Dr. George Huggans is listed among the early doctors of Montgomery County. Although he was only the second physician to practice in the town of Darlington, following Dr. Edward Andrews, no information about him remained to those writing about Darlington's history in Bowens's History of Montgomery County, Indiana. However, because of a few discoveries made from the materials in the CDPL collection, we now have more information about this pioneer doctor of Montgomery County.
The marriage of George M. Huggans to Sarah A. Winton is recorded on February 6, 1845 in Montgomery County, Indiana. The Annual Announcement of Rush Medical College of Chicago, Illinois contains the name of George M. Huggans of Indiana as a graduate in 1849.
Dr. George M. Huggins [sic] is listed in the 1850 Franklin township census of Montgomery County with his family. At the time, he was listed as 37 years old and a physician. Also in the household were: Sarah M., 25, born in Ohio; Margaret E., age 10; Mary J., age 8; Orpha M., age 3; and Charles S., age listed as zero. All children are listed as being born in Indiana.
According to the obituary of his daughter Orpha, found in the Frances Anderson Scrapbook in the CDPL collection, Dr. Huggans began practicing medicine in Darlington in the late 1840s. His daughter, Orpha, was born in Darlington on January 12, 1848. In 1852, Dr. Huggans and family moved to Macomb, Illinois, where a son, George Frederick Huggans, was born. Approximately two years later, they moved again, this time to Eddyville, Kentucky. In Eddyville, a daughter, Lillian, was born. The obituary also indicates that there were three other children born in Eddyville; however, they died young. The obituary also states that the last six children were from a second wife: the identity of the first wife is not known.
The 1860 federal census lists Dr. Huggins [sic] in Lyon County, Kentucky. Listed in his household were: George M. Huggins, 49, Physician; Sarah Huggins, 35; Mary I. Huggins, 18; Orpha Huggins, 13; George F. Huggins, 6; and Lillian Y. Huggins, 3.
An interesting fact comes from the Kentucky Historical Society regarding Dr. Huggans. A marker in Eddyville explains an important case Dr. Huggans undertook during his career. A man named William Kelly was considered by many to be insane because he believed that he could manufacture a substance stronger than iron. Dr. Huggans was consulted, believed the man's claim, found the idea to be practical, and ruled him sane. Kelly went on to patent a steel manufacturing process in the United States in 1857. The Kentucky Historical Society lists the year of his death as 1866.
G. F. Huggans was born in 1853 in Macomb, Illinois (other sources say 1854 in Mattoon, Illinois) to Dr. George M. Huggans and Sarah Winton Huggans. He spent his early childhood in the Eddyville, Kentucky area. He married Elizabeth Beal Dec. 30, 1880 in Crawfordsville. He had several siblings who lived to adulthood: Lillian Huggans Glenn (Thomas C. Glenn), Mary Isabelle Huggans White (James Lanson White), and Orpha Maria Huggans, who was a schoolteacher and never married. Other siblings died young.
He began his railroad career with entry-level jobs, but in time, established a successful career as a railroad superintendent in Carthage, New York; Montgomery, Alabama; and Scranton, Pennsylvania. About 1905, G. F. and Elizabeth Huggans returned to Crawfordsville, where "Fred," as he was also known, found many opportunities to use his talents as an executive. He was the superintendent and chief engineer of the Indianapolis, Crawfordsville and Western Traction Co. (Ben Hur Route), and later served as president of the Johnson Acetylene Gas Company in Crawfordsville. He was a trustee of the Crawfordsville Electric Light & Power Company in 1913 and 1914. He also used his abilities in charitable work, assisting groups such as the YMCA and his church, the First M.E. church.
Among the original documents owned by the library are two interesting letters – unsigned – discussing the letter writer's time spent in Indian Territory. Although the identity of the writer was previously unknown to the library, Jodie Steelman Wilson has identified this person as Elizabeth (Beal) Huggans, the wife of George Frederick Huggans. The letters recollect the early days of her marriage, and discusses her husband's work as a civil engineer building railroad bridges into Indian Territory in the area that is now Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Elizabeth Beal Huggans was the daughter of Elizabeth (Kellison) Beal and Jonathan Beal (died 1886). There were 8 daughters born to this family:
Emma Beal (Mrs. Jeff Scott)
Jennie Beal (Mrs. W.E. Nicholson) [Ota Nicholson Eastman]
Elizabeth Beal (Mrs. George Huggans)
Mehala "Hallie" Beal (Mrs. C. W. Jones)
Eliza Beal(Mrs. Albert Elwood Griest)
Martha F. "Mattie" Beal (Mrs. F.A. Truitt)
Mary Alice Beal(Mrs. Charles A. Barrett) [Reca Barrett Essex, Martha Elizabeth Barrett Luster]
Fannie Beal – d. 1890
Elizabeth (Beal) Huggans was an organizer of the Agenda Society, a charitable organization in Crawfordsville. She also was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Women's Relief Corps.
George Frederick Huggans died in Crawfordsville, Indiana on October 11, 1917, and Elizabeth Huggans died in Crawfordsville on August 1, 1939. They are buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, Crawfordsville.
Bowen, A.W. & Co. (1913). History of Montgomery County, Indiana. Indianapolis, IN: A.W. Bowen & Co.
Darlington, Yesterday and Today. (1936) Crawfordsville, IN: Suburban Press.
Dr.George M. Huggans, historical marker information available from:
Kentucky Historical Society. Accessed February 2, 2010.
Orpha Huggans obituary (June 29, 1911) Unknown newspaper. Frances Anderson Scrapbook, (RL 920 And) Crawfordsville District Public Library Collection, Crawfordsville, Indiana.
Index to early marriage records of Montgomery County, Indiana. (1985) Crawfordsville, Indiana: [n.p.]
Rush Medical College. (1849) Annual Announcement. Chicago, IL: Rush Medical College. Accessed February 2, 2010 from Rush University.
1850 Federal Census of Montgomery County, Indiana. Transcribed by Winifred L. Stockdale.
1860 Federal Census of Lyon Co., Kentucky. Accessed through Ancestry.com, February 2, 2010.
For more information on the Beal family and related family members,
see the Frances Anderson scrapbook, (RL 920 And) in the library collection. Many
clippings are included about this family.