Biography of Samuel W. Bigham
Samuel W. Bigham, one of the most successful and best known farmers of the Potlatch country, living on American Ridge, four miles southwest of the picturesque and prosperous town of Kendrick, came to this locality in 1881 and took up government land, which he has transformed into one of the most desirable farms in this section of Idaho. He was born in Canada, July 24, 1842, and is of Irish descent, his grandfather, Andrew Bigham, having emigrated from the Emerald Isle to Canada at an early day. His son Thomas Bigham, the father of our subject, was born in what was then the town of York, but is now the city of Toronto, and having arrived at years of maturity married Miss Jane Davidson, a native of Ireland. In 1855 he removed with his family to Illinois, became a naturalized citizen of the United States, and when the great civil war was inaugurated he espoused the cause of the Union, enlisting in Company G, Fifty-eighth Illinois Infantry. When hostilities had ceased he returned to his Illinois home, where he remained until the fall of 1866, when he moved to Marysville, Marshall County, Kansas, where he remained until the fall of 1888, when he came to Idaho, locating in Moscow. There he passed the remainder of a well spent life, and he was called to his final rest September 15, 1897, at the age of eighty-three years. He was a man of much energy and industry, of sterling worth of character, a valued member of the Baptist church and a good and worthy citizen, enjoying the esteem of all who knew him. His good wife is still living, at the age of eighty-six years. Through the long period of their married life she was to him a faithful wife and helpmeet, and to her nine children she proved a devoted mother. ‘ Five sons and one daughter are still living.
Samuel W. Bigham, the sixth of the family, was educated in Ogle County, Illinois, and reared at his father’s home there. On the 30th of October 1861, stirred with the spirit of patriotism, he offered his services to the government, joining the same company of which his father was a member. One of his brothers, Jonathan Bigham, belonged to the Ninety-second Illinois Infantry, so that the family was well represented in the struggle to preserve the Union. He was only nineteen years of age when he volunteered, but the veterans many years his senior displayed no greater loyalty or bravery than he. He served in the western army under Generals Grant and Sherman and participated in nine hard-fought battles, from Pittsburg Landing to Nashville, Tennessee. At the battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, he was wounded in the face, the ball entering his mouth and breaking his jaw. As soon as he recovered he rejoined his regiment and continued with that command until February 7, 1865, when he received an honorable discharge. He then laid down his gun to again take his place behind the plow. He had rendered his country valuable service, and every loyal soldier of the Union certainly deserves the heartfelt praise of the nation.
In 1881 Mr. Bigham came to Idaho, locating a claim of one hundred and sixty acres under the soldier’s homestead act. By his industry and earnest effort he has made this one of the most desirable farms in the county and he is accounted one of the leading and progressive agriculturists. By additional purchase he has added to his property until his landed possession now aggregates three hundred and twenty acres, much of which is under a high state of cultivation. He has a line orchard of fifteen acres, planted to apples, pears, peaches, plums and small fruits. He has also put out a fine grove of walnut trees, and this is used as picnic grounds by his family, friends and neighbors. He has piped water from a spring in his outdoor cellar to a forty-acre pasture, that his horses, cattle and hogs may have plenty of pure water. He raises grain, hay and fine stock, and feeds most of his farm products to the stock. His pleasant, and substantial residence is supplemented by a large barn of recent construction and all other necessary outbuildings, and no accessory of the model farm is lacking. There is also a blacksmith and repair shop, and his mechanical ingenuity enables him to keep in repair all of his own farm implements. He is most industrious and energetic, and his labors are certainly deserving of the success with which they have been crowned.
Another and most attractive element of the Bigham home is the generous hospitality which there reigns supreme. Our subject and his wife are most generous, kind-hearted people, and have the warm regard of a very extensive circle of friends. This worthy couple were married in 1889, the lady having been in her maidenhood Miss Christine Anna Kuoni, She was born in Switzerland, and came to America when two years old. Their union has been blessed with a son and daughter, Zella and Walter S.
Mr. Bigham is a valued member of the Masonic fraternity and of the Grand Army of the Republic. In politics he is a stalwart Republican, and is a public-spirited, progressive citizen, giving his loyal support to all measures for the general good, and manifesting the same fidelity to his duties of citizenship as when he followed the nation’s starry banner upon southern battlefields.