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Obituary of a Civil War Veteran

Reuben Higgins

Submitted by Peggy A. Wells


        Reuben Higgins, Coal Grove's last civil war veteran and one of seven surviving in Lawrence county, joined the ranks of the heavenly legion Thursday afternoon at three o'clock. He died at his home, 43 Pike street, at the age of 95 and 10 months.

        Mr. Higgins had been ill for some time and four weeks ago he entered the Marting hospital for treatment. Improvement was noted, he was removed home and a few days ago he suffered a relapse and had since been in critical condition. Death came regardless of the best medical attention and loving care. He passed peacefully into eternity with members of his family at the bedside.

        Death of Mr. Higgins leaves only six surviving Civil War men in the county. He enlisted with Capt. Wm. G. Smith in Co. H, 9th Virginia Infantry, at the age of nineteen years and served until honorable discharged Dec. 31, 1863, at Fayettesville, W. Va., to serve under Captain John H. Johnson of Co. H, 1st Veteran Regiment of West Virginia Infantry Volunteers. Final discharge came on July 21, 1865 at Cumberland, Md., after he had marched to the sea with Sherman and participated in other noteworthy Civil War engagements.

        On July 22, 1869, Mr. Higgins was united in marriage to Martha Ellen Sloan, by Rev. E. V. Bing of old Laken Chapel in Coal Grove, and nine children were born to them. Their happy union continued until four years ago, when the beloved wife and mother died. He was a son of John and Sarah Payne Higgins, was born in this county October 22 1842, and was the last member of his family. He had resided in Coal Grove forty-eight years and was a staunch member of Zoar Baptist church. Three children preceded Mr. Higgins in death but six survive: John, Allen, Mrs. Birdie Myers of Coal Grove, Mrs. Margaret Mahaffey of Ironton, Misses Mettie and Georgia Higgins at home. Fourteen grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews in Huntington, Ashland, Newark and other points also survive. One grandchild, Robert Mahaffey, preceded him in death.

        Mr. Higgins war service was noteworthy and was marked by unusual incident. In brush with Confederates he crosses the Guyan River 96 times in escape attempts but was finally captured and spent nine months in Libby Prison and at Andersonville. He was a member Dick Lambert Post G.A.R. of Ironton and of Coal Grove Jr. O.U.A.M.

        The body was returned to the residence this afternoon by Bingaman and Jones and friends may call there. Last services will be conducted in the residence Monday at 2:30 p.m. by Rev. J. B. Law of Coal Grove M. E. church with burial in Woodland cemetery.

Ironton Evening Tribune, 10 June 1938, Friday, Page 2.







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