Born in 1882, Higgins served variously in corps (parish) work, divisional and territorial appointments in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. He was Chief of the Staff from 1919, until elected General by the first-ever High Council in 1929.
One of Higgins' most crucial tasks was regaining the confidence of the American public as the second-in-command, or Chief Secretary, of The Salvation Army in the USA, following the departure of former leader Ballington Booth.
Later, as General, Higgins promoted, through a Parliamentary Committee, a new legal footing, The Salvation Army Act 1931, which provided that (1) Generals be elected by a High Council and (2) that such Salvation Army assets as had been held in the name of a General be vested in a Salvation Army Trustee company. These changes reduced the absolute powers the position of General had previously been both entrusted and burdened with.
Higgins served as General until his retirement in 1934 and died in 1947, aged 83.