Frank G. Higgins

Frank G. Higgins

Frank G. Higgins, 1891
4th Lieutenant Governor of Montana
In office
January 7, 1901  October 15, 1905
Governor Joseph Toole
Preceded by Archibald E. Spriggs
Succeeded by Edwin L. Norris
Member of the Montana House of Representatives
Personal details
Born December 28, 1864
Hell Gate, Montana
Died October 15, 1905(1905-10-15) (aged 40)
Portland, Oregon
Citizenship United States
Alma mater University of Michigan
Known for Football player/Politician

Francis Grant "Frank" Higgins (December 28, 1864 October 15, 1905) was an American football player, lawyer and politician. He played college football at the University of Michigan. He was the first native-born person from Montana to become a member of the state's bar and of the state's legislature. He served in the Montana House of Representatives and was elected as the mayor of Missoula, Montana in 1892. He was the fourth Lieutenant Governor of Montana from 1901 to 1905.

Early years

Higgins was born in 1864 at Hell Gate, Montana, near the site of what would become Missoula, Montana. He was the son of Julia Grant and Christopher Powers Higgins (1830–1889), an early Montana pioneer and the founder of the city of Missoula. He attended the public schools of Missoula and graduated in 1881 from the military school in Faribault, Minnesota. He was sent east to attend the Phillips Exeter Academy at Exeter, New Hampshire.

University of Michigan football team, 1885

Higgins subsequently enrolled at the University of Michigan where he studied law and played college football as a forward for the undefeated 1885 Michigan Wolverines football team.[1]

After graduating from Michigan in 1886, Higgins returned to Missoula where he practiced law. He was the first person born in Montana to be admitted to the Montana state bar.[2] In the late 1880s, he gave up the practice of law to become president of the Higgins Bank in Missoula.[2] He subsequently began a political career and became the first native-born person from Montana to be elected to the Montana state legislature and as a mayor. He served in the Montana House of Representatives upon Montana's admission to the United States starting in 1889.[2] He served in both the first and second sessions of the Montana legislature.[3]

University (Main) Hall circa 1900

Higgins is credited with the decision to locate the University of Montana at Missoula, having introduced the bill into the state legislature providing for the establishment of a state university in Missoula.[3] He was elected as the mayor of Missoula in May 1892 and served a one-year term.[4] He was also a delegate from Montana to 1892 Democratic National Convention.[5]

During the Spanish–American War, Higgins served two years as a captain in Company F of the United States volunteers. He was a member of the Grisby Rough Riders during the Battle at Chickamauga.[3] He was elected as the Lieutenant Governor of Montana in 1900 and served in that office from 1901 to 1905. After being elected to the office in 1900, Higgins spoke of his campaign and said "he had tackled the sheep herders, cowboys, miners and lumber jacks, and, of course, liked the miners best of all."[6]

Family and death

Higgins married Barbara Hayes from Ontario, Canada in September 1892. They had one son, Grant Higgins.[3]

Higgins died in October 1905 at St. Vincent's hospital in Portland, Oregon. He died from complications of diseases contracted while serving in the Spanish–American War. After suffering a relapse, he was taken to Portland in the hope that "the climatic conditions would help to remove the severe strain to his nervous system."[3] At the time of his death, the Anaconda Standard, a major newspaper of the time in Montana, gave over a full page to tributes to the late lieutenant governor. One colleague noted: "Frank G. Higglns was a scholar, one who read a great deal and always of the best. The classics and works of political economy were his favorite books. He cared not for fiction, but dwelt on facts. He cared but little for poetry, save the poetry of the rushing mountain stream and the music of the wind through the trees of his native heath."[5]

See also


  1. "1885 Football Roster". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 Jno. Pace, H.J. Mock (1891). The Montana Blue Book: A Biographical, Historical and Statistical Reference. The Journal Publishing Co. p. 124.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Missoula Mayors Interred at the Missoula Cemetery". City of Missoula.
  4. "Missoula's Mayors". City of Missoula. November 25, 2010.
  5. 1 2 "Beautiful and Impressive Services at the Union Opera House in Missoula—-C. P. Connolly Delivers the Oration and Charles H. Hall the Eulogy on the Late Frank G. Higgins". The Anaconda Standard. December 4, 1905.
  6. "AT SUTTON'S THEATER: Nine Speakers Tell the Crowd How It Happened". The Anaconda Standard. November 11, 1900.
Political offices
Preceded by
Archibald E. Spriggs
Lieutenant Governor of Montana
Succeeded by
Edwin L. Norris
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