Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 383 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
JACOB C. HIGGINS,
Jacob C. Higgins was born in Caledonia County,
Vt., November 2, 1815. His parents were Samuel
and Betsey (Chamberlain) Higgins. His father
came from Ireland and his mother from England.
They first met aboard a ship bound for America,
married and located in Caledonia County, Vt.,
where his father died, when the subject of this
memoir was four years of age, Mrs. Higgins following
him two years later. About a year after the
death of his mother Jacob C. Higgins fell into the
hands of an old sea-captain, Capt. Armington, who
was a TUniversalist and objected to his going to Sunday
school. Consequently it became a regular
practice with the lad to play on that day with a
crowd of companions. On one of these occasions
while engaged in some sport, he was accosted by
Mr. Erastus Fairbanks, superintendent of the local
Presbyterian Sunday school, who asked him his
name, the names of his parents and his place of
residence. In the conversation that followed, the
mutual discovery was made that Mr. Fairbanks'
wife was a first cousin of the boy's mother, and
a few days thereafter he was transferred to the
home of Mr. and Mrs. Fairbanks, where he was
treated in every respect as one of their sons. grew
to manhood and was given every opportunity to
perfect himself in the trade of a machinist and millwright.
He was quick to learn and soon became
proficient, and in 1836 was sent by the firm to
superintend the building of a saw-mill upon the
banks of one of the rivers of Alabama. This he
completed, and then engaged in steamboat
engineering, which he pursued for three years.
In 1840 he determined to try his fortune in
Texas, and landed in Galveston, March 16th of that
year, with $2,500 in good Alabama and Louisiana
money, the proceeds of a year's labor. With this
he purchased a stock of merchandise from C. C.
Ennis, of Galveston, and went to Austin, where he
sold the goods for Texas money, which he discovered,
when too late, was of little or no value. He
had also bought a number of bonds. Regarding
these as worthless he laid them aside. They became
valuable later on, however, as Texas by the treaty
of annexation, sold the Santa Fe territory to
the United States for $10,000,000 and with a
part of the money so procured, called in and paid
off all outstanding bonds issued by the late Republic
at their face value with all accumulated interest
thereon. Mr. Higgins, by this means, came
into possession of a considerable sum of money, his
profits on his bond purchases amounting to about
three hundred per cent. In June, 1840, soon after
his arrival in Austin, he was present at the organization
of the first Methodist church established in
that town, and in fact in that section. Dr. Haney
held religious services in the old capitol on the
occasion referred to. When he called for all Methodists
present to come up and shake hands with
him, one man and one woman responded; and with
these he organized the church. During the remainder
of that year Mr. Higgins was variously
engaged, part of the time working with a corps of
surveyors, and part of the time participating in
expeditions against the Indians.
In June, 1841, he moved to Bastrop, and was
there employed to run a mill situated on Copperas
creek, two miles distant from town. In 1842 he
purchased the mill and ten acres of ground from
his employers on credit, and for years thereafter
husbanded his resources and invested all the money
that he could command in negroes and lands,
purchasing ten thousand acres of land in the surrounding
country and thereby laying the foundation
of future wealth.
He is an indefatigable worker and a clear-headed
financier, and hence prospered in all his business
undertakings. From the time that he landed in
Galveston to the annexation of Texas to the United
States, he endured many hardships and privations,
but thereafter when he had realized upon his bonds
and secured sufficient capital to operate upon,
lived more easily. He resided alone at the mill,
did his own cooking and housekeeping, and often,
for ten days at a time, did not see a human being
during the year 1842. In the early days of his
residence at Bastrop the Indians came into the
town and stole stock and committed numerous
depredations. About 1843, Bishop Morris, of
Baltimore, visited the place to see his son, and
while there preached in an old storehouse. During
the services a band of Indians, who were out on a
raid, broke up the meeting and the congregation was
obliged to fly for safety to a fort that had been
provided for such emergencies. During Mr. Higgins'
residence on Copperas creek he was also
frequently troubled by Indians. From 1871 to
1885 he added merchandising to his other busi
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, ; Austin, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/383/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .