Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
HIRAM W. DIGGINS. Hiram W. Diggins was a resident of Springfield for nearly thirty-five years and one of the best known railroad men in the West. He was born at La Porte, Indiana, April 30, 1837, a son of Nelson and Katie M. Diggins. His father's people were from the state of New York and his mother's people from the state of Pennsylvania. When he was two years old his people moved to a farm near Woodstock, Illinois, and Mr. Diggins grew to manhood in that section and was educated in the public schools of Woodstock, Illinois. He first began clerking in a general merchandise store, but in 1857 commenced railroad work as freight brakeman on the Chicago & Northwestern railroad. He was promoted successively to freight conductor and passenger conductor and in 1867 he quit railroading and for one year was joint proprietor of the Beaumont hotel at Green Bay, Wisconsin. In 1869 he disposed of his hotel interest in Green Bay and came to Kansas City and was made a freight conductor on the Missouri River, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad (later, Kansas City, Fort Scott & Memphis railroad and now a part of the Frisco system). In 1871 he went to Ottawa, Kansas, as trainmaster of the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston railroad (now Southern Kansas branch of the Santa Fe). In the latter part of 1873 he accompanied Octave Chanute to the Eric system and was made superintendent of second track work. He returned to Kansas City in the latter part of 1874 and shortly afterward took charge of construction train on Kansas-Midland railroad, building from Topeka to Kansas City. After completion of this system it was absorbed by the Santa Fe and Mr. Diggins was a passenger conductor on Santa Fe system from Kansas City west for a number of years. In 1879 he came to Springfield as superintendent of the Springfield & Western Missouri railroad, a short line which had just been purchased by the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf. Mr. Diggins was the superintendent in charge of construction of the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf railroad and Kansas City, Springfield & Memphis railroad, joint systems in their extensions toward Kansas City and toward Memphis and he remained with the. Kansas City, Ft. Scott and Memphis railroad as superintendent at Springfield from 1879 until 1895, at which time he retired from railroading and engaged in the fire insurance business with his son, A. B. Diggins.
Mr. Diggins was married on November 12, 1861, to Emily Keeler, who was born in Salisburg, Vermont, July 28, 1836, a daughter of Leavens C. and Emily Norton Keeler. Mrs. Diggins' girlhood days were spent in Vermont, but she had reached young womanhood when her parents moved to Palatine, Illinois.
Two children were born to Hiram W. and Emily K. Diggins, namely, Charles K., September 30, 1862, who died in March, 1865, and Archibald B., born on November 19, 1865. Archibald B. married Delle Bosworth, of Brunswick, Missouri, in 1886. Two children were born to this union, namely, Doris D. and Emily D.
Hiram W. Diggins was a loyal Mason, a Knight Templar, being a Past Eminent Commander, and was a loyal member of the Mystic Shrine. Although a life-long Democrat, he was liberal in politics and was a man loved and respected by all who knew him and a man who never spoke ill of any one, and was stanch and loyal to his friends.
The death of Hiram W. Diggins occurred on December 10, 1910.
Springfield-Greene County Library