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Frank W. Higgins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Frank W. Higgins
Frank W Higgins.jpg
35th Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1905 – December 31, 1906
LieutenantM. Linn Bruce
John Raines (acting)
Preceded byBenjamin Barker Odell, Jr.
Succeeded byCharles Evans Hughes
Lieutenant Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1903 – December 31, 1904
GovernorBenjamin Barker Odell, Jr.
Preceded byTimothy L. Woodruff
Succeeded byMatthew Linn Bruce
Member of the New York Senate
from the 50th district
In office
January 1, 1896 – December 31, 1902
Preceded byNew district
Succeeded byAlbert T. Fancher
Member of the New York Senate
from the 32nd district
In office
January 1, 1894 – December 31, 1895
Preceded byJames T. Edwards
Succeeded byGeorge R. Malby
Personal details
Frank Wayland Higgins

(1856-08-18)August 18, 1856
Rushford, New York, U.S.
DiedFebruary 12, 1907(1907-02-12) (aged 50)
Olean, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Kate Corinne Noble
(m. 1877; his death 1907)

Frank Wayland Higgins (August 18, 1856 – February 12, 1907) was an American politician who served as the 35th Governor of New York.

Early life

Higgins was born in Rushford, New York on August 18, 1856.[1][2] He was the son of Orrin Thrall Higgins (1826–1890) and Lucia Cornelia (née Hapgood) Higgins (1831–1868). Given the first name "Francis" at birth, he called himself "Frank" from an early age. His elder sister was Clara Alzina Hapgood Higgins,[3] who later married Frank Sullivan Smith, one time head of the Shawmut Railroad.[4] His father, a descendant of Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower, was a successful merchant who owned a chain of grocery stores in Olean, New York and held mining and timber tracts in Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon, and Minnesota.[1]

Higgins' grandfather was a pioneer physician of distinction in Western New York.[1]

Higgins attended Rushford Academy and then Riverview Academy, a military school in Peekskill, New York, from which he graduated in 1873. He then attended a commercial college in Binghamton, New York.


After completing his education Higgins worked as a sales agent for an oil company in Detroit and Chicago, and then became a partner in the Stanton, Michigan mercantile firm of Wood, Thayer, and Company. In 1879, Higgins returned to New York and became a partner in his father's business, Higgins, Blodgett & Co.[1]

Political career

He was a delegate to the 1888 Republican National Convention. In 1894, Higgins was elected to the New York Senate with a plurality of 8,046 votes over his opponent,[5] and he served for eight years, sitting in the 117th, 118th (both 32nd D.), 119th, 120th, 121st, 122nd, 123rd, 124th and 125th New York State Legislatures (all seven 50th D.). While in the Senate, he served on various committees and was "Chairman of the Finance Committee for a longer period than any other man."[5]

In 1888, he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Chicago that resulted in the nomination of former Senator Benjamin Harrison of Indiana for President and Levi P. Morton of New York, a former Congressman and Minister to France, for Vice President.[5]

In 1902, Higgins was the successful Republican candidate for lieutenant governor against Democrat Charles N. Bulger (663,689 votes to 653,555 votes),[5] and he served one term from 1903 to 1904. In what was considered the Republican Roosevelt wave, due to former New York Governor's Theodore Roosevelt's election to the Presidency,[6] Higgins was the successful Republican nominee for governor in 1904,[5] and he served one term from January 1905 to December 1906.[7] He was succeeded by fellow Republican Charles Evans Hughes (who later became the U.S. Secretary of State and Chief Justice of the United States).[8][9]

Higgins was in ill health at the end of his term and died just six weeks after leaving office. In his obituary in The New York Times, it was said:

"The illness of ex-Gov. Higgins covers practically the whole of his administration of two years. His health was not robust when he was nominated for Governor in 1904, and it is but chronicling the truth to say that the campaign taxed him greatly. Following his election he was able to rest up, and for a time he felt better than in months. On assuming office, however, the cares of the Governorship wore on him and each month increased the pressure."[1]

Personal life

On June 5, 1877, Higgins was married to Kate Corinne Noble (1855–1929), a daughter of Aaron Harrison Noble and Aldura (née Bell) Noble. They married in Stanton, Michigan where Higgins was then in business.[10] Together, they were the parents of:

  • Orrin Thrall Higgins (1879–1912)[11]
  • Josephine Bell Higgins, who married Émile Lucien Hovelaque, the Inspector General of Public Instruction in France, in 1911.[12][13]
  • Frank Harrison Higgins (1886–1937).[14]
  • Clarence Noble Higgins (1890–1890), who died in infancy of Cholera Infantum.

Among Higgins closest friends was Olean Mayor Nicholas Van Vranken Franchot, who served as the New York State Superintendent of Public Works during Higgins administration.[15]

Higgins died of heart disease in Olean on February 12, 1907.[1] After an Episcopal burial service read at his residence, he was buried at Mount View Cemetery in Olean.[15] President and Mrs. Roosevelt sent flowers, as did Governor Hughes and many other prominent people.[15] Higgins estate was valued at $1,250,000, considerably less than the $15,000,000 estimated around his death.[16] His wife died at the Higgins residence, 128 South Street in Olean, in May 1929.[10]


Higgins official portrait as Governor of New York was painted by Buffalo, New York native, Eugene Speicher.[17]

A biography of Higgins's life was written by William Gabler, entitled Frank Wayland Higgins: New York’s Forgotten Governor.[2][18]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Times, Special to The New York (13 February 1907). "EX-GOV. HIGGINS DIES IN OLEAL; End Comes While He Is-Unconscious, with His Family at His Side. ILL NEARLY SIX WEEKS For More Than a Year the Fatal Malady Was Known -- Sketch of His Career" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b Quinn, Brian (June 18, 2015). "The facts about Rushford native and former New York State Gov. Frank Higgins". The Wellsville Daily Reporter. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  3. ^ "MRS. FRANK S. SMITH; Sister of the Late Governor Higgins of This State" (PDF). The New York Times. 16 March 1934. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  4. ^ "RED CROSS TO GET MILLIONS BY WILL; Made Residuary Legatee by Widow of F.S. Smith, Former Head of Bar Examiners. BIG BEQUESTS TO CHARITY $250,000 for 11 Other Institutions and Individuals -- $100,000 for Seamen's Church Institute" (PDF). The New York Times. 30 March 1934. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e "THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEES. Records of the Candidates Selected for the State Ticket" (PDF). The New York Times. September 16, 1904. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  6. ^ Morris, Edmund (2010). Theodore Rex. Random House Publishing Group. p. 358. ISBN 9780307777812. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  7. ^ Special to The New York Times (2 January 1907). "MR. HIGGINS LEAVES ALBANY.; Remarkable Demonstration for Him at the Railway Station" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  8. ^ Hughes, Charles E. (14 February 1907). "HUGHES'S TRIBUTE TO EX-GOV. HIGGINS; Left to the People the Fresh Memory of a Character Without Blemish. FUNERAL TO-MORROW Delegations from Both Houses to Attend It, and ex-Governors Invited" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  9. ^ Wesser, Robert F. (2009). Charles Evans Hughes: Politics and Reform in New York, 1905-1910. Cornell University Press. p. 16. ISBN 9780801475504. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  10. ^ a b "MRS. FRANK W. HIGGINS.; Widow of New York Governor Dies of a Stroke of Paralysis" (PDF). The New York Times. 26 May 1929. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  11. ^ "WIN HIGGINS ESTATE SUIT.; Two Granddaughters of Former Governor Will Get $250,000" (PDF). The New York Times. 4 December 1931. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  12. ^ Times, Special to The New York (27 July 1911). "MISS HIGGINS A BRIDE.; Daughter of Late ex-Governor Married to Emile L. Hovelaque of France" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  13. ^ Special to The New York Times (17 May 1917). "EXPRESSES THANKS OF FRENCH MISSION; Hovelaque Issues Statement to the American People in Behalf of Viviani and Joffre. SURPRISED BY ENTHUSIASM One Regret Is That They Could Not Visit the South;-French Purchasing Board Has Arrived" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  14. ^ "F. HARRISON HIGGINS; Son of Former New York Governor Dies in Olean at 52" (PDF). The New York Times. 4 December 1937. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  15. ^ a b c "MR. HIGGINS BURIED; PUBLIC MEN ATTEND; Gov. Hughes and Other Officials at the Funeral at Olean. HIS CAREER PRAISED Dr. Ashton Speaks of the ex-Governor's Public and Private Life" (PDF). The New York Times. 16 February 1907. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  16. ^ "HIGGINS'S ESTATE MUCH LESS; Fortune of the Late Governor Expected to be Only $1,250,000" (PDF). The New York Times. 26 February 1907. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  17. ^ "Frank W. Higgins | 35th Governor 1905–1906". New York State Hall of Governors. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  18. ^ Eberth, John T. (September 19, 2008). "Olean to honor its governor". Olean Times Herald. Retrieved 12 June 2019.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Benjamin Odell
Republican nominee for Governor of New York
Succeeded by
Charles Evans Hughes
New York State Senate
Preceded by
James T. Edwards
New York State Senate
32nd District

Succeeded by
George R. Malby
Preceded by
new district
New York State Senate
50th District

Succeeded by
Albert T. Fancher
Political offices
Preceded by
Timothy L. Woodruff
Lieutenant Governor of New York
Succeeded by
M. Linn Bruce
Preceded by
Benjamin B. Odell, Jr.
Governor of New York
Succeeded by
Charles Evans Hughes
This page was last edited on 10 September 2021, at 07:59
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