Basil Wiggins

BASIL WIGGINS. Among the prominent and wealthy farmers of Cherokee County who have retired from active work on their farms, is Basil Wiggins of Crestline, Shawnee township. He was born May 25, 1829, in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and is a son of John and Elizabeth (Jeffries) Wiggins, both natives of Pennsylvania.

John Wiggins was reared on a farm in Pennsylvania, and after arriving at man's estate followed farming most of the time, although for several years he carried freight between Baltimore and Brownsville, over what was then called the "National Pike." In 1836 he moved to Holmes County, Ohio, and was there engaged in farming, until he was so advanced in years that he was campelled to give up the heavier work of the farm. He died in 1868 at the age of 65 years. Some time before his death, he became a member of the Methodist Church, the family having previously been Friends. He always evinced a great interest in politics, being in earlier years a Whig, and later a Republican. For seven years, he served in the capacity of treasurer of his township. His first wife, Elizabeth Jeffries, who was a daughter of Elias Jeffries, of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, died in April, 1830. Their family consisted of three children, namely: Margaret, who married P. C. Bolsinger, and lived in Colesburg, Iowa, where the deaths of both occurred; Elizabeth, deceased, who was the wife of Maxwell Dearth, of Fayette County, Pennsylvania; and Basil. A second marriage was consummated in February, 1835, the bride being Martha Buchanan, of Pennsylvania. Of the children born to this union, eight grew to maturity, as follows: Jane; Harrison, deceased; Eunice; Ellen; Henry; Albert; John and Robinson, a member of the Union Army, uho was killed at South Mountain, Maryland. Henry came to Kansas in 1869, and founded the town of Crestline.

Basil Wiggins was reared on a farm in Ohio, and lived with his parents until 1851, when he went to Colesburg, Iowa, where he was engaged in farming for 14 years. In the fall of 1865 he concluded to find a home farther West, and moving to Kansas located near Fort Scott. There he farmed for 18 months, and then bought a claim in Shawnee township, Cherokee County, where he has farmed the greater portion of his time for many years. In 1882 he was given the place of mail carrier between Crestline and Pleasant View, and later Weir City was added to the route. For 15 years and seven months, his coming was the harbinger of good or bad news to many people. His face became a familiar and welcome one to all on his route, while he numbered among his numerous acquaintances many people, who were not residents of the towns where the mail was delivered. Mr. Wiggins owns 104 acres of fine farm land, all under cultivation, and all at present rented out. In 1900 he added to his possessions by the purchase of the Dr. Adams place, where he now resides.

In politics, Mr. Wiggins was formerly a Democrat, but later became a Populist. He was at one time honored with the office of treasurer of his township, in which capacity he served for four years. For 47 years, he has been a member of the I. O. O. F., having held all the chairs; he belongs to Columbus Lodge, No. 387. He has been a member of the Rebekahs at Crestline, and of Western Star Encampment No. 26, of the I. O. O. F.

On August 22, 1861, Mr. Wiggins married Rebecca E. Craig, a daughter of Curtis N. Craig, of Clermont Co unty, Ohio. Her mother was a native of Kentucky, her father of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Wiggins is a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and when possible has been an active worker in that church during her membership.

Mr. Wiggins has reached an age when most men lay aside all interests and cares, but although in feeble health, and suffering somewhat from asthma which he has had from childhood, he is still active to a large degree. One of the early settlers of the county, he is now left almost alone, many of the friends of former days having passed away. But in the decline of life, in a pleasant home, surrounded by all the comforts of our modern times, he may be happy in the satisfaction of having lived a good life and of duties well done, and in the enjoyment of the esteem of neighbors and friends.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, instructor from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 5/5/97.


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