This family originated in England, and was of a distinctive stock of blended German and Scandinavian blood. The founder of the American branch was actively identified with the beginnings of the Massachusetts Bay colony, and his descendants were prominent figures in the development of the other colonies and states among which they became dispersed.
(I) John Bigelow, the American ancestors, born in Wrentham, England [see also, Wikipedia], in 1617, was one of the early settlers in Watertown, Massachusetts, which was founded in 1630. He served in the Pequod and other Indian wars and was of such prominence that he was called to various civil offices in the colony. Soon after his coming to Watertown he married Mary, daughter of John Warren, of the "Mayflower" company. This was the first marriage of public record in Watertown, and from it came lines of descendants in all the New England and adjacent states. Among this children were: John, died childless; and Jonathan, of whom further. John Bigelow died July 14, 1703.
(II) Jonathan, son of John Bigelow, was born in Watertown, December 11, 1646. He married Rebecca Shepherd, and settled in Harford, Connecticut. Among his children were Jonathan and John, of whom further.
(III) Jonathan (2), son of Jonathan (1) Bigelow, married Mabel, daughter of Rev. Timothy Edwards. Their son Timothy was adjutant in the Canada expedition, and was father of Lieutenant Timothy Bigelow, who died at Fort Stanwix in 1746, and from them came the name given to Colonel Timothy Bigelow, the imtimate [sic] associate of Otis Warren and other patriots, and commandant at West Point at the close of the revolutionary war. The name also descended to others of hte family of later distinction.
(III) John (2), son of Jonathan (I) and Rebecca (Shepherd) Bigelow, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1679. His father gave him a farm of two hundred and seventy acres in Glastonbury, Connecticut, November 13, 1709, a part of which he sold December 23, 1716, and the remainder December 8, 1729. He removed to Hanover, New Jersey, about 1715, with others from Connecticut, who sought gold and silver ores, and settled Whippany, the oldest town in Morris county, and gave its name to the Pequannoc river. While the precious metals were not found, iron was uncovered, and the Bigelows were among the founds of the iron industry in New Jersey. So late as 179 John and Aaron, grandsons of John Bigelow, owned and operated the White Meadow Forge, near Rockaway. A contract preserved in the New Jersey Historical Society's archives, of date June 16, 1718, between John Bigelow and others, locates him in Newark. In 1723 he was the first collector of Hanover, then comprising the present Morris county. He married, January 11, 1710, in Connecticut, Abigail Richards. He died July 25, 1733, and his wife September 5, 1749; both are buried in the old Whippany burying-ground the oldest burying-ground in the oldest town in Morris county, by the side of John Richards, who donated the ground for burial purposes. Children, born in Whippany: John, Daniel, Samuel, Jonathan, Joshua, and daughters.
(IV) John (3), son of John (2) and Abigail (Richards) Bigelow, was a mine owner and farmer, and died in Whippany, in 1773. He married Elizabeth Dickerson, and was survived by sons John, Aaron, Moses and Timothy and by daughters. A memorial in the library o the New Jersey Historical Society, the "Pequannoc Remonstrance," dated May, 1776, signed by one hundred and eighty freeholders of Pequannoc township, Morris county, expresses in forceful terms hostility to the British crown, and affords evidence of the disloyalty of the influential men of that neighborhood. This has the signatures of all the adults in the Bigelow family in Morris county-- Daniel, Josiah, Aaron, Jonathan and Jabez. Of the others, John was in Canada; Timothy and Moses were not of age; and Samuel and Joshua were living elsewhere. Samuel, who was in Monmouth county, signed a similar document, and became a captain in the naval service, and was renowned for courage and enterprise. John and Aaron were captains in the military service and took part in various battles, narratives o which were told by David Gordon, a revolutionary soldier of Morris county, and are contained in the unpublished manuscripts of Rev. J. F. Tuttle, D. D., president of Wabash University, in possession of the Historical Society.
(V) Timothy, son of John (3) and Elizabeth (Dickerson) Bigelow, was born in Whippany, New Jersey, November 23, 173. At the age of sixteen he volunteered in the patriot army, took part in various engagements, and was present at the Yorktown surrender. After the war he married Hannah Ogden Meeker, and established his home at Lyon's Farms, now Newark. As a girl his wife witnessed warlike scenes, and often fled from her father's house to escape from British and Hessian marauders. Mr. Bigelow was of served and quiet disposition and devoted to his family. He was interested in educational affairs, and for some years served on the board of trustees of the "Old Stone School House," a neighborhood landmark. He died April 8, 1847, aged eighty-four years, and his wife May 23, 1862, aged eighty-six years.
(VI) Moses, only son of Timothy and Hannah Ogden (Meeker) Bigelow, was born on the family homestead at Lyons Farms (Newark), January 12, 1800. He attended the schools there and at Elizabethtown. Studious and thoughtful, in his youth he read all available standard works and excelled in various branches of knowledge, especially mathematics. He read law in a desultory way in the office of Governor William Pennington, and derived much pleasure from this pursuit. On arriving at age he engaged in manufacturing, with which he was prominently identified for more than a half century. His activity also led him into various important enterprises. In 1835, with John P. Jackson and J. M. Meeker, he procured the incorporation of the Morris & Essex railroad. He also draughted the charter of the Mechanics' Fire and Marine Insurance Company, long a prosperous institution, and was an incorporator and director of the Bank of New Jersey, the Howard Savings Institution, the Firemen's Insurance Company, the Republic Trust Company, the Citizens' Gas Light Company, and other local corporations. He was for many years an efficient trustee of the Trenton Asylum for the Insane, under appointment by the supreme court, and was the first president of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
He was elected in 1856 first Democratic mayor of Newark, and conducted municipal affairs with so great wisdom and discretion that he was re-elected four times. He was unusually well equipped for such a position. Cautious, reticent, independent and firm, his conduct was uniformly even and correct yet his success never led him to unseemly self-assertion or personal ambition. As mayor he inaugurated a system of block maps to facilitate taxation and numbering of houses; procured the establishment of sinking funds to extinguish the city debt; brought about the purchase of private water rights and the formation of the Newark Aqueduct Board; organized a police department, a dispensary of medicines for the poor, and a board of health; and directed the codification of hte city ordinances, and the modification or repeal of various obnoxious ordinances. During the civil war he made the financial afairs of the city his especial care and negotiated all public loans, and it is high tribute to him to record that all his plans were approved and adopted by the common council. In person he had an impressive presence; he was of superior intelligence and entire sincerity, and, withal, liberal in benevolence. He ws intensely fond of literature, and his evenings were devoted to his books and his library. He died in Newark, January 10, 1874.
Hon. Moses Bigelow married, February 4, 1836, Julia Ann Breckinridge Fowler, who had the advantages of the best associations and schools of her time, in Elizabethtown, Morristown and New York, and the social benefits of several seasons in Washington City with her father, a member of congress. She was a daughter of the accomplished mineralogist, Dr. Samuel Fowler, of Franklin, Sussex county, and granddaughter of Colonel Mark Thomson, officer in the revolution, deputy in the provincial congress, and member of congress in Washington's time. The family home of Mr. and Mrs. Bigelow was at 1020 Broad street, Newark. Children, born in Newark: 1. Samuel Fowler, see forward. 2. Moses, died March 26, 1897. He inherited many of the parental trait of character, and was a leading citizen of Newark during his entire active career. He was a promoter, trustee and treasurer of the Newark Technical School; trustee and treasurer of the New Jersey Reform School for Boys; and a governor of the Essex club. He held several official positions without emoluments, and was several times a delegate to Democratic national and state conventions. He married Eliza Rebecca, daughter of Colonel Samuel Fowler, of Frank, Sussex county, granddaughter of General John Mifflin Bordhead, of Pennsylvania, and great-granddaughter of Colonel Robert Ogden, of New Jersey. Children: Moses, Frederic, John Ogden and Henrietta. 3. Frederick, was a prominent citizen of Newark, much interested in religion, and for a time treasurer and vestryman of Grace Protestant Episcopal Church. After traveling extensively for his health he died at his home, "Montrose," near Newark, July 13, 1871. He married Harriet Van Rensselaer Bleecker, of New York. Children: Julia, wife of Francis H. Gellatly, of South Orange; Harriet Van Resselaer, and Frederica. 4. Josephine, married John C. Kirtland, of East Orange; children: Josephine, wife of Russell Colgate, of Llewellyn Park; May, and Katherine Campbell.
(VII) Samuel Fowler Bigelow, eldest child of Hon. Moses and Julia Ann (Breckenridge) Bigelow, was prepared for college at Newark Academy, Ashland Hall and Freehold Institute. He matriculated at Princeton College in 1853, and graduated in 1857. After the prescribed course of law studies under Amzi Dodd, of Newark, and Jehiel G. Shipman, of Belvidere, he was admitted to the New Jersey bar as an attorney at law in 1860, and as a counsellor [sic] in 1866. He was subsequently admitted to the bar of New York and California, and of various Federal courts. He has occupied various positions of importance in the line of his profession. He was elected city attorney of Newark in 1863, and judge of the Newark city court in 1868. He also received appointments as follows: From President Cleveland, as United States attorney for New Jersey; from the supreme court of New Jersey, as supreme court commissioner; from Chancellor William T. McGill, as special master in chancery; from Judge Andrew Kirkpatrick, of the United States district court, United States commissioner for New Jersey. The district courts were established chiefly through his instrumentality, but he declined the position of judge of the Newark district court tendered him by Governor Robert S. Green. He also declined the position of aide, with rank of colonel, tendered him by Governor Joseph D. Bedle. Mr. Bigelow is now actively engaged in the practice of his profession in his native city of Newark. He is unmarried.