About PetersPioneersPeter and Marilyn Carroll Biggins Family

Index      Michigan Map      Chicago Map      Texas Map      New York Map      Family Tree      Descendants      Home Page

Peter Born in 1939

Birth Certificate     DNA Certificate     Biggins/Beggan irish Roots

Leslie Biggins
1877-1959
Irish Flag
John Alfred Biggins
1910-1979
Emily Foy
1878-1967
Irish Flag
Peter Alfred Biggins
b. 1939
William F. Drueke
1883-1956
German Flag
Jane Marie Drueke
1914-1989
Rose Viola Smith
1882-1973
German Flag

48-Star US Flag 1912-1959Kalamazoo, 1939-1941. Peter Alfred Biggins was born breech November 8, 1939, at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 1939, there were 48 states in the Union. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President of the United States.

Peter was the second child of John Alfred and Jane Drueke Biggins, who lived at 916 Normal View (now 916 Lee Barton Ct.).

Peter was born 364 days after his sister, Emily Jane.

Peter was baptized November 19 at St. Augustine Church by Father Raphael Dunigan. His godparents were Jack Covington and his aunt Marian Drueke. In 1951, a new church was built and, in 1971, Kalamazoo became a diocese and the church became St. Augustine Cathedral.

Peter's father was a corrugated box salesman for Container Corporation of America. He had a company car: a 1938 Chevrolet Master Business Coupe. The list price new was $648. Specs: 85 horsepower, 6 cylinders straight, 80 mph top speed, 17 mpg fuel economy.

WMU tram
1931 postcard showing the tram up to East Hall at Western Michigan University. Source: Kalamazoo History.
The house on Normal View was across the street from Western State Teachers College, now Western Michigan University. The college was originally called Western State Normal School.

Peter is half German and half Irish. Peter's maternal grandparents, William and Rose Smith Drueke, lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan in a house they owned at 120 Grand Avenue NE, about 50 miles north of Kalamazoo. William was a second generation American of German descent and owned a game manufacturing company. Rose was a fourth generation American of German descent.

Peter's paternal grandparents, Leslie and Emily Foy Biggins, lived in the Lincoln Park community of Chicago in an apartment building they owned at 2318 N. Sheffield Avenue in St. Vincent DePaul Parish. Leslie was a third generation American of Irish descent and had his own waterproofing business. Emily was a second generation American of Irish descent.

Y-Chromosome DNA

DNA test results for Peter show that he matches up fairly closely with descendants of the Three Collas, who lived in fourth century Ulster. Surnames of these descendants include Maguire, McMahon, Carroll, McKenna, and McDonald. See DNA of the Three Collas.

916 Normal View, Kalamazoo
916 Normal View, Kalamazoo, Michigan. 1938 Chevrolet Master Business Coupe: 85 horsepower, 6 cylinders straight, 80 mph top speed, 17 mpg fuel economy, list price new was $648.
1518 Evanston Avenue, Kalamazoo
The Biggins family on the front steps of 1518 Evanston Avenue, Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1941. From left: Jane, Emily, Peter, and Al.

In 1940 or 1941, Peter's family moved a mile and a half south to another house in Kalamazoo at 1518 Evanston Avenue. Peter's brother, James Alfred, was born at Borgess Hospital on July 15, 1941.

Glendale, 1941-1942. In 1941, Peter's father was transferred to St. Louis, and the family moved to Sappington Road in Glendale, a suburb of St. Louis.

Sappington Road
Sappington Road, Glendale, Missouri.
400 Fairwood Lane
400 Fairwood Lane, Kirkwood, Missouri.

Kirkwood, 1942-1944. Not too long after that, the family moved to a newly-built house at 400 Fairwood Lane in Kirkwood, another suburb of St. Louis. Peter's sister Sarah Jane was born on February 6, 1943, while they were living there.

Lt. J. A. Biggins
Lt. J. A. Biggins, Supply Corps, U.S. Navy.
Chicago, Lincoln Park, 1944. In January 1944, at age 33, Peter's father left Container Corporation and enlisted in the U.S. Navy, as a Lieutenant (junior grade). He was assigned to the Supply Corps in the American Fore Building on Rush Street, which is across the street from Quigley Preparatory Seminary. His job was purchasing corrugated boxes. Peter's parents sold their house in Kirkwood and spent the summer of 1944 in the home of Chicago artists Gus Dalstrom and Frances Foy in the Lincoln Park community of Chicago at 2637 N. Dayton Street, about a mile north of where Peter's grandparents lived on the north side of Chicago. The house had a studio in the attic that the four Biggins children enjoyed exploring. Gus and Frances spent summers working at their cabin along the Little Manistee River in Michigan's northwoods. Frances Foy was a second cousin of Peter's grandmother.

Emily, 545 Scranton
Emily standing outside house at 545 Scranton Avenue, Lake Bluff, Illinois.
Lake Bluff, 1944-1946. Later in 1944, the Navy transferred Peter's father to Great Lakes Naval Station, north of Chicago in Waukegan, Illinois. The family bought a house at 545 East Scranton Avenue, in nearby Lake Bluff, about two blocks from Lake Michigan and the beach. In September 1944, Peter went to Kindergarten in the local public school. On May 8, 1945, the Germans surrendered in Berlin. On August 15, 1945, the Japanese surrendered in Tokyo, and World War II ended. In March 1946, Peter's father was discharged from active duty in the Navy as a full Lieutenant, joined the Naval Reserve, and went back to working as a corrugated box salesman in Chicago. In September 1945, Peter went to first grade at St. Mary's in Lake Forest.

Webster Groves, 1946-1948. At some point between 1946 and 1952, Peter's father joined Union Bag & Paper Corporation. In any event, his job took him to St. Louis. Peter's parents bought a home at 200 Parkhurst Terrace in Webster Groves, a suburb of St. Louis. The house was across the street from a plant wildlife sanctuary.

200 Parkhurst Terrace
House at 200 Parkhurst Terrace, Webster Groves, Missouri.

The family lived in Holy Redeemer Parish. The children went to Holy Redeemer School. Peter went to second and third grades there.

Holy Redeemer School
Holy Redeemer School, Webster Groves, Missouri.

He became a St. Louis Cardinal fan when they had Stan Musial, Enos Slaughter, Red Schoendienst, Marty Marion, and Harry the Cat Brecheen.

First Communion
Peter, First Holy Communion, 1947.

On June 7, 1947, Peter's brother, William Alfred, was born.

On hot days in the summer, the family would go swimming at Treecourt, along the Meramec River at 2499 Marshall Road in Valley Park, 7 miles southwest of Webster Groves. They also spent time at the St. Louis Zoo in Forest Park.

Wilmette, 1948-1963. In 1948, Peter's father was relocated to Chicago. His parents sold the house in Webster Groves and bought a house at 806 Oakwood Avenue in Wilmette, a suburb just north of Chicago. Peter went to St. Francis Xavier School, starting in fourth grade there.

Wilmette in the 1950s

806 Oakwood Avenue
House at 806 Oakwood Avenue, Wilmette, Illinois, where the Biggins family lived from 1948 to 1963.

Indian Hill Club
Indian Hill Club
At age 12 to 16, Peter was a caddy at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka, 2.3 miles from his house. Bill Murray also caddied at Indian Hill, although a few years later. Peter made $2.50 a bag, which could amount to $10 on days when he could get out twice with two bags. Tips were not allowed. One day Peter caddied for John M. Biggins, the only other Biggins he had met until he went to Ireland in 2006. John M. Biggins (1896-1960) was a guest from Elgin Country Club. Peter later learned that John was a Treasurer of the Elgin Watch Company until his retirement in 1958. His father's family had immigrated to Poughkeepsie, New York, from Ireland sometime before 1851. In 1866, the family moved to Peoria, Illinois. His grandfather and father, both named John, were dairy farmers and cattle dealers.

Peter played football and basketball at St. Francis Xavier School. In basketball, he was a second string forward. He was a good set shooter but not a good dribbler or jump shooter. In football, he was third string center.

In February 1952, Peter's father was promoted by Union Bag & Paper Corporation to Western Division sales manager of corrugated containers. His biggest account was Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis.

Quigley Preparatory Seminary
St. James Chapel, Quigley Preparatory Seminary, 103 E. Chestnut Street, Chicago, Illinois. The seminary was closed in 2007 and became a Pastoral Center and headquarters of the Archdiocese Chicago.
In 1953, Peter and four others from his eighth grade class at St. Francis Xavier went on to study for the priesthood at Quigley Preparatory Seminary. Quigley, the seminary of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, is located at 103 E. Chestnut Street on the Near North Side of Chicago. There he took, among other subjects, three years of Latin, English, and religion; two years of Greek; a one year of German and general science. In his sophomore year at Quigley, he won the basketball shooting contest.

At Quigley, Saturday was a school day, but Thursday was a day off. One Thursday, May 17, 1956, a fellow student arranged for a group of students to be Andy Frain ushers at Comiskey Park for a game between the White Sox and the Yankees. Peter, a Cub fan, was ball boy on the left field line. The Yankees won 10-3. Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, and Billy Martin were playing for the Yankees. Casey Stengel was the manager. Nellie Fox, Luis Aparicio, Minnie Monoso, and Sherm Lollar were playing for the White Sox. The Yankees went on to win the World Series that year, beating the Brooklyn Dodgers 4-3 in the 7th game. The Sox finished third in the American League.

Loyola University
Loyola University.
In 1956, after three years at Quigley, Peter decided he did not want to be a priest and started college at the Lake Shore campus of Loyola University in the Rogers Park section of Chicago at 6525 N. Sheridan Road. Quigley had a standing arrangement with Loyola to accept three-year students without graduating from high school. In his sophomore year of college, Peter decided to study industrial engineering and went on to Northwestern University in Evanston, where his father had received a degree in civil engineering. He did not do well at engineering and missed friends at Loyola, so he returned to Loyola for his junior and senior years, receiving a BS in Social Sciences in June 1960. Peter attended the 50th reunion of his class in June 2010, with Mass at Madonna Della Strada chapel and a brunch afterward where he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Durability.

On January 18, 1956, Peter's grandfather, William Francis Drueke, died of an abdominal aortic aneurism at age 72 at Berea College Hospital in Berea, Kentucky. He and Peter's grandmother Rose were driving to Florida for a two-month vacation. Following a funeral mass at St. Stephen's Church in Grand Rapids, he was buried at Mt. Calvary Cemetery.

1951 Hillman Minx in 1956
Al and Jane in 1951 Hillman Minx at home of Al's brother Dick at 7358 N. Osceola Avenue, Edison Park, Chicago, 1956.

Peter had a succession of foreign cars. In 1954, he learned how to drive on his parents' used red 1951 Hillman Minx drop-head coupe. In 1955, he bought a new Volkswagen Beetle.

1951 Rover 75 at Old Orchard Concours d'Elegance
1951 Rover 75 at Old Orchard Concours d'Elegance, 1956.

In 1956, he bought his parents' used green 1951 Rover 75. The Rover had an engine and side panels made of aluminum. With his friend Bob Ford as navigator, he participated in a number of sports car rallies and concours d'elegance, winning various dash plaques.

1957 Triumph TR3
1957 Triumph TR3, Peter, and his mother. Photo: Jerry Milks.

In 1957, he bought a new blue Triumph TR3. In 1958, he bought a used black TR2. In 1960, he bought a used Beetle. In 1964, he bought a used white 1962 Rover 2000.

Harley-Davidson logoDuring the first two summers while Peter was in college, he worked as a mail clerk at the First National Bank and Trust Company of Evanston. During the last two summers, he had a job with the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District. He rode a red Harley-Davidson motorcycle with a side tank used to spray sewers with DDT. (Rachel Carson's Silent Spring did not expose the hazards of DDT until 1962.)

For several Christmases, Peter was a mailman in Evanston.

In April 1960, Peter was a Federal census taker in Rogers Park (his pages will be made public in 2032).

In July 1960, the Republican National Convention in Chicago was held in Chicago at the International Amphitheater, adjacent to the Union Stock Yards. Peter's Uncle Richard Biggins got him a job driving the Administrator of the Convention, Hal Short. He received an Assistant Door Keeper medal for admission to the convention. Despite his work with the Republicans, Peter voted for John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic to be elected president of the United States. He just happened to turn age 21 and become eligible to vote on election day, Tuesday, November 8, 1960.

On May 25, 1959, Peter's grandfather Leslie Biggins died at age 82 in Chicago. Peter's grandparents were living in an apartment that their son Richard had built onto their house. Following a funeral Mass at the Church of St. Juliana in Chicago, he was buried in the Foy plot in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Section B, Block 2, Lot 19.

The University of Chicago
The University of Chicago.
In 1960, Peter was intending to go on to graduate school in Industrial Relations at Loyola, but one of his professors, Father Theodore V. Purcell, S.J., suggested he apply to the business schools at Harvard and Chicago. Peter had taken a course with Father Purcell about his book, The Worker Speaks His Mind on Comany and Union. He was rejected by Harvard, but accepted by the University of Chicago in the Hyde Park section of Chicago. At Chicago, Peter was President of the Business Club. One of his professors was George Shultz, who would later serve as Secretary of Labor, Secretary of the Treasury, and Secretary of State. Peter received an MBA in June 1962 with a concentration in Industrial Relations.

Custer's Division
Custer's Division
After graduation, Peter joined the Army reserves for six years to avoid the draft. He joined the 374th Convalescent Center, 85th Regiment, 85th Division (Custer's Division) on the south side of Chicago at 71st Street. In August, he went on six-months active duty for training. He took eight weeks of basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Rolla, Missouri, and Medical Corpsman training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. He was discharged from active duty in February 1963 and joined a driver training detachment of the 85th Regiment on Kedzie Avenue on the north side to be closer to home. There he commenced weekly meetings and annual active duty for two-week summer camps.

On March 23, 1963, Loyola University Chicago won the NCAA basketball tournament, defeating No. 1 ranked Cincinnati 60-58 in overtime. Peter saw the game with fellow graduates at the home of Bob and Mary Jane Bailey.

Chicago, Edgewater, 1963-1964. Peter found a job at the headquarters of Allstate Insurance Company at 7447 Skokie Boulevard in Skokie, Illinois (now Lincoln Pointe condominiums and townhouses). He worked in Corporate Planning and then Operations Research.

6000 N. Winthrop Street
6000 N. Winthrop Street, Chicago, Illinois, 2000.
In June 1963, Peter and his brother Jim rented an apartment in a new building at 6000 N. Winthrop Avenue in the Edgewater section of Chicago. This ended when Jim joined the Navy and Peter got married.

Marilyn Born in 1940

Birth Certificate

David Carroll
1867-1945
Irish Flag
Edward William Carroll
1906-1955
Emma Starke
1878-1944
Swiss flag
Marilyn Kathryn Carroll
b. 1940
James M. Kenny
1871-1944
Irish Flag
Henrietta Kenny
1907-1989
Charlotte McDonald
1885-1948
Scottish (UK) FlagIrish Flag

48-Star US Flag 1912-1959Chicago, Austin, 1940-1952. Marilyn Kathryn Carroll was born January 3, 1940, at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, Illinois, exactly eight weeks after Peter was born in Kalamazoo. In 1940, there were 48 states in the Union. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President of the United States.

Bunny at 4955 W. Fulton
Henrietta Kenny Carroll, "Bunny," at 4955 W. Fulton, Chicago, Illinois.
Marilyn was the first child of Edward and Henrietta "Bunny" Kenny Carroll, who had been married five years when Marilyn was born. They lived at 4955 W. Fulton Street in St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in the Austin community of Chicago, which is on the far west side of Chicago, just east of Oak Park. St. Thomas Aquinas was an Irish Catholic parish located at 5112 West Washington Boulevard. It opened in 1909 and closed in 1988. Marilyn's father was a plumbing fixture salesman in the Chicago branch office of the Kohler Company in Tribune Tower. When Marilyn was born, Bunny quit her job as executive secretary for the Field Estate.

Marilyn age 2 years 9 months
Marilyn, age 2 years and 9 months.

Marilyn is 11/16ths Irish, 1/4th Swiss, and 1/16th Scottish. Marilyn's maternal grandparents, James and Charlotte McDonald Kenny, lived a few blocks away at 4715 W. Maypole Avenue. James was a second generation American of Irish descent and was retired from the railway postal service. Charlotte was a second generation American of Irish and Scottish descent. She was 15 years younger than her husband. During World War II, she worked as an assembler for a manufacturing company as part of the war effort. Marilyn's paternal grandparents, David and Emma Starke Carroll, lived a few miles away at 2730 W. Jackson Boulevard in Most Precious Blood Parish. David was born in Ireland and was a retired Chicago policeman. Emma was a second generation American of Swiss descent.

Maureen Carroll, 200 N. Lamon, 1973
Maureen Carroll, 200 N. Lamon, 1973.

The year Marilyn was born, her family moved around the block to a 4-unit apartment building they purchased at 200 N. Lamon Avenue, at the corner of Maypole Street.

Marilyn's only sibling, Maureen, was born on June 19, 1942.

Marilyn Posing
Marilyn posing, 2nd Grade, St. Thomas Aquinas School.

Marilyn went to kindergarten at Spencer School and then went to grammar school at St. Thomas Aquinas. In second grade, Marilyn wanted to maximize the effectiveness of her class picture. So she practiced smiling in front of a mirror the night before the pictures were to be taken. It worked. The result is the smile in the picture shown here.

First Communion
Marilyn, First Holy Communion, 1947. Standing in front of the family's 1946 or 1947 Pontiac Torpedo Business Coupe parked in front of their home at 200 N. Lamon Avenue in the Austin section of Chicago.
Three generations
Three generations in 1947: Henrietta "Bunny" Kenny Carroll, 40, Charlotte Mae "Lottie" McDonald Kenny, 62, Marilyn Carroll, 7. Woman on far right is unidentified neighbor.

In April 1948, when Marilyn was age 8, her grandmother, Charlotte Mae McDonald Kenny, fell down a flight of stairs at the neighbor's next door and died suddenly. The man next door was sick, and she was going to visit him. The hallway was dark. She opened the wrong door and fell down the stairs. The coroner certified that the cause of death was a "skull fracture" and that "the deceased fell down a flight of stairs striking her head on the basement floor." Following a funeral Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Lottie was buried at Mount Carmel Cemetery.

Marilyn and her father in Florida
Marilyn Carroll and her father Edward Carroll in Florida, circa 1950.

Charlotte lived on the other side of Cicero Avenue, three blocks east, at 4715 W. Maypole Avenue. Marilyn remembers walking to the bakery at Maypole and Cicero Avenues to get jelly doughnuts and freshly baked bread and waving to her grandmother standing across Cicero Avenue waiting for a bus to go to work.

One day, in fifth grade, Sister asked the children to write an essay on what they wanted to do when they grew up, with perhaps a slant toward the religious life. Marilyn's essay states:

When I Grow Up

When I grow up I want to be a plain ordinary housewife. Now don't let this shock to much. I think a nuns life is nice for some people. But for my self I like the more active life such as having a very large family. I have had that ambission since second grade and it won't change.

Marilyn Carroll

Wing Lake, 1952-1955. In March 1952, when her parents were just about to move in to a new house on Arbor Street in Glenview, Illinois, Marilyn's father was named manager of the Detroit Branch of the Kohler Company. In July the family moved to 6385 Thurber Road in the Wing Lake section of Bloomfield Township, Michigan. Marilyn went to Holy Name School for eighth grade and then on to Bloomfield Hills High School. While at Wing Lake, Marilyn became an excellent swimmer.

6385 Thurber Road
6385 Thurber Road, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Wing Lake
Marilyn and her friend Dorothy Couse at Wing Lake, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

In April 1954, the union struck Kohler in what was to be one of the longest and bitterest strikes in United States labor history. The company hired and trained replacement workers, but production slowed significantly and the inability to fill customer orders made Marilyn's father's life very stressful.

In the summer of 1954, Marilyn and her family went on a vacation to New York City. Her father drove and they stayed for a week in a hotel. The highlights were walking around Times Square, going to Ripley's "Believe It or Not," and eating at the Automat. The Kohler district manager took them to the Aquashow in Queens with synchronized swimming and clowns on the diving board.

In April 1955, Herbert Kohler Sr. traveled to Detroit and met with Marilyn's father at the Detroit branch. At night, he took her parents to a fancy party in the area. Afterwards, he returned to their home and was introduced to Marilyn and and her sister Mickey.

On May 16, 1955, Marilyn's father, Edward William Carroll, died suddenly of a heart attack at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, at age 49. Marilyn was age 15. The funeral was held at St. Thomas Aquinas Church back in Chicago. Herbert Kohler Sr., the chief executive of the Kohler Company, attended the funeral. Marilyn counted 50 cars in the funeral procession. Marilyn's father was buried at Queen of Heaven Cemetery.

Edward Carroll
Edward Carroll.

Glenview, 1955-1962. After the funeral, the house on Thurber Road was sold, and in August the family moved back to Illinois. Marilyn's mother Bunny bought a new house at 338 Nordica Avenue in Glenview.

After 21 years as a housewife and mother, Marilyn's mother was left with two teenage daughters to support. She started working again as a secretary. First she worked at the research laboratories of Kraft Foods Company, 923 Waukegan Road, Glenview. In 1961, Bunny started work as a secretary at Milwaukee-Golf Development Co., owner of the Golf Mill Shopping Center at Golf Road and Milwaukee Avenue.

Marilyn finished high school at Niles Township High School (now Niles East). At age 16, after babysitting for five years, Marilyn got a job working part-time and summers as a waitress in the tea room at Marshall Field's in the Old Orchard Shopping Center. On Spring break in her junior year, she went on the school trip to Washington, D.C., and Colonial Williamsburg. In her senior year, she went on the trip to New York City.

Phi Mu
Phi Mu Sorority House, West Lafayette, Indiana.

After graduation from high school in 1957, Marilyn applied to and was accepted at several colleges. She decided on Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where she majored in English and Speech. Marilyn joined Phi Mu Sorority, where she met her friends Nancy Kurfess and Joanne Jemison (now Leilich). While at Purdue, she worked summers as a secretary. Marilyn graduated from Purdue in 1961.

Marilyn in Show
Hot Box Girls singing "Take Back Your Mink" in the Purdue University production of Guys and Dolls in February 1959. Marilyn is the first chorister on the right.

With the help of Ralph Gust a friend of the family and President of the Proviso School Board, Marilyn got a job teaching English and Speech at Proviso West High School at 4701 Harrison Street in Hillside. Marilyn met her friend Fran Baumgartner at Proviso West.

Proviso West High School
Proviso West High School, 4701 West Harrison, Hillside, Illinois.

After her first year teaching at Proviso, Marilyn went on a 10-week tour of Europe with her sorority sister Nancy Kurfess and Nancy's friend, Gail Dent. While in Rome, Marilyn took a side trip by herself to Castel Gandolfo to see Pope John XXIII.

Proviso West High School
Marilyn in Madrid in 1962. From left: Gail Dent, Marilyn, Nancy Kurfess, Mrs. Kurfess, Mr. Kurfess.

Park Ridge, 1962-1964. In 1962, the family moved to an apartment at 1306 Carol Street in Park Ridge, and the house on Nordica was rented out and eventually sold. Marilyn continued to teach at Proviso West High School. She lived with her mother and sister in Park Ridge until she got married.

On October 31, 2007, Peter received this e-mail from one of Marilyn's former students, Linda Leffler Simpson.

This email is actually for Marilyn. First, let me say that I came across your website purely by accident (while researching churches of all things). However, you have no idea how ironic this is for I have been thinking about my old high school teacher, Ms. Carroll, a lot recently. I've always talked about her off and on, but lately she's been on my mind more often. This is so bizarre.

I, too, am a genealogist and have been for more than 25 years. Currently, I have been writing personal books -- historical stories -- for distribution among the many genealogy organizations that I belong to (thus, the reason for my currently thinking more about her). I figured I'd better do this before too much more time passes and my brain cells start functioning only in spurts.

Anyway, I often think of Marilyn because it was she who first told me that I was born to be a writer and encouraged me to do so at every opportunity. She got me published in the school newspaper more than once. (I'm sure she has NO recall of any of this. But that's ok.) Every teacher (I am one myself) wonders if they ever "reached" a student. Well, I am here to tell her (would you please pass it on?) that she did. I have always considered myself a closet writer -- child rearing got in the way -- and I am recently finding and spreading my wings. But I often talk about Ms Carroll and how she inspired me. She was the reason I began to write. Everyone has a favorite teacher and she was mine.

Oh...I was at your wedding. You may not remember that. Me and two other friends (all her students) attended the church service. I have a picture of us all filed away somewhere around here. If you still have this photo in your wedding album, I am the short one in the red dress.

I was just so flabbergasted to have come across your site while I was writing another story. I can't believe that I was just talking about her, too, last week actually, to someone who asked me who I remember the most from Proviso West. This is really something. Wow.

Well, I just wanted to tell you both all of this. Your genealogy site is really good, by the way.

Linda nee Leffler Simpson (Wow. I just can't believe I was just talking about her and then your website pops up -- in response to a Google search -- because of the church photo on your site. Unbelievable. I just have to wake up my husband and tell him this one! He's gonna be thrilled. Mm hm. I'm sure.)

Did I mention how crazy serendipitous this is?
Students at wedding, 1964
Three of Marilyn Carroll's students from Proviso West High School attended her wedding in August 1964. At far right is Linda Leffler Simpson.

Peter and Marilyn Marry in 1964, Have 4 Children

Marriage Certificate

Peter and Marilyn met for the first time on Memorial Day in 1963 at Illinois Beach State Park. The occasion was a picnic for college graduates sponsored by the Sheil Club, a Catholic club at Northwestern University. Marilyn went on to summer school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Peter called in the Fall. They began dating and in March, Peter said "I think I ought to get married." Marilyn said "I have to go to the bathroom." Sometime after that they decided to get married.

Wedding Party, 1964
Wedding Party, 1964. From left: Bob Ford, Gail Chelius, Robert Witherell, Nancy Kurfess, Marilyn Biggins, Peter Biggins, Joanne Leilich, Jack Williams, Jim Biggins, and Mickey Carroll.
OLPH
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church
Iroquois Hotel
Iroquois Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan.

Peter and Marilyn were married by Father John Dussman on August 22, 1964, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Glenview, Illinois. Marilyn was given away by her uncle, Bob Witherell. Peter's brother James Biggins was best man, and Marilyn's sister Maureen Carroll was maid of honor. The reception was at the Orrington Hotel in Evanston. Marilyn and Peter spent their honeymoon at the Iroquois Hotel on Mackinac Island, between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. On the small plane up to Mackinac Island, they saw the pianist Van Cliburn.

Arlington Heights, 1964-1966. After their honeymoon, they moved into a one bedroom apartment at 809 East Miner Street in Arlington Heights. Peter was an analyst at Allstate Insurance Company in Skokie.

Their first child and only daughter was born on September 10, 1965, at Northwest Community Hospital. She was baptized on October 18, 1965, at St. James Church by Father James Murphy, who went to grammar school and Quigley seminary with Peter. Godparents were Robert Ford and Marilyn's sister Mickey Varro (stand-in was Marilyn's cousin Carroll Fultz).

Marilyn quit teaching English and speech at Proviso West High School to become a full-time mother when her first child was born. She had taught for four years. Peter continued working at Allstate Insurance Company in Skokie.

In July 1966, Peter left Allstate to join the Chicago and North Western Railway Company at 400 W. Madison Street. He was director of financial planning, working for a person whom he had worked for at Allstate. Just before going to Chicago and North Western, Allstate had appointed him Corporate Economist in a new research center in Menlo Park, California. He and Marilyn had rented an apartment there, and Tom and Donna Kuehne had given them a going away party. But a last minute offer from C&NW convinced them to stay in the Chicago area. At C&NW, Peter worked on a project with consultant W. Edwards Deming. The CEO of the railroad was Ben W. Heineman, Sr. (1914-2012).

C&NW logo C&NW card

Evanston, 1966-1968. In October 1966, Peter and Marilyn moved to a two bedroom apartment at 503 Sheridan Road in Evanston, a half block from Lake Michigan and the beach. They joined St. Nicholas Parish. Carroll got her own room and no longer had to sleep in a crib in the dining area.

On August 24, 1967, Peter's grandmother, Emily Foy Biggins, died at age 89 in Milwaukee. Following a funeral Mass at the Church of St. Juliana, she was buried in the Foy plot in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Section B, Block 2, Lot 19. In 1966, Emily had moved to a nursing home in Milwaukee to be near her daughter Kathleen.

Peter and Marilyn's second child and first son was born at Evanston Hospital on February 26, 1968. He was baptized by Father Robert Maier on March 31, 1968, at St. Mary's Church. Peter went to Quigley seminary with Father Maier. Godparents were James Scallan and Peter's sister Sarah Biggins.

Wilmette, 1968-1972. In September 1968, Peter and Marilyn bought their first house at 2231 Greenwood Avenue in Wilmette for $25,000. The down payment came from money they invested at $7 a share in American Express Company after the salad oil scandal and sold for $35 a share.

2231 Greenwood, by Johnny Varro
2231 Greenwood Avenue, Wilmette, Illinois. Oil painting by Johnny Varro, 1968-1972.
World's Fair home
Garden Home sponsored by the Stran-Steel Corporation at the Chicago World's Fair of 1933-34.

The house was originally part of the Homes of Tomorrow Exhibition at the Chicago World's Fair of 1933-34 sponsored by the Stran-Steel Corporation of Detroit, Michigan. Steel was used instead of two-by-fours. The house, designed by Chicago architect G. L. Tucker, was called the Garden Home, and it was said to be done in the manner of a New England cottage. In the 1940 U.S. Census (Image 1 and Image 2), the house was owned by Daniel K. Strassheim, a food broker, born in Illinois in 1907. The house was valued at $15,000. Dan was a high school graduate and had an income of $4,000 in 1939. He lived with his wife Nathalie, their 6-year old son Daniel III, their 6-month old twins Janice and David, and a maid Theresa, age 21.

In February 1969, Peter's godfather, Jack Covington, died at age 60 in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

On July 5, 1969, Peter's sister Sarah married Elroy "Kelz" Kelzenberg in Bond Chapel at the University of Chicago.

In October 1969, Peter became godfather for Stephen, the son of James and Eileen Scallan.

In October 1969, Peter's job at the railroad was eliminated as a result of the merger of Northwest Industries and a conglomerate named Philadelphia and Reading. He decided to seek a job in management consulting. He was allowed to stay on until the end of the year while he looked for a job. A week before year-end, he received an offer from Hewitt Associates. Hewitt had 125 employees at the time and specialized in employee benefit consulting. Peter worked at the headquarters which was housed in the former summer home of Joseph Medill Patterson (1879-1946) on Milwaukee Avenue at Route 60 in Libertyville, Illinois. Patterson, founded the New York Daily News in 1919. John Cuneo Sr. (1884-1977), who lived next door, bought the house and grounds in 1946 and rented the house to Hewitt from 1951 to 1971. Cuneo sold the Patterson property in 1971, and it became part of the Westfield Hawthorne Shopping Mall. Hewitt then rented space in an office building on Wilmot Road in Deerfield. The Cuneo property, acquired from Samuel Insull (1859-1938) during the Great Depression, is now The Cuneo Museum.

Hewitt Libertyville
Hewitt office in Libertyville (now part of Vernon Hills) from 1951 to 1971. Formerly Westwood Farm owned by Joseph Medill Patterson. Source: Cuneo Museum and Gardens, by John B. Byrne, 2009.
Hewitt card

Peter and Marilyn's third child was born at Columbus Hospital in Chicago on June 10, 1970. He was baptized on July 12, 1970, at St. Joseph's Church. Godparents were his uncle and aunt, Elroy and Sarah Biggins Kelzenberg.

Peter and Marilyn's fourth and last child and third son was born at Columbus Hospital in Chicago on April 11, 1972. He was baptized on May 7, 1972, at St. Joseph Church. Godparents were Marilyn's cousins James Hennessey and Carroll Fultz.

Darien, 1972-1978. In August 1972, Hewitt Associates transferred Peter to their New York office at 600 3rd Avenue. Peter and Marilyn bought a newly-built "raised ranch" at 3 Revere Road in Darien, Connecticut. The house in Wilmette sold for $50,000. The new house in Darien cost $68,000.

The family joined St. Thomas More Church. where Father Edward Howley was the pastor and had Mass at 10:00 am every Sunday especially design for the children. The children attended Hollow Tree School and Happiness Pre-School at St. Thomas More.

3 Revere Road, April 1973
3 Revere Road, Darien, Connecticut, April 1973.
Xerox card
Peter as a horse
Peter the horse in the living room with his four children. Darien, 1972.
Monkey Jungle, Christmas 1975
Al Biggins and grandson, Monkey Jungle, Miami, Florida, Christmas 1975.

On August 13, 1973, Peter's grandmother, Rose Viola Drueke, died at age 91 in her home at 1624 Seminole Road SE in Grand Rapids. She had been a widow for 16 years. Following a funeral mass at St. Stephen's Church, she was buried at Mt. Calvary Cemetery next to Peter's grandfather.

In August 1973, while working on a flexible benefits project for a client at Xerox Corporation, Peter left Hewitt Associates to work for his client at Xerox and became manager of employee benefits.

At Christmas time in 1975, the family traveled to Florida. Shown is a photo Peter took of his youngest on his grandfather's shoulder at Monkey Jungle.

In 1976, Marilyn appeared as an extra in a made-for-TV movie about John F. Kennedy, entitled "Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye." It starred Brian Dennehy and was directed by Gilbert Cates.

In June 1977, the family attended a reunion of the Al and Jane Biggins family hosted by Kelz and Sarah Biggins Kelzenberg at their home in South Bend, Indiana.

In 1977, Peter became a member of the parish Council at St. Thomas More and editor of Dialogue, a quarterly parish newspaper. One of his writers was John Cotter, a professional newspaperman who worked for Newsday and the New York Post.

In June 1978, Peter decided to leave Xerox to take a job with Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. Pat and Anne O'Malley gave them a going away party. John Cotter had some nice words in the next issue of Dialogue.

Dialogue logo
Dialogue Good-ByePeter Biggins, who edited these pages for several years, packed his Clark Kent clothes last month and moved his wife and four kids to Michigan where he has accepted a post with the Ford Motor Company. Peter, a personnel expert who continually wondered how he managed to attract strange friends (including yours truly), was very active in the St. Thomas More community and his contributions, those of his wife Marilyn and the rest of the family will be missed. The Dialogue staff and his friends will also miss him, but we have fond memories. We will miss mostly, I think, his sense of humor, which is as dry as black powder and twice as explosive. Peter was so funny I personally can't think of anything funny he ever said. Now that's real wit (and also a bit of parody). A major Biggins contribution to the morale of the Dialogue staff was allowing us to have beer at our monthly meetings. His decision was wracked by such soul searching, however, that most of us figured that he had a bad experience with altar wine while growing up in Chicago. But enough of that nonsense. To get a true picture of Peter Biggins, human being, we asked Pat O'Malley, a parish member, to speak briefly on Peter's character. "I really don't know where to begin," O'Malley began. "How can I put this? Peter is a true Christian man, a devoted husband and father, a man for all seasons, a man of compromise. Let me give you an example: Peter's wife Marilyn didn't like to cook. Now, some fellows might get upset, but not Peter Biggins. He showed true Christian spirit. He took the family out, especially on holidays. Why, just last Easter he took the family to the Bronx Zoo for Sunday dinner. What can I say? Peter Biggins is just a classy guy."       John Cotter

John Cotter died in 1991 at age 48, just before he was to become managing editor of the New York Daily News.

First Communion, 1978
First Communion at St. Thomas More Church, Darien, 1978. The four Biggins children with Father Edward Howley.

Birmingham, 1978-1980. At Ford, Peter became manager of salaried employee benefits and foreign service administration at Ford's headquarters in Dearborn. His office was on the fourth floor of the "Glass House," eight floors below Henry Ford II.

Peter and Marilyn bought an existing house at 2720 Bradway, Birmingham, Michigan. This was in the Bloomfield Village section of Bloomfield Township, Michigan. It cost $175,000. They sold their house in Darien for $139,000.

Negotiations for the purchase of the house in Birmingham were conducted through a lawyer. Later it was discovered that the owner, John Leeming, was in the FBI's Witness Protection Program. In 1974, Leeming started a medical testing business and gave kickbacks to doctors for referring business. In May 1975, Leeming became indebted to Vito "Billy Jack" Giacalone, leader of the Detroit Mafia. In September 1976, Vito was best man at Leeming's wedding to Edie Rousos. Vito paid for the reception and gave them one-month free extortion. In December 1976, Leeming bought the house at 2720 Bradway for $175,000 and spent $50,000 on furniture and decorating. In early 1977, Leeming agreed to launder narcotics money for a person who later turned out to be an undercover DEA agent. In June 1977, Leeming's medical testing business was raided by the FBI and DEA, and Leeming was arrested. One headline said: "Narcs nab Birmingham millionaire." In August 1977, Leeming was indicted for narcotics violations, mail fraud, and racketeering. In November 1977, Leeming began to cooperate with the authorities. On December 16, 1977, Leeming and his family were placed in the Witness Protection Program and moved to another city. In May 1979, Vito pled guilty to extortion and went to prison for three years. In February 1880, Janet Talcott wrote a series of six articles on Leeming in The Oakland Press based on interviews with him in 1979.

2720 Bradway Boulevard, October 1980
2720 Bradway Boulevard, Bloomfield Village, Michigan, October 1980
Ford card
Grand Ma/Pa, Birmingham, September 1979
Al and Jane Drueke Biggins below sign prepared by their granddaughter, Birmingham, September 1979

The house was three miles from the Wing Lake home that Marilyn grew up in from 1952 to 1955. The children attended Westchester elementary and Covington junior high schools. Carroll completed her freshman year of high school at Birmingham High School. During the summer, all the children were on the swimming team the Cranbrook Swim Club.

On December 13, 1979, Peter's father, Al Biggins, died at age 69 of acute myelogenic leukemia at City of Hope in Duarte, California. Jane's brother William hosted the family at his home in Grand Rapids. The funeral was held at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Grand Rapids. He was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Grand Rapids. Just three months before Al died, he toured the country visiting his family. His granddaughter must have lifted his spirits with her colorful sign proclaiming: "Welcome Grand Ma/Pa."

Dallas, 1980-1989. In 1980, after just two and a half years at Ford, Peter left to join The LTV Corporation, a conglomerate in Dallas, Texas. He was hired by the client who had hired him away from Hewitt at Xerox, and he became manager of employee benefits. Peter and Marilyn sold their house in Darien for $215,000 and bought a newly-built house at 6532 Copper Creek Drive in Dallas for $205,000. They had a swimming pool built for relief from the Dallas summers. Only two years before, the subdivision had been a cotton field. The neighborhood was very friendly, consisting of families who had all recently moved into the subdivision. There were block parties and frequent pool volley ball contests. Long lasting friendships were made, especially with the Engelskirgers, who subsequently moved to Darien, and the Morrices, next door neighbors in Dallas. The family joined All Saints Church.

The children attended Brentwood Elementry School, Parkhill Junior High School, and J.J. Pierce High School. The boys played basketball andfootball at Pierce. All four children graduated from the University of Texas.

6532 Copper Creek
Peter and Marilyn Carroll Biggins, 6532 Copper Creek, Dallas, Texas, 1980-1989.
LTV card
Big Bertha
"Big Bertha," drum obtained by the University of Texas from the University of Chicago in 1955. All four Biggins children graduated from the University of Texas.

While at LTV, Peter testified on flexible benefits before the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1985, it looked like LTV might go bankrupt, and Peter was interested in going back into consulting. He rejoined Hewitt Associates in their Dallas office. For the first time, he had a computer on his desk. It was a dumb terminal tied in to a mainframe at Hewitt headquarters in Illinois, with access to Supercalc spreadsheets and PROFS mail. Mail names were eight characters with the first two being initials for one's first and middle names and the last six being the first six letters in one's last name, hence pabiggin. He could communicate with anyone within Hewitt Associates and people within a few client companies.

As part of the Hewitt hiring process, he filled out the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The result was INTP. Sometime later, Marilyn filled out the MBTI and found she was ISFJ.

Marilyn worked for several years as an instructor for Weight Watchers.

In June 1988, one week apart, her first child received her bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Texas in Austin and Marilyn received her master's degree in counseling at North Texas State University in Denton. Bill Moyers was the commencement speaker at both graduations. As part of her degree, Marilyn interned as a guidance counselor at R. L. Turner High School in Carrollton.

Darien, 1989-present. In 1988, Hewitt asked Peter to move to either Chicago or New York. Peter and Marilyn decided on New York, where Peter worked at the Hewitt office at 452 5th Avenue, across 41st Street from the New York Public Library.

Next door neighbors, Bruce and Marge Morrice, gave them a going away party. They sold their house in Dallas for $320,000 in November 1988, rented an apartment temporarily in Dallas.

In January 1989, they moved to Darien and rented a house temporarily at 337 Brookside Road in Darien. In May 1989, they moved in to a newly-built house at 230 Old Kings Highway North that they bought for $600,000.

230 Old Kings Highway North
230 Old Kings Highway North, Darien, Connecticut. March 2006.
Hewitt card

The house backs up on the Five Mile River and is built on the site of 18th century grist and saw mills. Remnants of the dam, mill pond, and mill run are still there. The location of the mills can be seen on an 1873 map of Darien. In 1982, Louise H. McLean (1906-2004), past president of the Darien Historical Society, wrote an article on "The Red Mill at Five Mile River" that appears in Volume 4, Number 8, of the The Darien Historical Society Annual.

The family rejoined St. Thomas More Church in Darien. Father Edward Howley was still the pastor.

St. Thomas More Church 1989
Picnic at St. Thomas More Church, June 1989. Peter and the four Biggins children. Photo: Father Nicholas Punch, OP.
Piazza San Marco, Venitia, 1989
Marilyn and Peter celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary at St. Mark's Church, Venice, August 1989.

In August 1989, Peter and Marilyn celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with a trip to Italy. They flew to Zurich on American Airlines points, rented a small Fiat Panda, and drove down to Rome with stops in Verona, Ferrara, Bologna, Florence, and Venice. In Rome, they visted St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican museum, the catacombs, and the Pantheon. They stayed in a pension near the Spanish Steps and had dinner at Alfredo's and at the Canova Café on the Piazza del Popolo.

Marilyn's mother, Henrietta Kenny Carroll, died November 1, 1989, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Stamford, Connecticut. She was 81 years old. The funeral was at Divine Infant Church, the parish church of Ralph and Gertrude Gust, in Westchester, Illinois. Bunny was buried at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, next to Marilyn's father.

Norwalk Community CollegeSince 1990, Marilyn has taught ESL at Norwalk Community College. In 1995, Marilyn received a master's degree in social work from Columbia University. As part of her work at Columbia, she interned as a social worker at Yale-New Have Hospital in New Haven. She worked as a social worker at Parents Foundation in New Haven, Smith House Health Care Center in Stamford, and Mediplex of Westport.

On October 15, 1994, Carroll married Roger Byrne at St. Thomas More Church in Darien, Father Edward Howley officiating. A reception was held at Cobb's Mill Inn in Weston, Connecticut. After a honeymoon in Hawaii, Carroll and Roger settled in a house at In 1995, Peter moved his office from New York to the Hewitt regional at 40 Highland Avenue in Rowayton, Connecticut--about a five minute drive from home.

In 1997, Peter started walking four miles a day.

On May 18, 1998, Peter's mother, Jane Drueke Biggins, died at age 83 in Florence, Oregon, where Peter's sister Emily lived. She had emphysema, but she was doing fairly well and had just bought a brand new house in Florence. There was a Memorial Mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Florence. Her ashes were buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, next to Peter's father.

Hewitt card Hewitt card

In October 1998, Peter's group at Hewitt moved from Rowayton to the 201 building at Merrit-7. In October 2001, they moved to 45 Glover Avenue, a new Hewitt building in the Merritt-7 office complex in Norwalk, Connecticut.

In September 1999, Peter and Marilyn went to France. They spent a week in Paris on the Left Bank. They visited the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Picasso museum, and the Musée d'Orsay. They went to Montmarte and and dinner at a restaurant to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary.They then rented a car and drove up to Normandy. In Normandy, they visited the Memorial Museum in Caen and stayed overnight at Mont Saint-Michel. They also visited the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer and Omaha beach.

Peter and Marilyn celebrated the millennium, which was called Y2K, at the home of Paul and Mariann Knag in Darien.

In March 2002, Peter and Marilyn took a vacation to London, England. The saw their son who was living there at the time. They went to the Imperial War Museum and took train/walking tours of Bath, the Cotswolds, and Oxford. They stayed at the Cranley Gardens Hotel in South Kensington.

On June 27, 2002, Peter's employer Hewitt Associates converted ownership shares to stock and made an initial public offering of its stock at $19. Peter's ownership value quintupled. Each owner was given a free share in a frame. On July 12, 2010, Aon Corporation purchased Hewitt with cash and stock.

On September 30, 2002, Peter retired at age 62, with no particular plans--other than to pretend like it was a weekend or a vacation. He began to look into his and Marilyn's genealogy and never stopped. He also started going to the Darien YMCA three times a week. At the invitation of Bob Towne (1918-2008) of Stamford, he joined the Darien Senior Men's Association.

In July 2003, Peter and Marilyn attended the reunion of the Philip and Olive Taylor Biggins family at Valcour Island, near Plattsburg, New York. In June 2004 and July 2006, they attended reunions of the Minogue/Kane families in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

In Fall 2003, Peter took a course in James Joyce at Norwalk Community College. In 2004, the class morphed into a classics book club that meets biweekly at NCC. In June 2007, he began mapping the books and placing links to the maps on the Wikipedia pages about the books. The following year, Maps of the Classics was started to catalog the maps.

Chez la Mere Catherine
Restaurant in Montmarte where Peter and Marilyn celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary in September 1999.
Mohonk Mountain House
Peter and Marilyn, celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary at the Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, New York, August 2004.

In August 2004, Marilyn and Peter celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in the best room of the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York, with all expenses paid by their children. Marilyn went swimming. Peter walked the carriage paths. It doesn't get any better!

In Fall 2004, Peter took a course in Web site development at Norwalk Community College, then started PetersPioneers.

In Spring 2006, Marilyn went to Napa Valley with the same friends that she went to Europe with in 1962, Nancy Kufess Abrams and Gail Chelius. At the same time, Peter took his first trip to Ireland.

Biggins Bar
Biggins Bar on Bowgate Street, Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo, Ireland, 2006. Just after the name on the sign, it says "Est. 1863." The left side of the sign says "Beer Garden." The right side says "Fishing Tackle." From left: Peter Biggins, researcher, and John Biggins, proprietor.
Napa 2006
Napa Valley Wine Train, 2006. From left: Gail Chelius, Nancy Kufess Abrams, Marilyn, and friend Gretchen.

In Summer 2006, Marilyn and Peter visited his Drueke cousins in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and had a mini-reunion. They then took the ferry across Lake Michigan to look for Marilyn's Flannery cousins in southwest Wisconsin. They asked the first farmer they saw if he knew any Flannerys. He said "I'm a Flannery." They also attended the third annual Kane/Minogue reunion in Arlington Heights, Illinois, including a mini-Biggins reunion.

In Spring 2007, Peter and Marilyn to a trip to Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. The first week was spent in Germany visiting small towns where Peter's ancestors were from. Included was a trip to Schönholthausen and Ostentrop, where we met with Pastor Franz Rinschen of Maria Himmelfahrt Church, who had written a history of a house in Ostentrop where Johann and Elisabeth Bitter Drüecke lived. The second and third weeks were spent with Marilyn's sister Mickey and her husband Johnny Varro in Waiblingen (near Stuttgart), Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Johnny was touring the Stuttgart area with a Jazz band. Their son flew in from Liverpool to meet up with them in Rome.

Drüecke house in Ostentrop
Oil painting of an idyllic scene in Ostentrop, Germany, just to the north of the intersection of Mittelweg and St. Lucia Straße. To the right is a house built around 1740, which was the home of Johann and Elisabeth Bitter Drüecke from 1790 to 1798, and their descendants thereafter. To the left is a half-timbered structure built by Johann Drüeke in 1786, prior to their marriage. The structures are now owned by two brothers, Andre and Markus Eckert, who are renovating them for use as their own homes. Between the two structures in the background is St. Lucia Chapel. Source: Stefan Schröder.

In Fall 2007, Marilyn went to China with her friends Nancy Kufess Abrams and Gail Chelius. Marilyn sent this email to her family.

There is building going on all over here. Where I am writing this from now looks a little like New York City. There are many apt. buildings. Many go up 30-40 stories. The government owns the land, but a person can get a permit for 70 years to build on it.

Everyday I see something different. Today I saw a lady in a market making silk from cacoons. She grows the white cacoon in a mulberry tree and I saw the silk worm - crawling around in it. She puts the little thing in water for awhile, and then she picks a string out of it and winds it to be made into cloth. It is a very labor intensive job.

We also went to a Chinese tea house, and the beautiful lady there had a tea pot with a long spout (about four) feet. She poured the tea into our cups. It was quite a show.

China is trying to get their people soocialized for the Olympics. They are told:

  • Don't spit in the street or any place else.
  • Don't talk so loud.
  • Smile.
You must use bottled water or get sick. You cannot even use the tap water for your teeth.

When I was in the park dancing yesterday in Quan, an old man came up to me and shook my hand. Very early in the morning the people do tai chi in the parks. I like the fast-dancing group better. You all know how fast I dance.

I will tell you more when I get home. I miss you all! Hope all is going well for you.

While Marilyn was in China, Peter took a second trip to Ireland and discovered the Foy farm. He also took a side trip to London, England, to visit with Chris, who had just moved there from Liverpool.

Foy Farm
Eastward view of five of 18 blackface sheep on portion of 21-acre Foy farm of Margaret and the late Thomas Joseph Kerrigan. Derreennascooba, Killavally (Killawalla), County Mayo, Ireland, 2007. Lough Nacorralea is in the background. Dominick Foy was born on this farm in 1820.
Great Wall
Great Wall in China, 2007. From left: Gail Chelius, Marilyn, and Nancy Abrams.

In September 2007, Peter redesigned the Web site for St. Thomas More Church in Darien and assumed maintenance of the site.

In July 2008, Peter had his Y chromosome DNA tested. His DNA is kit #127469. This was done at the request of Daniela Maneta, who started the Biggins DNA Project. Eventually he figured out that he was related to the Three Collas who lived in the 4th century. In May 2009, he started a web page called DNA of the Three Collas. In June 2009, he became the first member of the Clan Colla DNA Project and a co-administrator with Josiah McGuire.

In February 2009, Peter redesigned the Web site for the Middlesex Genealogical Society in Darien and assumed maintenance of the site. He also became a Director of the Society.

In October 2009, Marilyn went to Egypt and Jordan with her friends Gail Chelius and Nancy Abrams. Peter took the opportunity to return to Ireland, finding the Beggan farm in County Cavan (see Patrick Beggan of Drumgill).

In June 2010, Marilyn and Peter went to Chicago and visited with his godson, Stephen Scallan. They also went to Peter's 50th college reunion at Loyola, visited Marilyn's cousin Carroll in St. Charles, and attended a reunion of Marilyn's distant Flannery cousins in Argyle, Wisconsin.

In October 2010, Peter made a presentation at a meeting of the Middlesex Genealogical Society on "How to Test Your DNA and Why." In November 2010, Peter became an administrator of the Biggins DNA Project.

In January 2011, Peter became administrator of a new Ely Carroll DNA Project. The Ely Carrolls include the descendants of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, signer of the American Declaration of Independence. Marilyn's cousin Michael Patrick Carroll had his DNA tested in March 2011 and found out that he was related to the Ossory Carrolls instead of the Carrolls of Ely Carroll. Nevertheless, Peter continues to administer the Ely Carroll DNA project. The Ossory Carrolls have Dwyer/Ryan DNA.

In May, 2011, Peter and Marilyn took a trip to Turkey and Greece with Paul and Maryann Knag and toured with their son in Athens and Corinth. They visted the House of the Virgin Mary, which had been visited by four Popes, and the ruins of Ephesus, the second largest city in the Roman Empire in the first century. In Greece, they went to Athens, with a day trip to ancient Corinth and a side trip to the islands of Santorini and Mykonos. In Athens, they stayed in the Parthenon Hotel and the Phaedra Hotel. The latter had a view of the Acropolis from the balcony and the rooftop garden. In addition to the Acropolis, they visited the ancient Agora, Areopagus, and the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. One of the highlights was the new Acropolis Museum.

In November 2011, Peter and Marilyn attended a two-day conference on genetic genealogy sponsored by Family Tree DNA in Houston. Peter made presentation on the DNA of the Three Collas. With them at the conference were Tom and Hilda Roderick. Tom, a geneticist and fellow administrator of the Clan Colla project at FTDNA, arranged for the presentation. Following the presentation, Peter and Marilyn visited the Leilichs in The Woodlands and Bruce Morrice in Dallas.

In March 2012, Peter and Marilyn took a trip to the Holy Land with Paul and Maryann Knag sponsored by the Yale Divinity School. Our leader was the Dean, Harry Attridge. Harry was retiring as the Dean of the Yale Divinity School, but he was to continue on as Sterling Professor of Theology, which was announced just before our trip. They described their trip in emails sent at the end of each day on the iPad that the children gave them at Christmas. They visited Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jericho, Tiberias, Haifa, and Jaffa. See Sacred Land: Common Ground?.

In May 2012, Peter became administrator of a new Drueke DNA Project with his cousin Paul Drueke. In August 2012, he became an administrator of the Carroll DNA Project.

On August 22, 2014, Peter and Marilyn celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Grand Isle in Vermont. Father Brian Cummings of Saint Anne's Shrine and Saint Michael's College officiated as they renewed their marriage vows in the presence of their children and grandchildren and Dan and Sandra O'Brien. A dinner followed at Shore Acres.

50th Anniversary
Peter and Marilyn Carroll Biggins renewing their marriage vows on the 50th anniversary of their wedding, August 22, 2014. Father Brian Cummings officiating.

On October 6, 2014, Peter's sister-in-law, Anne Roarty Biggins died.

. . . To be continued.

Frances Foy Mural
Peter and Marilyn Carroll Biggins in front of "Advent of the Pioneers, 1851" painted in 1938 by Frances Foy. In East Lobby of Chicago Main Post Office, 433 W. Harrison Street. Photo by Mikal J. Sutherlin, U.S. Postal Service, July 2008.

4 Children, 7 Grandchildren

Information on children and grandchildren has been excluded. A version of this page without the exclusion is available upon request. Contact Peter or Marilyn Carroll Biggins:

Email

Peter:
pabiggin@optonline.net
Marilyn: marilynbiggins@yahoo.com

Phone

203-655-3694

Address

230 Old Kings Highway North
Darien, CT 06820 USA

Index      Michigan Map      Chicago Map      Texas Map      New York Map      Family Tree      Top      Home Page