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Jesse Bird/Byrd Higdon is the
slender man holding the horse at
left. This is the blacksmith shop as it appeared about 1910 in Leesville, Missouri, Henry County.
The Higdon family came to Henry County in the mid 1800''s from Barren County, Kentucky.
Jesse was born in Leesville Oct. 24, 1858. He married Laura Etta Denny May 16, 1888 in
Leesville. Laura Etta Denny was a daughter of James Denny and Mary Ann Bailey. She, also,
was born in Leesville.
The Higdon family left their home there in 1911, never to return as a family. Jesse died in
Tulsa, Oklahoma April 19, 1922. Laura Etta Denny Higdon died in Tulsa, Oklahoma May 28,
Buried in Oak Lawn Cemetery, 1133 E. 11th St., Tulsa, OK., Jesse Bird was the only child of
Asa Higdon and Alice Jane Renfro of Leesville, MO. Asa had more children by another wife.
Laura Etta is, also, buried in Oak Lawn Cemetery beside her husband of 55 years.
Jesse's father, Asa [Ace] Higdon was killed by bushwhackers in 1862. Jesse was taken in and
raised by his Aunt and Uncle, Tom and Fannie Briggs. Aunt Fannie was Caroline Frances
Renfro, Jesse's mother's sister. Tom and Fannie also raised Tom Ashley,
Uncle Tom's farm was laid out in three forty acres in a row, l/4 of a mile wide and 3/4 of a mile
long, running east and west. In 1889 Uncle Tom deeded Tom Ashley an acreage on the south
west corner and he deeded Jessie Bird Higdon an acreage on the east side of the farm next to
Leesville, also one extra joining acre, for a house site. This left Tom and Fannie Briggs with
fifty-nine acres in the middle.
Tom Ashley built a house on his acreage and raised two boys and four girls. He lived to be a ripe old age without moving. The Higdons built a two-room frame house, 16. ft X 32 ft. Each room was sixteen feet square. While living in this two-room home, three girls and two boys were born. They had a total of seven children, four boys and three girls.
In about 1890, Jessie Bird Higdon was ordained a deacon in the Tebo Baptist Church. Tom
Ashley was also a deacon and was music director and led the choir as long as he lived. Tom
Ashley died Aug. 6, 1937 at his Leesville Home.