Charles H. Bigelow



by Lisa Michele Church


He was born in Kilbourne, Mason County, Illinois on August 26, 1872. His parents were Edwin (Edward) H Bigelow and Sarah A. Marshall.

Bigelow's father, Edwin, was born in Livingston County, New York on Dec 30 1834 and was the son of Henry Bigelow of Vermont. He moved with his parents to Indiana in 1844 and then to Wisconsin then Texas and the southwest and then came to Illinois. He helped start the town of Kilbourne in 1870. He was a grain dealer there and then worked for the railroad. He was a member of the Havana Lodge and Charter.

Bigelow's mother, Sarah, was born in Birmingham, England on June 19, 1843. She came with her parents to the United States in 1850 and eventually became a citizen. She married Edwin on March 31, 1876. They had three children: Emma, Fannie and Charles. Bigelow's sister, Emma, grew up to be a school teacher and lived with her parents most of her life, never marrying. The family lived in Kilbourne until at least 1879 (History of Menard and Mason Counties) when Bigelow was 8.

According to the 1880 census, the Bigelow family was still living in Kilbourne, Mason County, Illinois. (At the same time, Bigelow's future wife, Hattie Ingraham, was 2 years old and lived in Westchester, Porter County, Indiana. Her father was Daniel, born in Canada, and her mother was Lois, born in Illinois. Her siblings were Minnie, 18, Frank, 16, and Maud, 8.)

According to the 1900 census, the Bigelow family was living in the Greenview Precinct, Menard County, Illinois at the time. They rented their home.

According to the Cook County marriage records in Illinois 1870-1920, Charles married Harriet (Harriat/Hattie) Estelle Ingraham on Mar 25, 1903. He was 30 and she was 25. Harriet was born on Oct 16 1877. They do not appear to have had children.

In the 1910 census, Charles H Bigelow and Harriet Bigelow were living with his parents, Edwin and Sarah, in Los Angeles. Charles' older sister Emma also lived with them. Edwin was 75 and listed his occupation as a real estate agent. Charles was 37 and listed his occupation as promoter. Emma was 39 and listed her occupation as a public school teacher. Charles and Harriet are listed as having no children. Edwin and Sarah are listed as having only two living children, so Fannie must be deceased by this time?

Charles took up racing of early automobile cars in the early 1900s. Here are some of the races he raced in: 1908 LA to Phx, 1909 Corona, 1910 LA to Phx, Santa Monica, 1911 Panama Pacific, Indy 500, LA to Phx. In June 1917 he set the record between SLC and LA in an Oldsmobile. This feat was featured in numerous news articles.

In the 1920 census, Edwin, Sarah, Emma all show as living in Los Angeles Precinct 551 but Charles and Harriet are not listed in the same household. Emma is listed as a public school teacher.

During the 1920s Bigelow wrote many articles extolling the value of tourism and good roads throughout the southwest United States. There are hundreds of them. He kept them in a scrapbook later donated to Dixie College. They are from newspapers all over the west.

In the 1930 census, Charles and Harriet lived in Los Angeles City, Los Angeles County. They owned a home valued at $3500 and he listed his occupation as "advertising man, promoter of good roads." She listed her occupation as "saleslady, department store." There are no children and no indication if his father or mother are still living. Emma is not listed either. They are in assembly district 54 and on block 473.

The California Death Index 1940-1997 lists Charles H. Bigelow as dying in Los Angeles California on June 8, 1958 at the age of 85 and Harriet Bigelow as dying on Feb 2 1963 at the age of 86. Both are buried in the St. George City Cemetery.PLOT C_29_30_2


Index to the Charles Bigelow Scrapbook
Index prepared by Lisa Michele Church
Scrapbook in the Special Collections of the Dixie State Univeristy Library

Article about a 36-hour drive in inclement weather from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles May ??-??, 1917
The Salt Lake Tribune, June 3, 1917