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Below is a family biography included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  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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Elbridge Higgins, one of the esteemed residents of Topeka, a retired farmer, was born in 1831 in Massachusetts, and is a son of Josiah and Hannah (Snow) Higgins.

The ancestry of Mr. Higgins includes members of the Plymouth colony, soldiers of the Revolution and of the War of 1812, and old established residents of Cape Cod, many of these having been sea-faring men. The family has also been noted as one of unusual longevity. The paternal grandfather, Ephraim Higgins, lived to the age of 99 years and his son Josiah was a hale, hearty man up to the age of 89 years. The latter followed the sea during his early years and then became a farmer. Of his six children, the two survivors are Elbridge and Russell—the latter still resides on the old home place in Massachusetts.

Elbridge Higgins was reared on his father’s farm, but, like all coast boys, had a fondness for the sea, and by the age of 14 years he had gained his family’s permission and shipped for a voyage. For 14 successive years he followed this life, visiting many strange lands and having many wonderful experiences. In 1859 he went to the Pacific Coast and engaged in mining in Eastern Oregon and in Idaho, remaining in Oregon until 1872.

Mr. Higgins then came to Kansas and located on a raw prairie farm of 160 acres, which he purchased from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company. It was located in Mission township, Shawnee County. Mr. Higgins developed this into a fine property and later purchased a second 160-acre tract for meadow purposes. He carried on extensive farming and handled considerable stock, enough to consume all the corn he raised. About 1901 he sold his first farm, but still retains the second. He had erected a very handsome modern residence at No. 1509 College avenue, Topeka, and took possession upon retiring from agricultural work. This beautiful home is a model of modern building and is appropriately furnished with all to please the eye and render comfort and ease to its occupants.

Mr. Higgins was married at Topeka, in 1872, to Hepsa Holway. They adopted a child of five years, Hettie M. Bassett, in whom they centered parental affection. She grew to be a beautiful maiden of 16 years, when her innocent young life ended, leaving Mr. and Mrs. Higgins sorely bereft.

Mr. Higgins takes no very active interest in politics, merely attending to the duties of a good citizen. For 35 years he has been identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

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This family biography is one of 206 biographies included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  For the complete description, click here: Shawnee County, Kansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Shawnee County, Kansas family biographies here: Shawnee County, Kansas

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