William Brigham was born in 1874 near Cooksville, IL. He married Emma Wissmiller in 1902, and died in 1959.

Brigham attended Illinois Wesleyan University in 1898 and 1899.  Following his studies, he taught in rural and village schools for 17 years.  He was assistant county superintendent for 18 years, before he was elected as superintendent.  He held this post for 16 years.  He also attended Illinois State Normal University during summer terms from 1907-1924. 

Brigham was involved in many different fields including helping school children and the Boy and Girl Scouts in nature studies, bird watching, local history, Native American lore, and handicrafts.  He meticulously researched the French and Fox battle site near Arrowsmith, IL, the Grand Kickapoo Stockade, and school histories in McLean County.  The McLean County Historical Society made him the lifetime president emeritus in 1949.  A school building in McLean County District Unit 5 was named after him in 1956. 

He also belonged to the Methodist Church, Masonic Lodge, Illinois Archaeological Society, and the Illinois Academy of Science.

This collection contains manuscripts, photographs, notes, correspondence, scrapbooks, personal research on French and Fox Battle site and on the Grand Village of the Kickapoo, family papers, books, and various other publications.