DIGGINS, ROBERT, a venerable and greatly respected resident of Concord, Morgan County, Ill., was born in St. Alban's, near London, England, June 10, 1825, the son of Edward and Mary Ann Diggins, also natives of England. In his boyhood he attended the public schools of his native country and afterward learned the carpenter's trade with his father.
On March 7, 1853, Robert Diggins embarked for America, the voyage from Liverpool to Boston, Mass., consuming forty-three days. From Boston he went to New Brunswick, Canada, where he was employed as a carpenter on the railroad. In 1851, he sailed for Norway, where he had a contract for the carpenter work on the first railroad built in that country. Returning to the United States in 1856, he proceeded to Illinois and located in Morgan County, where he engaged in contracting and building. In 1862 he was employed by the Quartermaster's Department of the Army in building barracks, bridges, wagons, etc., at Cairo, Ill., and Nashville, Tenn. His work for the Government continued four years, during which period he built Benton Barracks at St. Louis. After the war he returned to Concord, Ill., and soon afterward began growing osage-hedge fences. Subsequently he engaged in the undertaking business, which he conducted for nine years. Mr. Diggins owns 240 acres of land in Illinois and 400 acres in Kansas.
On November 5, 1860, Mr. Diggins was united in marriage with Mary J. Eagle, who was born in Ipswich, England, and came to Concord, Ill., with her parents when she was seven years old. Of the nine children born to this union four survive, namely: Reuben, a farmer living in the vicinity of Concord, Morgan County; William, who lives in Beardstown, Ill.; Ida, who resides at home; and Elizabeth, a milliner of Springfield.
In politics, Mr. Diggins is a supporter of the Democratic party. He held the office of Overseer of the Poor for several years and for twenty-five years has served in the capacity of Justice of the Peace. Fraternally, since 1862 he has been affiliated with the A.F. & A.M. and is treasurer of the local lodge. In 1857 he became identified with the I.O.O.F. Mrs. Diggins is a devoted Christian, and has been a member of the Methodist episcopal Church since she was thirteen years of age. Mr. Diggin's career has been remarkable for energy and enterprise, and has been attended with marked success. He has long been prominent in every movement pertaining to the welfare of the town of his adoption, and his extended period of life has been full of usefulness, both in a private sphere and in his relation to the community. His ripening years are crowned with the respect and cordial esteem of his fellow citizens.