CHARLES T. HIGGINBOTHAM - Charles T. Higginbotham, superintendent of the Illinois Watch Factory, at Springfield, has become one of the leading and representative men in his line of business in the United States and from a minor position in connection with the industry he has worked his way steadily upward until his capability has gained for him a very important and responsible position, in which he has supervision over seven hundred operatives. He was born in New York, January 21, 1840, a son of Joseph and Anna M. Lett Higginbotham. The father, a native of England, was a watchmaker and lived to the advanced age of ninety years. His wife belonged to the Emmett family of Ireland and was a cousin of Robert Emmett, the Irish patriot. They were married in England, emigrated to America in the thirties, settling in New York city, where the father followed his trade at which he had served a seven years' apprenticeship in England. He followed the jeweler's business on Second avenue in New York and our subject can remember that city when there was little business on Broadway. In the family were fourteen children, of whom be was the youngest, and, he now has a brother living in New Jersey and a sister in the west, but the others are deceased.
Charles T. Higginbotham was educated in the public schools of his native city and afterward worked at a watch bench in New York. He enlisted in the United States army two days before the President issued his call for troops, in anticipation of the war, and served with the Nineteenth New York Infantry until its ranks had become so decimated that the surviving troops were attached to the Third New York Artillery, with which he was connected two years. Of seven hundred and eighty-three men that went to the front with the Nineteenth, only one hundred and thirty-five were mustered out. His service was largely in western Virginia and in North and South Carolina.
After the war Mr. Higginbotham returned to New York and entered the employ of E. & G. W. Blunt. In 1867 the New York Watch Company removed to Springfield, Massachusetts, and later sold out to the Hamlin Watch Company, in the employ of which Mr. Higginbotham continued until 1887. He began there as inspector and escapement designer and was gradually promoted until during the latter years of his connection with the institution he was its master watchmaker. In 1887 he accepted the superintendency of the Seth Thomas Watch Factory, with which he remained until October, 1900, when he came to Springfield as superintendent of the Illinois Watch Factory. He was financially interested in the Hamlin and the Seth Thomas Watch Companies and he has been connected with this industry since its inception in the United States. Now he has direct supervision over seven hundred employes and under his care the operative department of the business is well carried on and he enjoys the entire confidence of the stockholders of the company.
Mr. Higginbotham was married in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Miss Mary J. Welch, a native of New York state, where she was reared and educated. They have three children: Katherine is the wife of E. G. Tift, for many years city treasurer of Springfield, Massachusetts, and a grandson of a former Massachusetts governor. They have two sons, Lewis and Charles, both studied in the high school of Springfield, Massachusetts. Paul R., at home, attended school in Springfield, Massachusetts received a thorough training in mechanics and is now learning the watchmaker's trade.
With the progress which has characterized his chosen field of labor he has continually kept pace, and today is regarded as an expert in his line. It has been his diligence, his enterprise and his laudable ambition that have developed his skill and contributed to his success. In his relations with those who are employed under him he is just and considerate and also carefully looks after the interests of the company which he represents.