Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]
Among the worthy pioneers of Berrien County is the gentleman above named. He was born May 7, 1818, in Ontario
Co., N. Y., and was the seventh in a family of thirteen children. His father, James Higbee, was also a native of
the State of New York, but removed to Ohio when the son was small, and remained there thirteen years. In June,
1837, another removal was made, and the family found a home in the wilds of Western Michigan, locating in Benton
township, Berrien County, on section 14. At the age of twenty one, J. F. Higbee, who had remained at home until
that time, went to Iowa, and stayed about eighteen months, working a breaking team in the summer and teaching school
in the winter. He then returned to Michigan and remained one summer, spending the time in clearing and improving
the farm upon which he now resides. In the fall of 1841 he returned to Iowa, to collect his pay for his previous
winter's teaching, and while there was married to Miss Mary Lewis, daughter of John A. and Salome Lewis, natives
of Virginia and descendants of English ancestry. Mr. and Mrs. Higbee became the parents of nine children, of whom
six are now living. After their marriage Mr. Higbee and his wife came to Michigan, and settled in a log house on
the farm which has since been their home. The log house and the sturdy forest have disappeared, and a fine residence
and smiling and fertile fields have taken their places. Mr. Higbee's first purchase included one hundred and sixty
acres, of which twenty acres have since been sold. Mr. Rigbee is the owner of real estate in different localities,
amounting in the aggregate to four hundred and ninety one acres, and this has been accumulated through years of
patient toil and economy. Mr. Higbee has during his residence here evinced great public spirit, and has aided to
the extent of his ability in all public improvements, interesting himself in the construction of railways and harbors,
and appreciating the advantages of everything calculated to add to the wealth and prosperity of his town and county.
He is now president of the Northern Berrien County Michigan Lake Shore Agricultural Society, and the owner of the
fair grounds. Previous to Freniont's struggle for the executive seat of the nation Mr. Higbee was a Democrat, but
his fortunes have since been cast with the Republican party. He has been earnestly interested in local politics,
and has held numerous offices in the gift of his townsmen. He was the first treasurer of Ben ton township, and
was elected five times, and is now serving his third term as justice of the peace. His education was acquired in
the district schools of his early years, except that after coming to Michigan he attended the high school at Niles
for about six months. Mr. and Mrs. Higbee united with the Disciples' Church in 1859.
History of Berrien and Van Buren Counties, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers.
D. W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincoff & Co., Philadelphia.