Descendants of Elijah Biggs
The Biggs Family
John James Madison Biggs (1837 - 1924) and Dicy Reed Biggs (1841 - 1912)
My great-grandmother Mary Biggs Arnett was a descendant of Elijah Biggs, Sr. whose pedigree is unknown. Elijah was born in 1762 in Tyrrell County, North Carolina according to his unsuccessful Revolutionary War pension application. His pension was denied because he had served only three months in the North Carolina line, but the application file contained a wealth of information. It seems our Elijah lived under an assumed name for the final years of his life, having apparently murdered a young man who had sullied the reputation of one of Elijah's daughters, believed to have been Temperance Biggs. The details of the alleged murder are unknown. Temperance first married a young man named John Webb in Logan County, Kentucky. Four years later, she married Samuel Tucker in Christian County, Kentucky. What happened to Temperance after that time is unknown.


Elijah, Sr. and his unknown wife apparently had at least four children: Temperance, William, Elijah Jr. and Sarah "Sally". Two of these four -- Sally and Elijah Jr. -- are my ancestors. Virtually nothing is known about William Biggs.    Sarah "Sally" Biggs  married Theophilus Moutray in Christian County. He was the son of William Moutray and his wife Ann, who may have been a member of the Lacy family of Virginia and North Carolina. (Sally and Theophilus' daughter Temperance Moutray married Abner Reed -- and Abner and Tempy's daughter was the Dicey Reed who married John Biggs). Elijah Biggs, Jr. married Mary "Polly" Brown.


Elijah and Polly had several children, not all of them positively identified. Both Elijah and his wife were born in North Carolina, but it is not known where or when they married. Their children included: Elephair, Christopher Columbus, John James Madison, Joseph B., James Monroe Alexander, Elsa Elgada, andElzada. The names of two oldest children are uncertain.  The older children were all born in Kentucky, but the family had moved to Illinois by the time James Monroe Alexander Biggs and his younger sisters were born.


Elijah, Jr. served in the Black Hawk War in Illinois and died in August 1849 in Johnson County, Illinois. His wife survived him and married Larkin Cantrell. Apparently Mr. Cantrell was unwilling to provide for all her children, as the boys were farmed out to the McCreary family. The McCreary's were strong abolitionists in the years leading up to the Civil War.


Most of Elijah and Polly's sons lived their adult lives in Illinois, mostly Franklin County. The daughters married and moved away, as did John James Madison Biggs. John married Dicy Reed, daughter of Abner Reed and Temperance Moutray of Shelby & Fayette County, Illinois, in 1858 in Moultrie County, Illinois. John and Dicy lived near her parents in Fayette County, Illinois for a period of time in which their daughter Mary was born.


John and Dicy Reed Biggs apparently moved to Missouri in the late 1860's or early 1870's, as they appear in the 1860 Fayette County Census, but not the 1870 Census. They were living in Richwood Township is McDonald County, Missouri by the time of the 1880 Census. Daughter Mary Biggs married Anvil James Arnett in McDonald County in 1875. John and Dicey were also the parents of:Joseph Dudley Biggs, Minnie Biggs, James D. Biggs, Myrtle Biggs, John Quincy Biggs, and WIlliam C. Biggs. Dicey Reed Biggs died in 1912 (place unknown) and is buried in McDonald County, Missouri. John Biggs died July 10, 1924 and is buried in McDonald County as well. Although both died after death certificates were deemed mandatory in Missouri, a request for death certificates for each determined that Missouri's vital statistics division had no records for either one.    

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