About PetersPioneers Leslie and Emily Foy Biggins Family

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Leslie Born in 1877

Baptismal Certificate

Patrick Biggins
Irish Flag
Philip Leslie Biggins
Irish Flag
Philip Leslie Biggins
James McNally
Irish Flag
Sarah McNally
Irish Flag

38-Star US Flag 1877-1890Romeoville, 1877-1885. Philip Leslie Biggins was born January 26, 1877, on a farm in DuPage Township, Will County, Illinois. He was known by his middle name, Leslie. In 1877, there were 38 states in the Union, the last being Colorado. Rutherford B. Hayes was President of the United States.

Leslie was baptized by Father Maurice J. Dorney, on January 29, 1877. His godfather was Peter Ward an Irishman on a nearby farm. His godmother was Brigitta Cunningham, who had been a witness for his parents' marriage. This was prior to completion of the large new limestone St.Dennis Church in 1879, so the baptism may have taken place at the small old wooden church. According to the Baptismal Record, Leslie received a private baptism from Father J. E. Shannahan on February 8, 1877.

St. Dennis Church, 1846
St. Dennis Church, 1846. Source: 150 Years of Faith, a history of St. Dennis Church.

The history of St. Dennis Church, 150 Years of Faith, includes a drawing of the first church. In 1838, St. Dennis was a missionary church in a small frame shanty located in Haytown, also known as Emmetsburg, in Cook County adjacent to the Will County line, on the bluffs of the DesPlaines River about three miles north northeast of the present-day village of Lockport. The structure had been St. Patrick's Church in Lemont. In 1846, St. Dennis became a parish and the small wooden church was moved from Haytown to Lockport. In 1879, it was replaced by the present large limestone church.

Leslie was the first child of Philip and Sarah McNally Biggins, who were married at All Saints parish in the Bridgeport section of Chicago in 1875.

Leslie's paternal grandparents were Patrick and Bridget Biggins, who immigrated from Ireland (probably Drumgill, County Cavan), to Ontario, Canada, and then to Will County, Illinois. They owned a 160-acre farm on the south side of what is now the equivalent of 755 W. Normantown Road in Romeoville, Illinois. The western 80 acres is now a subdivision called Lakewood Estates. The eastern 80 acres is now the Beverly Skoff Elementary School and the John J. Lukancic Middle School.

Y-Chromosome DNA

DNA test results for a grandson of Leslie, Peter Biggins, show that he matches up fairly closely with descendants of the Three Collas, who lived in fourth century Ulster. Surnames of these descendants include Maguire, McMahon, Carroll, McKenna, and McDonald. See DNA of the Three Collas.

There is a close match for Peter Biggins and other testers named Biggins, Beggan, Beagan, and Little. They go back to a common ancestor estimated to have lived in 1350 AD. See Biggins/Beggan Irish Roots.

Leslie's maternal grandparents were James and Bridget McNally, who immigrated from Ireland to Vermont or New York sometime before 1843 and then to Chicago, Illinois, between 1849 and 1853. Beginning in 1858, the Chicago city directory shows James working as a laborer and the McNallys living at 241 Sherman in Chicago, just south of Dearborn Station, in St. Louis parish. St. Louis Church was founded in 1850 at Sherman and Polk streets. It was a French parish that included many Irish. Leslie's grandfather James died in Chicago in 1861, leaving a wife and three children. Leslie's mother Sarah was 15.

In 1880, a brother Arthur was born. This was the second and last child of Philip and Sarah.

On April 10, 1882, Leslie's grandfather Patrick Biggins died at age 75. The Will County Commercial Advertiser reported the day after that “consumption, that relentless destroyer of man, was the disease that sought and finally carried him to his long home the morning of April 10th.” Funeral rites at St. Dennis Church included Solemn High Mass. We do not know for sure where Patrick and Bridget Biggins are buried. However, there is a large limestone tombstone in St. Dennis Cemetery at 17th and Jefferson Streets in South Lockport with the name “Biggins” in large letters. The rest of the tombstone is illegible.

Willard Scott Ad, 1886
Willard Scott advertisement in 1886 Naperville business directory.
Naperville, 1885-1897. In 1885, Philip and Sarah moved 10 miles north to the east side of Naperville with their sons Leslie, 8, and Arthur, 5. They still owned the 80 acres of farmland in DuPage Township. Leslie and his brother appear in the school census for Lisle Grade School (Ellsworth School after 1891), but it is not clear whether they attended that school or the Catholic school in SS. Peter and Paul parish. Naperville is in DuPage County. The Biggins farm was in DuPage Township in Will County.

In 1889, the Will County Circuit Court ordered the Sheriff to sell Philip’s 80 acres and his brother Francis’ 40 acres to Fithian & Cowing to settle debts. Each had 15 months to redeem the property. Philip’s debt was to the estate of Barrett B. Clark. Francis’ debt was to the estate of George J. Munroe.

In 1891, Leslie graduated from elementary school. At some point, he went to work at the dry goods store of Willard Scott & Co. on the east side of Washington Street between Jefferson and Van Buren Avenues.

The Will County Coroner’s Record of September 24, 1891, which is in the files of the Will County Historical Society, reported that Leslie's uncle, Francis Biggins, was run over by a Chicago & Alton railroad train in Lockport “while trying to board it while under influence of liquor.”

The 1893 Chicago city directory shows Leslie, 16, working as an electrician and living at 4818 S. Shields Avenue in the Fuller Park community on Chicago's south side. Between the first of May and the end of October in 1893, an estimated 27 million people attended Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition, a few miles south southeast of where Leslie was living. Electricity was one of the new developments celebrated by the Columbian Exposition.

The 1894 Chicago city directory shows Leslie working as a clerk at Swift’s in the stock yards and living in Naperville.

Leslie Biggins, 1895
Leslie Biggins, 1895.
In 1895, Leslie, 18, obtained a letter of recommendation from Willard Scott, his old employer in Naperville. The 1896 Chicago city directory shows Leslie working as a clerk at 243 Wabash in Chicago and still living in Naperville.

Chicago, Englewood, 1897-1900. In 1897, Leslie moved with his mother to 6239 S. Bishop Street in the Englewood community on Chicago's south side. The city directory shows Leslie living with his mother Sarah without his father. In 1898, they moved a few blocks to 6025 S. Throop Street. The 1898 directory lists his mother as a widow. The 1899 directory, however, lists Leslie's father instead of his mother and shows them living at 1204 W. 63rd Street (1104 W. 63rd Street after 1909). The 1899 directory shows his father working as a car repairer. The 1900 census shows his parents were living together, and his father working as a day laborer.

Emily Born in 1878

Baptismal Certificate

Dominick Foy
Irish Flag
John F. Foy
Anne Walsh
Irish Flag
Emily Agnes Foy
William Stanton
d. 1873
Irish Flag
Mary Stanton
Bridget O'Malley
Irish Flag

38-Star US Flag 1877-1890Chicago, Near North Side, 1878-1883. Emily Agnes Foy was born on February 24, 1878. In 1878, there were 38 states in the Union, the last being Colorado. Rutherford B. Hayes was President of the United States.

Emily was baptized as Emma Foy on March 3, 1878. Her godmother was Margaret Foy, her father's sister. Her godfather was Michael Stanton, who could have been her mother's brother or cousin.

Emily was baptized by Father John McMullen, vicar general of the diocese, at the new Holy Name Cathedral. The new cathedral had been completed in 1875, following the Chicago Fire of 1871. Three years after Emily was baptized, in 1881, Pope Leo XIII named Father McMullen the first Bishop of Davenport, Iowa.

Holy Name Cathedral
Old post card of Holy Name Cathedral, rebuilt in 1875 after the Chicago Fire.

Emily was the second child of John and Mary Stanton Foy. Both were born in Ireland. John immigrated with his parents as a baby. Mary immigrated at 15. Her parents came six years later. John and Mary lived in Holy Name parish in the rear of 279 N. Market Street (933 N. Orleans Street after renumbering in 1909 and a name change) on the Near North Side of Chicago. This was about six blocks west and north of Holy Name. The Chicago directories show them living at 279 Market from 1872 to 1878.

Emily had an older brother, William, who was born in 1873.

Emily's maternal grandparents were William and Bridget O'Malley Stanton. They had three children in Ireland: Michael, Mary, and Margaret. The two older children immigrated to Chicago in the 1864. Their parents and Margaret immigrated to Chicago in 1872. William died in 1873, five years before Emily was born.

Emily's paternal grandparents were Dominick and Anne Walsh Foy. They emigrated around 1849 from the townland of Derreennascooba, nine miles south of Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland, to Nunda, New York. Emily's father John was one year old at the time. In 1850, Anne Walsh Foy died, and Dominick remarried.

In 1879, Emily's sister, Mary Louise, was born. Mary Louise was called Molly.

Sometime between 1878 and 1880, the family moved a short block north. The 1880 and 1881 directories show John and Mary living at the rear of 147 Oak Street (354 W. Oak Street after 1909).

The 1882 directory shows them living 1.3 miles south and east at 247 Michigan Street (42 E. Hubbard Street after renumbering in 1909 and a name change).

Emily's First Communion, with Molly
Emily's First Communion, with Molly, 1886.
Chicago, Loop, 1883-1892. The 1883 to 1890 directories show Emily's family living in what is now called the "Loop" at 78 Pacific Avenue (502 S. LaSalle Street after renumbering in 1909 and a name change). This was in St. Mary's parish. They moved a mile south and a couple blocks west. There were two years, 1883 and 1889, when the address was 80 Pacific instead of 78 Pacific. John's occupation during these years on Pacific Avenue was foreman. Emily and Molly received their First Communion at St. Mary's. The photo shows Emily in her First Communion dress, probably at age 8 in 1886, with her sister Molly.

Chicago, Lincoln Park, 1892-1920. In 1892 the family moved to the Lincoln Park section of Chicago at 144 Osgood Street (2053 N. Kenmore Avenue after renumbering in 1909 and a name change). This was three miles northwest of where they lived in the Loop. It was in St. Vincent's parish, a block and a half south of St. Vincent's Church and DePaul University.

952 W. Altgeld Street, 2000
952 W. Altgeld Street, 2004.
In 1893 Emily's family moved to a new building that her father John constructed at 1412 Dunning Street (now 950 W. Altgeld Street). This was less than a mile north of 2053 Kenmore. The building had two floors, with one apartment on each. Next to 1412, John built 1410 (now 952 Altgeld Street), which was a mirror image of 1412 and shared a common wall. Both buildings have been torn down, the last, in 2005, was 952 Altgeld. Genevieve Gier Donahue and James and Patricia Donahue Schwake were the last to live in 952 Altgeld.

In 1893, construction started on the elevated line that would run down the alley between Sheffield and Bissell, a half block west of 950-52 Altgeld. In 1900, elevated trains began operating from the Loop to Wilson Avenue, with a stop at Fullerton and Sheffield.

Emily graduated from Lake View High School, probably starting in 1892 and graduating in 1896. The school is 2.3 miles north and west of 950 Altgeld at 4015 N. Ashland Avenue.

In 1897, Emily's brother, William, a traveling salesman, married Catherine McCaffery. They lived at 128 Webster (1252 W. Webster Avenue after 1909) and had two children: John in 1899 and Alice in 1901.

Leslie and Emily Marry in 1900, Have 5 Children

Marriage Certificate     Marriage Certificate

St. Vincent's Church
Old photo of St. Vincent de Paul Church and College, built in 1897.
On January 25, 1900, Leslie Biggins, age 23, and Emily Foy, age 21, were married by Father Francis Xavier Monaghan, C.M., at St. Vincent de Paul Church on the north side of Chicago. Witnesses were Emily’s younger sister Mary (Molly) and Leslie’s younger brother Arthur. Father Monaghan was born in County Monaghan, Ireland.

Chicago, Greater Grand Crossing, 1900-1900. Leslie and Emily first lived in the Greater Grand Crossing community on Chicago's south side. The city directory shows them at 6923 S. Vernon Avenue. Leslie left his job as a clerk for Swift’s in the stock yards and started working as a bookkeeper for a cement company, the Garden City Sand Co., in the Loop.

Chicago, Englewood, 1900-1901. After only a short time on Vernon Avenue, Leslie and Emily moved two miles west northwest to the Englewood community. The 1900 census, which was taken in June, shows Leslie and Emily living at 6418 S. Lowe Avenue.

Chicago, North Center, 1901-1905. Sometime between 1900 and 1902, Leslie and Emily moved to the North Center section of Chicago at 501 School Street (1847 W. School Street after 1909).

In 1901, Emily's grandfather Dominick died. He was buried at Calvary Cemetery in a plot purchased in 1867 by Dominick’s brother Thomas (Section D, Block 6, Lot 28).

On August 1. 1902, Leslie and Emily’s first child, Mary Kathleen, was born.

Kathleen's Birth Certificate

In 1902, Emily's brother, William Foy, died when he was only 28, leaving his wife Catherine and two small children. He was buried in a plot purchased by his father at Mount Carmel Cemetery. The plot is in Section B, Block 2, Lot 19. Catherine moved to 133 Racine (2140 N. Racine Avenue after 1909). In 1912, they moved to 1624 Edgewater (1624 W. Gregory Street after 1913).

On October 23, 1903, Emily's grandmother, Bridget O'Malley Stanton, 72, died of capillary bronchitis. At that time and in the 1900 census, Bridget was living with Emily's parents on Altgeld Street. Bridget had been a widow for 30 years.

In 1904/1905 Leslie and Emily moved a few blocks to 22 Janssen Avenue (3423 N. Janssen Avenue after 1909).

On March 25, 1905, Leslie and Emily's second child, Emily Maria, was born.

Emily's Birth Certificate

Emily Maria Biggins, 1907
Emily Maria Biggins, 1909.
Emily cross
Cross given to Emily Maria Biggins in 1915, Emily Biggins Williams in 1952, and Sarah Emily Biggins in 2008.

Chicago, Lincoln Park, 1905-1954. In 1905 Leslie and Emily moved with Kathleen and baby Emily to her parents' building in St. Vincent's Parish at 1412 Dunning Street (now 950 W. Altgeld Street) in the Lincoln Park section of Chicago.

Also in 1905, Leslie was promoted from bookkeeper to salesman by the Garden City Sand Co. Around this time, John Rauhoff developed ironite and began manufacturing it in a factory in Tinley Park, near Chicago. Ironite is an additive for waterproofing cement. It was used in building the Hoover Dam in 1932-36.

Columbus Hospital
Columbus Hospital, Chicago, Ill., 1909. Source: John Chuckman, Chuckman's Collection (Chicago Postcards) Volume 08
Mother Cabrini
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini.
The National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini
The National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, built in 1955 as the chapel of Columbus Hospital opened in 2012 as a the shrine.

Peter Biggins remembers hearing that his grandfather Leslie worked on waterproofing at Columbus Hospital, where he dealt directly with Mother Francis Xavier Cabrini. Mother Cabrini was born in Sant’ Angelo Lodigiano, near Milan, Italy, in 1850 and came to America in 1889. Columbus Hospital was converted from a hotel in Lincoln Park by Mother Cabrini in 1906. Suffering from malaria, Mother Cabrini died in 1917, in a wicker chair in her room at the convent in Columbus Hospital. She was canonized a saint in 1946, and is the patron of immigrants. Her feast day is November 13. Two children of Peter and Marilyn Biggins were born here in 1970 and 1972. The hospital closed in 2002. The National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini was opened here in 2012.

George & Molly Foy Donahue
George & Molly Foy Donahue.
On April 3, 1907, Emily's sister Molly married George Donahue, a Chicago policeman. They lived at 1048 Grace Street (1310 W. Grace Street after 1909) for two years. In 1909, they moved to 952 Altgeld Street. In 1912, they moved to 2846 W. Washington Boulevard in Garfield Park. In the 1915 to 1917 directories, they were living in Lake View at 744 W. California Terrace. In the 1920 census, they were living a few blocks from Altgeld Street at 1131 W. Montana Street. In the 1923 and 1928 directories, they were living back on Altgeld Street. In the 1930 census, they were living in Rogers Park at 1745 W. North Shore Avenue.

Between 1907 and 1914, it must have been difficult for people to remember where Leslie and Emily lived. In 1907, Dunning Street became Greenwood Terrace. In 1909, number 1412 became number 950, as the numbering system was oriented to State Street to the east instead of Western Avenue to the west. In 1913, Greenwood Terrace became DaTamble. In 1914, DaTamble became Altgeld Street.

On April 17, 1909, Leslie and Emily's third child, Philip Leslie was born.

Philip's Birth Certificate

On September 2, 1910, their fourth child, John Alfred, was born. He was called "Al." He was baptized at St. Vincent's on September 25 by Father J. V. Devine, C.M. Godfather was his uncle George Donahue. Godmother was Mary Foy. He had three relatives that could have been Mary Foy: John Foy's sister, John Foy's cousin Mayme, or the daughter of John Foy's cousin Patrick.

Foy Apartments, 2000
Foy Apartments, 1035-41 W. Byron Street, Chicago, Illinois, two blocks north of Wrigley Field, 2000.
In 1910, Leslie started to work for another cement company, George W. de Smet.

In 1911, Leslie's mother Sarah McNally Biggins died and was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Section D, Block 9, Lot 11. This plot had been purchased by Sarah's mother Bridget and Sarah's brother-in-law John Dempsey to bury Sarah's father in 1861.

In 1913, Leslie's father Philip Biggins died and was buried next to Sarah at Calvary Cemetery. From 1911 to 1913, Philip lived at 950 Altgeld with Leslie and Emily.

On July 13, 1913, Leslie and Emily’s last child, Richard Vincent was born.

Richard's Birth Certificate

Leslie and Emily's children attended St. Vincent's Grammar School.

In 1914, Emily's father John built an apartment building at 1035-41 W. Byron Street, two blocks north of Wrigley Field. The building permit was taken out in the names of his daughters Emily Foy Biggins and Molly Foy Donahue. The building has the name “Foy” in raised letters over its two entryways. It was listed in the 1923 city directory as the Foy Apartments. The building now is owned by a Gerry Morrissey who bought it in the 1980s.

In 1915, Emily became one of the founding members of the DePaul Settlement Club, which supported the DePaul Day Nursery and Settlement House, now called the St. Vincent de Paul Center. The Center provides day care for children of working mothers. It was located at 2145 N. Halsted Street. The Club met twice a month and donated money to the Center. Emily was recording Secretary of the Club for many years.

In 1917, Leslie started his own waterproofing company. In the 1917 Chicago city directory, Leslie was no longer shown as working for George de Smet. His occupation was waterproofing. His 1918 draft registration shows that he was self-employed as a contractor with an office in room 422 in the Conway Building. In 1923, he was listed as President, Central Ironite Waterproofing Co. In 1928, he was listed as President-Manager, Central Ironite Waterproofing Co. In the 1920 and 1930 censuses, Leslie was listed as a waterproofing contractor. Stationary in later years said Leslie Biggins Incorporated, with the tag line: Lebinite Metallic Waterproofing. Perhaps the trade name "Lebinite" was created from the first two letters of Leslie and Biggins.

Bill Donahue remembers that Leslie worked on waterproofing at Techny Seminary in Techny, Illinois. Techny was built in 1909, and now is known as Techny Towers Retreat House. Jack Donahue remembers that Leslie worked on waterproofing at Lane Tech High School. Lane Tech was built in 1908. Leslie Biggins Uhnavy remembers that Leslie worked on waterproofing at Taft High School. Taft High School was built in 1939. Sarah Biggins Kelzenberg remembers that Leslie worked on waterproofing the subway system in Chicago. Construction of the Chicago subway system started in 1938. Emily Biggins Williams remembers that Leslie worked on an two colleges she attended: Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, and Mundelein College, now part of Loyola Chicago.

Emily Biggins 1905-1918
Tombstone of Emily Biggins, 1905-1918, at Mount Carmel Cemetery, Hillside, Illinois. Emily, age 13, was a victim of the Spanish flu epidemic.

           Death Certificate     Cemetery Record

On October 16, 1918, Leslie and Emily's daughter Emily died at age 13 from the Spanish influenza epidemic. The Spanish flu epidemic killed 21 million people world wide, including 600,000 in the United States and 8,500 in Chicago. October was the peak month in Chicago. Emily was buried in the Foy plot at Mount Carmel Cemetery: Section B, Block 2, Lot 19.

On September 12, 1918, two months before the end of the Great War, Leslie registered for the draft in Chicago. His draft registration says he was a contractor, age 41, medium height, slender build, had gray eyes and gray hair. On the day he registered, the American Expeditionary Forces under commander in chief General John J. Pershing launched its first major offensive in Europe as an independent army. The U.S.-led attack occurred in the Saint-Mihiel salient, a triangular area of land between Verdun and Nancy occupied by the German army since the fall of 1914. The Saint-Mihiel salient was strategically important as it hindered rail communications between Paris and the eastern sections of the front, Eliminating the salient was necessary before the final Allied offensive of the war could begin. Fortunately for the American forces, the Germans had begun pulling out of the salient two days before the offensive was launched. After an early morning artillery bombardment, U.S. infantry and tanks began the attack. Resistance was relatively light, and by September 16, this area of France was liberated from German occupation. The Great War ended November 11, 1918.

Twin Lakes, 1922
The Biggins boys at Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, in 1922. From left: Philip, 13, hidden; Richard, 9, sulking; and Alfred, 12, acceptive. The adjectives were written on the back of the photo.
On December 5, 1920, Emily's mother, Mary Stanton Foy died at home at 950 Altgeld Street. The cause was chronic interstitial nephritis. She was 72 years old. She left her husband and two daughters, Emily and Molly. After solemn high requiem mass at St. Vincent's, Mary was buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Section B, Block 2, Lot 19. She was buried next to her son William and her granddaughter Emily Biggins.

On June 16, 1921, Kathleen was among 22 who graduated from De Paul High School for Girls. On May 26, Kathleen played the part of St. Catherine of Siena in a Morality Play. On May 19, the Seniors held a debate in the Gymmnasiium, with Mary Sleton, Allene Love, and Catherine Cavanagh losing by a narrow margein to Kathleen Biggins, Maud Odger, and Mary Elizabeth Dore.

In the summer of 1922, the family went on vacation to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, 65 miles north northwest of Chicago. With nearly 1000 acres of water, the twin lakes of Mary and Elizabeth have drawn vacationers to numerous resorts as well as ice harvesters in the days of "ice box" refrigeration.

Sheffield Square Apts, 2006
Sheffield Square Apartments, 2006. Source: DePaul University. Built by Leslie and Emily Foy Biggins in 1925 and called University Court Apartments.
Al and Richard and their cousins Vincent and John Donahue studied to be a Vincentian priest at the Vincentian minor seminary at St. Vincent’s College in Cape Girardeau, 115 miles south of St. Louis on the Mississippi River. Al and John went on to study at the major seminary, St. Mary of the Barrens in Perryville, 40 miles northwest of Cape Girardeau. None of them ever became priests. Their second cousin's son, John P. Minogue, however, did become a Vincentian priest and ultimately President of DePaul University from 1993 to 2004.

In 1925, Leslie and Emily built the University Court Apartments at 2318-26 N. Sheffield Avenue. The new building was just a few blocks south of Altgeld Street. The family moved to the University Court Apartments, while Emily's father John Foy stayed at Altgeld Street with the Donahues. They issued $500 bearer first mortgage gold bonds with interest at 6.25% per annum payable semi-annually to State Bank of Chicago. Al's family occupied the front unit on the 3rd floor of the 2318 entrance. The architect for the University Court Apartments on Sheffield was the same that John Foy had used on the Foy Apartments on Byron Street. The University Court Apartments are now Sheffield Square Apartments of DePaul University, having been purchased in 1994 by Rev. John P. Minogue, president of the University and grandson of Emily's cousin, Helen Kane Minogue. See: Apartments at DePaul University.

Leslie Biggins, by Frances Foy Emily Foy Biggins, by Frances Foy Kathleen Biggins, by Frances Foy
Leslie and Emily Foy Biggins and daughter Kathleen Biggins, by Emily's second cousin Frances Foy, unsigned, circa 1925

On April 30, 1928, Al finished the minor seminary at St. Vincent’s College, was professed as a Vincentian, and started school at the major seminary, St. Mary of the Barrens in Perryville, 40 miles northwest of Cape Girardeau. A year later, he decided not to become a priest and left Perryville. In 1929, Al was accepted into the engineering school at Northwestern University in Evanston and received a degree in Civil Engineering in 1933.

On November 25, 1930, Leslie and Emily's daughter Kathleen married Philip Joseph Coverdale. Philip’s parents were Philip H. Coverdale (1872-1946) and Pearl O’Neill Coverdale (1881-1937). John Coverdale in England, a cousin of Philip Coverdale, has traced the Coverdales back to the late 1600s in Coverdale, Yorkshire, England, but not as far back as Myles Coverdale (1488-1569). In 1535, Myles Coverdale completed an English translation of the Bible that served as a basis for the King James version completed in 1611. Myles was a bishop who had gone over to the Anglican Church of Henry VIII. Philip Coverdale's ancestors, according to John Coverdale of England, are probably related to Myles Coverdale, but remained Catholic.

Hats Biggins
"Hats Biggins," by Elizabeth Biggins Schaab. Portrait of her father Richard Biggins, who modeled hats for the Chicago Tribune, in front of 2318 Sheffield. Art Space Gallery, Rockland, Maine, July/August 2007.
Biograph Theater, 1934
On July 22, 1934, FBI agents shot John Dillinger, public enemy No. 1, at 10:30 p.m. in an alley by the Biograph Theater at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue. Leslie and Emily’s son Philip, 25, was playing pool upstairs at the Biograph Billiard Parlor at 2431 N. Lincoln Avenue at the time that Dillinger was shot.

On July 13, 1936, Emily's father, John F. Foy died at age 88 at 2318 Sheffield. After requiem Mass at St. Vincent's, John was buried with his wife Mary and his granddaughter Emily in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Section B, Block 2, Lot 19.

In 1937, Leslie and Emily's three sons married. Philip married Olive Taylor in Chicago. Richard Vincent married Virginia Shay in Chicago. Al married Jane Marie Drueke in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A week before Al and Jane were married Jane's sister Irene was killed in a car being driven by Al. They were on their way to prenuptial dinner or birthday party. Irene had been married just two months earlier.

Leslie Biggins Incorporated
Letterhead for Leslie Biggins Incorporated, after 1943, which is when postal zones were intiated. Perhaps the trade name "Lebinite" was created from the first two letters of Leslie and Biggins.
Tag Day, 1944
Emily Biggins mentioned in the Chicago Tribune, September 25, 1944, p. 17.
John Foy, 1931, Age 83, 2318 Sheffield
John Foy, 1931, age 83, in home of Leslie and Emily Foy Biggins at 2318 Sheffield Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
World's Fair, 1933
Rickshaw in front of the Lama Temple at the Century of Progress World's Fair, 1933. Al and Richard and their cousin Vincent Donahue worked as coolies pulling rickshaws for visitors to the Century of Progress.

In 1945, Leslie and Emily Biggins sold the University Court Apartments, but they continued to live there.

During the 1940s, Leslie and Emily's daughter Kathleen and family moved to Milwaukee. In 1945, Phil and family bought a house in the Norwood Park section of Chicago. In 1945, Dick and family bought a house in Oak Park that had been owned by Thomas and Mary Higgins Foy and their grown children, Stephen, Mayme, and Kate. In 1948, they moved to a house in the Edison Park section of Chicago. In 1948, after living in St. Louis and Lake Bluff, Al and family bought a house in the suburb of Wilmette.

Leslie and Emily with eight of their grandchildren in the back yard of their son Dick's house in Oak Park circa 1945. From left, first row: Dick Biggins, Mary Biggins Second row: Sarah Biggins, Kathy Biggins, Jim Biggins. Third row: Emily Biggins, Peter Biggins, Ginny Biggins. Top row: Leslie Biggins, Emily Foy Biggins.
Leslie and Emily with nine of their grandchildren in the back yard of their son Al's house in Wilmette circa 1948. From left: Peter Biggins, Dan Biggins, Jim Biggins, Emily Foy Biggins, Leslie Biggins standing in back of Larry Biggins, Emily Biggins standing in back of Sarah Biggins standing in back of Nancy Biggins, Leslie Biggins holding Bill Biggins.

In 1950, Leslie and Emily celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Their children had a dinner for them at Belden-Stratford Hotel at 2300 N. Lincoln Park West in Chicago, grandchildren included.

Dan, Kathy, and Jim
Grandchildren of Leslie and Emily at their son Phil's house in Norwood Park in 1952. From left, Dan Biggins, Kathy Biggins, Jim Biggins.
Dick and Bill
Grandchildren of Leslie and Emily at their son Phil's house in Norwood Park in 1952. From left, Dick Biggins, Bill Biggins.
Emily and Ginny
Grandchildren of Leslie and Emily at their son Phil's house in Norwood Park in 1952. From left, Emily Biggins, Ginny Biggins.
Emily and Leslie
Grandchildren of Leslie and Emily at their son Phil's house in Norwood Park in 1952. From left, Emily Biggins, Leslie Biggins.
Peter and Ginny
Grandchildren of Leslie and Emily at their son Phil's house in Norwood Park in 1952. From left, Peter Biggins, Ginny Biggins.
Sarah, Nancy, and Mary
Grandchildren of Leslie and Emily at their son Phil's house in Norwood Park in 1952. From left, Sarah Biggins, Nancy Biggins, Mary Biggins.
14 grandchildren
Fourteen of the sixteen grandchildren of Leslie and Emily at their son Phil's house in Norwood Park in 1952. From left, first row: Larry Biggins, Sarah Biggins, Bill Biggins, Nancy Biggins, Dick Biggins. Second row: Jim Biggins, Dan Biggins, Kathy Biggins, Mary Biggins. Third row: Peter Biggins, Emily Biggins, Leslie Biggins, Ginny Biggins, Beth Biggins. Not present: Phil and John Coverdale.
Bill, Nancy, and Dick
Grandchildren of Leslie and Emily at their son Phil's house in Norwood Park in 1952. From left, Bill Biggins, Nancy Biggins, Dick Biggins.

Edison Park, 1954-1959. In 1954, Leslie and Emily moved from 2318 Sheffield to an apartment that their son Richard built onto their house in the Edison Park section of Chicago. They lived at 7358 N. Osceola Avenue.

Leslie Dies in 1959 at age 82

Cemetery Record

Leslie Biggins 1877-1959
Tombstone of Leslie Biggins, 1877-1959, at Mount Carmel Cemetery, Hillside, Illinois.
On May 25, 1959, Leslie Biggins died at age 82 at home at 7358 Osceola Street in the Edison Park section of Chicago. In 1954, Leslie and Emily had moved from 2318 Sheffield to an apartment that Al's brother Richard had built onto their house in Edison Park. Following a funeral Mass at the Church of St. Juliana in Chicago, he was buried in the Foy plot in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Section B, Block 2, Lot 19.

Chicago Tribune, December, May 26, 1959
Leslie Biggins, beloved husband of Emily Foy Biggins; loving father of Kathleen [Mrs. Phillip] Coverdale, Philip, J. Alfred, Richard, and the late Emily; 16 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; son of the late Philip and Sarah Biggins; brother of the late Arthur. Funeral Wednesday, May 27, at 9:30 a.m., from funeral home, 6754 Northwest highway, to The Church of St. Juliana, Touhy and Oketa. Interment Mount Carmel cemetery. NE 1-1240.

Emily Widowed at Age 81

Glass Beads, by Elizabeth Biggins Schaab
"Glass Beads," painting of Emily Foy Biggins by granddaughter Elizabeth Biggins Schaab.
Edison Park, 1959-1966. With Leslie's death in 1959, Emily was widowed after 59 years of marriage. She continued to live in Edison Park.

On February 4, 1962, Emily's sister Molly died. Following a funeral Mass at St. Vincent's, she was buried in the Foy plot in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Section B, Block 2, Lot 19.

Milwaukee, 1966-1967. In 1966, Emily moved to a nursing home in Milwaukee to be near her daughter, Kathleen Biggins Coverdale.

On June 6, 1967, Emily's son Philip died of a heart attack. He was 58.

Emily Dies in 1967 at Age 89

Cemetery Record

Leslie Biggins 1877-1959
Tombstone of Emily Foy Biggins, 1878-1967, at Mount Carmel Cemetery, Hillside, Illinois.
On August 24, 1967, Emily Foy Biggins died at age 89 in Milwaukee. Following a funeral Mass at the Church of St. Juliana, she was buried in the Foy plot in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Section B, Block 2, Lot 19.

Chicago Tribune, August 25, 1967
Mrs. Emily Foy Biggins, 89, founder of the De Paul Settlement club in 1910 and a former Chicago resident, died yesterday in Milwaukee, where she had been living with her daughter. She was the widow of Leslie Biggins. She is survived by two sons, Alfred and Richard; a daughter, Mrs. Kathleen Coverdale; 16 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren. Mass will be said at 9 a.m. tomorrow in the Church of St. Juliana, Touhy and Osceola avenues.

Leslie and Emily Foy Biggins: 5 children, 16 grandchildren

Mary Kathleen Biggins 1902-1986  m. 1930 Philip Joseph Coverdale 1908-1978 Emily Maria Biggins 1905-1918

Philip Leslie Biggins 1909-1967  m. Loretta Olive Taylor 1913-2002
  • Leslie Biggins b. 1939  m. 1960 Robert Uhnavy b. 1937
  • Daniel Philip Biggins b. 1941  m. 1964 Lois Krist b. 1943
  • Lawrence Biggins b. 1943  m. 1969 Jeanne Marie Parker b. 1947
  • Emily Ann "Nancy" Biggins b. 1947  m. 1973 Kurt Philip Schleser b. 1948
John Alfred Biggins 1910-1979  m. 1937 Jane Marie Drueke 1914-1998 Richard Vincent Biggins 1913-1994  m. 1937 Virginia Margaret "Dolly" Shay 1916-1985
  • Virginia Margaret Biggins 1939-1993  m. 1966 William Joseph Hernandez 1937-1996
  • Mary Kathleen Biggins b. 1941  m. 1962 James Oliver Brady 1944-1999
  • Mary Bernadette Biggins b. 1943  m. 1965 James Hurley b. 1941
  • Richard Vincent Biggins 1944-1970
  • Mary Elizabeth Biggins b. 1952  m. 1978 Michael Schaab

42 great grandchildren

Information on great grandchildren has been excluded. A version of this page without the exclusion is available upon request. Contact Peter Biggins:






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