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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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THOMAS T. HIGGINS, a representative agriculturist of Jefferson Township, Cass County, Mich., is a native of Indiana, and was born in Randolph County, February 10, 1844. Our subject is the son of James T. and Mary A. (Higgins) Higgins, pioneer settlers of the West. The paternal grandfather was born in Burlington County, N. J., and was the son of Joseph Higgins, a native of Ireland, who came to the United States in Colonial days and bravely served in the War of the Revolution. He long made his home in New Jersey and died within the borders of that State. He became an extensive land-owner, possessing seven hundred valuable acres on the Amboy River. This great-grandfather of our subject reared a family of five sons and three daughters. The paternal grandfather also served in the War of the Revolution, giving his lime as a teamster. While yet a young man he located in Delaware, and there died at the age of four-score and seven years. His good wife, Margaret Wright, emigrated from England with her parents, who were members of the Quaker sect, and settled in New Jersey, where the father. Dr. Wright, enjoyed a large and successful practice.

James T. Higgins, the father of our subject, was born in Wilmington, Del., August 22, 1807. At twenty-two years of age he began carrying the mail from Newcastle to Ft. Delaware, he continued in his duties as official carrier until 1830, when he was employed by Joseph Canon in building the Newcastle & Chesapeake Railway. In 1850 he journeyed to Wayne County, Ind., and farmed upon rented land for one year. At the end of the twelvemonth he located in Randolph County, where he entered and cleared eighty acres of Government land. He afterward added eighty acres more to the homestead, and was a hard-working and upright man. In early life he was a Democrat, and after the Jackson administration a Whig, until toward the close of his life he became a Republican in sentiment. He was, however, broad and liberal in his ideas and gave his vote usually for the best man regardless of party. During his youth he was a member of the Christian Church. He was twice married, his first wife being the mother of Thomas T. She was born in Burlington County, N. J., and was the daughter of William Higgins, a cousin of our subject.

James T. and Mary A. Higgins were the parents of eight children. Their three sons were Thomas, the eldest-born; Amos, who died in prison at Macon, Ga., having been captured at Pittsburg Landing; and George, the youngest. The daughters in their order of birth were Sarah Rockhill, deceased; Mary Hass; Elizabeth Hess, deceased; Emily Hess, who died in Missouri; and Catherine Westfall. The mother died in June, 1872, aged fifty-nine years. She was a devoted member of the Christian Church, and had been a resident of La Grange Township, Cass County, since 1853. Thomas T. Higgins, born and reared on the homestead of his parents, attended the schools of the district and gained a common-school education, and by careful study and reading has become well posted in the leading topics of the day. At eighteen years of age he started out in life for himself, working on his own account upon his father’s farm. At nineteen years of age he married, and afterward at first farmed upon rented land, but soon bought a forty-acre farm, which he brought up to a high state of cultivation. Prospering, he has added to his original homestead and now owns two hundred acres of valuable land, a portion of which is yet unimproved.

Mr. Higgins was united in marriage with Miss Caroline Rathbun July 4, 1867. Mrs. Higgins is a daughter of Lucius and Sarah (Glick) Rathbun. The father was born in Rhode Island, and the mother in Clarke County, Ohio. In very early days Mr. Rathbun resided in New York, but in 1820 settled in Ohio. In 1842 they permanently located in Cass County, Mich., journeying hither slowly by wagon. Mr. Rathbun bought one hundred and sixty acres of land and lived upon the homestead until his death, in 1875, at the age of seventy-five years. In early manhood he was a Whig, but later joined the ranks of the Republican party. He was connected with the Christian Church, and was a man of sterling integrity. Twice married, he was first united with Miss Rhoda Gillette, who bore him eleven children, eight sons and three daughters. His second wife became the mother of seven children, five sons and two daughters. Five of the family lived to mature years. Lucius Rathbun was a son of Jonathan Rathbun, born in Rhode Island in 1800, and was a farmer by occupation. Grandfather Glick served in the War of 1812 and died at an advanced age. He was of German ancestry. Our subject and his estimable wife have been blessed by the birth of five children: J. P., Florence May, Claud H., Leila Ada and Maud Elsie. Mr. Higgins is well known in Cass County, and is highly esteemed as a friend and citizen. He has with able fidelity occupied positions of trust, and was Deputy State Inspector of Oils, serving for two years under Gov. Luce. In political affiliation, our subject is a Republican, deeply interested in both local and national affairs.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Cass County, Michigan family biographies here: Cass County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Cass County, Michigan here: Cass County Michigan Map

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