Milton Higley was born in Tolland, Massachusetts* on January 14, 1834, the sixth child of Seth Higley, Jr. and Lura Goderd. The Higley family moved from Massachusetts to Ohio sometime in the year after Milton’s birth and before the birth of his younger brother Henry, in 1835.
Milton eventually migrated to Michigan and on July 4, 1855 he married Cornelia** Beebe, daughter of Henry Beebe and Caroline Warner. Milton and Cornelia were parents to one son, Seth Henry Higley who was born April 2, 1856 in Birch Run, Saginaw County, Michigan. Milton’s profession was as a Shingle Maker.
On August 9, 1862, Milton enlisted in Company B, 23rd Regiment, Michigan Infantry, for a period of three years. He is described as being 5 ft. 6 inches tall, having a dark complexion, dark eyes and dark hair. Like many other soldiers in the War of the Rebellion Milton eventually became ill with chronic diarrhea, and he was discharged on June 18, 1864, totally disabled with a pension of “eight dollars per month.” He died less than a year later on May 8, 1865.
A sad footnote to this story: In 1869 Cornelia married Hezikiah Nelson, not knowing that he was already married, and his wife Arabella was still living in Canada. When the facts came out, Hezikiah stole a horse and buggy from Cornelia and fled to Canada where he was apprehended. He committed suicide in his cell. Cornelia then had to apply for a reinstatement of her widow’s pension in order to support herself and children Seth Higley and Harriet (Nelson) Higley (Harriet was born August 25, 1870 and was known as Harriet Higley)
* Note: The 1860 census shows a birthplace of New York.
* Note: In some records the name is “Cordelia.”
SOURCE: Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Database and Images, Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com, accessed 04/18/2002
SOURCE: Army of the United States Certificate of Disability for Discharge: Milton Higley, copy of document provided by Kenneth Lane.
SOURCE: State of Michigan, Circuit Court of the County of Saginaw: Annulment of Marriage of Cornelia Higley and Hezekiah Nelson. Copy provided by Kenneth Lane.
SOURCE: Michigan, Tuscola County. 1860 U.S. Census, population schedule. Digital image, HeritageQuest Online, http://persi.heritagequestonline.com, Page 673. Accessed 10/20/2005
Photograph: Privately held by Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, Washington