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Below is a family biography included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Rev. Gideon H. Higginbotham, a successful agriculturist and stock-raiser of Polk County, Mo., who has made most of his property by his own individual labor, is the son of Capt. Thomas and Rachel W. (McKinney) Higginbotham, and the grandson of John and Sallie (Dowell) Higginbotham. The grandparents were both natives of Kentucky, where they were married. About 1830 they moved to Illinois, Sangamon County, and there the grandfather died some two years later. The family then returned to Kentucky, and in 1845 came to Polk County, Mo., where the grandmother died. John Higginbotham was a soldier in the War of 1812, fought at New Orleans, and both he and wife were members of the Missionary Baptist Church. In their family were six children, three sons and three daughters, of whom only two are now living. One of the sons died in the Mexican War, and another was killed in the late war. Capt. Thomas Higginbotham is the only son now living. He was born May 14, 1822, in Wayne County, Ky., grew to manhood on the farm, and never attended school more than six months altogether. At the age of fourteen years he was bound out by his mother until twenty-one, and during that time he learned the shoemaker’s trade, at which he worked for about seventeen years, along with farming. When he first came to Polk County, Mo., he made boots and shoes for every merchant in Bolivar, but, after abandoning the bench, he turned his attention to farming and stock raising. In 1841 he married Miss Rachel W. McKinney, a native of Kentucky, and by her became the father of eleven children, eight now living, six sons and two daughters. Mrs. Higginbotham died in 1885, at the age of sixty-two years. In July, 1862, he joined Company F, Seventh Provisional Cavalry, and later the Fifteenth U. S. A. On the organization he was elected captain, and served until 1864, when, on account of rheumatism, he resigned. He held the position of presiding judge of county court and ex-officio probate judge. Both he and present wife are members of the Baptist Church. He is a Democrat in politics. June 6, 1887, he married Mrs. Ada Wiggs, a native of Illinois. He is the owner of 525 acres of land, and besides this he has assisted his children considerably. He was a great lover of the chase in his early days, and spent much of his time in hunting. His son, Gideon H. Higginbotham, was born in Wayne County, Ky., June 1, 1843, and when about two years of age his parents moved to this county, and resided in the neighborhood of where he now lives. Gideon assisted his father in tilling the soil, and attended the old subscription schools of that day. In June, 1861, he enlisted in the Home Guards, serving about three months, and in January, 1862, he joined Company A, Eighth Missouri State Militia Cavalry, and served until November, 1863. He was in the battle of Humansville and numerous skirmishes. In October, 1862, he was taken with typhoid pneumonia, from which he has never fully recovered. He receives a pension of twelve dollars per month. March 1, 1863, he married Miss Mary A. Mc Kinney, a native of Wayne County, Ky., born October 19, 1842, who, when a small girl, was brought to this county. To Mr. and Mrs. Higginbotham were born nine children, of whom seven are now living: John T., Elizabeth R., Mary C, Lucy A., Gideon F., James W. and Mattie S. Those deceased are: Ella M. and Charley W. After the war Mr. Higginbotham located on the farm where he now lives, and where he has continued to live ever since. Having prepared himself, by private study, for the ministry in the Baptist Church, he was licensed to preach in May, 1883, by Pleasant Hill Church, and in May, 1888, he was ordained by Elder G. M. Botts and W. W. Palmer. He has been actively engaged in the ministerial work since 1883. He is the owner of 166 acres of land, about seventy acres under cultivation. He is a member of the Wheel, and in politics is a Democrat.

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This family biography is one of 132 biographies included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Polk County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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