History of Chicago, Andreas, 1885
The year of 1871 was an eventful one to those having marine interests, for it was this year that the tug owners raised the tariff so high as to almost prohibit business, in consequence of which the vessel owners combined, raising a capital stock company called the Vessel Owners’ Towing Company, electing Captain James Higgie president, after which he went to Buffalo and contracted for five new tugs and then returned to Chicago. When the tugs were ready to deliver to the company he again went to Buffalo and equipped them, and they arrived in Chicago about one month prior to the great fire of 1871, since which time the company have added six tugs, making eleven in their service. Captain Higgie has continued as president of the Vessel Owners’ Towing Company since its organization, and has continued also to operate vessels of his own, and has handled a large quantity of real estate in the meantime. The first boat under his command was the “Lewis C. Erwin,” and the last that he sailed was the “Pilgrim,” in 1863. Captain Higgie was married in Racine, Wis , in 1867, to Miss Mary J. Kirkham, and they have seven children living–James L., Mary L., Noble K., Arthur M., Archie, Imogene and George K. James L. Higgie is one of the prominent men who is closely identified with marine matters in Chicago, and his name is familiarly known over the whole extent of the lakes, and is a synonym for honorable dealing and commercial equity. During his thirty years’ of active life, Captain Higgie has made a multitude of close and earnest friends, whose number is increased each day of his life. He has been a Mason since 1862, and is a member of Cleveland Lodge, No 211, A. F. & A. M.; of Washington Chapter, No. 43, R. A. M.; and of Chicago Commandery, No 19, K. T.