Friday, September 10, 2010

Sepia Saturday: The Old Ones

These are portraits of my paternal grandfather's
maternal grandparents, if you follow that sidestep.

The bearded man is John James Madison Biggs.
The lady with the glasses and the hair pulled back
into a bun is Dicy Caroline Reed Biggs.

John was born in 1837 in Kentucky to Elijah Biggs, Jr. and Mary Benton Biggs. His family moved across the river to Illinois (Williamson County) during his childhood. His father died in 1849 and his mother farmed him and the other boys out to live with neighbors, the McCrearys. The McCrearys were said to be staunch abolitionists and may have influenced the Biggs' boys decision to fight on the side of the Union. Strangely, I can find military records for John's brothers, but haven't found ones I can identify as his and his grave marker 
doesn't bear a "G.A.R." identifier, 
as so many did if they served 
in the Union forces during the Civil War.

Dicy was born in 1841 to Abner Reed and Temperance Moutray. She grew up in Fayette County, Illinois, but for reasons I can't understand, she married John in Moultrie County when she was 17. Her parents appear to have been living in Fayette County at the time. But Dicy's sister married in Moultrie County at about the same time, so I wonder if perhaps Dicy and Sarah had been sent away to school or if they might have gone to live with a relative temporarily. 
Nor do I have a clue about how John 
came to meet Dicy or how they fell in love.

At any rate, the marriage produced 10 children, of whom seven were alive in 1900. John and Dicy
 would have been married over 41 years at that point. 
By then, they'd been living in McDonald County, Missouri 
for at least 30 years. It was there that their daughter 
Mary Biggs met her future husband Anvil Arnett 
and married him when she was only 14.
Can you imagine?

(Anvil and Mary's youngest son Loren Lloyd Arnett
was my paternal grandfather.)

Dicy died in 1912 and John hung around until 1924. 
I've never been able to find a death certificate for them -- Missouri took my money but told me 
there are no Missouri death certificates for either. 

They're buried in McDonald County, Missouri
in the far southwestern part of the state
right up next to Oklahoma. 

For more Sepia Saturday fun,
click HERE.


Marilyn said...

Wonderful photos and history; I often wonder the movement of some of our ancestors, why they married or lived out of area. In this case her sister was already there so there was a reason as you say.

Martin H. said...

These portraits are wonderful. What lives these people led. A rich vein of history for your family records.

CrazyasaCoolFox said...

Now those photos have a great sepia tone to them... Wonderful. I'm intrigued with those border states and families decisions to choose one side or another during the Civil War. Thanks for sharing.

Christine H. said...

How wonderful to have such old pictures of relatives. I love all of the names too. As for the State of Missouri, I think they should return your money.

Nancy said...

Meri, isn't it a challenge, and sometimes a frustration, to find the elusive details of an ancestor's life?! The photographs are beautiful - they look almost like painted portraits. I especially like the gravestone. The carving is beautiful.

Tattered and Lost said...

"Dicy" is such an interesting name. Never heard it before.

Barbara and Nancy said...

I, too love that name- Dicy. It is hard to imagine their daughter getting married at 14. I guess it might not have been too unusual at the time.
An interesting family history.

PattyF said...

Wonderful photos, Meri! Great names, too: Dicy, Temperance. How I wish some of those old records told us so much more than just the statistical data they reveal. It's the little details of their lives that are truly fascinating.


well, you've summed it up, fro "A to Z". maybe the records got lost, in a fire maybe, or misfiled...