was a hit and I think I’m best known for playing Hedda Hopper who turns into the wicked witch at the end of Act I. I’m pretty sure I got that role because when we did the staged reading because I did a spot-on rendition of the wicked witch’s laugh. It was at that time that Randy and I cemented our friendship.
“Beyond the Rainbow” has been done all over the country but our original cast was asked to appear at Florida Stage in West Palm Beach and Riverside Theater in Vero Beach. Randy came along when he was able and was part of the BTR family. When we did the most recent production, (History Theatre artistic director) Ron Peluso asked Randy to expand on the story and the cast. His rewrite was terrific and the cast now included 3 men and 5 women. It was an even bigger hit than the original. Our BTR family expanded and Randy was ecstatic.
It was a great way to say good-by to 2019 and usher in 2020. Well, we all know what happened to live theater when the pandemic hit. When I found out he had passed from complications of COVID, I was grateful that his last effort in the theater was a smashing success.
As a friend, Randy was loyal and caring. He came to see me in every play I was in and if it was a comedy, I always knew he was there because he had the biggest, booming laugh that gave an audience permission to let ‘er rip. I shall miss that laugh and the times when we would meet for coffee or lunch to discuss theater, life, and his newest ideas for a play. He had more than his share of health challenges but always seemed to bounce back with his sense of humor intact and desire to live life to the fullest. I think he was very successful in that quest. I shall miss him.
Grace Weller Gilmore (’36 Home Econ., Kappa Alpha Theta), 106, September 1, 2019, Irvine, California.
Helen Lois Irby (’39 Home Econ., ’40 Ed.), 100, August 20, 2018, Lynnwood.
Dorothy M. Tombari (’39 Home Econ.), 101, December 6, 2017, Spokane.
Janet Elizabeth Fothergill (’41 Bacterio.), 101, September 4, 2019, West Hartford, Connecticut.
Laura Jean Shaw (’41 Pharm.), 98, March 7, 2018, Oregon City, Oregon.
Eileen E. Griffith (’42 Fine Arts), 98, October 26, 2019, Denver, Colorado.
Donald D. Anderson (’44 Civ. Eng.), 97, August 7, 2019, Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Irene Sears (’44, ’46 MA Ag.), 98, November 19, 2019, Keizer, Oregon.
Dorothy “Dotty” K. Mead (’45 English, Alpha Chi Omega), 96, August 1, 2019, Dayton.
Bernita Muenscher Zuidmeer (’45 Home Econ., ’53 Ed.), 96, October 5, 2019, Bellingham.
Lawrence E. “Bud” Boisen (’47 Busi.), 97, August 15, 2019, Spokane.
Dale Marvin Bly (’48 Ani. Sci., Phi Sigma Kappa), 90, July 31, 2016, Grand Coulee.
James Edward Rice (’48 Chem. Eng.), 97, September 24, 2019, Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.
Mary Alice Schuler (’48 Pharm), 92, September 1, 2019, Sacramento, California.
Calvin Hobson Blair (’49, ’52 MA History), 94, September 17, 2019, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
Dale Francis Stedman (’49 English), 92, November 12, 2019, Spokane.
W. Lynn Thirtyacre (’49 Mech. Eng.), 92, October 2, 2019, Medford, Oregon.
Maryanne H. Watkins (’49 Zool.), 93, January 12, 2019, Wenatchee.
Ethel Juanita Boothe (’50, ’56 MAT Phys. Ed.), 97, October 18, 2019, Mound House, Nevada.
Leif C. Gregerson (’50 Pharm.), 93, November 6, 2019, Seattle.
William J. Hafen (’50, ’53 MA Ed.), 94, December 31, 2018, Orem, Utah.
Donald I. Hofstrand (’50 Elec. Eng.), 92, October 16, 2019, Everett.
James K. Johnson (‘50 Busi., Beta Theta Pi), 93, October 31, 2019, Spokane.
Roger Stanley Johnson (’50 Mech. Eng.), 91, July 31, 2019, Ormond Beach, Florida.
Robert J. Theodoratus (’50 Socio.), 91, August 22, 2019, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Vernon Lloyd Havo (’51 Busi.), 90, July 12, 2019, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Hilton A. Jones Jr. (’51 Busi., Acacia), 90, August 31, 2019, Roseville, California.
Lorna Ann (Burgess) Ross (’51 Fine Arts), 89, October 19, 2018, Tucson, Arizona.
William S. Slippern (’51 Physics), 90, October 14, 2019, Richland.
Harold Oliver Boss (’52 Mech. Eng.), 90, February 6, 2018, Simi Valley, California.
David Wayne Coburn (’52 Socio.), 90, August 24, 2019, Spokane.
Patricia L. Conley (’52 Home Econ., Kappa Alpha Theta), 86, June 23, 2017, Spokane.
Ronald Lynn Kercheval (’52 Ag. Eng.), 68, November 10, 2019, Mount Vernon.
Allen Pickett Munn (’52 Ani. Sci., Alpha Gamma Rho), 88, April 25, 2019, University Place.
Robert Calvin Saxe (’52 Pharm.), 88, January 25, 2015, Spokane.
Victor Chew Gunn Auyong (’53 Psych.), 93, November 5, 2019, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Sandra E. Thirtyacre (’53 Ed.), 86, July 24, 2018, Medford, Oregon.
Nancy Jane Wright (’53 Home Econ.), 89, April 12, 2019, Spokane.
Robert Dale Burkhart (’54 Ed.), 85, July 22, 2017, Spokane.
Malcolm L. Edwards (’54 Poli. Sci.), 87, September 14, 2019, Seattle.
Margery Rounds Muir (’54 Home Econ., Kappa Alpha Theta), 86, September 9, 2019, Pullman.
S. LeRoy Whitener (’54 DVM), 90, November 9, 2019, Moses Lake.
Lealon V. “Lee” Cassels (’55 Civ. Eng.), 91, October 30, 2019, Vancouver.
Barry Kennard Jones (’55 Busi.), 86, November 7, 2019, Spokane.
Gayle William Dobish (’56 Police Sci.), 85, May 5, 2019, Bellevue.
Elizabeth Gildow Horton (’56 Ed., Delta Gamma), 85, November 7, 2019, Stanwood.
James B. Pettersen (’56 Police Sci.), 83, October 7, 2017, North Bend.
Dennis D. Rath (’56 Phys. Ed.), 86, October 22, 2019, Port Townsend.
Phyllis J. Solomon (’56 Gen. St.), 84, August 31, 2019, Moscow, Idaho.
Ronald Douglas Foisy (’57 Phys. Ed., Beta Theta Pi), 86, September 14, 2019, Desert Hot Springs, California.
Melvin L. Kleweno Jr. (’57 Poli. Sci.), 84, September 2, 2019, Des Moines.
Garry Ray Miller (’57 Chem. Eng.), 83, August 16, 2019, Waco, Texas.
Ralph N. Anderson (’58 Elec. Eng.), 85, December 27, 2017, Battle Ground.
Clarence R. “Dick” Bresson (’58 PhD Chem.), 93, October 30, 2018, Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Gary D. Kitterman (’58 Police Sci., ’61 Civ. Eng.), 85, July 4, 2019, Dayton.
Wesley Dale Marshall (’58 DVM), 85, October 11, 2019, Ekalaka, Montana.
Myrna Lee Overstreet (’58 Home Econ., Gamma Phi Beta), 82, August 19, 2019, Everett.
Douglas Perry Richmond (’58 Ag.), 86, August 4, 2019, Walla Walla.
Stanley Lee Loreen (’59 Civ. Eng.), 82, September 22, 2019, Lynden.
F. Paul Olsen (’59 Busi.), 82, September 3, 2019, Zillah.
George William Passmore (’59 DVM), 85, September 21, 2019, Kent.
Bill Boning (’60 Ag. Eng.), 81, June 8, 2019, Ashburn, Virginia.
Richard Alan Fussell (’60 DVM), 83, May 29, 2017, Lake Forest, California.
Lee Duane Carey (’60 Busi.), 83, May 7, 2019, Edmonds.
Sandra Lou Kerr (’60 Home Econ.), July 22, 2019, Redmond.
Stanley G. Kildow (’60 Ag. Eng.), 85, September 2, 2019, Olympia.
Lewis J. Mathers (’60 MS Civ. Eng.), 88, May 7, 2019, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.
Maurice “Reece” S. Miller (’60 Indus. Tech.), 87, September 8, 2017, University Place.
Marvin Eugene Nelson (’60 Mech. Eng.), 86, September 30, 2019, Vancouver.
William Frost (’61 Busi.), 81, August 14, 2019, Lynnwood.
Louis E. Grimes (’62 History), 84, September 5, 2019, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Alice Nelda Stanley (’62 Elem. Ed.), 79, June 25, 2019, El Granada, California.
Joseph Thomas Bradley (’63 Zool.), 78, October 11, 2019, Olympia.
Larry E. Mullarkey Jr. (’63 DVM), 81, December 23, 2018, Eugene, Oregon.
Gary R. Pfaff (’63 Elec. Eng.), 77, November 11, 2019, Lewiston, Idaho.
Michael Reed Drew (’64 Poli. Sci., Beta Theta Pi), 77, August 21, 2019, Langley.
John Robert Redding (’64 Acc., Kappa Sigma), 78, August 9, 2019, Portland, Oregon.
Roger Craig Bell (’65 Elec. Eng.), 70, November 5, 2017, Seattle.
Laurel M. Dormaier (’65 English), 76, November 8, 2019, Spokane.
Steve Drummond (’65 Poli. Sci.), 76, June 24, 2019, La Conner.
Donald D. Jones (’65 MA Biol.), 85, October 1, 2019, Shelton.
Michael John Lust (’65 DVM), 79, August 26, 2019, Yakima.
John Martin Potter (’65 Anthro.), 76, November 7, 2019, Puyallup.
William John Briskey (’66 DVM), 84, August 1, 2017, Tacoma.
Sandra Sue Henson (’66 Speech & Hearing Sci.), 73, June 5, 2019, Albany, Oregon.
Roy Henry Johnson (’66 Phys. Ed.), 76, July 13, 2019, Everett.
Richard John Bender (’67 Math.), 72, November 11, 2017, Sultan.
John Thomas Moss (’67 Busi., ’70 MBA), 73, April 26, 2018, Snohomish.
Linda L. Heller (’68 Acc.), 73, April 20, 2019, Tucson, Arizona.
William “Bill” R. Stevens (’68 Forest & Range Mgmt.), 73, June 10, 2019, Coulee Dam.
Larry O. Hines (’69 History), 71, October 15, 2017, Falls Church, Virginia.
Douglas Lou Rector (’69 PhD Chem.), 74, June 21, 2016, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Bill Ray Schoepflin (’69 Wildlife Biol.), 72, August 15, 2019, Farmington.
Albert Ernest Schwenk (’69 PhD Econ.), 79, May 30, 2019, Falls Church, Virginia.
Eric Aldinger (’70 Chem. Eng.), 75, January 4, 2018, Green River, Wyoming.
Roy Charles Easton (’70 Econ.), 71, September 19, 2019, Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Timothy Edward Gilles (’70 History), 71, October 19, 2019, San Antonio, Texas.
Perry Grant Keithley (’70 MEd, ’74 EdD), 83, April 4, 2019, Lacey.
Edward Neil Victor (’70 Ani. Sci.), 74, September 18, 2019, Spokane.
Darrell E. Bryan (’71 History), 71, September 7, 2019, Seattle.
James Bradley Jerde (’71 Mech. Eng.), 72, June 23, 2019, Santa Cruz, California.
William F. Love (’71 Hotel & Rest. Mgmt.), 77, May 2, 2019, Seaside, Oregon.
Leila M. J. Luedeking (’71 MA English), 90, November 18, 2019, Pullman.
Susan (Byquist) Kline (’72 Elem. Ed.), 67, May 28, 2017, Bellevue.
Thomas “Tom” Luther RhonE (’72 Arch., Sigma Phi Epsilon), October 6, 2019, Bellingham.
Robert Dale Bagley (’73 Econ., ’77 Ag. Econ.), 66, October 8, 2016, Wenatchee.
James Andrew Tiedeman (’73 Wildland Rec.), 69, July 11, 2019, Wenatchee.
GReg Richard Wendler (’73 Econ.), 68, September 12, 2019, Kennewick.
Douglas R. Yearout (’74 Wildlife Biol., ’77 Vet. Sci., ’80 DVM), 68, November 24, 2019, Everett.
Kenneth M. Bisbee (’75 Ed., ’82 MEd Higher Ed. Admin.), 66, August 24, 2019, Clackamas, Oregon.
William “Bill” David Dennis (’75 Busi.), 66, October 9, 2019, Everett.
Teresa E. Randecker (’75 Hort.), 66, September 18, 2019, Seattle.
Susan “Susie” Carol Dekker (’76 Nursing), 65, December 15, 2018, Portland, Oregon.
Ronald Paul Halvorson (’76 Arch., Sigma Nu), 66, August 31, 2019, Spokane Valley.
Nancy Ann Sankovich (’77 Ed.), 65, August 1, 2019, Puyallup.
Greg Richard Wegner (’77 Ag. Econ.), 68, August 9, 2019, Chelan.
Marcia Ann Schekel (’78 MA Human Dev.), 70, May 18, 2017, Portland, Oregon.
Margaret “Maggie” M. McGreevy (’79 Ani. Sci.), 85, August 14, 2019, Pullman.
James W. Jeter (’81 Elec. Eng.), 81, November 22, 2019, Vancouver.
Laura Elizabeth Farrar (’82 English), 59, September 23, 2019, Campbellsville, Kentucky.
William “Bill” Hepler (’83 Busi., Phi Delta Theta), 59, October 7, 2019, Bainbridge Island.
Wayne Scott Cone (’87 Biol.), 55, October 28, 2019, Prosser.
Donald Corbett Ritter (’87 Hum., Sigma Alpha Epsilon), 56, August 23, 2019, Vancouver.
Teresa Anne Zupa (’87 Comm.), 58, March 11, 2019, Seattle.
Gregory James Broecker (’88 MA For. Lang. & Lit.), 59, September 16, 2019, Kuwait.
Sally Jane Beaton (’90 For. Lang. & Lit.), 78, September 26, 2019, Sarnia, Ontario.
Michael Ezra Ward (’91 Nursing), 48, March 12, 2016, Ferndale.
Lesley Ann Rhodes (’92 Poli. Sci.), 49, August 23, 2019, Everett.
Meredith Jane Willcox (’96 Busi., Kappa Alpha Theta), 45, September 14, 2019, Portland, Oregon.
Lisa Rae Askham (’00 Psych., ’04 MA Couns.), 51, August 30, 2018, Pullman.
Chad Matthew McMillan (’02 History), 42, April 4, 2018, Tacoma.
Robin Kristine Schmidt (’02 Elem. Ed.), 62, April 12, 2019, Onalaska.
Brian Gregory Edwards (’03 Crim. Jus.), 36, September 2, 2019, Pullman.
Nicole Sheridan De Leon Winans (’06 Elem. Ed.), 38, August 26, 2019, West Richland.
Meghan Brianne Evans (’09 Soc. Sci.), 38, June 24, 2019, Kelso.
Kinda B. Nicholl (’15, ’19 DNP Nursing), 41, October 8, 2019, Vancouver.
Douglas Levi Rochester (’17 Soc. Sci.), 28, September 30, 2019, Puyallup.
Faculty and staff
Eva Bristol, 89, Animal Sciences, 1973-1994, September 21, 2019, Pullman.
Ardith Deraad, 78, Extension, 1995-2009, October 13, 2019, Vancouver.
Stanley Hoyt, 90, WSU Tree Fruit Research Center, 1957-1993, November 30, 2019, Wenatchee.
Leila Luedeking, 90, Libraries, 1973-1998, November 18, 2019, Pullman.
Steven Syms, 66, Facilities Services, 2008-2014, September 8, 2019, Pullman.
The Meadows Family Tree
This website records the family history of the descendants of William Meadows c.1753-1847, a British actor and performer in the late 18th century.
William's son, James Meadows Senior was a successful 19th century British marine artist. His five sons - William, James Edward, Alfred, Edwin, and Arthur - all became artists in their own rights. James also had two daughters, Anne and Frances. Amongst the descendants of James Meadows, Gordon Meadows, the son of Arthur Meadows, became a succesful artist Walter Meadows, the son of James Edwin Meadows, also became an artist and Edwin Meadows' daughter Grace trained as an artist.
William's daughter, Ann, married the artist and illustrator John Massey Wright, and one of their sons also became an artist. William's daughter, Mary, married Richard Johnson, and they were the parents of the artist and illustrator Edward Killingworth Johnson, and the grandparents of the prolific 19th century artist illustrator Mary Ellen Edwards, known by her initials as 'MEE'. Mary Ellen's sisters were also accomplished artists.
The performing tradition of the family was carried on by William Meadow's daughters, and his grandson, Alfred Meadows, and by Alfred's grandson, Jack Meadows, who revived the family tradition from the 1920s to the 1950s and by Edwin Meadows great-grandson, the musical director, Grant Hossack and by Mary Meadows great-grandson, the American actor Reginald Mason. Several other members of the Meadows family were also talented amateur musicians and performers.
This website was created in February 2008, with the help of research from the different branches of the family. The information on the site is drawn from research on the Census records Births, Marriages & Deaths records from more detailed personal research in official archives and from information received from family members.
Use of information and images, and contact
If you are related to the Meadows family, and you wish to contribute information, please do contact the webmaster. Apologies are offered in advance for any errors which may occur as a result of discrepancies in the material researched or the interpretation of the material. All errors will be corrected, and new information will be added as and when it is received. The aim of the website is to share the story amongst all the family members, so please do feel free to contribute by contacting the webmaster.
The information on this site, and many of the images, are the result of research and contributions by members of the Meadows family.
No images or information may be reproduced without prior consent of the webmaster, or the owners of the images concerned.
Roger and Jeff Meadows, who are descended from Edwin Lewis Meadows, have also created a splendid family history website. This is based on the notebook of Edwin Lewis Meadows himself, and includes a great deal of earlier history, and a number of original illustrations. You can find Roger & Jeff's website at the link below.
Last name: Briskey
Recorded in various spellings including Briscoe, Bryskow, Briskey, Britsky, Bricksey, Brixey, and others, this is an English surname. It is locational from either or both of the villages called Briscoe in Cumberland and North Yorkshire, or possibly Brixham in Devonshire, or even a now "lost" medieval village. Briscoe is first recorded as Brethesco in the Pipe Rolls of Cumberland in the year 1221 and derives its name from the Old Norse word "Bretaskogr" meaning "The wood of the (Strathclyde) Britons". --> Brixham has had various offficial spellings including Brikesham in 1205. Locational surnames were usually held by the lord of the manor, or former inhabitants of the place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 14th Century (see below), and one William Bryshow appears in the pipe rolls of the county of Yorkshire and dated 1410. Recordings from surviving church registers include the christening of Ann Briscoe, on September 16th 1607, at St. Peter's Leeds, and the marriage of Francis Brixy and Susanna Lord at St James Clerkenwell, city of London, on September 21st 1693. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Robert de Briscaw. This was dated 1332, in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Cumberland during the reign of King Edward 111rd, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this sometimes was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017
Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
Beyond the Rainbow
The Florida Stage celebrates its 20th anniversary season with the East Coast premiere of Beyond The Rainbow by William Randall Beard. This show was not originally part of the theater's current season. The Florida Stage called upon director Ron Peluso to bring his locally successful show Beyond The Rainbow from Minneapolis/St.Paul to south Florida when it was determined that the show scheduled for this time slot, Ella: Off the Record, was in need of more time for development. (Ella: Off the Record has since been rescheduled to open in June of this year.) That the Florida Stage brought Beyond The Rainbow to south Florida is a stroke of luck for the theatre and theatergoers alike. Jody Briskey as Judy Garland gives one of the most exciting performances I have ever seen. Run to see this show before it closes!
The setting is April 23, 1961, when a 38-year-old Garland performed at Carnegie Hall in what the New York Times called "the concert of the century." Her Carnegie Hall appearance marked a huge comeback for the star. The live recording Judy at Carnegie Hall received five Grammy Awards and went Gold within a year.
As Judy Garland, Jody Briskey sings more than 25 songs, with arrangements by David Lohman, duplicating a scaled-down version of the concert originals. Woven into her concert performance are the specters of Garland's past, living on in her memory. Her late mother and father, husbands, friends, coworkers and critics, played by the other actors, dart in and out of her consciousness. It is no secret that Garland's troubled and tumultuous personal life, combined with her emotionally fragile nature, both made and destroyed her. Therefore, her memories torture her as much as they strengthen her as a person and a performer. In the words of the show's author, William Randall Beard: "There are times when the memories become too painful, when she is tormented by her demons. At those points, she grabs the microphone and uses the songs as a way to dispel them and regain control of her life." These are the finest moments in the show. And, in the words of Judy Garland herself: "The history of my life is in my songs."
Jody Briskey far surpasses any expectations in duplicating the sound, style and mannerisms of Judy Garland. Her delivery of song after song is astonishingly Judy in phrasing, vibrato, and every single portamento. As an actress she is also able to bring that magical emotional quality of Garland as well. The only thing missing from this production is a larger orchestra. The four-piece arrangements are well written representations of the originals, but not all of the instruments are played well. Miss Briskey's considerable talent deserves to be framed by a fuller, richer sound.
The part of young Judy is written so as to appear so emotionally needy and co-dependent as to be inherently headed for disaster. That may have been true. We may never know how much of her roller-coaster ride of a life was manipulated by her substance abuse issues. And those issues contributed greatly to her physical and mental health problems. Though difficultly written, the part is touchingly played by Norah Long with trembling lips and dewy eyes. There is one awkward moment in the show that needs to be cut. In the beginning, Miss Long briefly plays Judy at age 4 in a moment that is both ridiculous to view and superfluous to the script.
The supporting actors deftly maneuver playing multiple characters throughout the show. The acidic Hedda Hopper, played by Cathleen Fuller, was certainly a favorite to those audience members old enough to recall her famous broadcasts.
The set and costumes are simple and effective, the sound blessedly clear enough to hear every note! This show should not be missed.
Beyond the Rainbow was originally commissioned and developed by History Theatre, Inc. in St. Paul, Minnesota, and produced by The Great American History Theatre in Spring of 2005. The Minnesota historical ties to the commission of this work are based on the fact that Judy Garland, neé Frances Gumm, was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Ron Peluso is Artistic Director of The Great American History Theatre and previously worked with the Florida Stage last season directing their production of Sisters of Swing. This production of Beyond The Rainbow is presented by the Florida Stage in conjunction with Executive Producers Northern Trust, and Kay and Jim Morrissey, and Co-Producers Gladys Greenbaum Meyers and Robin Ellen Meyers.
Beyond The Rainbow plays at the Florida Stage through April 23, 2006. The theater is located in Plaza del Mar, at 262 S. Ocean Blvd. in Manalapan. The Florida Stage is a professional theater, with extensive programs for young artists, hiring Equity and Non-Equity performers from across the United States. Tickets and other information may be obtained by calling the box office at (561) 585-3433 or (800) 514-3837, or on line at www.floridastage.org.
Jody Briskey: Judy Garland at 38
Norah Long*: Young Judy Garland
Cathleen Fuller*: Ethel Gumm, Hedda Hopper and Others
Peter Moore*: Frank Gumm, Vincente Minnelli and Others
Clark A. Cruikshank*: Sid Luft, Louis B. Mayer and Others
Director: Ron Peluso+
Musical Director: Jimmy Martin
Scenic Design: Kate Sutton-Johnson
Lighting Design: Chris Johnson
Sound Engineer: Matt Briganti Kelly
Costume Design: Rich Hamson
Production Stage Manager: Suzanne Clement Jones*
* Designates member of Actors' Equity Association: the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
+ Designates member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.
Beyond the Rainbow: Garland at Carnegie Hall
It takes four people to tell the story of a big life like Judy Garlands. In the newest production from History Theatre, Jody Briskey, as Judy Garland is haunted by her past, which is represented by actors who play Garland at three stages of her life: young Judy (Nicola Wahl), as a teenager (Lillian Carlson) and in adulthood (Elena Glass). The audience learns early on about her parent’s troubled marriage and her dictatorial mother who acted as pharmacist for the young Judy.
Creatively composed to operate on multiple planes at the same time and yet firmly placed in the actual experience of Garland singing at Carnegie Hall in 1961 helps ground the play. This point in time memorializes Garland’s revival as one of the greatest interpretive singers of her time. Her powerful contralto voice was captured that night and the concert went on to win four Grammys and “Album of Year.”
The twists and turns that brought her to this career pinnacle are illustrated by the other iterations of herself and drives home her troubled life. At one point Garland demands that they all get out of her head, however as the play unfolds these images from her past act as cheerleaders and sympathetic motivators.
Although Garland was only 47 when she died, the play covers a lot of ground. The two husbands mentioned (of five) were Vincente Minnelli (Shad Olsen) and Sid Luft (Adam Whisner) the former Liza Minnelli’s father and the latter Lorna and Joey Luft’s father.
Although Jody Briskey has no real similarity in appearance to Judy Garland by the end of the evening the audience was convinced as she sang “Somewhere over the Rainbow” that she was the real deal. Briskey’s phrasing, singing range and body language mirrored Garland’s rather shaky on stage visuals to make her seem like an exact double. The music alone is worth your time as the evening includes, “Get Happy,” “That’s Entertainment,” “The Trolley Song,” along with her signature songs, “Stormy Weather” and “The Man That Got Away” and so much more.
At one point Briskey proclaims, “I am still Judy Garland.” And no one in the house would disagree.
William Briskey - History
Colorado first applied for statehood in 1865, the same year as Schuyler's western tour which brought him to Denver in May 1865. Perhaps Denver officials thought that renaming the street would help the territory's cause. But if achieving statehood was the reason for the street's name change, it didn't happen overnight. Colorado did not become a state until 1876, eleven years later. Another reason for naming the street after him is most likely "Smiler" Colfax's great oratory and personal charm made him popular with the citizens. Whatever the reason, to honor Colfax, the city dedicated the road along the southern boundary of central Denver to the Hoosier politician.
Colorado already had a champion in Colfax. The first legislation for Colorado was drafted by his pen and pressed by his voice. A delegation was sent to Washington for the creation of a Rocky Mountain Territory separate from the Kansas Territory. On January 6, 1859, Schuyler Colfax, representative from Illinois, introduced a bill in Congress to organize a “Territory of Colona” along the eastern slope of the Rockies. The territory was to include the western-most parts of Kansas and Nebraska as far north as the 42nd parallel, as well as the northeastern part of New Mexico. This name was taken from the Spanish for Columbus and the New York Times stated that this name was favored by the settlers of the area.
This new territory lay north of the 36° 30’ latitude line, and by the Missouri Compromise of 1850 this meant that slavery would be prohibited there. In this period of great conflict in the country over the question of slavery, there was no way Southerners in Congress would allow the creation of such a new “free” territory, so there were not enough votes to support Colfax’s bill at that time.
Schuyler Colfax was the Speaker of the House when the 13th Amendment was ratified, freeing the slaves. He made a point of being the last to sign the document, proud of the accomplishment.
Colfax was with President Abraham Lincoln just half an hour before his ill-fated attendance at Ford's Theatre that evening. Schuyler declined the President's invitation to the show, as he was leaving on his trip out West early the next morning. Good thing he did, as a House speaker opposed to slavery could have been an additional target for John Wilkes Booth. As he was leaving the President's side, Schuyler was handed what is believed to be the last speech written by Honest Abe, something he wanted read to the miners in Colorado. Schuyler's trip was postponed until after President Lincoln's funeral, but he made it to Denver in 1865.
As an interesting side note, Dr. Gerald Biliss, who lived at 1389 Stuart Street close to West Colfax Avenue, was a Civil War veteran and a member of the honor guard over President Lincoln’s casket. Interesting, also, is the fact that Colfax Avenue and Lincoln Street intersect at the Northwest corner of the Colorado State Capitol Building.
The purpose of Schuyler Colfax's trip out West was primarily to check on the status of the mining industries in Colorado and California. After the Civil War, the U.S. Government was basically broke, and saw mining as a way to both restore our treasury to pay for the war, and give jobs to soldiers returning from the war. Schuyler was also heavily involved with the creation of the nation 's first transcontinental railway, which was essential to transporting gold and silver to the coasts. Interestingly, the city of Colfax, California, and Colfax County, New Mexico were also named for him in 1865.
Schuyler Colfax went on to be Vice President of the United States under President Ulysses S. Grant. He was present with Grant at the surrender of General Lee at the Appomattox Court House, ending the Civil War.
In his 1878 autobiography, Cursed Rickets, Schuyler envisioned Colfax Avenue much like it is today:
"And that thoroughfare, born beneath the mountainous mountains of rocky peaks so high, seeing as it shall victual to prospectors, explorers, and men of chance, and whereas said men, in their sparse moments of recess and requiescence, require relief of an immediate and carnal conformation, let Colfax Way be a den of avarice, a cauldron of covetousness, a peccadillo wharf in a sea-storm of morality. Let not a man walk Colfax Way and wonder, 'Where shall I deposit my virility this eve, where may I encounter mine intoxicant?' for he shall find all he seeks on Colfax. Curse these vexatious rickets!"
(Actually, the quote was penned by the prolific Denver comedian Adam Cayton-Holland in his hilarious, now defunct column "What's So Funny". And it IS funny, because you can find this quote on legitimate, historical websites and publications!)
At first, most of the neighborhoods lining central Colfax Avenue were filled with mansions of the wealthy and elite of Denver. After the Silver Panic of 1893, the cost and demand for lavish houses decreased substantially. After a massive relocation to Denver's suburbs began, many of the large homes built along Colfax were transformed into group homes or apartments. Others were converted to commercial use and still hide behind deceptively modest store fronts.
Colfax Avenue has been called the longest street in America, but it isn't. It is the longest commercial street in the U.S.A., extending a total length of 26.5 miles through the cities of Aurora, Denver, Lakewood and Golden, Colorado, as the "Gateway to the Rockies" from the plains to the mountains. In 2006, the first Colfax Marathon was held, traversing this length of Colfax Avenue.
But that's not the end of the World's Most Famous Avenue! You can run a marathon and still not be at the end of Colfax. On the outskirts of Aurora, Colfax Avenue bends and follows I-70, then U.S. 36 picks up the Colfax name as a virtually seamless route to Watkins, Bennett and Strasburg. Farther east in Byers, some residents continue to use East Colfax in their addresses, though the name is rarely, if ever, used beyond the town. If you measure Colfax Avenue from Headlight Road in Strasburg, all the way to West Heritage Road in Golden, Colfax Avenue is 53.3 miles long! This clearly earns its' distinction as the "Longest Commercial Street" in America.
While Colfax Avenue is commonly considered to only run through the Denver metro area, the road extends much farther. Colfax Avenue is a part of U.S. Route 40, the highway which, during its heyday, ran 3,157 miles from Atlantic City to San Francisco, traversing the midsection of the United States. Route 40 served America well, carrying more automobile traffic than any other transcontinental highway.
|"East Coast of the West Coast" by Dyrhan Briskey|
|Denver Highway 40 Celebration - Now paved Coast to Coast|
The car culture of the 1950's led to an increase in travel throughout the nation. During the period after World War II, automobile-oriented facilities proliferated along East Colfax, particularly in the eastern section adjacent to Aurora. Sprawling motels in U-shapes, L-shapes, or other configurations were erected. Restaurants incorporated eye-catching rooflines and unusual architecture to lure passing motorists. Signage was also an important element in roadside promotion and employed neon, flashing lights to give the illusion of movement, and symbols (Western themes, crowns, and arrows) to draw attention. Colfax's status as a major thoroughfare led to more tourist traffic along the street. The motels that currently line Colfax are a memory to the Highway 40 era.
Over the course of 150 years, Colfax evolved from a dusty, dirt road to a bustling trolley route and now an urban boulevard always serving as a main street throughout the city. However, when Interstate 70 was completed, tourists no longer used Colfax as frequently and businesses and neighborhoods suffered. Unfortunately, over the years, Colfax lost much of its vibrancy and main street feel and became noted for abandoned properties, large parking lots, and gritty images of prostitution and drugs.
The Colfax Corridor has a long history of street-level prostitution which drew substantial attention to the area, not only from sex workers and solicitors, but also from business owners, law enforcement, local residents and social service agencies. But a dramatic improvement has recently occurred through the interconnected series of programs, people, and organizations working together to halt the cycle of crime that has plagued the landscape of Colfax Avenue. (Frankly, I think the invention of the Internet did more to get hookers off the street than any official program).
Playboy Magazine reputedly once called Colfax Avenue, the "longest, wickedest street in America." The quote, though often used, is unsubstantiated, but Playboy did once use the word “wickedest” in reference to Denver. “Denver’s Holladay Street,” according to a 1961 article was among the “wickedest and wildest enclaves in all the wild, wild West.”
Today, Holladay Street is Market Street — once home of the most notorious Red Light District in the Rocky Mountain West, and now is one of the ritziest stretches of property in Denver.
The Colfax Avenue of today is awakening and regaining its Main Street glory without losing its unique charm. Currently various revitalization efforts have been established to revitalize the street and the old girl is making a comeback. Although its status as a highway has declined, Colfax is still a major transportation route. The 15 bus which services Colfax Avenue (affectionately called the "Nifty 15", "Dirty 15" or the "Vomit Comet"), has the highest rider-ship in the RTD system.
The Denver Post once asked, "The future of Colfax is about values. Is creating fancy lofts, swank restaurants and upscale boutiques enough, or is it also important to preserve the soul of this historic avenue that cuts through the heart of the city?"