|Birth: ||Sep. 19, 1826, USA|
|Death: ||Oct. 29, 1883|
Clark County Herald (Clark Co., IL) Tuesday, Nov. 6, 1889:
Died--at his residence, near Westfield, Illinois, October 29, of congestion of the stomach and bowels, Jonathan Biggs, late Lieut. Col. of the 123rd Illinois Infantry.
It is with feelings of deep sorrow that we pen these lines. A tried friend, an heroic soldier, and an estimable citizen has gone from among us. For more than two years we were quite intimately associated with him, in camp and field, and on battle plain, and always felt it an honor to act under his command, and to possess his esteem and friendship. Ten years our senior in age, the fire of youth still glowed in his veins and the soul of the hero gleamed from his eye. Brave even to rashness, he ever seemed the very impersonation of the chivalric soldier. Not a month ago we shared our couch with him, little thinking as we talked over the thrilling scenes of bygone days, way into the 'wee sina hours a'the night,' that it was to be the last time we should bivouac together.
Col. Biggs was born in Crawford county, Illinois, September 19, 1826; hence he was a little past 57 when he died. He was the oldest of nine children. Two brothers, Adam and James, survive him. There were five sisters, but of them we have no record.
His parents moved to Clark county, in 1835, and were in comfortable circumstances. February 12, 1852, Jonathan married Miss Mary E. Brookhart, who survives him. Eight children have been born to them, of whom six, four girls and two boys are still living.
Previous to the war, Col. Biggs was engaged in farming, and also dealt largely in stock. In 1862, he recruited Co. F., of the 123rd regiment, and went into camp as its Captain, but before leaving camp he was chosen Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment, in which position he served to the close of the war. In the same regiment and company went his youngest brother, James, as Lieutenant, who was captured at Chickamauga, confined in Libby Prison, and was one of the Union officers who dug their way out of that rebel bastile. His brother Adam served throughout the war in the 4th California volunteers.
The Col. was wounded three times during the war; twice slightly, and once, the last time, at Selma, Alabama, April 2, 1865, very severely. When the line was formed before the works at Selma, Col. Miller, commanding the brigade, called the commanders of regiments together and briefly stated what was expected of command. There was no more strongly fortified city in the South. Behind the works were five thousand disciplined soldiers, with a number of citizens and employees of the shop who had been organized to assist in the defense, all under the command of the noted rebel Gen. Forest. Col. Biggs knew the whole situation; but his response to Col. Miller was "I will go over those works or die." His gallant men responded nobly to his call, and although their noble commander fell long before they reached the outer works, side by side with the 98th Illinois an the 17th Indiana they swept life and avalanche over the works and the stronghold was won. The Col. was shot through the lungs, and was conveyed to Montgomery, Alabama, but was compelled to remain there in hospital as the command passed on.
While in Montgomery, he, and the other wounded officers were visited by Gen. Forest, who tried to induce them to sign a parole. Upon their refusing to do this, he threatened to move them to some other point. Col. Biggs promptly told him, as he was wounded and helpless, of course the General could move him by main force if he chose to do so, but in that way only could he be moved. But the collapse of the Confederacy was near at hand, and when these wounded heroes were finally moved it was in one of Uncle Sam's own vessels and to a resting place in 'God's country.' After the war he served for several years as Internal Revenue Collector of this district. In 1879 he was appointed Indian agent in Arizona, but refusing to become a party to the operations of a corrupt ring operating in that country, they at length compassed his removal. He went to Washington and succeeded in discomfiting his traducers, and when he returned he told the writer he was offered a very responsible job but he declined it.
He never fully recovered from his wound. Within the past year he coughed up pieces of cloth that were carried into his lungs by the bullet which wounded him in 1865. When at the reunion October 4 and 5, he complained of his wound hurting him a good deal. October 15, he was taken with congestion of the stomach and bowels. The disease was aggravated by the irritated condition of his wound. He grew worse all that week, but Monday he rallied, and Tuesday strong hopes were entertained of his recovery. But the favorable symptoms soon changed, and he continued to grow worse till his death, on the morning of the 29th. He was buried on Tuesday, the services, as was fitting they should be, being under the charge of the Grand Army of the Republic, conducted by his old comrade in arms, Capt. W.E. Adams, of the 123; the Posts of Westfield, Casey and Martinsville being represented. Fully two thousand people assembled to pay their tribute of respect to this noble patriot. Major J.A. Conley, Capt. Owen Wiley, Lieuts. jas. Easton, W. Bell, J.H. McClellan and H.C. Howell, all officers of his old regiment acted as pallbearers. At the grave a very eloquent and appropriate eulogy was pronounced by Major Conley, which was listened to with marked attention by the large audience present. This was followed by appropriate remarks by the aged veteran, Lieutenant James Easton; Rev. Sandoe, the old regimental Chaplain, closed with some very feeling remarks and appropriate religious services; the gun squad of Monroe Post, G.A.R. of Casey, fired the military salute, and the remains of Col. Biggs were forever hid from view. Let us hope that we shall meet him on the other shore, where wars are never known, but where the roar of artillery, the sharp zip of the minnie ball and the clash of arms are forever hushed in an everlasting peace.
That the bereaved family have the deepest sympathy of the entire community and especially of the Colonel's old comrades in arms is fully attested by the large concourse that followed his remains to the grave.
Charles Biggs (1807 - 1868)
Jane Boyd Biggs (1807 - 1872)
Mary E. Brookhart Biggs (1828 - 1904)
Catherine Biggs (____ - 1855)*
Charles Biggs (1852 - 1889)*
Philena Biggs (1856 - 1875)*
Dilla Smith (1859 - 1909)*
Sophia Biggs Tourtillott (1861 - 1934)*
Lydia Bennett (1867 - 1930)*
Catherine Biggs Swinford (1869 - 1949)*
Lilly Jane Biggs Bennett (1873 - 1942)*
Solomon Biggs (1826 - 1873)*
Jonathan Biggs (1826 - 1883)
Rachel Biggs (1832 - 1858)*
Abigail Biggs Bean (1833 - 1859)*
Phidilla Lee (1840 - 1868)*
Note: Age 57 years, 1 month and 10 days
Good Hope Cemetery
Created by: Cindy Cornwell McCachern
Record added: Jan 16, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 32954255