Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 349
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
Mr Wiggins was born in Coshocton county, Ohio, November 13, 1847, his parents being Benjamin and Jemimah (Magness) Wiggins, both of whom were natives of Ohio. The paternal grandfather, Edward Wiggins, was born in West Virginia, and in 1807 removed to Ohio, where he entered land and improved a farm from the heavy timber. There he reared his family, living on the plain, old-fashioned style of the time, yet training his sons and daughters to habits of industry and integrity. He ever commanded the respect and confidence of his fellow men and all who knew him recognized his sterling worth. His death occurred on the old Ohio homestead. His son, Benjamin Wiggins, was born July 13, 1820, on that farm, where he has always lived and where his children were also born. He yet owns the old homestead, which came into his possession after the death of his father and which was secured by the family from the government. In politics he was a Whig, and when the Republican party was formed he advocated its issues and supported its platform. He has never faltered in his allegiance thereto and has done all in his power to promote the growth and insure the success of Republican measures. He held a number of township offices and has frequently been called upon to act as guardian to estates, being widely known for his competent business ability and his irreproachable honesty and integrity. He is now enjoying the fruits of a well spent and useful life, but in April, 1890, he was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife. This worthy couple were the parents of seven children, as follows: Edward, who is living in Ohio; Seth, who died at the age of thirty years, leaving one child; Samuel, who is living on the old homestead; John, of this review; Harvey, who also resides in Rice county; Mary, the wife of John Williams; and Amanda, who married T Workman.
In the old home which was the birthplace of his father, John Wiggins of this review was born and reared, and under the parental roof he remained until twenty-seven years of age. During that period he acquired a common-school education and became familiar with all departments of farm work, for he assisted in the labors of field on the old place. In October, 1864, although but seventeen years of age, he enlisted for one year’s service as a member of Company H, Eightieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and was assigned to duty with the Army of the Tennessee. He went with Sherman on his celebrated march to the sea and took part in other long marches and in many skirmishes, but was never wounded. At the time of General Lee’s surrender he was in North Carolina, after which the regiment proceeded to Washington, DC, and there participated in the grand review, the most celebrated military pageant ever seen in the new world. He was then sent to Louisville, Kentucky, and later to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he was mustered out and returned to Columbus, Ohio, and there received an honorable discharge and was paid for his services.
On reaching home Mr Wiggins resumed farming operations and continued upon the old homestead until his marriage which occurred in 1875, Miss Ellen McCune becoming his wife. She was born January 20, 1850, in Ohio, a daughter of John and Sarah (McDowell) McCune, natives of the Buckeye state and of Scotch descent, their ancestors having located in Ohio in pioneer days. John McCune’s father served in the war of 1812 and died in the state of his nativity. John McCune, the father of Mrs Wiggins, was a farmer by occupation and passed away in 1892. His political support was given the Democracy and he filled a number of township offices with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. In 1857 he was called upon to mourn the loss of his first wife, and later he married Miss Nancy Glenn. The children of his first marriage were: Mary, now Mrs D Craig; James, of Ohio; Nathaniel, who died in Missouri and left a family; Martha, deceased; Salina, the wife of Dr A Jackson; and Ellen, wife of Mr Wiggins. By his second marriage Mr McCune had two children: John, now of Ohio, and Robert, who is living on the old homestead. The parents of Mrs Wiggins were consistent and loyal members of the Presbyterian church. The marriage of our subject and his wife has been blessed with seven children, namely: May, who married F Wolford; Seth, Cecil, Maggie, Della, Benjamin and Lowell. After his marriage, in 1875, Mr Wiggins came to the west with his brother, first locating in southern Nebraska, where they purchased teams, rented land and planted a crop. After their corn was matured and disposed of in the autumn they came to Kansas, our subject purchasing a squatter’s claim and later homesteading the land comprising one hundred and sixty acres. Only a small amount had been broken and a little house of cheap workmanship was the only improvement upon the place. Since that time he has carried forward the work of progress here and now has a splendidly developed farm, the fields being under a high state of cultivation, while excellent barns and outbuildings furnish shelter for grain and stock. There is a bearing orchard and a beautiful grove, and the home is a commodious and tasteful residence. In his work Mr Wiggins has been successful and has added another quarter section of land to his farm. Although occasionally the crops have not been good, the farm has always been self-supporting and usually his labors have been crowned with abundant harvests. He makes a specialty of the raising of wheat and he also raises some stock and buys in bunches young cattle. When he first came to his farm it was necessary to do his trading at Sterling, but with the growth of the county, markets have been established much nearer. His first vote after coming to Rice county was cast in behalf of establishing the county seat where the town of Lyons now stands. He has witnessed all of the advancement and development of this portion of the state and has had no occasion to regret his decision to make his home within the borders of Rice county, for here he has met with creditable success and has gained many warm friends. He was reared in the Republican party and for many years adhered to its principles, but recently has affiliated with the Reform party, believing that its men best serve the welfare of the majority. He has been a member of the township board for ten years, was also township treasurer, trustee and assessor, and his public service has ever been commendable.