Biography of Zachariah B. Kiggins

Having come to his present prosperity in a worldly way, and his high standing in the good will and confidence of his fellow men through many hardships and trials, with a dreary succession of triumphs and adversities, and through all having made his own way from his youth without the aid of favorable circumstances of outside aid, Zachariah B. Kiggins, of near Carbondale, one of the successful and prosperous ranchmen and stock-growers of Garfield county, and in many ways one of the earnest promoters of the welfare of the section in which he has cast his lot, can greatly appreciate the struggles of young men in the battle of life and the value of unwavering courage, personal enterprise, judicious thrift and persistent effort. The story of his life is an oft-told tale in Western United States history, and it illustrates not only the opportunities afforded by this portion of the country, but as well the price of endurance and continued endeavor at which they are held. He was born on May 11, 1870, in Madison county, Iowa, where his parents, Samuel J. and Rebecca (Bertholf) Kiggins, settled early in their married life. In 1884, when he was fourteen years old, they moved to Colorado and located in the Plateau valley, on a pre-emption claim over which the town of Plateau has since grown. Here they lived as western pioneers were obliged to in those days, eking out a living from the reluctant soil and contending with the privations and absence of conveniences incident to the time and locality. They were, however, industrious and frugal, and although the family was large and the means for its support was for years scant and not easily attainable, they made steady progress toward substantial comfort and a growing competence. The father was a ranchman and became an extensive cattle breeder and dealer. He and his wife are Methodists in church affiliation, and in reference to political questions the father is a stanch Republican. Fourteen children were born to them, and of these, nine are living: John, a resident of Oregon; Zachariah, the subject of this sketch; Ezra, deceased; Rose, the wife of Leland Crosier, of the Plateau valley; Lillian, the wife of George Salisbury; James; Delia, the wife of Earl Wendell; Hattie, the wife of Leon Rassmussen; Oliver and Robert. The one with whom we are at present most concerned had brief and irregular attendance at the public schools, and at the age of seventeen began the race for supremacy among men for himself. Ten years were passed in Utah and other states handling cattle, and encountering all sorts of hardships and dangers. The next five were devoted to arduous labor on a farm in the interests of Richard Swann. Then he rented a ranch and ran it two years, after which he purchased the one hundred and sixty acres which he now owns and operates. He cultivates one hundred and thirty acres of this in hay, grain, potatoes and fruit, and also raises numbers of cattle and horses. His crops are excellent in quality and generous in quantity, and his stock commands a high price in the markets. The ranch is ten miles east of Glenwood Springs in a specially rich and progressive region. Mr. Kiggins’s interest in the welfare of his section has been manifested in many ways, notably in his extended service as road overseer and the unusually good roads he built during his tenure of the office. He is an ardent Republican in political matters, but a public-spirited man in reference to local affairs, in which he takes an active part without reference to politics. On May 11, 1898, he united in marriage with Miss Mary J. Weaver, who was born in Colorado and is the daughter of Philip E. and Mary A. (Heiter) Weaver, who came from their native Pennsylvania to this state in 1866 among the early settlers and located at what is now Colorado Springs. There the father conducted a grist-mill, one of the first in that section. He was prosperous in business, and earnestly interested in the local affairs of the community. In political action he was a firm and steadfast Democrat. The family comprised five children, all of whom survive the father, who died on August 6, 1899. They are: Ella, wife of Charles Lehno, of Carbondale; Sarah, wife of George Conrey, of the same place; George, living at the home of Mr. Kiggins; John, a resident of Bayfield, Colorado; and Mrs. Kiggins. In the Kiggins household there are two interesting children, Estella and John Homer.


Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.


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