Greenbush Pioneers in the State of WISCONSIN, USA, at Higgins Genealogy

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   Updated: 18 Jan 2009
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        Greenbush Pioneers-
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Source: Portrait and biographical record of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county. Chicago : Excelsior Pub. Co., 1894.

GEORGE HIGGINS, who is widely and favourably known to the citizens of the town of Greenbush through his connection with the post office for so many years, either as Postmaster or assistant, has been a resident of that town since the fall of 1860.

Mr. Higgins is a native of the Green Mountain State, and was born in West Haven, Rutland County. His parents were Dan and Hannah Higgins, natives of Connecticut, and for many years residents of Rutland County, where their deaths occurred. George Higgins was reared and educated in his native State, and in early life was engaged in agricultural pursuits. In 1860 he came West and located in Sheboygan County, Wis. He was accompanied by his sister, Miss Harriet Dorinda, who has since presided over his home. On coming to Greenbush, he purchased land, and for several years was engaged in farming.

In politics, Mr. Higgins was a Whig in early life, and cast his first Presidential vote for Gen. Taylor. On the disruption of the Whig party, he associated himself with the Republican party, and has since been identified with that political body. Since his residence in Greenbush, he has held various local offices. He was chosen Town Clerk at an early day, and held that office for several years, and was elected Chairman of the town in 1862. In 1865 Mr. Higgins was chosen Assessor of the town, serving his constituents most acceptably. In 1887 he was appointed Postmaster at Greenbush by President R. B. Hayes, and served under his and the following administrations of Presidents Garfield and Arthur. On the election of Mr. Cleveland in 1884, by the expressed wish of the people, regardless of party, he was continued in office, but resigned after a year and a-half s service under the Democratic administration. D. T. Sullivan was appointed to succeed Mr. Higgins,
but he retained the latter as Deputy, so he continued in the office, in company with Albert Keach, who had been appointed Assistant Postmaster. While serving in that capacity, he was appointed Postmaster by Benjamin Harrison on his accession to the Presidency, and filled that position untilhe was superseded by Albert Keach, the present incumbent. The latter retains Mr. Higgins as Deputy; so that he has been connected with the Greenbush Postoffice, either as principal or deputy, since 1877, covering a period of sixteen years. It is but fair to state in this connection that the management of the business of the office while in his care has been most satisfactory to its patrons and the postal authorities.

Mr. Higgins has a brother, Alvarizo, who came to Wisconsin one year prior to the time that he and the sister came. The brother afterward married Mrs. Elizabeth Helen Ward, the widow of a Union soldier, and now resides in Greenbush.

Socially, Mr. Higgins is a member of Acassia Lodge No. 176, A. F. & A. M., of Plymouth, and of Greenbush Lodge No. 78, I. O. O. F., of Greenbush. He has belonged to the last-named lodge since 1869.

For thirty years Mr. Higgins and his sister have lived in Greenbush, and have endeared themselves to their fellow-townspeople by their many worthy traits of character. As a public officer, he has ever been prompt and exact in the discharge of duty, courteous and accommodating to all with whom he comes in contact, whether in a business or social way. He and his sister are held in high regard by all who know them.

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George Higgins and sister Miss. Harriet

Source- Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) April 30 1924

Although "Uncle George" and "Aunt Harriet" as they were called once, perhaps because they never married
and the wealth of their kindly dispositions was lavished on those 'round about them-lived in Greenbush at a somewhat later period (from 1860 on) than other pioneers I have written of, the wish to give you glimpses into their lives is too strong to be put off longer. Before we live over their lives here, I wish you to go back with me, and through a nephew, Daniel F. Higgins, a Lawyer, of Joliet Illinois, learn of the history of the Higgins family. The record, which was compiled in 1883, is dedicated to his cousin, Sarah M. Higgins, who between the years 1850 and 1860,was a resident of Greenbush and taught school here.

I am the first quoting directly from his work and then to condense into my own words.

"Tradition states that there lived in some of the colonies three brothers by the name of Higgins. Where they hailed from I was unable to ascertain. They entered service in the revolution, and became seperated, and never since knew of each others whereabouts. The first we learn definitely of our family is that Samuel Higgins and his family removed from Killingworth, Connecticut to Castleton, Vermont in the year 1781, from thence to Benson, Rutland County, Vermont in 1788. The name of his first wife is unknown. The name of his second wife was Temperence Kelsey. Samuel Higgins died June 30,1811,in the 68th year of his age, Temperence, second wife of Samuel Higgins, died in 1831 at 73 years old."

Two children were born of the first marriage at Killingworth, Connecticut. One of the eight children of the second marriage, Dan ,Born August 27, 1784,at Castleton, Vermont, is the father our Greenbush members of this branch of the family. His marriage in 1806, to Hannah Le Barron, took place at Killingsworth.

They came to Benson, Vermont, where Dan Higgins was a farmer, and where most of their lives were spent, although their home was at West Haven, Vermont and La Roy,N ew York for short periods.

Eleven children were born to Dan and Hannah Higgins. Four came to Greenbush; the subjects of our article, Harriet, born at Benson, August 5, 1822; George, born at West Haven, September 6, 1826; Alvariso and Olney. Three settled in Illinois, Dan in Pike County, Chauncey in DuPage County, Harry in Will County. Their sister Temperence and brothers James, Alphonso and Francis married at Benson and spent their lives there farming their "Green Mountain" State. Dan Higgins died in 1859 and his wife in 1860, at Benson, Vermont.

In tracing the generations I find farming largely to be their occupation. About 1847 or 1848, Warner Higgins, cousin of George and Harriet, came here. This will be given in another article, as well as the lives here of the Olney and Alvariso Higgins families.

In the "Green Mountain" state the children of Dan and Hannah Higgins were educated. George Higgins taught school for several years and then followed the family trend to till the soil. The mother passed away in April 1860. In the Fall of that year George Higgins and sister Harriet came to Greenbush, perhaps because their brother Alvariso was here. They liked this part of God's country, with its hills and ruggedness of outlines, no doubt seeming to something like their native state, that they spent the remainder if their long lives here, and in Greenbush cemetery, on a hill where the suns rays rest freely at all times of the day, their last resting place lies.

The Warren William's farm was their first home, when their brother Olney came the farm was sold to him and George and Harriet moved to the settlement. The white house with green blinds on the brow of the hill to the west opposite the mill pond, which in those days was quite like a small lake, gradually took on the characteristics of the brother and sister whose home it was. Both were lovers of flowers and fruits and the cultivation of the rare grapes which they delighted to give their friends, was one of their pleasures.

Quaint, true to life in the best sense, faithful in their beliefs, and with the faculty of justice very strongly marked, the years passed quietly in a companionship as perfect as it was rare. Neither seemed to miss the wife or husband which neither found; and their joy in and love for each other was a delightful phase of life which was a true inspiration to their neighbors and friends through the years.

They were members of the F.W. Baptist church, which adjoined their home, faithful in this as in all their acts throughout their lives. This faithfulness of service and marked trait of justice, soon bore fruit in the community about them. In 1862, George Higgins acted as chairman of the town, in 1865 was assessor and somewhat later was clerk for twelve years. He was a Whig and cast his first Presidential vote for General Taylor. With the changing of the Whig Party into the Republican; he was a lifelong member of this party; his last Presidential vote being at the age of eighty-six years, being cast for William H. Taft. In 1887 he was appointed Postmaster of Greenbush Office, and held this position through nearly twenty years, either as Postmaster or Deputy, but at last deafness and ill health forced him to give up the duties he filled with marked success.

During the years in the "Big Store" where the Post Office was located, many discussions were entered into as to various local and national problems. These were surely "Radical" ideas in those days and each was absolutely sure of their opinions, but when "Uncle George" appeared verdicts were given over into his hands to decide and were abided by without question.

Equally faithful in his social life, he was a member of the Plymouth Acassia lodge # 176 A.F. and A.M. and from 1869 on of Greenbush I.O.O.F. lodge.

Dark days came into his life near the end. This little poem called "Broken Boughs" by Issabel Valle perhaps expresses how an active soul feels when ill health, bring activity in a physical sense to an end.

"Among the glad green boughs of spring,
 A broken limb high in the air creaks,
 wind tugged, or like some hurt thing, that tries to pray,
 I know its prayer!
 For I have seen a sick man lie in a screened porch, village way,
 And in his eyes as i passed by,
 read clear what withered branches pray."

In 1903 his beloved sister passed away in the eighty first year of her age. "Uncle George" sent for his niece, Mrs. Mary E Smith, daughter of his brother Alvariso.  Mrs. Smith 's husband had died in California several years earlier and was free to come. She became the able helpmate of her Uncle for the remaining years of his life. April 21, 1913, at the ripe old age of eighty seven, his spirit gently left his frail body.

His funeral from the old F. W. Baptist church, April 23, was attended by Greenbush I.O.O.F. lodge in a body. Plymouth Masonic lodge gave their burial services at the grave.

This little verse from a poem he prized highly, expresses fittingly a memorial to George and Harriet Higgins, who shed a quiet, happy influence in Greenbush, which lives on and on as long as any remain who knew them.

"Oh change, stupendous change,
 there lies the soulless clod!
 The sun eternal breaks,
 the new immortal wakes-
 Wakes with his God."

View 1880 Census Details 

October 24th,1917
Mrs. Alonzo Higgins, who would have been 89 years years of age next Tuesday, died this morning at the home of her son, Dr. Frank Higgins in the village of Greenbush of old age.
Mrs. Higgins with her parents settled in the town of Forest, Fond Du Loc County in 1846,but for the last forty-seven years has lived in Greenbush. She had been married twice, her first husband being a Mr. Ward and the second one Alonso Higgins, a pioneer of Greenbush.
She is survived by the following children, Dr. Frank Higgins, of Greenbush; Mrs. George Higgins and A. F. Ward Fond Du Loc; C. W. Ward, Clear Lake Wisconsin; and H. E. Ward of Yearington Nevada. 
The funeral will be held from the M. E. church in Greenbush at 10:00 O'clock
Friday morning, the Rev. Mr. Gelling officiating. Interment will be made in the Greenbush Cemetery.


Also See ON SITE:  Civil War Union Forces Part 8 Wisconsin 
                           Greenbush Pioneers George Higgins & sister Miss Harriet 
                           Wisconsin Resources Part 1 
                           Wisconsin Resources Part 2 

   This information compiled by Michael James Higgins
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