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,