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Bigger Head

HEAD, Bigger. — At the remarkable age of ninety-four years and six months Bigger Head, a retired farmer of McDonough County, Ill., is physically strong, mentally alert, temperamentally happy and materially well endowed. While no two people attain longevity from an observance of the same rules of life, it is proved beyond the shadow of doubt that active, industrious and temperate people have first claim on borrowed time, and are the greatest strategists in outwitting the Biblical injunction of three-score years and ten. This is emphasized in the life of Mr. Head, who has used hands, brain and heart with a full realization of their importance as cogs in the complicated machinery of life. Mr. Head owes much to a rugged Scotch-Irish ancestry. He was born in Highland County, Ohio, October 12, 1812, and is a son of William and Mary (McLaughlin) Head, natives of Pennsylvania and Ohio respectively. His paternal grandfather, John Head, came from Scotland, and his maternal grandfather, Robert McLaughlin, was born in Ireland. His mother rocked the cradle of fourteen children, and he was the fifth to arrive in the family circle. The early subscription schools of Highland County furnished his only educational advantages. These he attended irregularly during the winter season. Eventually he succeeded to the partial management of the home farm, and remained under the family roof until he was twenty-one years old. In the meantime, June 20, 1835, he married the daughter of a pioneer of Highland County, Mary Lucas by name, who was also destined for a long and useful life and who accompanied his pilgrimage for seventy years, her life coming to a close February 17, 1905, at the age of ninety years lacking six months.

In 1852 Mr. Head came to McDonough County, then thinly settled, and purchased three-quarters of a section of land on Sections 23 and 26. Here he lived until 1872, when he bought 170 acres in Mound Township and one eighty-acre tract on Section 1 in Macomb Township, which continued his home until 1895. He then bought a residence in Bardolph in which to pass his declining years, and where he still lives, surrounded by many comforts, the affection and good will of tried friends, and the companionship of pleasant memories. Well has he noted the changes that have swept over the county since he first settled on the wild prairies. Then the night was made drear by the howling of wolves, and many graceful deer fell before the expert marksmanship of the pioneer settlers. Evidences of Indian occupation existed on every hand. The survival of the fittest was becoming a reality. Mr. Head has supported the Republican cause during the existence of that party, but has never invaded the ranks of office-seekers. His religious activities have been connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church. To himself and devoted wife were born eleven children: Harriet E., Ellen, James, Catherine, Maria. Richard R. S. Jennie, Newton, Alice, John and Hettie.

Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, pages 902-903, extracted 04 Jan 2019 by Norma Hass.

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