Biography of J. F. Higbee



Berrien County

Online Biographies


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.

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