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Rev. David D. Bigger
Finding Inspiration in Every Turn
REV. D. D. BIGGER, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, of Tiffin, was born in Pittsburgh, Penn., May 18, 1849, and descends from a people prominent in connection with Presbyterian Church work in this country on both sides of his parentage. His father, the late Rev. Matthew Bigger, D. D., of Bushnell, Ill., was a son of David Bigger, of New Concord, Ohio, who was prominent there as a pioneer farmer, tanner, and an active United Presbyterian churchman, was of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and of direct lineal descent from.............
758 - BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES:
the Biggars, of Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland. His family consisted of four sons and four daughters, of whom Matthew, the eldest, took prominence in connection with educational institutions, notably in West Virginia and in Illinois, and another son was the Hon. David Proudfit Bigger, M. D., of Missouri, and, more professionally, consulting surgeon of the Union Pacific Railway.
The mother of our subject was Mary Jane Cunningham, daughter of John Cunningham a native of Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania, of Scotch-Irish extraction, and who reared a family of four sons and four daughters, of whom are Thomas Mitchell Cunningham, D. D., prominently known in this country in connection with the Presbyterian Church, and James Cunningham, M. D., of Monmouth, Ill., a physician of repute, and an ardent churchman.
It may be said in this connection that both the Bigger and Cunningham families' love for the faith was no less marked than their love of their early nationality, of which, in some of the earlier mention of these families' annals and reminiscences, their native heather, where they could worship openly, became talismanic. The subject of our sketch spent his early life in Monmouth (whither his father had removed in connection with the- Presbyterian Theological Seminary there) and was educated there and at Chicago. He completed his academical education at Monmouth and graduated in a collegiate course there in 1875. He then entered the Seminary of the Northwest at Chicago in a theological course, and graduated from that institution, under the presidency of F. L. Patton, D. D., LL. D., in 1878.
He had received a license to preach in the preceding year, and had during his stay in Chicago been very active in connection with mission work, with the Presbyterian Church there, so that upon graduating he felt better able to combat his work, and accepted his present call, in May, following his graduation, and circumstances have proved his better judgment (see church history).
He married in La Porte, Ind., May 23, 1878, Miss Sarah Louisa Breese, daughter of John H. and Harriet (Bowers) Breese, natives, respectively, of New York and Vermont. They have two sons and one daughter: Paul Breese, Matthew Leon and Genevieve Marie. Mr. Bigger, while being an ardent minister, is an excellent citizen; of a suave and affable disposition, he gathers around him many friends not controlled by his ecclesiastical teachings, and in this connection may probably trace an important incentive to the marked growth of the Presbyterian Church here since his advent. In stature he is of medium height, of good physique, and, on the rostrum, he is a deep reasoner, a forcible debater and an eloquent speaker.
From: The Past and Present of Warren Co., Il
Published: Chicago, H. F. Ket & Co., Cor. 5th Ave. and Washington St., 1877
The United Presbyterian Church of Spring Grove was organized June 22, 1855, by Rev. Matthew Bigger of the Presbytery of Monmouth, with fifty-one members. The first pastor was Rev. James C. McKnight, who was ordained June 11, 1856, and remained over four years. Rev. Wm. Graham was next pastor and continued this relation until his death, in the Fall of 1863. Rev. Thomas P. Patterson was ordained Oct. 27, 1864, and was pastor until April, 1868, and continued his work for five years. The present pastor is the Rev. Rufus Johnson, who began June 15, 1876. The present number of members is about seventy. This congregation own a large house of worship costing about $4,000 and a good parsonage with three acres of ground.
The Church of God is located in southeast quarter of Sec. 10, Spring Grove township. It was organized in 1865 by Rev. Rudolph White, and the earliest meetings were held in the school house in district No. 4. Among the original members were Jehu Bailey and wife, D.C. Swiller, wife and three children, John Cannon and wife, and others. The church was built in 1867 and cost $1,600. The present pastor is Rev. Thos. DeShiria. Membership about twenty-five and Sabbath school the same; John Simcox, Superintendent.