Thomas J. Higgs (1879 – )

‘Thomas J. Higgs, who has an extensive clientage in the general practice of law and who is also attorney for the Kansas City Life Insurance Company, was born at Storm Lake, Iowa, May 27, 1879, a son of Thomas D. and Susan (Kline) Higgs, the former a native of Illinois, while the latter was born in Maryland. She became a resident of Illinois when quite young and they were married in that state, removing thence to Iowa in 1877. The father became a lawyer of prominence in the latter state and was also a recognized leader in the ranks of the democratic party, serving as a member of the state central committee for the eleventh district of Iowa throughout the Cleveland administration and also as a delegate to the national convention in which Grover Cleveland was nominated for the presidency. He established the first democratic newspaper in Storm Lake, Iowa, and published it in support of the principles in which he so firmly believed. He was appointed by Governor Horace Boies, democratic governor of Iowa, to several important commissions, and he was very active in public matters, leaving the impress of his individuality and ability upon the history of his adopted state.

Thomas J. Higgs attended the public schools of Storm Lake until he had completed the high school course and later spent two years as a student in the Buena Vista College of Storm Lake. He next entered Grinnell College at Grinnell, Iowa, and was graduated therefrom in 1899 with the Bachelor of Arts degree. He subsequently became a student in the Harvard Law School, where he won his LL. B. degree in 1902. His educational opportunities were thus liberal, well qualifying him for life’s practical and responsible duties. During his college and university course he took an active interest in athletics, being captain of the baseball team at Grinnell and playing at Harvard in the year 1901. He was admitted to the bar of Missouri in 1903 and entered upon the general practice of law alone. For a time he was in the office of Ball & Ryland and later in the office of Elijah Robinson. He was next appointed assistant prosecuting attorney of Jackson county and occupied that position from 1909 until 1913, when he received the appointment as assistant attorney general of Missouri and thus served in a most acceptable manner until 1917. In the latter year he resumed the general practice of law and also became attorney for the Kansas City Life Insurance Company. His activities along both lines continue to the present and he has a large law practice. He belongs to the Jackson County and Missouri State Bar Associations and is a member of the executive committee of the Kansas City Bar Association.On the 17th of June, 1917, Mr. Higgs was united in marriage at Jefferson City to Miss Virginia Ware, a daughter of C. A. Ware, a livestock man, who was born in New Jersey and in early life came to Missouri where he was united in marriage with Letitia Nunnelly, a niece of Major Clark who was prominent in the early history of Jefferson City, Missouri. Both Mr. and Mrs. Higgs are consistent members of the Christian church and he is widely known in Masonic circles, belonging to the lodge, chapter, commandery and Mystic Shrine, and he is a member of the Shrine Patrol. He likewise has membership in the Kansas City Athletic Club, the Harvard University Club of Kansas City, the Grinnell University Club of Kansas City, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Kansas City chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. He is also a member of the Swope Park Golf Club and is serving on its board of governors. In politics he has always been an earnest democrat and has been chairman of the speakers’ committee of the democratic party since 1907. Throughout the war he was very active in support of everything that pertained to the welfare of the country in its relations with the allied forces and with the prosecution of the war. He assisted in organizing and had charge of the Four Minute Men in Kansas City and all speakers during the first and second Liberty Loans, and was himself frequently heard upon the public platforms, addressing audiences in regard to issues and conditions that had been brought about by reason of the war. He has ever displayed marked devotion to duty and his one hundred percent Americanism has constituted an example that others might well follow.”

Source:  Centennial History of Missouri: One Hundred Years in the Union, 1820-1921, Vol. 3, by Wallis Barlow Stevens, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., St. Louis – Chicago, 1921, pages 331-2


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