Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901

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Saunders A. Biggs

SAUNDERS A. BIGGS, a prominent real estate dealer of Parsons, Kansas, in whose development he has aided materially in many ways, has excellent family connections. On his father's side he is a scion of a well known New York family, of English extraction. On his mother's side, he is of German and Scotch descent, his mother being a lineal descendant of Gen. Armstrong, of Revolutionary War fame. Saunders A. Biggs was born in New York City, December 14, 1841, and is a son of Isaac A. and Harriet A. (Nellis) Biggs, both of whom are buried in Greenwood Cemetery, New York, with two sons by their side. The father was born on Long Island, while the mother was a native of Montgomery county, New York. Of their five children composing the family, the third and fourth sons, Eugene C. R. and Aberdeen C., are deceased. Saunders A. is the eldest of the children. Isaac L., the second son, was formerly private secretary to C. K. Garrison, but is now in the employ of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company, and lives in New York City. Ida A., the youngest of the, children (and the only daughter), is unmarried, and has her home in New York City.

Saunders A. Biggs was educated in his native city, principally, in an Episcopal private school. He remained at home and assisted his father in the real estate business until April, 1861, when he enlisted as a private in Company B, 71st Reg., New York State Militia. He served three months under Captain (afterward Colonel) B. L. Trafford, in response to President Lincoln's call for volunteers, and was honorably discharged from service in July, 1861.

In April, 1863, Mr. Biggs was commissioned as an enrollment officer of New York State, with headquarters in New York City, which position he filled in a successful and capable manner. He subsequently reengaged with his father in the real estate business, under the firm name of Isaac A. Biggs & Son. To this work he devoted his time and talents, until June, 1876, when he came west, and located in Parsons, Kansas, July 19, 1876.

The same year, a real estate company was formed by Mr. Biggs, consisting of Angell Matthewson, Merrit Noyes and himself. This company continued to carry on a real estate, loan and abstract business, with office on Central avenue, between Forest and Belmont avenues. Mr. Biggs withdrew from the company in 1878, and engaged in general merchandising in company with A. J. Cary, under the firm name of Cary & Biggs. They continued in this line until 1881, at different locations, removing to larger quarters, as their business increased. Then, on account of too close confinement for the subject of this sketch, the firm was dissolved, by mutual consent, and Mr. Biggs became connected with the City Bank of Angell Matthewson & Company, as examiner of real estate loans. He filled that position until 1893, and resigned at that time to accept a similar position with the Inter-State Mortgage & Trust Company. This he held until 1901. He then engaged in the real estate, loan, insurance and coal business, at Nos. 301 and 303 South Central avenue, his present location.

Mr. Biggs was united in marriage, December 11, 1867, at Fort Plain, New York, with Estelle L. Nellis, a daughter of George G. and Delia (Rich) Nellis, both prominent New Yorkers. Mrs. Biggs' ancestors served in the Revolutionary War. She is one of a family of several children, all of whom were reared in the Mohawk Valley, at Fort Plain, Montgomery county, New York, where all its deceased members are buried. The eldest child of her parents was Eleanor, who is deceased. She married Dr. H. M. Cronkhite, a surgeon in the United States Army. Their son, Adelbert Cronkhite, is now a captain of light artillery, and stationed at Fortress Monroe, Virginia. He is a graduate of West Point, and married a daughter of Brigadier General Pennington. Adelbert D. Nellis, her brother, served in the Union Army during the Civil war, as one of Ellsworth's Zouaves, a regiment formed between Buffalo and Albany, New York. Julia N. married William M. Burnap, of Utica, New York, and now resides in San Francisco, California. Mr. Burnap was at one time the private secretary of Roscoe Conkling. Estelle L., the wife of Mr. Biggs, was the next child in this interesting family, and was born May 24, 1847. George L., a younger brother, lives, with his family, in Kansas City, where he is general agent of the Diamond Brick Company. Minnie L., a younger sister, is the wife of Albert M. Taylor, a prominent coal dealer, of Parsons.

Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Biggs. The eldest was Eugenia Lemoine, who died in infancy, July 25, 1882. The surviving daughter is Estelle Louise, born at Parsons, Kansas, January 5, 1885, is an accomplished musician, being especially proficient as a pianist.

In politics, Mr. Biggs is a stanch Republican, and has had much to say and do in the guidance of that party in his section. He was made a Mason at Amity Lodge, No. 323, A. F. & A. M., of New York City, and is now a member of the lodge in Parsons. The preference of the family is for the Episcopal church, of which Rev. J. J. Purcell is rector. Mr. and Mrs. Biggs were confirmed at Trinity Chapel, New York City, by Bishop Potter, shortly after their marriage, which was solemnized in December, 1867.

Mr. Biggs is, doubtless, one of the best judges of real estate values, in Labette county, and surrounding counties, if not in the state of Kansas, having had many years' experience. Nearly all his life has been devoted to real estate transactions. He is largely interested in both city and county real property, having built some of the finest residences in Parsons, as well as various tenement houses. His own residence at 1703 Corning avenue is a handsome modern structure, and an ornament to the city. He is, without doubt, a leading and representative citizen of Parsons, and stands before his family and friends as a victor in the struggle, enjoying the fruits of his foresight, his toil, and his skill.