Biography - Joseph Bigham

JOSEPH BIGHAM. The oldest members of a community are doubly entitled to the respect and esteem of their neighbors when their long lives have been replete with acts of kindness, and their whole career marked by integrity and uprightness. The time-honored and respected gentleman whose name appears at the head of this sketch makes his home on section 20, East Fork Township, Montgomery County. His native home was in Hagerstown, Washington County, Md., where he was born January 27, 1804. His father, Joseph Bigham, was a native of Pennsylvania, and his father, Hugh Bigham, was also born in the Keystone State, of Irish parentage. Our subject's great-grandfather, Bryan Bigham, was born on the Green Isle of Erin, and came to America at a period antedating the Revolutionary War.
Joseph Bigham, father of our subject, selected his wife in the person of Miss Elizabeth Eenbich, a native of Pennsylvania and the daughter of Christopher Eenbich, who was of German descent. Our subject was one of a family of children born to this union, and was reared in his native county, receiving a fair education in the common schools. When fourteen years of age, he began learning the shoemaker's trade and followed this for many years. Industrious, enterprising and progressive he prospered in his chosen calling and became one of the substantial men of his locality.
Our subject was married the first time in Washington County, Md., in 1830, to Miss Mary A. Kershner, who was born in that county and State, and to them were born seven children, named in the order of their births as follows: Samuel K. and Mary A., deceased; Emanuel K., born in Maryland in January, 1835, and married Miss Laura M. McGahey, who with his wife now resides on the farm with our subject; Catherine J. E., the wife of Louis Tice, of Greenville, Ill.; James H., of Kansas; Charles H., of Bond County, Ill.; and John W., of Arkansas. Mr. Bigham's second marriage was with Adelia Paisley, who bore him one daughter, S. M., who is now the wife of Harrison Hanner. The children now living have prospered in their various occupations and are highly esteemed in whatever community they make their home.
Mr. Bigham came to Montgomery County, Ill., in 1845, and took up land from the Government. Although the land was wild upon which he settled, and the implements he used to cultivate his land rude and unhandy, the soil was rich, and as the work of clearing progressed and the crops were put in, it yielded a rich return. Now, when well along in years, this worthy gentleman has a good farm of two hundred acres all under cultivation, and eighty acres of timber, and can now sit down and enjoy the fruit of his labor. For many years he has been identified with the interests of Montgomery County and in him the community has a faithful and unswerving friend, ever alert to serve its best interest and generous in his contributions toward every movement tending to the general advancement.
Mr. Bigham's pleasant residence is a home indeed, and is at once a monument and a reward of patient continuance in well-doing, hard toil and sober living. He ranks as a noticeable illustration of that indomitable push and energy which characterize men of will and determination. His first Presidential vote was cast for Jackson, but he is now a stanch Republican.

Extracted 10 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 352-353.

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