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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

NOBLE B. WIGGINS. - It is given to but few men outside of political life to have so wide an acquaintance among the men prominent in national politics as had Noble b. Wiggins. He drew friends, however, from almost every walk of life and of the hundred with whom he was annually brought in contact none ever failed to entertain for him high respect. His unfailing courtesy was one of his innate attributes and made him popular, while his integrity and upright manhood stood as unquestioned facts in his career. Long actively and helpfully interested in Springfield and her welfare, it is no wonder that his death was so deeply regretted throughout the city when the news of his demise on the 8th of October, 1901, was received.

Colonel Noble B. Wiggins was a native of Ohio, his birth having occurred in Newburg, now a part of the city of Cleveland, October 21, 1841. His early youth was passed in a manner similar to that of most farmer lads of the period. He perhaps enjoyed more advantages than some and less than others. He attended the district schools until eighteen years of age, when there came to him the opportunity to enter Hiram College, in which he continued his studies for a year. Farm work again claimed his attention until after the inauguration of the civil war, when, aroused by a spirit of patriotism, he put aside all business and personal considerations and on the 9th of September, 1861, offered his services to the government. He became a member of the Forty-second Ohio Regiment, commanded by colonel James A. Garfield, afterward president of the United States, and served until the 2d of December, 1864, taking part in the battles in which his command participated.

After the expiration of his three years' term Mr. Wiggins returned to Ohio and was again engaged in farming there for two years, when, thinking that he might have better business opportunities farther west, he came to Springfield, Illinois, and from that time until his death was identified with the city and her business affairs. He accepted the position of steward of the Leland Hotel, then conducted by Horace S. Leland, who belonged to the family of brothers who became distinguished throughout the country because of their prominent connection with hotel interests. Soon Mr. Wiggins' ability became recognized and after serving as steward from April, 1867, until July 1, 1878, he was admitted to a partnership in the business under the firm style of Leland & Wiggins. This relation was maintained until the 1st of August, 1889, when Mr. Leland died and Mr. Wiggins became sole proprietor and owner of the Leland Hotel, the finest hostelry in the state outside of Chicago. He retained the active management up to the time of his illness which resulted in his death, and during that time he formed a very wide acquaintance among men of state and national reputation. The Leland Hotel has always been the headquarters of the Republican party in Springfield and within its walls many plans have been formed which have resulted in making history. Partisan feeling has also sometimes been engendered, resulting in personal hostility, but Mr. Wiggins ever retained the friendship of opposing factions, because of his unfailing courtesy to all, his genial manner and cordial disposition.

On the 21st of October, 1869 - the twenty-eighth anniversary of his birth - Mr. Wiggins was united in marriage to Miss Clarissa Leland, a sister of his partner, and unto them were born three children who reached mature years. The two sons, Horace and Lewis, have been active in the management of the Leland Hotel for some years and have also been the managers of the large six hundred acre farm which belongs to the estate. The daughter, Lucy, is with her mother and spends the heated season of the year at their summer home and the winter months in the hotel. Horace L. Wiggins was born in March, 1871, and wedded Miss Mary Mooney, a daughter of Captain Samuel Mooney, of Springfield. They have a daughter Clarissa Leland Wiggins. Lewis Noble Wiggins, born in 1876, married Miss Daisy Sattley, a daughter of Archibald Sattley, and they have one daughter, Martha W. Jerome A. Leland has also been a member of the Wiggins household from early boyhood. He is a son of George S. Leland and was born in New York city in 1873. At the death of his mother he was taken by Mr. and Mrs. Wiggins into their home as a member of their family and has since resided here. He has a farm of his own in Sangamon county, south of the old Leland farm. His wife was in her maidenhood Miss Gertrude Akin, a daughter of ex-Attorney General Akin, and they have two children, Edward A. and Louise.

Colonel Noble B. Wiggins was a man of domestic tastes, devoted to his family. He was also deeply interested in the welfare and progress of the city in which he made his home, and was a co-operant factor in many measures for the city's benefit. He served for many years on the staffs of Illinois' governors and might have won high political honors, but his aspirations were in other directions. Several times he was solicited to accept the mayoralty nomination but he always declined, his best public service being done as a private citizen. He did not wish political work to interfere with his business and a little thoughtful consideration of the career of Mr. Wiggins brings one to the conclusion that he was in his business operations impelled by the spirit of the pioneer. He sought out new plans and new conditions for carrying on his enterprise and successfully inaugurated these with the result that the Leland House had few equals throughout the west. He was respected and honored wherever known and most of all where he was best known and although he came to Springfield a young man in limited financial circumstances he won his way to a foremost position among the men of affluence in central Illinois.

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