Chauncey L. Higbee Papers, 1823-1927


Chauncey L. Higbee Papers, 1823-1927


Higbee, Chauncy, L. (1821-1884)


Papers, 1823-1927


.42 linear feet (1 manuscript box)


Pike County Illinois lawyer who was elected to the state legislation in 1854 and in 1858 to the state senate, where he served until he was elected to the circuit court in 1861 and eventually to the appellate court in 1877. Higbee was born in Claremont County, Ohio but came toIllinois around 1844 to study law with his uncle Judge James Ward of Griggsville and within several years was admitted to the bar. He settled inPittsfield and was quite a successful lawyer with a large practice and partnered with William Richardson, …Hays and Scott Wike all at different times. He was a Democrat and was very interested in politics. The same year, 1854, he married Julia White, also from Claremont County, Ohio, he was elected to the state legislature, then in 1858, to the Illinois Senate. He continued to practice law and most of his career was spent as a judge. He is the judge who sentenced the only man in Pike County history to have been hanged. He helped found the First National Bank of Pittsfield and acted as its president for a number of years. He was also one of several men who were instrumental in getting the railroad through Pike County. This had first been proposed in 1860 by A. Starne and Ozias M. Hatch, and some of the grading had been done, but the county voted against its completion. In 1867 Higbee, Scott Wike, William Grimshaw and several others revived interest in the railroad and pushed to get it completed. The Higbees had two children, Sue and Harry. Harry attended Columbia Law School and the Chicago Law School, was admitted to the bar in 1878 and practiced with A.C. Matthews and Scott Wike. He also became a circuit judge. Chauncy Higbee had a brother, F.M. Higbee, who lived inNew York.


Correspondence, legal documents, receipts, advertising material, stock certificates and political flyers document the career of Chauncy Higbee. The legal partnerships of Higbee and Hays, Higbee and Richardson, Higbee and Wike, and Matthews and Wike are represented. Most of the correspondence is related to legal affairs such as real estate transactions, settlement of accounts, wills and estates. Many deeds, wills, affidavits and depositions. There are some letters from F.M. Higbee, in New York, usually discussing cases or financial matters. There are, in File I, undated depositions from cases in New York. A few letters that discuss the railroad. There are drawings of the route the railroad would take through Pike Countyand a legal document pertaining to the land that would be used. File I also contains the law license of Scott Wike, a few of his legal papers and several letters from family members. One from a niece, Addie Wike, discusses the change in her father’s behavior since taking the Keeley Cure. File II, contains more letters with reference to politics, especially those from A. Starne, that discuss both local and national politics. One 1864 letter discusses the probability of the Democrats running McClellan against Lincoln. It also contains some materials from the law practice of Harry Higbee, usually civil matters related to real estate and settlement of accounts and estates. Typescripts of some correspondence, 1831-1892.


Photographs transferred out of the collection.


Access:            Open for Research


Acc. No.:         92-14, 2002-3


Processed by:  Cheryl Schnirring and Connie Butts, April 2002                                                      

                                                            Chauncy L. Higbee                                                     Page 2

                                                               Container List


Box     Folder


                        File I


1          1          Documents, 1823-1839

            2          Papers, 1840-1849

            3          Papers, 1850-1852

            4          Papers, 1853-1854

            5          Papers, 1855-1856

            6          Papers, 1857-1858

            7          Papers, 1859-1862

            8          Papers, 1869-1900

            9          [Legal Papers, Depositions, undated]

            10        Miscellaneous Material


                        File II


            11        Typescripts, September 9, 1831-January 4, 1853

            12        Typescripts, January 15, 1853-July 1856

            13        Typescripts, February 23, 1857-December 17, 1860

            14        Typescripts, March 13, 1861-May 19, 1892

            15        Papers, September 9, 1831-July 5, 1849

            16        Correspondence, January 15, 1850-November 25, 1852

            17        Correspondence, January 4, 1853-April 6, 1856

            18        Correspondence, February 23, 1857-December 15, 1866

            19        Correspondence, March 13, 1861-May 19, 1892



“Chauncey L. Higbee Papers, 1823-1927,” Chronicling Illinois, accessed March 19, 2019,