Pictorial and Genealogical Record
of Greene County, Missouri

Together with Bibliographies of Prominent Men of Other Portions of the State, Both Living and Dead


L. A. BIGGS. It is generally considered by those in the habit of superficial thinking that the history of so-called great men only is worthy of preservation and that little merit exists among the masses to call forth the praise of the historian or the cheers and appreciation of mankind. A greater mistake was never made. No man is great in all things and very few are great in many things. Many by a lucky stroke achieve lasting fame who before that had no reputation beyond the limits of their neighborhood. It is not a history of the lucky stroke which benefits humanity most, but the long study and effort which made the lucky stroke possible. It is the preliminary work, the method, that serves as a guide for the success of others. Such a history is found in the life of L. A. Biggs, who is one of the leading farmers of Campbell Township. No worthier man has found his home in Greene County than he, and no man is more highly esteemed. His grandfather, David Biggs, was of Scotch-Irish descent and the son of an Irishman who left his native country for this at a period long antedating the Revolution. The latter settled in the Old Dominion, but subsequently removed to Tennessee, where he was one of the pioneers. David Biggs was a carriage maker of Robertson County, Tenn., and a well-to-do man. For many years he was a member of the Baptist Church and was highly respected by all who knew him. His son, Allen G. Biggs, father of our subject, was a native of Robertson County, Tenn., and there received his education. After growing up he embarked in farming and stock-raising and continued this in his native county until 1836, when he sold out and moved to Greene County, Mo., settling three miles west of Springfield. He married, October 3,1843, Miss Nancy Robertson, daughter of John and Keziah (Briggs) Robertson, and five children were born to them: Napolia A., Leonidas A., John R., W. W. and Mary K. By industry Mr. Biggs became quite prosperous and owned 500 acres of land west of Springfield, near Nichols Junction. He has now divided most of his property among his children, giving them all a good home, and although seventy-two years of age is enjoying comparatively good health. He and wife are members of the Christian Church and he has always contributed liberally of his means to build churches and support the Gospel. Honorable and upright in every walk of life, he is one of the county's best citizens, and has assisted so far as able all meritorious causes. Kind and benevolent, he allows no worthy movement to fail for want of support on his part and always extends a helping hand to the poor and needy. In politics he is an ardent supporter of Democratic principles and was a strong Union man during the war. He served as a soldier in the Home Guards, Missouri State Militia. Mr. and Mrs. Allen G. Biggs, on October 3, 1893, celebrated their golden wedding, having spent their entire wedded life thus far in Greene County. On this occasion, besides their own family, about eighty descendants and relatives were present, and a very enjoyable time was experienced. All the children of Mr. and Mrs. Biggs are settled in their immediate vicinity, and are prosperous and respected people. Leonidas A. Biggs, son of the above, and the subject of this sketch, was born on his father's farm, in Greene County, one mile from his present home, February 18, 1848, and the district schools of his township afforded him a fair primary education. Later he attended the high school of Springfield and then became a clerk in the dry-goods store of Robertson & Mason, with whom he remained three years. On February 8, 1871, he married Miss Nannie R. Fulbright, who was born May 5, 1852, and who was the daughter of David L. and Caroline (Hooker) Fulbright. After marriage Mr. Biggs settled on his present farm, of which he received seventy acres from his father, and to this he has added from time to time until he now owns 200 acres of fine farming land, on which he has, erected a substantial, tasteful residence and commodious barns and outbuildings. In the year 1875 Mr. Biggs was appointed a member of the school board and filled that office in a capable and satisfactory manner for eighteen years, during that time being clerk of the board. He has ever been interested in having good schools in his community and has assisted with his time and means to their advancement. Five children were born to his marriage and are named in the order of their birth, as follows: Mabel, who died infancy, Lon A., Roy, Mary and Dorsey. Like his father, Mr. Biggs espouses the cause of the Democratic party and is committeeman of his precinct for the second time. Both he and wife are members of the Christian Church and he has been an elder in the same for eighteen years. He assisted liberally with his means to build the Christian church at Nichols Junction and was a member of the building committee. His son Lon A. is a member of the same church. Mr. Biggs is a practical farmer and stock-raiser and has for many years been a breeder of fine stock. By perseverance and good management he has succeeded in life and stands deservedly high in his native county, Not only as an honorable citizen but as a man of high moral character. Lon A. graduated at the high school in Springfield in 1892 and is now attending the Western Dental College at Kansas City. He received his education in the preparatory department of Drury College, which he attended for two years, after which he was appointed by the representative of his district to the State University at Columbia, Mo., which he attended one year. He is a young man of ability and has inherited much of the push and energy of his father and grandfather. The Fulbright family, from which Mrs. Biggs descends, is one of the original pioneer families of Greene County. William Fulbrigbt, the original pioneer, was born in North Carolina, was of German descent and could speak the German language fluently. He married Miss Ruth Hollingsworth and soon after settled in Tennessee, where Mr. Fulbright became the owner of a large farm, owning many negroes. He became a very wealthy man. In the spring of 1830 he came to Missouri and settled with his family at Springfield, Greene Countv, near where the Gulf Railroad shops now stand. The spring at this place has ever since been called the Fulbright Spring, as has also the spring four miles north of the public square, where the city gets its water, on account of William Fulbright having built a grist-mill on the spot. This mill was the first in Greene County. William Fulbright and wife were the parents of eleven children, as follows: Ephraim R., Levi C., Rhoda, Henry, John L., David L., Wilson, Samuel, W. D., Daniel N. and Elkana. Mr. Fulbright brought his family and household goods from Tennessee in wagons drawn by oxen and horses, and also brought with him several slaves, to whom he was always kind and considerate. He had four brothers, who also came to Missouri : David, John, (who settled where Col. Fellows' wagon factory now stands), Martin and Daniel. From these brothers sprang the Fulbrights, who are now settled throughout the Southwest. Several of them afterward settled in Laclede County, Mo., William being the only one who remained in Greene County. He entered a large tract of land, most of the south part of Springfield, and built on this land. When the Fulbrights settled at Springfield the country presented a beautiful appearance. It was not covered with heavy timber, but was open, with large trees scattered about and the grass growing with great luxuriance. The country was full of game, deer and wild turkeys being plentiful. The Fulbrigbts, however, were farmers and business men and attended strictly to business, leaving the hunting to others. Henry Fulbright, one of the sons of William, was one of the first merchants of Springfield. William Fulbright himself was a large farmer, and as the emigration rapidly increased to southwest Missouri, he conducted a large business. He had many peculiarities that have been remembered by the older settlers. One was his unvarying price for his farm produce, without regard to market price. His price for corn was 50 cents per bushel, and it being a new country and corn high, it frequently sold for $1 per bushel, but 50 cents was Mr. Fulbright's unvarying price. Both he and wife were members of the Christian Church and he lived to be about sixty years of age. He was a man of rugged constitution, weighed about 300 pounds and was known far and wide among the pioneers. Hospitable in his nature, his house was always open to the early settlers, and many of them made their home with him while prospecting for their farms. The town of Springfield received its name not as popularly supposed from the springs in its vicinity, but in the following manner: The old settlers, meeting together to name the young town, a number of them were from Springfield, Tenn., and the town was accordingly named Springfield. David L. Fulbright, son of William, and the father of Mrs. Biggs, was a product of Tennessee. born in 1820, and was a farmer and stock- raiser by occupation. He was married in Laclede County, Mo., to Miss Caroline Hooker, daughter of Matt. H. Hooker, who was a farmer of that county. After marriage Mr. Fulbright settled on what is now College W. Springfield, and owned a large farm to the southwest of it, now covered by the corporation of Springfield. Like many of the Tennesseans, he owned slaves, having about fifteen when the war broke out. During that stirring period he settled in Laclede County, Mo., but after peace was declared he returned to Springfield, and there passed the remainder of his days, his death occurring June 25, 1876. He was an active member of the Christian Church and held the position of elder in the same. He was a kind-hearted man and ever liberal to the poor, giving freely of his means to sick or suffering humanity. Some of his old slaves remained with him after obtaining their freedom until their deaths. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Fulbright: William N., Nancy R., Mary V., Samuel R. and Wilson D. Mr. Fulbright was a devoutly religious man, and in early days assisted in establishing the churches in this county. On the maternal side Mr. Biggs is a grandson of John Robertson, one of the well-known pioneers of this county. The latter's father, William Robertson, was a native of that grand old State, Virginia, and a soldier in the Revolutionary War. John Robertson was born on the Potomac River, Va., not far from Washington, in the year 1803, and when but a few years of age was taken by his parents to Kentucky, where they settled on a farm near Lexington. Other branches of the Robertson family remained in Virginia and on the rise of property there he became a wealthy and influential citizen. John Robertson was reared principally in Kentucky, and in about 1820 he removed from that State to Tennessee. He had brothers who remained in Kentucky, and from them have sprung rural Kentuckians of prominence. When John was nineteen years of age he was married in Tennessee to Miss Keziah Briggis, of Robertson County, and to them were born six children, who grew to mature years. This marriage occurred in 1822, and in 1835 the family moved from Tennessee to Missouri, settling a mile and a quarter from Springfield, on the farm afterward occupied by William B. Farmer. The second child and oldest son, William Rufus Robertson, was born in Lincoln County, middle Tennessee, on August 4, 1826, and he became a prominent citizen and extensive farmer and stock-raiser of Greene County.

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