Sepia Saturday: John J. M. Biggs
The photo today is grainy and blurry,
the result of scanning and trying to enlarge
a tiny photo taken by my paternal grandfather
Lloyd Arnett when he was a teen.
The man with the horse and buggy
is John James Madison Biggs.
Lloyd's mother was Mary Biggs,
daughter of John and his wife Dicy Reed Biggs.
John James Madison Biggs was born March 5, 1837
in McCracken County, Kentucky to Elijah Biggs, Jr.
and his wife Mary "Polly" Brown,
the fourth of eight known children,
though there were said to be ten.
The family moved to Illinois when John was a boy and
his father Elijah died when John was only 12.
About a year later, Polly Brown Biggs married Larkin Cantrell.
For whatever reason, shortly after her marriage,
she farmed out the boys to a local Williamson County family,
J.W. McCreery and his wife.
All the Biggs boys were said to have served
in the Union army during the Civil War,
but I've never found John's records.
John married Dicy Caroline Reed
in Moultrie County, Illinois on November 25, 1858.
I don't know why they married there,
as I can't establish a connection between Moultrie County
and either the Reeds or John Biggs.
In 1860, they were living in Fayette County, Illinois
near Dicy's parents, Abner Reed and Temperance Moutray Reed.
I can't find hide nor hair of them in the 1870 Census,
but by 1880 John and Dicy were living
in McDonald County, with their five youngest children.
Their eldest daughter, Mary, my great-grandmother,
had already met and married Anvil James Arnett.
She was 13 years old when she married.
(Can you imagine?)
John and Dicy continued to live in McDonald County
until their deaths, as far as I know. They're
both buried in a church cemetery in Rocky Comfort.
Dicy died in 1912.
John died in 1924.
But here's the weird thing:
apparently neither died in Missouri,
unless they died under assumed names.
There are no Missouri death certificates for either,
though they were required in that time period.
About half their kids were living in Missouri;
half in Oregon, but they didn't die in Oregon either.
It's a mystery.
I figure that the horse and buggy shot of John Biggs
was taken around 1920, about the same time
as this photo of John and his older brother,
Christopher Columbus Biggs.
Christopher Columbus Biggs
died in 1921.
Maybe someday I'll find obituaries
that tell me where Dicy Reed Biggs
and John James Madison Biggs died.
If I'm really, really lucky.
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