Title: World Family Tree Vol. 8, Ed. 1
Page: Tree #2576
Author: Br�derbund Software, Inc.
Publication: Release date: January 12, 1997
Title: GEDCOM File : 2937955.ged
Author: Daniel Thomas Harnden
Note: 1 _FA1
2 PLAC Buried, Donnellson Cemetery, Donnellson, Illinois,USA
2 SOUR S209216
3 PAGE Tree #2576
4 TEXT Date of Import: Jul 7, 2002
[Br�derbund WFT Vol. 8, Ed. 1, Tree #2576, Date of Import: Jul 7, 2002]
William Arthur Bigham was born on a farm just north of Sorento, Bond County, Illinois. He was the first child of Emanuel Kershner Bigham and Laura Ann McGahey.
William and Ada Mae graduated from the Donnellson, Illinois High School in the spring of 1896. They were married in the home of the bride in Donnellson and according to the newspaper of the day, started married life in the home of William's parents, about 1-1/2 miles east of Donnellson. Their first child, Edith Marilla, who was born at the parents home died at age 3 weeks. Shortly after, Wil and Ada moved to Hillsboro, Montgomery County, Illinois, where they lived for several months.
In 1898 Wil and Ada visited relatives in Texas and when they returned home, they suggested that a "Harvest Home Celebratation" similar to the one held in Texas, be started and this has continued in Donnellson since that time.
In September 1898 Wil and Ada became parents of Blanche Iola who was born in her grandparents home.
Some time between 1899 and 1900, Wil and Ada with daughter Blanche moved by railroad to Russell, Arkansas where William's Uncle John Bigham lived. The exact date of the move is not known, but Uncle John died January 8, 1903.
As related by Ada, and her brother Clarence Ash, The box car was loaded with furniture, the family cow, hay, Uncle Clarance (about 17) and his friend Clyde Jett. The box car was probably side tracked at Bald Knob, the nearest siding. Both Russell and Bald Knob are on the same Missouri Pacific track and Russell is 4 miles norht of Bald Knob. Uncle John and wife Idella were to meet the incoming entourage, but there was a mistiming and they did not arrive until the next morning and of course by horse and buggy. In the mean time the group needed a place to stay for the night, and found a nearby widow lady who could provide a place. Evidently it was the time of the year that required a fire in the fireplace. After the evening meal everyone sat around the fire. The lady of the house chewed tobacco and was quite adept at hitting a certain knothole in the planking which covered the exterior of the house thus keeping everything tidy within the house. Clarence and the other boy found the lady's accuracy quite amusing and they could not withhold their laughter. The boys slept in an outshed in bock of the house.
The next day Uncle John and his wife arrived but by this time Ada had made up her mind that she wasn't going to raise children in such surroundings and as a result the box car was routed back to Donnellson without having been unloaded.
Wil, Ada and daughter Blanche moved back in with Wil's parents as Wil built a "little white house" on Bigham land about 1/8th mile east of the home place. The house design was no doubt influenced by the trip to Texas, as a "dog trot" or open porch was built under tha main roof between the kitchen and the rest of the house. This area was screened at both ends and contained the front and back door of the house. In winter months both ends were covered with a sheeting material. Covering was temporary each year. The kitchen was heated winter and summer by a wood burning cook stove. The main portion of the house was heated by a round wood burning stove. The "facilities" were out through the chicken yard and through the edge of the small orchard and it was advisable to wear shoes. Wil and Ada were still living in the "little white house" when Laura Rebecca was born.
Between 1907 and 1909, Wil, Ada and the two girls moved from the "little white house" to a small white house on Main Street (now Route 127) in Donnellson. The house was about 1-1/2 blocks south of the railroad tracks. Wil owned and operated a variety store which was probably on the west side o the Main Street. There is a picture post card showing Wil standing in front of the store and post mark is October, 1907. Exact dates of starting business and quitting are not known.
Wil and Ada were still living in the small white house on Main Street in Donnellson when son Ralph Arthur was born on April 26, 1909. Wil and family moved back to the "little white house" on the farm some time between 1911 and 1912. In 1915 grandmother Rebecca Ash came to live with the family.
In the summer of 1916 Wil and family and Ada's mother moved to Bridgeport, Illinois and took a two year lease on the King Hotel. The hotel had two floors and the second floor had 21 small sleeping rooms. The bath was down the hall. The first floor had the office, parlor, dining room, living quarters for the owner and kitchen. Ada took over the cooking duties, Grandmother took over the housekeeping duties, Wil took over the business part, including purchase of food. The hotel was occupied by youg oil field workers. Daughter Blanche was a waitress and helped by "Fluggy Ruffles" our name for the waitress who stayed on. Wil supplimented by hauling out of town salesmen around to small towns to sell their wares. He also tarveled from place to place taking orders for packaged honey salesmen for A.I. Root Co. of Sioux City, Iowa.
Everyone peeled potatoes except Ralph who was interested in roller skates and bicycles. Sunday was the eventful day as several of the church attending people had found that the King Hotel served good meals.
Wil and Ada lost a good waitress on March 24, 1918 when daughter Blanche secretly married William Alvy Crislip, an oil field worker, who was a resident of the hotel. The new brige and groom left for west Texas to take part in a new oil strike.
In mid 1918 many of the single workers in the hotel were being drafted into the armed services and as the two year lease had expired, Wil and Ada decided to give up the hotel business. The family with Rebecca Ash moved to Alton, Illinois where they rented a two story brick house at 439 E. 3rd Street. They rented out a couple of sleeping rooms and served meals to a very limited extent due to lack of room. Wil worked for a time a t the Eden Washing Machine Company, a short time at Illinois Glass Company, and later a short time at the Alton Boxboard and Paper Co. Wil and a heart condition and this limited his ability in factories.
In 1920 Wil and Ada purchaed hte old Cousley Home at 533 Alby Street. This was on the south east corner of 6th and Alby. This house had hot water heat wiht the furnace in a small dug out basement at the rear, or east end of the shouse. On the first floor was a living room, parlor, dining room, and kitchen. On the second floor were four bedrooms and a sewing room and a bathroom. Again, rooms were rented out and meals served in the dining room to outsiders. About 1922 Wil and Ada decided to add th their capabilities and Wil started digging out from under the house to create a full basement.
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