Edward Biggs was a hard working sawyer, by all accounts. It was a decent living before 1830; not good wages but plenty of work. He was born in 1789 and married Ann Taylor on 22 May 1809 in Kidderminster. Together they lived in Stourport in Worcestershire’s Lower Mitton, not far from Kidderminster. But while there are a number of Biggs in the hamlet at that time, it is not known if Edward’s parents lived here as well.
Stourport is considered to be the only town in Britain to owe its growth to the rapid development of canals in the late 1700’s, especially the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. When the Worcester and Birmingham Canal opened in 1815, the economy in Stourport quickly declined and workers went elsewhere. Between 1816 and 1819, Edward moved back to Kidderminster.
By 1832, the Biggs family boasted of eleven children, although one, the first William, died at the age of two. Then Edward was murdered on 11 December 1832 by overzealous deputies during a heated election. He left his pregnant wife and ten children in what his daughter, Emma, termed “a hard plight.”
Ann continued to raise the family alone in their home on Cement Row. Three months after Edward died, Ann gave birth to their last child, Charles, who only lived for eighteen months. By the mid 1850s, all but two of the children married and moved away or immigrated to America, including her youngest daughter, Emma.
On 22 January 1859 Ann died at the age of 69. She was found in her bed at her home on Cement Row, and a Coroner’s Inquest determined she died of natural causes.
Richard Allen and wife Emma Biggs immigrated to America in 1856. Information about the Biggs family was left by Richard Allen, the husband of Edward and Ann Biggs’ daughter, Emma. But not all of the information recorded by Richard Allen and later Allen generations seems to be supported by documents. It’s hard to imagine the family getting the information wrong, but much is not right.
“Grandpa” Richard Allen, Emma’s husband, wrote that Ann and Edward Biggs had four sons and four daughters. Records, combined with some of what Emma and Richard passed along, show that Edward had as many as seven sons and five daughters.
1. Hannah Biggs was christened in Stourport in Lower Mittin on 4 April 1810. No other documents are located to determine other life events.
2. John Biggs was christened on 9 February 1812 in Stourport in Lower Mittin, and he married Susan Perrins on 22 July 1832 in Kidderminster. On 10 May 1841, he and his family immigrated to the US on the vessel, Ship United States. Two of their first three children died before leaving England for America, and the third is not located. John settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he worked as a confectioner. He died on 29 February 1852 and was buried in Pittsburgh’s Union Dale Cemetery.
3. Edward Biggs was christened in Lower Mittin on 19 December 1813, and immigrated to the United States during the 1840’s. He settled in Meigs County, Ohio, where he married widow Hannah Pettite Wallahan in 1848. He moved his grocery store across the Ohio River to [West] Virginia in the early 1850’s and invited other siblings to join him. After his store burned, he moved to Kansas and later to Kansas City, Missouri, where his family operated a well-known fur trading business. Edward died in 1913 at the age of 99.
4. Richard Biggs was christened in Stourport, Lower Mittin, on 26 November 1815. He married Elizabeth Habourne on 13 August 1837 in Bromsgrove at Clent, and raised a family of three, but it is believed that he immigrated to the United States alone. Richard accompanied his father when Edward was mobbed and killed in 1832, and is recorded in the London Times, but his whereabouts in America are not confirmed. He may have left England in 1854, and traveled to Virginia near the Ohio River where his brother Edward operated a store. In England, Richard worked as a sawyer, but in 1870 Richard may have worked as a miner in close-by Putnam County, [West] Virginia. It is the only Federal census entry found that matches Richard Biggs from England, but it is unconfirmed.
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