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Willis H. Wiggins


Posted By: Harriet Cate Leitch (email)
Date: 12/17/2016 at 20:48:41


This community was greatly shocked early Sunday morning, August 25, 1929, when it became known that Mr. Willis H. Wiggins had met an accidental death while driving on the Lincoln Highway as short distance west of Dow City. Just how the accident occurred will probably never be known, as up to this writing no witnesses have been discovered. The accident happened about two hundred yards beyond the point where the shoulders of the new paving have been built up, and it is surmised that in meeting an oncoming car, Willis had turned out a little too far and went off the pavement, the auto overturning and crushing out his life. It is definitely known that he was at the scene of an accident north of Manilla about eleven o’clock Saturday evening and helped take care of the wounded in that accident, after which he continued on his way to Omaha. He had been in Manning all day Saturday and intended spending Sunday with his family in Omaha.
Willis was the eldest child of Milton G. and Sarah E. Wiggins, and was born on what is no known as the Koenekamp farm west of Dow City, May 17, 1872, thus being 57 years, 3 months and 13 days old at the time of his death. His death occurred within two miles of the place of his birth.
At the age of fourteen Willis began to earn his own living, and went to work for Uncle Robert Bell on the farm north of Dow City. He continued to work for Mr. Bell and others in this neighborhood during the summer and fall months, and went to school during the winter until he had completed the course offered in the Dow City High School at that time. He operated a barber shop in Dow City for some time, and later engaged in the restaurant business. Later on he built the brick building on what has for a long time been known as “Willis’ Corner,” the building more recently having been moved to a location further north in the block and now occupied by Jas. Dillavou as a harness shop. He ran a restaurant in this building for some years, and then expanded into the Grocery and Gents’ Furnishing business.
On February 19, 1900, he was united in marriage with Kathryn Griffin of Buck Grove, and to this union three children were born: John Milton of Kansas City, Mo., Martin Griffin and Madonna Anne of Omaha. In 1914 the family moved to Woodbine where he engaged in the Grocery business until 1920, when they moved to Omaha and he conducted a Grocery and Meat business at 30th and Chicago Streets. For the past two years he has been engaged as a Traveling Salesman, and was so employed at the time of his death.
In December 1928, Willis united with the Catholic church and has been a faithful attendant and member of that church.
Immediately after the discovery of the accident, the body was taken to the Jackson Funeral Home in Dunlap and brought to his parents’ home in Dow City Sunday evening. At ten o’clock on Monday morning a short service was held by Rev. Paul M. McDade and the body was then taken to Buck Grove to the old family homestead of the Griffin family. On Tuesday morning at 9:30 the funeral services were held in the Catholic church at Buck Grove. Rev. Father Hall of St. Benedicts’ College, Atchison, Kansas, read the Funeral Mass and delivered a very touching sermon. The remains were then taken to the Catholic cemetery in Denison for interment.
He was a long time resident of this community, and made many friends during his life of honesty and fair dealings. He was good natured, thoughtful of the welfare of others, and a kind and loving husband and father.
His death breaks the family circle which has been unbroken for the past fifty-eight years, being the first in the family. He leaves to mourn his demise his loving wife, two sons, one daughter, his aged parents, his only brother, E. G. Wiggins of Dow City; and his five sisters, Miss Mildred Wiggins, Mrs. Emma Poitevin and Mrs. Winnie Crandall of Dow City; Mrs. Grace McBride of Defiance and Mrs. Flora Jackson of Omaha.
The sincere sympathy of the entire community is extended to the sorrowing ones in the great bereavement.
(List of attendees follows.)
Source: Local paper


Crawford Obituaries maintained by Kris Meyer.
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