JOHN ANSON PENNIMAN BIGGER.
For six years past J. A. P. Bigger has been proprietor and editor of the Wapello Tribune and he has gained a reputation
as one of the efficient factors of the country press of Iowa. He was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, in
1875, a son of John M. and Kate (McVey) Bigger. In 1877 the father moved with his family to Ohio and ten years
later came to Vinton, Iowa, where he and his wife spent the remainder of their lives. Two of their children are
now living: J. N. S., who was born December 28, 1871, and is now a resident of Vinton, Iowa; and J. A. P., of this
At twelve years of age J. A. P. Bigger came to Iowa with his parents and in the public schools of Vinton he received
his preliminary education. Later he possessed advantages of attendance at Tilford Collegiate Academy. As a young
man he began learning the printer's trade in the office of the Vinton Eagle and has been connected with the printing
business continuously for twenty years past. In 1903 he purchased the Wapello Tribune, a republican weekly, which
under his management has ably represented the principles of the party and is one of the leading weekly papers in
this part of the state.
On the 23th of June, 1902, Mr. Bigger was united in marriage to Miss Edna Blanche Jamison. To this union one son,
Merritt Shannon, was born March 3, 1904. Mrs. Bigger is a daughter of Merritt L. and Mary Ella (Whitcomb) Jamison.
Grandfather Jamison was a native of Kentucky and emigrated from that state to Ohio, where he was married. In the
spring of 1840 he came with his family to Louisa county, Thwa, and for many years was identified with the stock
raising business. He was the father of seven children, four of whom survive, namely: John W., of Newport, Iowa;
Jacob H., who is now engaged in the cement business at Wapello; Merritt L. and O. B., who engaged in farming and
is now living retired at Wapello. Two of the children, William and Mary, now deceased, were twins.
Merritt L. Jamison, the father of Mrs. Bigger, was born in Louisa county, August 21, 1848. He was educated in the
public schools and at the Baptist University at Burlington. For about thirty years he devoted his attenion to farming
and stock raising in this county and then sold his place, being now a resident of Wapello. He is a stanch supporter
of the democratic party. While attending the Baptist University he met Miss Mary E. Whitcomb, who became his wife,
and there were two children in their family: Edna Blanche, now Mrs. J. A. P. Bigger; and Nellie May, the wife of
Frank Christie, who has charge of a dry goods store at Brighton belonging to Mr. Jamison. Mrs. Jamison, the mother
of Mrs. Bigger, is a daughter of Asahel D. and Sarah Ann (Lyon) Whitcomb, the former of whom was born at Townsbend,
Vermont, in October, 1830. He was left an orphan by the death of both parents at the age of seven years and was
reared by relatives. He early began to learn the carpenter's trade, which he had mastered at the age of nineteen.
He attained great skill in the use of tools and was a builder of cars and carriages, working for a number of years
in the car shops at Burlington, Iowa. At the time of the Civil war he served in the Missouri Engineer Corps and
was in the field for three years and ten months. He enlisted as sergeant but on account of his ability was promoted
several times until he became captain. After the close of the war he continued in the army for a time as quartermaster.
At one period of his service his duties required him, while located at Island No. 10 in the Mississippi river,
to remain exposed in the water for many hours a day. On account of this exposure he lost his health, notwithstanding
the best medical treatment. In October, 1849, he was married to Miss Sarah Ann Lyon, who was born May 2, 1830,
at Auburn, New York, and they had two children: Mary Ella, born November 3, 1850, at Schoolcraft, Michigan, who
married Merritt L. Jamison; and Amelia Delphine, born at Burlington, Iowa, December 16, 1858, who died at the age
of six years. Mr. Whitcomb died in July, 1883, and his wife was called away in 1908, having for twelve years previously
made her home with her daughter.
Ever since he arrived at the age of manhood Mr. Bigger of this review has been an active adherent of the republican
party and as a writer has consistently supported his views upon local, state and national issues. His advice is
often sought in regard to important public policies and experience has shown. that his opinions as to questions
effecting this section of the state are generally correct. He has many friends in Louisa county and socially is
prominently connected with the Masonic order, being a past master of Wapehlo Lodge, No. 5, A. F. & A. M.
History of Louisa County, Iowa
From Its Earliest Settlement to 1912
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Decatur County, IA
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