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Higgins, James M.

Born: 1808-07-30 Montgomery County, Maryland

Died: 1889-09-29 Griggsville, Illinois

James M. Higgins was a physician, state representative, hospital superintendent, and surgeon. He attended schools in Rockville, Maryland, including the Rockville Academy, before enrolling in the medical program at Columbia College in Washington, DC. After graduating with his medical degree in March 1829, he began practicing medicine. He married Margaret Davis in January 1831, and eventually had at least six children with her. He moved to Jacksonville, Illinois in the spring of 1831, but relocated to Griggsville, Illinois in November 1834. His professional success increased from the late-1840s onward. In 1846, he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives as a Democrat. In 1848, he was elected superintendent of the Illinois State Asylum and Hospital for the Insane, supervising the construction of the original hospital. By 1850, Higgins and his family had relocated back to Jacksonville and he owned $3,000 in real estate. They remained in Jacksonville until Higgins' superintendency of the Illinois State Asylum and Hospital for the Insane ended in 1854, when they moved back to Griggsville. By 1860, he owned $3,500 in real and personal property. During the Civil War, Higgins served as surgeon of the 114th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers.

History of Pike County Illinois (Chicago: Chas. C. Chapman, 1880), 545; William B. Atkinson, ed., The Physicians and Surgeons of the United States (Philadelphia: Charles Robson, 1878), 56; Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 422; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 214; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Jacksonville, Morgan County, IL, 171; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Griggsville, Pike County, IL, 57; Gravestone, Griggsville Cemetery, Griggsville, IL.