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Henry Sharp Higginbotham, Page One

ShorpyHigginbotham.jpg
Henry Sharp Higginbotham, Bessie Mine, Jefferson County, Alabama, December 1910. Photo by Lewis Hine

Shorpy Higginbotham, a "greaser" on the tipple at Bessie Mine, of the Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Co. Said he was 14 years old, but it is doubtful. Carries two heavy pails of grease, and is often in danger of being run over by the coal cars. Location: Bessie Mine, Alabama, December 1910, Lewis Hine.

 

I first saw photos of Shorpy Higginbotham on Shorpy.com, a marvelous new website devoted to old photographs, including some by Lewis Hine. They are also posted on the Library of Congress website. The heartbreaking pictures, and the boy's colorful name captured me immediately. I dropped everything and started a search.

It took me only a few minutes of looking through the 1910 US Census to discover that Shorpy's real name was Henry Sharp Higginbotham. A few minutes later, I found his name in a Higginbotham family website posted on RootsWeb.com. This is what I learned:

He was born November 23, 1896, in Jefferson County, Alabama, probably in or near Birmingham. His parents were Phelix (or Felix) Milton Higginbotham and Mary Jane (Nancy) Graham. He had six brothers and three sisters. Felix died in 1917, Mary Jane died in 1946, and one of Henry's brothers, Jack, died in 1920. Henry married Flora Quinton on November 19, 1927, but he died, two months later, on January 25, 1928. There was no further information about him.

Henry Sharp Higginbotham, Page Two

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