Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 577-78.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Fred H. Higgins

Character and ability will undoubtedly lead a man to the front in any walk of life, and in no instance is this fact more strongly manifest than in the life record of Fred H. Higgins, who was thrown upon his own resources at the early age of thirteen years.  He has worked hard in the years that have come and gone and today finds him in the possession of one of the valuable farm properties of Grant township, his place comprising one hundred and twenty acres.  He was born in Des Moines, Iowa, December 15, 1871, the only child of Albert and Carrie (McFadden) Higgins, both of whom were natives of the Buckeye state.  The father removed with his wife from his native state to Iowa and engaged in merchandising near Des Moines.


Fred H. Higgins lost his mother when but two years of age and through the death of his father was left an orphan when but four years old.  He was then taken into the home of an aunt, Mrs. Myra Russel, by whom he was reared to the age of thirteen, when she, too, was called to her final rest.  During this time, however, he had been sent to school and he completed the high-school course when a youth of fifteen years.  He then secured employment at farm labor, being thus engaged for three years, during which time he saved twenty-five dollars, which he appropriated to the acquirement of a better education.  Left without parental care, he feels that he owes much to John Chaney for his fatherly advice and counsel at a time when he needed the guardianship of an older friend.  Upon finally putting aside his text-books Mr. Higgins was employed in operating a threshing machine until he reached the age of twenty-six years.


Mr. Higgins established a home of his own by his marriage, September 15, 1897, the lady of his choice being Miss Millie Lancaster, whose parents were farming people.  Following his marriage Mr. Higgins removed with his bride to Illinois and there remained for some time, when he returned to his native state, this time locating in Buena Vista county, where he owns one hundred and twenty acres of land in Grant township.  He has made all of the improvements on his farm and has a model country home, supplied with all modern conveniences and accessories, while substantial barns and outbuildings furnish ample shelter for grain and stock.  His land, too, has been placed under a high state of cultivation and is one of the valuable farm properties of Grant township.  He is engaged in general farming and also operates a threshing machine during the harvesting season.  He raises shorthorn cattle, having a full blooded male at the head of his herd, and he also raises Poland China and Duroc Jersey hogs.  Every dollar that he today possesses has been acquired through his own industry and the assistance of his estimable wife, who has proved to him a most faithful companion.


The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Higgins has been blessed with a son and three daughters, Allen, Hallie, Zelma and Evelyn.  Mr. Higgins is a republican in his political views and affiliations and has served as collector of his township.  His fraternal relations are with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.


Left a penniless orphan at an early age, he has met many obstacles and difficulties in his path, but these have seemed to serve as an impetus to greater effort on his part.  He made use of each and every opportunity that presented itself and in this way has attained to his present position as a substantial citizen of Buena Vista county.  The ideals of men like this, the story of their lives and their deep sense of integrity, should serve as an inspiration to the young men of today who are compelled to start out early in life without means, for this has proved no barrier to Mr. Higgins' success.