ELIZABETH JANE WIGGAM
North Vernon Plain Dealer November 16, 1922
Elizabeth Jane Wiggam was born December 24th 1826 and d. November 12th 1822, aged 95 years, 10 months and 19 days. She was born in
the Coffee Creek community near Paris Crossing, Indiana, and was the daughter of Rev. Thomas and Susan Hill, her father being a widely known Baptist minister.
On August 22nd, 1884 she was married, at the age of 18 to James W. Deputy of Deputy, Indiana. This union was terminated about 1868 (July 28, 1871)
by the death of her husband. During these years she and Mr. Deputy resided on a farm near Deputy, four years being spent in residence in the city of Madison, where her
husband was county surveyor.
After the death of her first husband she continued to reside on the farm at Deputy for several years and on Oct, 26th, 1875 was united in marriage
to John Wiggam of Austin, Indiana. Her husband, John Wiggam, died on the 9th day of August 1881 and she was thus left a widow with the immense task of rearing and caring
for his nine children. She continued to run the old homestead farm at Deputy and keep the children together or send them off to various schools and Colleges as she was
always determined that they should all receive the best possible education.
In the autumn of 1883 in order to secure high school training for the younger boys and girls she removed to Vernon where she has since resided, a
period of thirty-nine years.
These names and dates give but a simple outline chronicle of a heroic life that has stretched over nearly a hundred years. A hundred years that has
witnessed more marvelous changes in the outward circumstances of human life than any other in the world's history. But, with all these changes in the outward appearances of
life the inner realities of the human heart have remained the same and, Aunt Jane Wiggam, as she was known to all the community, or Mother Wiggam, as she was known to her two
sons, John and Edward, who survive her, was a woman who lived not by the outward show of life, but by those inner, never changing realities of truth and goodness and kindness
to her neighbor, of loving thoughtfulness for others and a total lack of any self-seeking. For much more than half a century she was a consistent member of the Baptist Church
and all her life a profound believer in the Christian religion. She was rather reserved in talking publicly of her religious life, but was always ready to aid in any practical
way all the enterprises of the church and to make her religion a thing of every day going about doing good.
However, to her son Edward, whom she raised from a lad of only four years of age she often talked of her religious beliefs. Many, many times, during the
past few years she has expressed to him her firm belief in the teachings of the Master, and her longing to live a life as nearly as possible like His. Many times she would repeat
a remark made by one of her adopted sons on his death bed who said, "Mother, it is really too beautiful a day to die and leave this lovely world behind." and then she would always
add, "But, we can't choose the day to go. We must just be ready when it comes and believe we will find the next world more beautiful than this."
Her two sons, John and Edward, wish they had the power of words just to tell the neighbors and friends of their deep and abiding gratitude for this wonderful
woman who took the place of their own mother and who patiently carried out the immense truly heroic task of caring for their family. She counseled them and watched over them, cared
for them when they were sick and shared their joys and successes and their failures with an understanding heart that is given only to Mothers to have. Some of these children were
sick, one of them bedridden for many years, and her faithfulness and love and patience in nursing and caring or for them through sunshine and shadow deserves more than this simple
tribute. These are the eternally wonderful things that only Mothers can do because only Mothers understand.
One remark her children always treasured was one she frequently made to neighbors and friends "Well none of my children ever gave me an unkind word." The
dear simple hearted woman did not realize that this was not because they were unusual children but because she was an unusual mother. As little children they were no doubt like all
little children, often peevish and irritable, but as they grew to understanding years they could utter no unkind word to her because in all her years she had never uttered a single
one to them.
Her whole life was literally spent in nothing but doing good to other people. She often remarked that since her first marriage there had been held in her
home the funeral ceremonies of fourteen different, persons. Again she failed to mention, because she never thought of it, that this remarkable record was due entirely to the fact
that in their last days, or years or months of illness it was she who had thrown her whole body and soul in to the arduous task of caring for them and walking by their side like
the Master did even unto the end.
Such a life deserves a tablet in any Hall of truly great human personalities. But, just because these virtues are common to all good mothers everywhere we
fail to see their impressive majesty and their matchless beauty. But we should remember to-day in parting from this noble life that here was a woman who gave all these virtues, all
this patience, all its inspiration, not to the children of her own flesh and blood but to the children of some other woman. Indeed, here is an inspiring example to all the good step
mothers of the world-to all those blessed women whom God has called to take the place of Mothers who have had to go and leave their children behind. It helps us to see that mothering
is just a quality of all truly noble womanhood and that fine and true womanhood and fine and true motherhood are one and the same thing and spring from the same eternal spring-that
eternal spring of God's love made flesh in the world.
And these lines would not be complete without speaking of the lasting gratitude of John and Edward the two sons yet living, for all the unending kindness and
helpfulness to their mother from the many neighbors and relatives and friends. All they can say is they are deeply grateful and they hope only that they can hand the same kindness
on somewhere, sometime to someone else. In her last illness, due to her accident last spring she has said many times daily "I've had such good neighbors. They have all been so good
to me." She told her son Edward many, many times she wanted him always to remember that. These two men wish to express publicly their appreciation to Mrs. Stillwell, who for the past
four years has given every ounce of her strength and kindness to making their Mother's last years as peaceful and happy they could be made. She has not spared either strength or health
to carry out her difficult task-just how difficult no one can know who has not been closely in touch with the household. The nurses in her last illness. Miss Huntington, Mrs. Whitcomb,
and Mrs. Brammer, have done all that patience and kindness and skill could do to bring her either back to health or else keep her free from pain and suffering if God willed she had to
go. And her nieces who survive her, and wnom she loved deeply, Mrs. Addie Phillips, of Butlerville, Mrs. Orah Hopkins, of Paris, Mrs. Susan Little, of Vernon, and Mrs. Letha Wells, of
Columbus, have given all the time and service within their power toward the same end. She spoke often of their kindness and there affection for her. And of her two daughter-in-laws,
Mrs. John Wiggam of Emporia, and Mrs. Edward Wiggam, of New York, she left many loving expressions of her affection. But one cannot chronicle all the many people to whom she left
affectionate memories and loving" words.
So, finally, friends and neighbors we have here before us the plain and simple life of a plain and simple woman. And like all truly great things the teaching
of her life is plain and simple and easy to understand. Such a life should teach us that whether the atheist be right or the Christian be right is to the next world, nevertheless for
this world alone righteousness is the right thing. Such a life should teach us that even if God, Himself is wrong-and we know He is not wrong-but even if He were wrong-nevertheless we
see by this noble life that 'righteousness' is the right way to live. Such a life should teach us that it pays to be good, it pays to do right, it pays to be unselfish, It pays not to
vaunt oneself or to be puffed up, it pays to be fair and Just and live a life of good report; and above all it must teach us that it pays never to lose a rich and living faith in that
high, unknown, but always loving purpose of the world which we call God. c Findagrave link
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