Hamer J. Higgins (1840-1902) began apprenticing as a marble cutter at Haldeman’s Marble Works on East Front Street in downtown Bloomington. By the late 1870s, he was part owner of the firm, then known as J.H. Higgins & Co. He was joined in partnership in 1878 by Jacob Phlllip Jung (1850-1933) and in 1890 by Charles A. Kleinau (c.1861-1933), although Higgins maintained majority ownership and control of the company.
After Higgins’ death in 1902, the company became a joint stock company named Higgins-Jung-Kleinau Co. After Jung and Kleinau died in 1933, descendants of the three original partners continued to operate the company and own a majority of the stock until it closed in 1956.
Bookkeeper Ada Maxwell (1861-1955) worked for the firm for forty-four years. Thanks to a bequest from Jung, she became a shareholder and served as director, secretary, and treasurer.
During eighty years of business in the 200 block of East Front Street, the company carved monuments that grace cemeteries throughout central Illinois. By 1889, the firm was selling tombstones across eight or nine states although their monuments appear in cemeteries as far flung as New York City and Los Angeles.