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We started with the following information about this family from their granddaughter Iva M. Jones:
Her grandfathers name was Robert Higgins and his wife was named Jane. Besides her mother Laura Jane Higgins, there was a twin brother to Laura Jane named James. According to Iva JONES, other siblings of Laura where possibly named Franklin, Elmer and Emma. They were possibly in Mt. Ayr, Iowa, or in Illinois. Laura Jane Higgins was said to be thin and about 5' 4" tall. John E. Jones and Laura Jane Higgins are buried at the Spring Creek Cemetary, just west of Ruskin, Nuckolls County, Nebraska.
The big break in researching this family came in the discovery of the 1860 census record of a family in McLean County, Illinois with a father named Robert, a farmer, aged 35, born in Ohio; his wife named Sereptha, aged 45 born in Kentucky; a son named Franklin, aged 11, born in Ohio; a son named Clarence aged 8, born in Illinois; two children aged 6, James and Laura born in Illinois; a daughter named Emma, aged 2, born in Illinois; a John Darnell, a farmer, aged 27, born in Illinois; a Rachel Darnell, aged 20, born in Ohio; and a Eliza Darnell, aged 13, born in Ohio. The value of Robert Higginses real estate was give as $7,000 and the value of his personal property was listed as $1000. John Darnell's personal property was listed as $175.
From the above discovery, things started to fall into place. Because of the listing of the twins, we know we have the correct family. The information on the 1860 census record probably meant that Jane had died sometime after 1854 and Robert had remarried to a Sereptha Darnell. With that premiss we marched on, and here is what we now know:
From the biography of Robert HIGGINS we know he was born December 28, 1824 in Licking County, Ohio. He was born on a farm his parents rented from Dr. TAYLOR. Robert was the ninth child born, out of ten. His parents were James HIGGINS and Mary McCLELLAND, and shortly after Robert's birth the family moved to Perry County, Ohio, in the spring of 1825. Robert's mother, Mary McCLELLAND, was of partial German descent and Robert was raised Lutheran. He was reared on the family farm in Perry County, and attended the district schools. Robert's father encouraged all his children to attend school and college, but Robert chose to be a farmer. When he wed Elizabeth J. (Jane) ALLEN, his father then built another house on the home farm where Robert and Jane lived "and managed the operation of the farm until 1855." Jane ALLEN was born about 1831, in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Jane was the daughter of Oliver and Mary ALLEN, natives of Rhode Island. Robert HIGGINS and Jane ALLEN were married in Perry County on April 4, 1847. In 1855, Robert, Jane and their 4 children moved to Mt. Hope Township, in McLean County, Illinois, and rented a farm. It was here that Jane passed away on December 6, 1856.
In the spring of 1858 Robert moved to the Darnell Farm, and remarried to Sarepta (BROOKS) DARNELL.. Sarepta's first spouse, Nicholas Darnell, had also passed away. There is some information available about Serepta Brooks. From the LDS I.G.I. files she was born 26 August 1817, Hart or Barren, Kentucky. (Census records put her birth at 1814/15, but her gravestone has 1817.) Her parents were Miles BROOKS and Lucy PULLIAM. Sarepta's father died in 1840 in Brooks Grove, McLean County, Illinois. So it would appear that Serepta was already living in McLean County when Robert HIGGINS arrived sometime in the late 1850's. (For more information about the BROOKS family you may want to research old McLean County Illinois histories. There is also a book called "The Revolution & War of 1812," by "The Daughters of the American Revolution in Illinois" which has information about Nicholas Darnell, his parents and his siblings.)
The LDS I.G.I. files list the marriage of Serepta BROOKS to Nicholas DARNELL on 4 October 1832 in McLean County, Illinois She remarried to Robert E.HIGGINS on 13 April 1858 in Licking County, Illinois. (Census records indicate she was 10 years older than Robert.)
Robert and Sarepta lived on the Darnell farm until 1868. During this first 10 years together, the Higginses purchased a neighboring farm. At the time of purchase, this farm was partially fenced, there were a few fruit trees, it had a 14 by 20 foot frame house, and 65 acres were under cultivation. "In the spring of 1868 the old frame house was replaced by the present comfortable family residence, and the farm of Mr. Higgins, which comprises 160 acres, is now all under an excellent state of cultivation. He has a good barn and all other necessary out-buildings and is now enjoying the fruits of early toil and economy." This is from the 1887 biographical sketch of Robert Higgins, click here for the full text.
Serepta BROOKS DARNELL HIGGINS passed away on 2 September 1872, at Brooks Grove, McLean County, Illinois. She is buried at Hieronymous Cemetery, Armington, Tazewell County, Illinois, along with her first husband, Nicholas DARNELL The stone says she lived from 1817 to 1872.
One year later, on October 9, 1873, Robert Higgins wed for a third time. His new bride was Miss Samantha CLAYTON, daugher of Thomas and Catherine Clayton, of Perry County, Ohio. There were Clayton families living next to the Higginses in Perry County in the 1830, 1840 and 1850 censuses. There is probably some connection. Samantha CLAYTON HIGGINS was 18 years younger than her husband Robert.
As of 1887, Robert was living comfortably with his wife and their 3 small children. The remainder of his children had started their own families.
Robert passed away in in 1895 and is buried in the Hieronymus Cemetery, Tazewell County, opposite section 7, Mt. Hope Township. On the gravestone is the following inscription:
Robert HIGGINS 1824-1895
Elizabeth J. HIGGINS wife 1856 27 Years
Asbury F. HIGGINS 1870 20 Years
Robert HIGGINS had the following known children:
Asbury Franklin HIGGINS, born 20 Dec 1849 in Clayton Township, Perry County, Ohio. ."Frank" died 26 Jan 1870.
Clarence Elmer HIGGINS, born January 31, 1852, New Lexington, Ohio
James Trimble HIGGINS, born 22 Aug 1854 in Perry County, Ohio(1880 census) or McLean County, Illinois(1860 census)
Laura Jane HIGGINS born 22 Aug 1854
in Perry County, Ohio(1880 census) or McLean County, Illinois(1860 census)
Emma B. HIGGINS, born 27 February 1859 in McLean County, Illinois (Child of Serepta BROOKS)
Edgar H. HIGGINS, born @ 1876 in Illinois (Child of Samantha Clayton)
Minnie E. Higgins, born March 23, 1878 in McLean County, Illinois (Child of Samantha Clayton)
Lucy M. Higgins, born in Aprilm13, 1880 in Mt. Hope Township, McLean County, Illinois(Child of Samantha Clayton)
Since there are no HIGGINSES in the 1819 tax records of Perry County(Perry County was founded in 1817 from parts of neighboring counties.) and since I have been unable to find them in the 1820 census, the Higginses probably arrived in Perry County after 1820.
The 1830 Census of Clayton Township, Perry County Ohio has the following
There is a James HIGGINS, born between 1780 and 1790, one female born between 1780 and 1790, one male and one female born between 1800 and 1810, one male and one female born between 1810 and 1815, two females born between 1815 and 1820, two males born between 1820 and 1825, and one male born between 1825 and 1830. This is probably Robert's father, and Robert is one of the younger males.
Next door is a Thomas HIGGINS, born between 1800 and 1810,one female born between 1800 and 1810, and two males born between 1825 and 1830. Thomas is probably a son or brother of James
Next door to Thomas HIGGINS is a John CLAYTON household, with 1 female born between 1770 and 1780, one female born between 1780 and 1790, 3 males and 1 female born between 1800 and 1810, 2 males born between 1810 and 1815, and 2 males born between 1815 and 1820. Obviously the father had passed away. In a later census there will be a Mary Clayton living with the Higginses.
The 1840 Census of Clayton Township has the following information:
There is a James HIGGINS household with the following: one male and one female born between 1780 and 1790, one male born between 1810 and 1820, one male born between 1820 and 1825, one male and one female born between 1825 and 1830.
Nearby is the John Clayton household with the following: one male and one female born between 1770 and 1780, one female born between 1800 and 1810, one male born between 1810 and 1820, one female born between 1825 and 1830.
The 1850 census of Clayton Township, Perry County, Ohio has the following
There is the James HIGGINS household, with James HIGGINS, aged 66 & born in Ireland, Mary CLAYTON, aged 60 or 40 & born in Pa?, J. ?earsey a male aged 16 & born in Ohio, Julia CLAYTON, aged 12 and born in Ohio, and Isaac CLAYTON, aged 10 & born in Ohio.
Next door is the Robert HIGGINS household with the following: Robert HIGGINS, aged 25 & born in Ohio, his wife Janie aged 19, and Asbury F.(male) aged 6 months. (Asbury F. HIGGINS, is surely Franklin HIGGINS)
Based on the 1860 census, (1860 census information is near the top of this page) 1858 is also the year that Emma HIGGINS was born. There is a one year discrepancy on Emma's birth year and James and Laura were probably born in Ohio. This discrepancy could have been caused because Robert Higgins new wife didn't know the birth locations of the youngest children and Robert could have been off in the fields working at the time the census taker arrived.
From the 1880 census we have the following family living in Mt. Hope Township, McLean County, Illinois: Robert HIGGINS, a farmer, aged 55, born in Ohio, parents born in Ireland; Samantha HIGGINS, wife, aged 37, born in Ohio, parents born in Virginia; Edgar H. HIGGINS, son, aged 4, born in Illinois, parents born in Ohio; Minnie E. HIGGINS, daughter, aged 2, born in Illinois, parents born in Ohio; Lucy M. HIGGINS, daughter, aged 1 month, born in Illinois, parents born in Ohio; Joseph P. ELIOT, other, aged 26, born in Ohio, a farm laborer, father born in Ohio and mother born in Virginia; William L. DURANT, son, aged 15 a farm laborer, born in Illinois, father born in New York and mother born in Ohio; Ida B. DURANT, other, aged 17, born in Illinois, father born in New York and mother born in Ohio. (William DURANT is obvoisly Samantha's son by a previous marriage and Ida is either her daughter or the wife of William.)
By 1880, Robert Higgin's older children were all off on their own, and at least 3 of them, Clarence, James and Laura were living in the Spring Creek area(now Ruskin) of Nuckolls County, Nebraska. We have not yet located the whereabouts of Franklin and Emma as of 1880.
If there are any descendants of this family with more information, pictures of family members, etc., please contact John Hopkirk at firstname.lastname@example.org
Memo for the future: Margaret Langry is a descendant of Nancy HIGGINS and
Clark CAMPBELL who were married in Perry County, Ohio in 1843. A Robert HIGGINS
was listed on the marriage petition.
There was also a James HIGGINS of Perry County Ohio, born in 1818 who married an Eleanor Brown.
Add'l memo: John Hopkirk of San Carlos, California is in possession of a 1 cent postcard bearing the following information:
Asbury F Higgins, January 26, 1870 20 yrs. 1 mo.
Elizabeth J. Higgins Dec 6 1856 26. 2 mo. 21
Robert Higgins Dec 28 1824 Dec 12 1895
C Elmer Higgins died at Sloan, Ia Dec 8, 1929
Emma Belle Higgins Stephey Born Feby 27 Died March 17 1930 71 yrs
James T Higgins Born Aug 22 1854 Died Feby 24 1947 92 yr 6 mo 2
Laura Higgins Jones Born Aug 22 1854 Died Jan 31 1913 58 yrs 5 mo 9 days
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This page was last updated on June 3, 2007