Thursday, July 01, 2010

Tolbert Higgins & Cedar, Kansas gravesite

Cedar (formerly Cedarville) is a tiny spot on the map in Smith County, Kansas. Though it boasts a post office, there is not much there to capture the interest of a non-resident unless that person is researching his roots.

In this detail from the 1917 Plat Map of Smith County, Kansas, Ol' Myrt here is pointing to the stone quarry just a short distance from the local cemetery where my Tolbert Higgins was buried.

Initially the information on Tolbert was derived from notes my mother took in the early 1950s of a conversation with her grandmother Louisa Mae (Higgins) Gielow, Tolbert's daughter.

born 30 May 1840, Davies County, Missouri
married Meila or Permelia Warren 1865
died 12 Oct 1928, Saline, Saline, Kansas

When the 1920 US federal census came out, I was surprised to find an entry with "Tolvert" Higgins, age 79, residing at the Kansas State Soldiers Home in Fort Dodge. See NARA Series T625, roll 532, page 211, now also available at and other places online. This lead me to the not-so-far-fetched conclusion that Tolbert may have served in the military.

From there I went to the National Archives in Washington, DC to review the microfilm of the so-called "Civil War Pension Index" (which covers the time period to WWI, oddly enough). There I located a copy of "Talbert Higgins" index card now available at Footnote and other places online. I recognized the listed death date on the bottom of the form as the same 12 Oct 1928 in Salina, Saline, Kansas that my mother had learned from her conversation with Tolbert's daughter.

We use the Civil War Pension index card to request the original pension file. The card indicates the application and certificate number, and the service unit for each veteran.

From there in the early 1990s, I again visited the National Archives, this time to view the original Talbert Higgins Civil War Pension Application #599-029 file, certificate #549.430. He served in Company F, Unit 2 Missouri Cavalry, a unit known as Merill's Horse. Items in the pension file permitted me to learn more about this soldier whom I honored by joining the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War 1861-1865.


1870 US Federal Census
Tolbert Higgins listed as head of household, Hardin Township, Clinton, Missouri. National Archives Series M593 microfilm rol: 771, page 46 online at through the Hillsborough County (FL) library system.

1880 US Federal Census Census
Salem, Daviess, Missouri
Family History Library Film 1254684 [NARA Film Number T9-0684] Page Number 145D now available online at and other places.
  • Tolbert HIGGINS head of household, age 38, born in Missouri, farmer father's birthplace Kentucky, mother's birthplace Kentucky
  • Pamelia HIGGINS Wife, age 28 born in Missouri , Keeping House, parents born in Missouri
  • Clarra HIGGINS Daughter, age 12 born in Missouri
  • Herbert HIGGINS Son, age 8 born in Missouri
  • Narcisa HIGGINS Daughter, age 6 born in Missouri
  • Lura HIGGINS Daughter, age 3 born in Missouri [My great-grandmother Louisa]

1910 US Federal Census
Clifton Township, Kansas
Tolbert Higgins, age 68, born in Missouri. National Archives Series T624 Microfilm roll 459, page 36.

Kansas death certificate for 12 October 1928 shows a subsequent wife, Sarah Higgins,who was likely the mother of Emmit Higgins listed as informant on the death certificate andsome documents in Tolbert's pension file. Last residence was 311 Frost, Salina, Kansas.

More info tomorrow.

(YES, that is a GAR star-shaped insignia next to his original tombstone.)

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.


  1. Do you know Tolbert Higgins's parents? It has been experience that usually a male named Tolbert is named for his mother's maiden name. Tolbert is a variation of Talbott and one of it's main lines goes back to Richard Talbott and Elizabeth Ewen of Poplar Knowle, Anne Arundel Co., Maryland in the mid 1600s.
    Paula Talbert

    1. Tolbert is his father's given name, as I have thus been able to determine. I've since traced this line back as follows:

      Tolbert Higgins' FATHER:
      Talbert Higgins about born 1807 "in Kentucky" died Feb 1840 in Daviess County, Missouri
      and his wife Matilda Mounteford Jones (b. 28 Oct 1809 in Salina, Saline, Kansas, died 6 Jan 1901 Harrison County, Missouri).

      Thomas Higgins born 19 Dec in Virginia, married Rebecca Ford (b. 1789 Virginia, d. 1870 Daviess County, Missouri)

      James Higgins (b. abt 1744 in Caroline County, Virginia, d. after 11 Jan 1798) married Nancy Estes (b 1752 Saint George Parish, Spotsylvania, Virginia.)