James Wiggins married his sweetheart Elizabeth Swearingen in North Carolina. She, like James, had been born in Burke County around 1794. The Swearingen family would intermingel with the Wiggins line again, through the Painters, years later.
The call of the nation at that time was to "Go West Young Man"
and that is what the newlyweds did. They moved to Tennessee and
started a family. The first two children were boys born in 1822 and
1825. They named them Elijah and Eli. Then they were blessed
with two daughters. Martha Jane in 1827 and Elizabeth Ann in 1829.
Then in 1831 and 1832 two more sons were born to the Wiggins
family. They were John Henry and Samuel W. and because
of their ages, the brothers were close through out their life.
Three more daughters were then born. They were Sarah A., then
Louisa in 1834 and Sally a year later.
James Wiggins moved his family to Missouri soon after Sally was
born. They settled first in Macon County and then in Benton
Township, Greene County about 1845. By this time, Elizabeth had
married Jesse James Dennis and left the nest. Martha had married
Andrew J. Tripp and Elijah and Eli had married women named Elizabeth.
They however can all be found living next to James in 1850. James
had the rest of his children still at home to help with the chores on
his farm/ranch. He had three horses and three head of cattle.
James' wife Elizabeth , who everyone called Betty, passed away in
her late 60's during the Civil War. Missouri was a border state and
therefore on the frontlines of the war. Many civilians were killed
by Confederate and Union troops and by guerillas. James died about
ten years later. His last appearence in the census record of these
great United States was in 1870. Living next to him are Eli and
Elizabeth and their children. They were named William, Joseph,
Marion, Manda, Margaret and Albert. Living together on the other
side of James were his daughters Martha and Elizabeth. Both of their
husbands are missing, perhaps victims of the Civil War. Elizabeth
had daughters named Manda and Mary and a son named Hesley.
Martha had John, Elizabeth, Francis M. and Jackson. James was
73 years old and still working the family farm in Benton township,
in what now had become Christian County.
JOHN HENRY WIGGINS
John Henry Wiggins was an imposing individual. He stood six feet tall and
his blue eyes burned against his fair skin and auburn hair. He had been born
on the last day of February in 1831 in Tennessee. His family moved to Benton
Township in Greene County a few years before it became Christian County. John
was 21 when he met and fell in love with Cyntha A. Hyder. Cyntha was 19 years
old and also a native of Tennessee. She had been working as a live-in maid for
William C. Black, a stone mason in Ray County. The Hyder family had been in
America for five generations. Their immigrant ancestor was Hans Michael
Hyder from Germany.
The Hyder Family
John quickly proposed to Cyntha and they were married on March 25th, 1852
by James Brazeal. John worked a farm near his father's and began raising a
family. Their first child was a son that they named Alfred Taylor. In 1854,
they had a daughter named Mary Louise. In April of the next year Wilson
Commodore was born. With the arrival of their fourth child, Sarah C. in 1861,
the Wiggins family settled in for a quiet rural life. But that was not meant
On August 11th, 1862, Quantril's Raiders captured the town of
Independence, Missouri. This band of bushwhackers which boasted the likes of
Bloody Bill Anderson and Frank and Jesse James was led by Billy Quantrill. A
man who later attempted to assassinate President Lincoln. John knew the
countryside would not be safe unless the common man rose up to protect his
own. The very next day John and his brothers, Elijah, Eli and Samuel all
enlisted in the town of Ozark. They were assigned to Company H of the 72nd
Regiment of the Enrolled Missouri Militia. So in the following January when
Confederate General Marmaduke invaded Missouri, the Wiggins brothers were on
guard at the blockhouse in Ozark. As they and the other men prepared to defend
the town against the Confederate threat, they got very different orders from
Washington. They were told to burn and destroy anything that they could not
carry. Then to proceed at great haste to Springfield where the Union was to
make it's stand. It was some of the bloodiest fighting in the entire war. The
Confederates had the advantage but it was the North that won that day.
The South had underestimated the tenacity of local farmers fighting for
their own land. The Wiggins brothers were relieved of active duty on February
1st, 1863. This allowed them to return to their families and farms. The
growing season was upon them and their families depended on them for survival.
But it was an uneasy summer. Everybody had their own opinion about the
war. But for this one time in history, Americans were not allowed to speak
their minds. For you never knew who you were talking to. Long time friends
could be informants for either army or for the guerrillas. John and his
brothers re-enlisted again after harvest season, on October 6th, to stave off
guerrilla attacks or invasions by the Confederate Army.
On September 19th, 1864, Confederate General Sterling Price made his
final bid to invade Missouri. John re-enlisted a third time that very day.
He was assigned to Captain Noah Bray's Dallas County EMM. Once again the
Southern Threat was defeated and the Union saved. John was mustered out on
October 14, 1864.
The Wiggins' had a war baby named Viney Elizabeth in 1865 and then in
1870 their last child Almeda Laurane was born. The family lived peacefully on
their farm until on July 14, 1883 when John died at age 52.
Cyntha moved to Sparta and lived on the $8 a month she got from John's
Civil War Pension. When the majority of the Wiggins' picked up and moved to
Young County, Texas, Cyntha went with them. But she left her heart and her
husband in Missouri. John Henry Wiggins is buried in Bruner Cemetery in
WILSON COMMODORE WIGGINS
Wilson Commodore Wiggins was born in April of 1855 in Benton Township,
Greene County, Missouri. Four years later this area became Christian
County. His parents were John and Cyntha Wiggins.
Known mostly by his middle name, Commodore and his brother Alfred were called
upon to watch after the family while their father was fighting in the Civil
War. After the war, the work of rebuilding began. Commodore participated in
many house raisings and in return the Wiggins' barn was rebuilt. These
occasions were turned into festive group gatherings by the women who served a
veritable feast for the men who worked from dusk to dawn.
Commodore was 25 when he met and fell in love with Angeline Painter. She
was working as a house servant along with her brother, over in Polk County,
for J.R.Hargrave and his wife Elizabeth. Commodore's mother was also a house
servant when she met and married his father. Angeline and Commodore were
married on March 17th, 1881. They had their ceremony in Dade County where
Angeline's parents lived.
Her father Kenneth P. Painter had been born on March 25th, 1828 in
Springfield, Illinois. His parents were Jacob "Jake" Painter and Mary Elizabeth
Compton who were both originally from North Carolina. Jake had relocated
his family to Greene County, Mo. where he became a famous gunsmith and a
founder of Springfield. Angeline was born in 1860. Her father Kenneth was a
veteran of the War with Mexico. He had been in Captain Thomas Jones
regiment of Gilpin's Battalion. He was a guard at Fort Leavenworth and on the
Santa Fe Road and survived the death march near Socorro. He was honorably
discharged in Independence, Missouri. The Painter family, being originally
from North Carolina, so when the Civil War erupted feelings and loyalties were
mixed. However, when Confederate troops captured Ozark, Kenneth ran to
Springfield to help stop there advance. During the battle on Jan. 8th, 1863,
a cannon blast left him deaf and half blind. He lived with these ailments till
his death at Cape Fair on April 7th, 1907.
The Painter Family
Angeline's mother was the former Mary Swearingen, but everybody called
her Polly. She had been born in Jackson County, Tennessee in 1831. Her mother,
Sarah Caroline Jackson who was of Irish descent, was also born there on July
14th, 1810. Mary's father was Elijah Hugh Swearingen who was born in Jackson
County, Tennessee in 1805. Now "Eli" as he was known, was a wagonmaster who
had led many wagontrains into the Christian County area. He brought his own
family to Fullbright Spring near Springfield in 1839 in an oxen drawn wagon
train. There they traded their oxen for sixteen horses and mules. They
backtracked a bit and built a log cabin near Ava. They are descended from the
famous Sheriff of New Amstell Geret Van Swearingen, a Dutch Nobleman who
sailed to the New World in 1656. They are also related to Marmaduke Van
Swearingen, the white man who became War Chief Blue Jacket and united most of
the Indian Tribes east of the Mississippi.
The Swearingen Family
Commodore and Angeline were blessed with six children. Minta was born in
December of 1882 with Gracie coming along in October of the following year.
Margie was born in March of 1887 and Ada May in July the next year. Rowe
Delbert was born on October 25th, 1889 and finally Earl in November of 1890.
The next year the family moved to Graham, Texas. The Graham Leader,
had this news on 11 Jan. 1893, Number 24
"Mr. Wiggins is turning sod like he meant business. He is a hard
worker and it will do to take lessons from him." (News from Liberty
Unfortunately, Angeline died in complications from childbirth in 1892.
Commodore remarried three years later. He and his new wife Jinnie had
two children. Inez was born in March of 1895 and Effie in October
of the following year.
Then Commodore passed away on June 7th, 1900
The Graham Leader, on Friday, June 22, 1900.
"W.C. Wiggins, who is well known to some of our readers as a former
citizen of Graham, died near Farmer and was brought to Graham and
buried last Saturday. He leaves a wife and a number of children."
He and Angeline are buried together in Oak Grove Cemetery, in
Young County, Texas.
REV. ROY D. WIGGINS
One of the most devout Christians to come from Christian County was Roy
D. Wiggins. He was born on October 25th, 1889. He was named Rowe Delbert
Wiggins after the Rowe family in his ancestry. He was the fifth child but
first son of Angeline (Painter) and Wilson Commodore Wiggins.
In 1891, Roy's uncle Alfred moved to the town of Graham in Young County,
Texas and the rest of the family followed suit. The trip was hard on Angeline
because she was with child at the time. She never recovered and both mother
and child died that year. Roy was only 3 years old when he lost his mother.
But Roy was not alone. His grandmother Cyntha (Hyder) Wiggins had come with
them to Texas. Also, there was Alfred who had six sons and three daughters.
Plus his aunts Mary and Almeda. Almeda had a son Roy Mack who was Roy's age.
So he found some solace in his extended family.
Wilson remarried to a girl named Jinnie and they had two more daughters.
They were renting a nice ranch and had about 40 animals. New Years Day 1900
arrived with the dawn of a new century and a start of a new life for the
Wiggins family. But it was not to be. Wilson Commodore Wiggins passed away on
the 7th of June. He was buried next to Angeline in Oak Grove Cemetery.
Now Roy was 11 with no mother and no father. His stepmother Jinnie felt
overwhelmed so she sent the stepchildren to live with uncles and aunts to work
on their ranches. Around 1900, the families moved to Enid, Oklahoma when it
was still Indian Territory. His Aunt Mary Louisa who had married James M.
Constable lived there the rest of her life. Roy's uncle Alfred and two of his
aunts Vina and Almeda moved on to Roswell, New Mexico in 1904. Roy moved to
Kansas and then to Iowa in 1913. He lived in Cedar Rapids from 1913 thru 1918.
Roy was 28 when he met Isabelle Elizabeth Shipley. She was 20 and a
resident of Souix City, Iowa. Her parents were John Henry and Mary Rose
(Guiler) Shipley. They had brought their family to Rolfe, Iowa from East Union,
Noble County, Ohio about the turn of the century. They moved to Humboldt, Iowa about 1909. Isabelle attended a Bible School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she met Roy.
Roy and Isabelle were married on the 24th day of April, 1918, in Souix City, Iowa, where her parents had moved to. Roy had always felt deeply religious and Isabelle inspired him to seek a life in the service of the Lord. So that same year Roy started his courses of study for the Church of the Nazarene. Roy was able to go to college and become a minister even though he had only been allowed to attend grammar school through the ninth grade.
Over the next two years the Wiggins were blessed with two children.
Victoria Rose on Jan. 8th, 1919 and Robert Bruce on September 7th, 1920. It
was at this time that Roy got his first ministerial assignment. It was in
Fulton, South Dakota and he was to help start a church. Fulton is where his
next two children were born. They were Merton Ward on Feb. 9th, 1922 and
Pauline Esther on Aug. 20th, 1924.The next year Roy became a licensed minister
and was asked to start a church in Algona, Iowa.. For five weeks,
evangelistic services were held in a tent until the people of Algona bought
the church a large frame house which would serve as a meeting house and a
residence for Roy and his growing family. A blessed daughter Beverly Jean (my
mother) was born there on Jan. 7th, 1928.
With the Algona project being such a success, Roy was asked to do the
same for Mason City , Iowa. It was there that their last child Marjorie
Florence was born on July 2nd, 1932. Roy started the Mason City's first
Nazarene Church in the basement of a department store until they were able to
erect their own church building. The depression was hard and some people lost
everything. But with the help of Reverend Wiggins they did not lose their
faith. Roy passed away on his 19th wedding anniversary in 1937. He was
survived by his wife Isabelle, six children, four sisters and a brother. It
was one of the largest attended funerals in Mason City history. He was
declared one of the most inspirational and well liked ministers of his time.