15 May 2010

The Bigbee Family of Montana

After hearing from Jimmy McKisic, a Tennessee member of the Bigbee family, I spent this afternoon (15 May) walking through Old Highland Cemetery in Great Falls looking, for among others, for the Bigbee family. The following are listed in the cemetery records:

Charles E. Bigbee died 13 April 1957
Porter Bigbee died 31 May 1897
John H. Bigbee died 7 January 1915
Elizabeth Bigbee died 28 January 1917

I found only Thomas P. Bigbee--Porter Bigbee:

Bigbee, Charles Edward and Virgil Mary Brooks. Charles Edward (C. E.) Bigbee was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Porter Bigbee. He was born 11 Nov 1871 in Springfield, KY, and came to Great Falls at age 15. In 1893 he worked in Great Falls as a porter at the West Corner Saloon at 213 Seventh Avenue South. In 1901, Bigbee worked as a porter and resided at 713 Seventh Avenue South. In May 1904, C. E. Bigbee was a member of the Masonic order and attended the Colored Masons Hard Time Ball in Great Falls. On 31 Dec 1907, Charles Bigbee married Virgil Mary Brooks of Helena at the A. M. E. Church in Great Falls with the wedding conducted by Rev. E. D. Abbott and witnesses George N. Hagin and F. Monroe. She was born in 1877 in TX, daughter of Pebedee Mitchell and Elizabeth Allen. Virgil Mary had been previously married to ____ Brooks. In the 1910 census, her son Jesse Lee Brooks was in the household of Edward and Virgie Bigbee at 614 Seventh Avenue South. From 1900 to about 1910, Charles worked as a farm laborer on his brother John’s farm near Comer. He then ranched for a number of years on Box Elder Creek and later sold his interests and became a porter on the Great Northern Railroad, retiring in 1946. Before 1915 Charles and Virgil Mary were divorced. On 14 Apr 1915, Charles E. Bigbee married Miss Corra Lee Allen of Nashville, TN, with Rev. W. H. Prince of the A. M. E. church officiating. Corra Lee was born in 1887 in TN, the daughter of Lytle and Martha Allen. C. E. Bigbee, of 713 Seventh Avenue South, died 13 Apr 1957 at a local hospital at age 85. Funerals services were held at Croxford’s Mortuary and conducted by the Rev. Ellis Casson, followed by burial at Highland Cemetery. [See also entries for Porter and Elizabeth Bigbee] [GFLD 8 May 1901, p. 4; GFLD 10 May 1904, p. 2; GFLD 15 Apr 1957, p. 3; GFLD 17 Apr 1957, p. 2; 1880 Census Tennessee; 1900, 1910 Census MT Cascade Co.; 1893, 1899, 1919, 1923 GFCD; CC Cemetery; CC Marriage Licenses Book 6, No. 3733; CC Marriage Licenses Book 10, No. 7689]

Bigbee, Mrs. Elizabeth Clara Thompson. Mrs. Elizabeth Clara Thompson Bigbee was a mixed race black woman born in Jul 1840 in AL or about 1838 in TN and christened in TN. Elizabeth was the daughter of Thomas P. and Roda Grays Childress. She came to Great Falls about 1896 with her husband, Porter Bigbee, to be with her children, who had come to MT: Tennessee Finn Hagan about 1856; Susan Payne 1866; John H. born 1860 [see separate entry]; Charlotte Glovina born 1863; Charles Edward born 1871 [see separate entry]; Margaret (Maggie) born Jun 1883; and Emma born Jan 1886. In addition Mr. and Mrs. Porter Bigbee had several other children: James W. born 1856; Benjamin born 1857. According to the Montana Plain Dealer in Dec 1909, “Mrs. Bigbee of Great Falls visited her sister Mrs. Ed. Johnson [in Helena] last week." Mrs. Elizabeth Bigbee lived with her family at 713 Seventh Avenue South. She died 28 Jan 1917 following a long illness at her home, aged about 79 years. Three daughters survived her: Tennie Hagan, Susie Payne and Glovina Smith of Great Falls; and one son, Charles E. Bigbee of Anaconda. Three grandsons, Omar Connell of Anaconda, and John and Henry Connell of Great Falls, also survived. Her funeral was held in O'Connor's undertaking chapel with services conducted by Rev. G. Edward Horsey, pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal church. Mrs. Bigbee was buried in Old Highland cemetery. [1870, 1880 Census Tennessee; 1900 Cascade Co. Census; 1913, 1914 GFCD; CC Cemeteries, I; MTPD 1 Dec 1909, p. 4; GFLD 29 Jan 1917, p. 3; GFLD 30 Jan 1917, p. 6]

Bigbee, Glovinna. See Glovinna Bigbee Connell Smith.

Bigbee, John H. John H. Bigbee, a mixed race black man born in TN in 1860 by the 1880 census [KY by Cemetery Records, or MO in Dec 1867 by his obituary], the son of Thomas P. and Elizabeth Childress Bigbee. John settled in Great Falls about 1890. In 1893 John lived at 213 Seventh Avenue South, and by 1896 he was living at 713 Seventh Avenue South. By the late 1890s John was farming and ranching but still living in Great Falls. In 1910 John was farming outside Great Falls at Comer, and his brother Charles worked for him. John was unmarried born about 1863 in KY in the 1910 census. On 7 Jan 1915, he died at the family home, 713 Seventh Avenue South after a long illness. Mr. Bigbee was survived by his mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Bigbee of Great Falls; three sisters, Mrs. Susan Payne, Mrs. Charlotte Glovina Smith and Mrs. M. T. Hagin, all of Great Falls, also one brother, Charles E. Bigbee of Anaconda, MT. His funeral was held in the family home and at the Union Bethel A. M. E. Church with services conducted by Rev. Prince, pastor. Mr. Bigbee is buried at Highland Cemetery. [GFTD 8 Jan 1915; GFTD 9 Jan 1915; 1910 Census MT Cascade Co.; 1913 GFCD]

Bigbee, Porter T or G. Porter G. Bigbee [probably Porter Thomas Bigbee, a mixed race black man who was born in TN about 1824 and came to Great Falls with his wife Clara Elizabeth about June 1896 from TN to join his children here. He died a year later, 31 May 1897 at age 74 years at the home of his daughter, Mrs. W. W. Inglemon, at 713 Seventh Avenue South. The funeral was held at his daughter’s home 1 Jun 1897, and he was buried at Highland Cemetery. He left five children, all adults, four of whom resided in Great Falls. [GFTD 1 Jun 1897, p. 3, CC Cemetery, I; 1870, 1880 Census Tennessee]

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