By Jared L. Olar
Updated November 2018
The RIGGS surname is of English origin, and etymologically "Riggs" is the same as the word "ridge." Going back to the Middle Ages, persons or families in England who dwelled at or near a line of hills or a ridge would come to be surnamed "Rigg," "Rigge," "Riggs," "Rigges," "Ridges," "Ryges," "Ryggys," or one of the other numerous spelling variations of this name. Consequently, the name is rather common in England, and can also be found in Scotland and Ireland -- of course, most of these families are not related to each other at all. When England began to colonise North America beginning in the 1600s, several Riggs families migrated to Massachusetts and other English colonies. One of those families came from Nazeing Parish, Essex, England, and settled at Roxbury near Boston in the 1600s, later moving to Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. Our Riggs genealogy traces back to that family. Another Riggs family came around the same time from Hawkshead, Lancashire, England, and settled in Gloucester, Massachusetts, later moving to Maine. A third Riggs family first appears in history in Prince George's County, Maryland. Remarkably, DNA tests of the Y chromosome of male descendants of these three families have established that the Nazeing Riggs family, the Hawkshead Riggs family, and the Prince George's County family were cousins in the male line. They belong to the R1b1a1a2 (R-M269) male haplogroup, one of the largest genetic races in Europe, and members of this Riggs family also have tested positive for the CTS2501 single nucleotide polymorphism.
To learn more about the Riggs surname and Riggs genealogy, see the website of Alvy Ray Smith, FASG, whose research represents the latest and best study of the Nazeing, Hawkshead, and Prince George's County Riggs families. Smith is eighth in descent from Elder Bethuel Riggs of Mendham, New Jersey, a Revolutionary War soldier who was in turn a descendant of the Nazeing Riggs family. See also Geoff Riggs' Riggs Surname Study, Karen Bryant's former Oxford Past website, as well as Ryan Dimmick's The Riggs Family. Geoff Riggs' website is a chief source for the first seven generations and almost the sole source for the first two generations shown below, while Karen Bryant's website was a guide for the first 10 generations shown. I have also consulted the Whitney Family of Connecticut (1878), by Stephen Whitney Phoenix, and the Genealogy of the Riggs Family (1901), by John H. Wallace. Most especially, I have drawn upon the scholarship on this family by Alvy R. Smith, especially his Edwardian Riggses of America, Vol. III, Part II (2008-2011). Family records in the possession of the descendants of Albert Riggs and Mary Elizabeth Pennover (generation no. 11) are the chief sources for the last five generations shown. Genealogical researcher Colleen Stutz also has supplied important information about generation no. 11.
As mentioned above, our Riggs family traces back to Nazeing Parish in Essex, England. Geoff Riggs has very plausibly argued that our immigrant ancestor EDWARD RIGGS (1589-1672) was a son of Richard Riggs (a.k.a. Richard Miles), son of Miles Riggs of Roydon Parish, Essex, adjacent to Nazeing Parish. I am inclined towards that hypothesis, on account of the geographical proximity of Nazeing and Roydon and in consideration of suggestive onomastics. However, Alvy R. Smith and Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, have proposed alternate hypotheses that would connect Edward Riggs of Nazeing with the Hawkshead Riggs family, with whom the Nazeing family is now known to share a common male ancestor. THOMAS RIGGS (1633-1722), son of Robert Riggs (or Rigge) of Hawkshead Parish, Lancashire, came to Massachusetts circa 1656 and settled in Gloucester. There is no evidence nor any reason to believe that Edward and Thomas knew they were cousins or that they ever met, and in truth their kinship might have been a few degrees apart. Smith and Anderson have proposed that our ancestor Edward Riggs could have been the "Edward Rigge," baptised 6 May 1593 in Hawkshead, Lancashire, son of Richard Rigge of Hawkshead. Alternatively, they suggest that our Edward could have been another "Edward Rigge," baptised 25 July 1594 in Hawkshead, son of James Rigge of Hawkshead. (See Smith's and Anderson's "Proposed Hawkshead, Lancashire, Origins of Edward Riggs of Roxbury, Massachusetts, and Thomas Riggs of Gloucester," in The American Genealogist 82(2007):120-29.) The surname of Rigge or Riggs appears very frequently in Hawkshead from the start of the parish registers there in 1568, whereas the Riggs surname is not as common in the Nazeing and Roydon areas of Essex, which suggests that perhaps our Edward or his recent ancestors moved to Essex from Lancashire at some point.
In addition to the proven genetic kinship of the Nazeing and Hawkshead families, Smith has shown that a third Riggs family in the United States -- the family of JAMES RIGGS (circa 1662-circa 1744) of Prince George's County, Maryland -- is yet another branch of this same Riggs family. Earlier Riggs genealogists had suggested that James Riggs may have been a descendant of Edward Riggs of Nazeing, but the results of y-DNA testing indicate that James Riggs was genetically closer to Thomas Riggs of Hawkshead than he was to Edward Riggs. Consequently, James must have been either a descendant of Thomas Riggs or else was closely related to Thomas in the male line. (See Smith's 2012 study, James Riggs (c1662-c1744) of Prince George's County, Maryland, and His Descendants to 2011.)
Although the genetic kinship of the Nazeing, Hawkshead, and Prince George's County families has been established, we cannot at this time show how these three Riggs families were connected (and likely may never be able to do so). Here follows the genealogy of Edward Riggs and our descent from him, commencing with Edward's probable grandfather.
1. MILES RIGGS, a resident of Roydon Parish, Essex, England, is the earliest known or probable ancestor of this family. He was probably born during the latter part of the reign of King Henry VIII. The earliest entry in the Roydon Parish Register was in 1567, so Miles' baptism and marriage is not recorded in the parish register, nor are the baptisms of his children recorded. However, Miles' probable son Richard had his first child baptised in 1576, so Richard was probably born before 1557, which means Miles was probably born before 1536. On 15 April 1564, Miles "Rigges" was a witness to the will of Elizabeth Borely, which means Miles was no longer a minor and therefore was born before 1544. The will, which was proved 18 May 1566, states Elizabeth was "to be buried in Roydon churchyard." Miles married a woman named AGNES, who is probably the mother of his probable son Richard. Agnes was buried 26 March 1579 at Roydon, Essex, and Miles was buried 7 Sept. 1583 at Roydon. His son was:
2. RICHARD RIGGS, born probably before 1557.
2. RICHARD RIGGS, very probably son of Miles and Agnes Riggs, was probably born before 1557; died after 25 March 1603, probably at Roydon, Essex, England. In parish records, Richard Riggs is sometimes called "Richard Miles," which almost certainly means "Richard son of Miles." It is possible that some branches of the Riggs family preserved some sort of garbled memory of their descent from Richard Riggs, a.k.a. Richard Miles. The New Jersey genealogist, Charles C. Gardiner, recorded the following interesting tradition, sent to him by an Edward Riggs descendant in 1928:
"Some say that a certain man in the time of our ancestors whose name was Miles which was our original name, having killed a deer, which was a priveledge not allowed to the common people in England, was obliged to change his name & fly his country to avoid prosecution. Others, perhaps with greater probability, believe that when our Father Miles, the last of that name in our line, was an infant, his father died, leaving him with his mother, a young widow, who soon after married a Riggs by whose name we have ever since been called."
This may have a kernel of truth to it. On the other hand, it could only be another variation of the confused and erroneous traditions told of Miles Riggs (generation no. 7 below).
Richard married 5 Sept. 1575 at Roydon, Essex, to ELIZABETH CHAMBERLIN, who was buried 25 March 1603 at Roydon, Essex. The parish register entry on her burial calls her Richard's "wife," not "widow," which would mean Richard survived her. Geoff Riggs writes, "In 1589, Richard 'RIGGES' was a juror for the half-hundred of Harlow at the Petty Sessions court held there on 1 Oct. 1589. He and his fellow jurors reported that an inhabitant of Roydon 'keeps an alehouse and there sells bread and ale without licence, contrary to the form of the Statute,' but that 'in all other vill(age)s and hamlets, all is well.'" The Roydon Parish Register records the following children of Richard and Elizabeth:
-- MARY RIGGS (Mary Miles), baptised 30 July 1576. -- ELIZABETH RIGGS, baptised 22 Oct. 1578, buried 16 Nov. 1581. -- RICHARD RIGGS (Richard Miles), baptised 24 Sept. 1581. -- FRANCIS RIGGS, baptised 17 April 1583. -- MILES RIGGS, a "nurse child," buried 8 Nov. 1586. -- RALPH RIGGS, baptised 19 June 1586, buried 8 Oct. 1586. 3. EDWARD RIGGS, baptised 30 March 1589.
3. SGT. EDWARD RIGGS, son of Richard and Elizabeth Riggs, baptised 30 March 1589 at Roydon, Essex, England; died and was buried 5 March 1672 at Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. The Roydon Parish Register does not mention Edward by name, but shows a baptism on 30 March 1589 of "The sonne of Richard Riggs," which by process of elimination has been deduced to be Edward. Edward later appears in the parish records of Nazeing, adjacent to Roydon. On 16 Sept. 1618 at All Saints Church, Nazeing Parish, Essex, he married firstly ELIZABETH HOLMES, baptised 13 Dec. 1590 at All Saints Church, Nazeing, died and buried in 1634 (perhaps Oct. 1634, though the burial record erroneously says Oct. 1635, a recording error made at least nine years after the event) at Roxbury, Massachusetts. Edward and Elizabeth had five known children, all baptised at Nazeing Parish from 1619 to 1632. The group of Puritans in Nazeing, which included Edward and Elizabeth and Elizabeth's brother George Holmes, left England in early 1633 and sailed to the Massachusetts Bay Colony -- in Massachusetts, their neighbors referred to them as "the Nazeing Christians." Edward and Elizabeth with their children probably sailed from London, on either the William and Jane or the Mary and Jane. They landed in Boston in the early summer of 1633, and along with other Nazeing Christians were among the first settlers of Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, where Edward was admitted as a Freeman and a member of the Puritan Church. Edward's family and their fellow colonists suffered a high mortality rate during and soon after their voyage. Three of Edward's five children and his wife all died within 30 months of their arrival. Edward married secondly on 5 April 1635 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, to ELIZABETH ROSE ("Roosa" or "Reosa"), daughter of Robert and Margery Rose, but Edward and his second wife had no children, and she died and was buried 2 Sept. 1669 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Edward's will is dated exactly one year later, 2 Sept. 1670.
Edward served as a sergeant in the Pequot War of 1637 and was commended for his bravery during the war, as it says in a letter from John Winthrop to William Bradford dated 28 July 1637:
". . . they gave order to surround the swamp, it being about a mile around; but Lieutenant Davenport, and some twelve more, not hearing that command, fell into the swamp among the Indians. The swamp was so thick with shrub wood, and so boggy with all, that some of them stuck fast, and received many shot. Lieutenant Davenport was dangerously wounded about his armhole and another shot in the head, so as fainting, they were in great danger to have been taken by the Indians, but Sergeant Rigges, and Jeffery and two or three more rescued them, and slew diverse of the Indians with their swords."
Samuel Drake's History and Antiquities of Boston (1856) says that action took place on 13 July 1637:
"Animated by success, the English, by the aid of their Indian allies, were able to scour the country far and wide. At length, coming to 'a small Indian town seated by the side of a hideous swamp, into which they all slipt, as well Pequots as natives of the place.' . . . Order was given to surround the swamp, but Lieutenant Davenport, rushing into the swamp with some twelve others, came near being cut off. He was 'sorely wounded,' as were two Ipswich men, John Wedgwood and Thomas Sherman. They were rescued at great peril by Serjeant Riggs of Roxbury."
According to Drake, the "hideous swamp" was located in Fairfield, Connecticut, on the borders of Long Island Sound. George M. Bodge, in his Soldiers in King Philip's War (1906), locates the action at "Unquowa" (Uncoway), "now within the town of Fairfield." According to Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, Fairfield was founded in 1640 and was called Uncoway by the Indians.
Starting with John H. Wallace in 1901, Riggs genealogists have identified "Serjeant Riggs of Roxbury" of the Pequot War as this Edward's eldest son Edward who was born in 1619. However, Alvy R. Smith has observed that the younger Edward would have been only 18 years old in July 1637, and it would be highly unusual for an 18-year-old colonist to hold that military rank. Consequently it must be the elder Edward who was praised by Winthrop for his bravery, and the same Edward who is listed in a 15 Oct. 1662 order of the Supreme Judicial Court at Boston among "those who served in the Pequot Wars." The order of the Deputies approved land grants as rewards for the soldiers' service, but the magistrates did not consent to the order.
4. SGT. EDWARD RIGGS, baptised 17 Oct. 1619 in Essex. -- LYDIA RIGGS, died Aug. 1633 in Roxbury, Mass. -- ELIZABETH RIGGS, died May 1634 in Roxbury, Mass. -- JOHN RIGGS, died Oct. 1634 in Roxbury, Mass. -- MARY RIGGS, married Benjamin Twitchell.
4. SGT. EDWARD RIGGS, son of Edward and Elizabeth Riggs, baptised 17 Oct. 1619 in Nazeing Parish, Essex, England; died between 10 June 1669 and 25 Jan. 1670 in Newark, New Jersey. Edward came to Roxbury, Massachusetts, with his parents and younger siblings in 1633. Perhaps as early as 1641 and certainly by circa 1662, Edward married ELIZABETH, born 1621 in England, died sometime after 2 July 1670, perhaps in Newark, New Jersey. (Several genealogists misidentified this Elizabeth as Elizabeth Rose, who actually married Sgt. Edward Riggs' father Edward.)
Earlier genealogists stated that Edward became one of the original planters of Milford, Connecticut, in 1640. However, he does not appear in the Milford town records until 1646, so he probably came to Milford with a later group of settlers, not with the original planters. Edward's younger children would have been born in Milford.
Edward also helped to found the Derby Plantation in Connecticut in 1655. In Derby Plantation, Edward located his homestead on a hill which came to be known as "Riggs' Hill," which was still in the possession of his descendants as late as 1900. In 1661, the year following King Charles II's restoration to the English and Scottish thrones, Charles II sent emissaries to search along the coast of Connecticut and New Haven for William Goffe and Edward Whalley, two members of the illegal English Parliament that had condemned and executed his father King Charles I. According to tradition, Edward helped to hide and protect Goffe and Whalley.
Edward later became one of the founders of Newark, New Jersey, in May 1666. Beginning in 1668, Edward is referred to in the Newark records with the military rank of "Serj." or "Sarj." Edward Riggs. This led earlier genealogists to assume that he was the Sgt. Riggs of Roxbury of the Pequot War, and that his bravery during that war had caused him to be known for the rest of his life as "Sgt. Riggs." However, as explained above, the Sgt. Riggs of the Pequot War was the immigrant Edward, father of this Edward.
A "Widow Riggs" who is mentioned in the records of the Newark Town Meetings on 25 Jan. 1670 and 2 July 1670 is apparently Edward's widow Elizabeth. She later remarried to CALEB CARWITHIE, but there were no children of that marriage. The children of Edward and Elizabeth are:
-- SAMUEL RIGGS, born circa 1642, m1. Sarah Baldwin (of English noble and royal descent), m2. Sarah Washburn -- JOSEPH RIGGS, born circa 1644, married Hannah Browne. -- MARY RIGGS, born circa 1646, m1. George Day, m2. Anthony Olef -- JOHN RIGGS, born circa 1648, no children. 5. EDWARD RIGGS, born circa 1650, md. Mary (NN).
5. EDWARD RIGGS, son of Sgt. Edward and Elizabeth Riggs, born circa 1650. Edward's date of death is unknown, but he was still living on 10 April 1696 when he was granted 100 acres by the East New Jersey proprietors. Karen Bryant says he died in 1716 in Newark, New Jersey. It is possible that he is the Edward Riggs who witnessed the will of William Brant of Elizabethtown, New Jersey, on 21 Jan. 1708/9. On the other hand, a "Widow Riggs" who might be Edward's wife is mentioned on 1 May 1697 -- if she was Edward's wife, that means he had died before that date. Edward's wife was certainly named MARY (former speculation that Mary was the daughter of a Daniel Munn has been shown to be in error). Geoff Riggs writes, "In 1667, Edward and his family followed his father Edward's family from Derby, Connecticut, to Newark, N.J., where they were amongst the original settlers -- he and his brother Joseph were the first to obtain grants of outside lands from the town authorities. He was assigned a home lot in Newark and, though he was not as educated as his two younger brothers, he succeeded in accumulating other landed property there, which he subsequently distributed among his children. In his land conveyances, he was often designated as a 'planter.'" Old tradition and earlier genealogical works assign 10 or 11 children to Edward and Mary, but at this time only two of those children, Edward and Joseph, have been positively identified in surviving contemporary records (with tentative evidence for two others, James and Samuel, and a possible reference to the youngest child Charity). Those 10 or 11 children, given in their traditional order of birth, are:
-- ANNA RIGGS, born circa 1662, md. J. Gage. -- JAMES RIGGS, born circa 1664 or perhaps 1679. -- MARY RIGGS, born circa 1666, md. Joseph Lindsley. -- EDWARD RIGGS, born circa 1668 or perhaps 1673, md. Aphia Stoughton. ?? LYDIA RIGGS. 6. JOSEPH RIGGS, born circa 1675. -- MARTHA RIGGS, born circa 1677, md. S. Freeman. -- ELIZABETH RIGGS, born circa 1678, md. John Lyon. -- JOHN RIGGS, born circa 1679 (1669?), md. Frances Colburn. -- SAMUEL RIGGS, born circa 1681. -- CHARITY RIGGS, born circa 1685, md. John Bowers.
6. JOSEPH RIGGS, son of Edward and Mary Riggs, born circa 1675 in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey; died 11 Sept. 1744 in Essex County, New Jersey; buried on that date in the Old Burying Ground, Orange, Essex County, New Jersey. His gravestone says he was 68 years old when he died. Geoff Riggs writes, "There is a tradition that he was an active member of the first church organisation at Orange, Essex Co. N.J., which was then called 'The Mountain Society.' He was buried there 11 Sept. 1744." Although traditionally his children were born in Orange, Joseph does not appear to have moved to the Mountain until after 14 March 1737/8. According to Bev Peterson's "Descendants Chart of Thomas and Jane Riggs," Joseph's wife was named SARAH, born circa 1683, died 17 June 1735. She is buried next to her husband, and her gravestone says she was 51 years old when she died. According to tradition, they had seven sons and four daughters, though another tradition knew of no more children than six sons. Only the sons Miles, Joseph, and Daniel have been identified in contemporary records, with tentative evidence of the son Gideon and daughter Sarah and a widespread tradition supporting the paternity of the son Zebulon. The traditional 11 children of Joseph and Sarah are:
-- JOSIAH RIGGS, born circa 1703. 7. MILES RIGGS, born circa 1705. -- HANNAH RIGGS, born circa 1707, md. John Hedden. -- MARY RIGGS, born circa 1709, md. Thomas Cushman. -- BENJAMIN RIGGS, born 1711. -- GIDEON RIGGS, born 1713, md. Rebecca Hand. -- DINAH RIGGS, born circa 1716, md. Edward Hedden. -- ZEBULON RIGGS, born 23 or 24 Jan. 1719, married Elizabeth Brown. -- JOSEPH RIGGS, born circa 1720, married Abigail Brown. -- DANIEL RIGGS, born 29 May 1724, m1. Sarah Lamson, m2. Rhoda Condit. -- SARAH RIGGS, born circa 1726, md. Thomas [or Joseph] Roberts.
7. MILES RIGGS, son of Joseph Riggs, born circa 1705 in New Jersey; fell overboard from and drowned in New York Harbor while his sloop was docked during a gale on Christmas Eve 1753. His body was presumably never recovered, and his burial place, if any, is unknown. Miles, a sailor, married on 26 June 1735 in Norwalk, Fairfield County, Connecticut, to ELIZABETH WHITNEY, born 1717 in Norwalk, Connecticut, died Aug. 1815 in Norfolk, Litchfield County, Connecticut, daughter of Joseph and Hannah Whitney. The marriage of Miles and Elizabeth, along with the births of their first four children, are recorded in Rev. Elijah B. Huntington's Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths of Stamford Families (Stamford, 1797). Miles died without a will, and his estate was administered on 1 Jan. 1754 in Newark, New Jersey -- his widow Elizabeth and his younger siblings Joseph, Daniel, and Sarah are named in the legal records pertaining to the disposition of his estate, and the first item in the inventory of Miles' estate is "one Boat With all the furniture" with a value of 48 pounds.
Numerous wild tales and spurious traditions about Miles Riggs have been very popular among his descendants. For example, The Whitney Family of Connecticut (1878), by S. Whitney Phoenix, says:
[Miles'] grandson, Miles Riggs, had an old manuscript book, in which was recorded the fact that "he was of Irish extraction, born in the Isle of Wight, 7 June 1687; followed the sea till late in life; then settled at Norwalk, Conn., where his son Miles was born 20 May 1748." Unfortunately, this book fell into the hands of a woman who had no love for "old things," and she burned it, within a few years past.
This story is not particularly credible, and it seems very convenient that this precious old manuscript cannot be examined on account of its having been burned by an unnamed woman. But even if this manuscript actually existed at some point, the traditions it allegedly related about Miles' Irish extraction and birth on the Isle of Wight are demonstrably false. Miles was born in New Jersey, not on the Isle of Wight, and he could not have been born in 1687 when his own father Joseph was only 12 years old. John H. Wallace's Genealogy of the Riggs Family has more to say about the spurious Miles Riggs tradition, and also gives valuable details about his life and how he came to his death:
From several causes the descendants of Miles seem to have believed he was the progenitor of all bearing the Riggs name in this country, and the wild and improbable stories told of his origin and early history have had an astonishingly wide circulation in all the different branches of the Riggs family. The story that I met with most frequently when I commenced this compilation, and often from very intelligent people, was to the effect that Miles was not only the progenitor of all the tribe, but that Riggs was not his name. That he was picked up in some foreign port and taken as a cabin boy on a ship, and he was so fond and successful in playing tricks and “running rigs” on everybody about the ship, that the sailors named him “Rigs,” and hence the supposed patronymic of the whole tribe. Now the truth is that Miles was born in Newark, and his paternal ancestors had lived there through three generations before he was born. He was a sailor, but it is not known that he ever was in a foreign port. By the merest accident I discovered in the New York Historical Society the date and circumstances of his death. He lived in Newark with his wife Elizabeth and a houseful of children, and he owned and ran a sloop for the purpose of carrying freight between New York and Newark. He was in New York on the night of December 24, 1753, and a heavy gale springing up, he left his lodging about midnight and went to look after the safety of his vessel in Peck’s slip, where she was lying. By some misstep he fell overboard and was drowned. He died intestate, and his brother Joseph administered on the estate. The names of other brothers and sisters, as well as that of his wife Elizabeth, appear in the settlement of his affairs. His sloop was his chief possession in the line of personal property. His widow returned to Connecticut with her family, and in 1759 married David Rockwell.
A deed in the Norwalk land records, dated 5 Aug. 1754, states that "Elizabeth Wriggs, widow, of Norwalk" joined her Whitney brothers and sisters in conveying land at the upper end of Clapboard Hills, to Ebenezer Benedict. Elizabeth later remarried in 1759 to ENSIGN DAVID ROCKWELL, and lived with him at Ridgebury, in Ridgefield, where he died 30 May 1788. Elizabeth then married a third time circa 1791 to AGUR FAIRCHILD, who died in 1797. She then went to live with her youngest daughter, Esther (Riggs) Rockwell, in Ridgebury, until she was 94 years old, when she went to live with her son Miles Riggs in Norfolk, Connecticut. There she died at the age of 98.
-- JOSIAH RIGGS, born 18 May 1736, md. Experience Davis. 8. JOSEPH RIGGS, born 18 May 1738. -- SARAH RIGGS, born 22 Oct. 1740. -- ELIZABETH RIGGS, born 17 Dec. 1742, md. Mr. Stewart. -- MARY [POLLY] RIGGS, born circa 1744, md. Ephraim Kimberly. -- MILES RIGGS, born 20 May 1748, m1. Martha (Patty) Bull, m2 Abigail (Cowles) Mills. -- PRUDENCE RIGGS, born circa 1750, m1. Samuel Northrop, m2. Mr. Leason. -- ESTHER RIGGS, born Nov. 1752, md. Abraham Rockwell, her second cousin.
8. JOSEPH RIGGS, son of Miles and Elizabeth Riggs, born 18 May 1738 in Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut; died 15 June 1805 in Norwalk, Connecticut; buried in East Line Union Cemetery in Ballston Center, Saratoga County, New York. On 4 Aug. 1761 in New Canaan, Connecticut, Joseph married his first cousin MARY KEELER, born circa 1742 in New Canaan, Connecticut, died circa 1763, daughter of Daniel and Hannah Keeler. Joseph and Mary had one child, Daniel. Joseph joined the church in New Canaan on 1 May 1763, and it is likely that his wife Mary was already dead by that date. Joseph married secondly on 18 Sept. 1764 in Wilton, Connecticut, to MARGARET RESSEGUIE, born 20 Feb. 1741 in Norwalk, Connecticut, died at the age of 101 on 10 Oct. 1842 in Ballston, Saratoga, County, New York, daughter of Alexander and Thankful Resseguie. Joseph and Margaret had seven children.
9. DANIEL RIGGS, born circa 1762. -- JAMES RIGGS, born 29 June 1765, md. Sarah Miles. -- MILES RIGGS, born 10 Sept. 1767, md. Susan Taylor. -- IRA RIGGS, born 24 Nov. 1769, died 23 Dec. 1771. -- TIMOTHY RIGGS, born 29 Oct. 1772, md. Candace Weed. -- JONATHAN RIGGS, probably born circa 1774, md. Esther Keeler. -- SARAH RIGGS, born 6 May 1778, md. Raymond Taylor. -- ESTHER RIGGS, born 18 June 1784, md. Jedediah Beckwith.
9. DANIEL RIGGS, only child of Joseph and Mary Riggs, born circa 1762 at or near Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut; died 6 June 1793 in Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut; buried in Ridgefield, almost certainly in Titicus Cemetery, where his son Isaac and daughter Polly are also buried. One source says Daniel was born at Norwalk, while another says he was born at Ridgefield, but both locales are near Stamford. The Norwalk tradition seems more reliable. Daniel served as a private in the New York line of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, being discharged by General George Washington at the end of two years and six months of service. Following his discharge, Daniel married on 9 Sept. 1784 to SUSANNAH LOBDELL, born 9 July 1758 at Ridgefield, Connecticut, died 5 Aug. 1841 in Ridgefield, daughter of Ebenezer and Rebecca Lobdell. Daniel and Susanna resided at Ridgefield, where their five children were born. Susannah died at Ridgefield, at the home of her granddaughter Sarah Ann (Gray) Roberts on 5 Aug. 1841 at the age of 83. The old Whitney Genealogy (p.135) says:
"Daniel Riggs, b. in Norwalk, Conn., about 1762; a farmer, was given six pounds, in the will of Daniel Keeler, 14 Nov. 1764, and called 'my loving grandson'; married, 9 Sept. 1784, in Ridgefield, Conn., Susanna Lobdell, born in Ridgefield, 9 July 1758, dau. of Ebenezer and Rebecca (Benedict) Lobdell. They settled in Ridgefield, where he was accidentally killed, while raising a building, 6 June 1793. She dwelt, for many years, with her daughter, Mrs. Polly (Riggs) Gray, and during the last five years of her life, with her g. dau., Mrs. Sarah Ann (Gray) Roberts, of Ridgefield. She died there, 5 Aug. 1841, aged 83 years. He was a soldier in the Revolution."
The 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Madison County, Illinois, pages 516-517, includes a biographical sketch of Daniel's grandson John Riggs of Godfrey Township, Madison County, Illinois, in which John related his own knowledge of his family history. John, however, misremembered the name of his grandfather, calling him "Jacob Riggs" rather than Daniel, but otherwise correctly identifying him as "a native of Ridgefield, Conn., and a soldier in the Revolutionary War." The biographical sketch adds:
"The grandparents of our subject reared a family of four sons and one daughter, namely: Jacob, a shoe merchant of Ridgefield, Conn.; Daniel, a builder and contractor, located in New York City; Isaac, who is also following that business in the above city; Samuel, the father of our subject, and Polly, now Mrs. Gray, who makes her home in Ridgefield. Jacob [sic - Daniel] Riggs was by occupation a contractor and builder, and was accidentally killed by falling from a building in Ridgefield when in the prime of life."
On 18 Oct. 1838, Daniel's widow Susanna prepared a sworn affidavit testifying to her late husband's Revolutionary War service in order to obtain a war pension under an Act of Congress passed 7 July 1838. In the affidavit, Susanna testified:
". . . that she is the Widow of Daniel Riggs who was a private in the Army of the Revolution -- that the Father of said Daniel Riggs removed in the Town of Ridgefield from [...]town in Said County before the Close of the War -- And that the said Daniel resided in the Town of South Salem in the County of Westchester and State of New York -- And that her acquaintance with the said Riggs commenced when he visited his father -- that when he was about Seventeen years of Age, and in the Spring of the year 1777 -- he the said Daniel Riggs then living in said South Salem enlisted, as a [...]ing the war's man into the New York line of the Continental Army -- have Often heard him tell the Name of his Captain but cannot now recollect his name, And have also frequently heard him speak of being under Gen. McDougal -- Said Riggs frequently visited Ridgefield on furlough when she as often saw him -- At the Close of the War said Riggs received a discharge from Gen. Washington -- That said Riggs also received a Certificate entitling him to bounty Land in Said State of New York that a Short time previous to his death he sold for a trifling consideration Said Bounty Land to a Gentleman of the Name of McKnight, by Whence the discharge aforesaid was placed upon the files in the Clerks office in the County of Cayuga. . . . She further declares that she was married to Said Daniel Riggs on the Ninth day of September One thousand Seven hundred and Eighty four -- at Ridgefield aforesaid by John Benedict a Justice of the Peace -- And that Said Daniel Riggs was killed while assisting to raise a large building in Said Ridgefield on the Sixth day of June One thousand Seven hundred and Ninety three -- that she was not Married to him prior to his leaving the service . . . ."
Subjoined to Susanna's affidavit were a copy of Gen. Washington's discharge of Private Daniel Riggs, and a copy of the marriage certificate of Daniel and Susanna. According to Alvy Ray Smith, "Susannah Riggs, widow of Daniel Riggs, a private, is listed among the U.S. pensioners in Connecticut for 1837-1841, her pension having commenced on 4 Mar. 1836."
This above certified transcript of the Revolutionary War discharge papers issued to Private Daniel Riggs by General George Washington on 7 June 1783 was included by Daniel's widow Susannah in her 1838 application for a Revolutionary War widow's pension.
The old 1901 Riggs Genealogy, page 47, lists only four of Daniel and Susannah's five children (omitting their son Jacob). Their five children were:
10. SAMUEL RIGGS, born 20 May 1785. -- ISAAC RIGGS, born 5 March 1787, md. Marinda Smith. -- JACOB RIGGS, born perhaps circa 1789 -- POLLY RIGGS, born 6 July 1791, md. Lockwood Gray. -- DANIEL RIGGS, born 16 May 1793, md. Lumerec Ryerson.
10. SAMUEL RIGGS, son of Daniel and Susanna Riggs, born 20 May 1785 in Ridgefield, Connecticut; died 2 Feb. 1834 in St. Andrew's, Montgomery County, New York; buried at Berea Cemetery in Newburgh, Orange County, New York, about two miles from St. Andrew's. "He seems to have had good opportunity for obtaining an education, and became a teacher," says John H. Wallace's 1901 Riggs Genealogy. Samuel left Connecticut in 1809 and moved to Fishkill, Dutchess County, New York, where on 16 Jan. 1811 he married ELIZABETH HAIGHT, daughter of Beverly and Charity Haight, born 5 Jan. 1790 in Fishkill; died at Fishkill Landing on 13 Dec. 1849; buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery, Matteawan, New York (now called St. Luke's Episcopal Church Cemetery in Beacon, formerly Matteawan, Dutchess County, New York). Samuel and Elizabeth settled in Philipstown, New York, near the north line, on the road leading from Cold Spring Landing to Fishkill Village, where the division of the county in 1812 left them in the new county of Putnam. Their nine children were born in Philipstown, but in 1830 they moved to St. Andrew's where Samuel died. The 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Madison County, Illinois, pages 516-517, relates the following recollections of the lives of Samuel and his wife Elizabeth, provided to the book's editor by their son John Riggs of Godfrey Township, Madison County, Illinois:
"Samuel Riggs received a good education in the schools of his native place, where he prepared himself for a teacher, and with this end in view, emigrated when a young man to Putnam County, N. Y., where he taught the Highland schools for about twenty years. His health then failing, he removed to a farm in Orange County, that state, and upon it spent the remainder of his life. He was married while living in Putnam County, when about twenty-three years of age, to Miss [Elizabeth] Haight, a daughter of Beverly and Charity (Husted) Haight. Her father was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, in which conflict his brother John also participated, being captain of his company. The latter lived to the remarkable age of one hundred years.
"The parental family included nine children, all of whom attained mature years. Daniel, deceased, was a carpenter and building in New York City, where also for a time he was engaged in merchandising; David, who died when in his twenty-second year, was a tailor by trade and resided in Ulster County, N. Y.; Albert, formerly a carpenter and builder in New York City, now makes his home in Chicago, where he follows the same business; Isaac, now deceased, was a merchant of Cold Spring, N. Y.; John, the subject of this sketch, was the next in order of birth; Samuel left home when a young man and has never been heard from since; William is a general merchant in Newburg, N. Y.; Susan is deceased; and Mary is the wife of William Valentine, a contractor of Albany, N. Y.
"Both Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Riggs were members of the Presbyterian Church, and in politics the former was an old line Whig. He departed this life in 1832 [sic - 1834], at the age of forty-nine years. He was residing at that time on his farm in Orange County, whither he had removed several years previously. His good wife survived him some fourteen or fifteen years, when she too passed away."
The nine children of Samuel and Elizabeth Riggs were:
-- DANIEL RIGGS, born 23 Dec. 1811, md. Hannah Nelson. -- DAVID RIGGS, born 3 Nov. 1813, never married. 11. ALBERT RIGGS, born 9 Dec. 1815. -- ISAAC RIGGS, born 31 Jan. 1818, md. Maria Haight. -- JOHN RIGGS, born 20 June 1820, m1. Mary Henry, m2. Hannah Peck. -- SAMUEL SMITH RIGGS, born 22 July 1822, lost at sea. -- WILLIAM RIGGS, born 16 May 1824, m1. Frances Henry, m2. Melissa Mead. -- SUSAN RIGGS, born 11 July 1826, never married. -- MARY ELIZABETH RIGGS, born 10 Feb. 1833, md. William Thurston Valentine.
11. ALBERT RIGGS, son of Samuel and Elizabeth Riggs, born 9 Dec. 1815 in Philipstown, New York; died 13 Jan. 1899 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois; buried in Godfrey Cemetery, Godfrey, Madison County, Illinois. Albert was baptised 7 Sept. 1823 at the Presbyterian Church in Rumbout, Dutchess County, New York. According to Stephen Whitney Phoenix's Whitney Family of Connecticut (1878), vol. II, and John H. Wallace's 1901 Riggs Genealogy, Albert married firstly on 19 Sept. 1839 to HANNAH KNAPP, but they apparently had no children, and the marriage presumably ended with Hannah's premature death. On 8 Sept. 1840, Albert married secondly to MARY ELIZABETH PENNOYER, born 2 Nov. 1818 in Newburgh, Orange County, New York; died 10 May 1908 in Aurora, Kane County, Illinois; buried in Godfrey Cemetery, Madison County, Illinois; daughter of Jacob and Martha (Scott) Pennoyer of Montgomery and Newburgh, New York. Mary is called "Mary Paneer" by Phoenix and Wallace, "Mary Elizabeth Pennover" in her son Albert's 1921 obituary, and "Mary Elizabeth Penoyer" in the 1925 death record of her daughter Martha. The 1880 U.S. Census says Albert's father and mother were born in Connecticut, and the Rumbout Presbyterian Church records identify his parents as Samuel and Elizabeth Riggs.
Albert and his second wife Mary Elizabeth are said to have moved from New York to Davis County, Maryland, afterwards moving to Illinois in the late 1850s, where they and their children lived successively in Chicago, Cook County, Chenoa, McLean County; Alton, Madison County; Godfrey, Madison County; and finally back to Chicago, Cook County. A Riggs family tradition says they also lived at some point in Murrayville, Morgan County, but I suspect that is a confusion of Albert with his same-named son. In the 1850 U.S. Census, Albert Riggs, age 35, a carpenter born in New York, was living in New York Ward 15, Eastern Half, New York City, with his wife Mary, 29, and children David, 8, Martha, 6, and Charles 3, all three reportedly born in New York (though family records indicate it was Davis County, Maryland, a tradition of dubious reliability). In the 1860 U.S. Census, Albert, age 46, a farmer, and his wife Mary Elizabeth, age 43, are shown as residents of Chenoa Township, McLean County, Illinois, with six children: David, 18, Martha E., 16, Charles, 13, Albert, 8, Analaura, 5, and Mary E., 2, all six reportedly born in New York. The 1870 U.S. Census shows Albert, age 50 (sic), a carpenter, living in Monticello (i.e. Godfrey), Madison County, Illinois, with his wife Mary, 56, and children Martha, 25, Charles, 23, Albert, 18, Anna L., 15, born in New York, and Mary E., 12, and Corrindia, 9, both born in Illinois. Phoenix's 1878 Whitney Genealogy (p.980) says Albert and his brother John were living in Godfrey, Illinois, in February 1875. The 1880 U.S. Census shows Albert, age 64, a carpenter, born in New York, with his wife Mary, age 61, living in Godfrey, Illinois, with their daughters Mary, 21, and Priscilla, 18 (i.e. Corrindia). (At that time the census shows Anna Laura, age 25, living with her husband Benjamin Smith, age 30, in Godfrey.) That brings to seven the total number of known children of Albert and Mary, which agrees with the family's records that they had three sons and four daughters.
An article in the 15 Aug. 1882 Alton Evening Telegraph reports that Albert sold the family home in Godfrey that summer, moving to Chicago with his wife in September of that year. Albert and Mary lived at 84 Robey Street in Chicago until his death. His death certificate says he died in Chicago at age 83 on 13 Jan. 1899, which agrees with his known date of birth. His gravestone, however, says he died in 1898, which seems to be a gravestone engraver's error of arithmetic (1815 + 83 = 1898). Albert's widow Mary moved in with their daughter Martha and son Charles in Chicago, as shown in the 1900 U.S. Census, later moving to Aurora, where their daughter Priscilla also lived. Mary died 10 May 1908 in Aurora. Both Albert and Mary were buried in Godfrey Cemetery, Madison County, Illinois, where their son Charles and daughters Anna Laura and Mary also are buried.
-- DAVID SCOTT RIGGS, born 11 Oct. 1842 in New York, died 27 Oct. 1862 while in Union Army on Roanoke Island, North Carolina. -- MARTHA E. RIGGS, born 13 Aug. 1844, md. Richard Lounsbury (Lonsberry, Lounsberg). -- CHARLES S. RIGGS, born June 1847 in New York, died 5 Jan. 1914. 12. ALBERT D. RIGGS, born 19 Aug. 1852 in New York City. -- ANNA LAURA RIGGS ("Laura"), born 1855 in New York, md. Benjamin Charles Smith. -- MARY EMMA RIGGS, born 1858 in New York, md. Paul A. Walters. -- PRISCILLA CORRINDIA RIGGS, born 13 June 1861 in Chenoa, Illinois, md. Albert Ulrich.
12. ALBERT D. RIGGS (or "Albert Jr."), son of Albert and Mary Elizabeth Riggs, born 19 Aug. 1852; died at age 68 on 8 Jan. 1921 while waiting for the train at the C. & A. station in Jacksonville, Illinois; buried in Murrayville Cemetery, Murrayville, Illinois. In the Alton Evening Telegraph, 14 May 1904, page 8, column 6, a Godfrey, Ill., news item says (emphasis added): "Mrs. Harry Paddock is now visiting her sister, Mrs. Albert D. Riggs, in Murrayville, Ill." No other source is known that provides Albert with a middle initial or middle name, but since his siblings had middle names it is probable he did too. The 1880 U.S. Census says Albert was born in Illinois, but family records say Albert was born in New York City and first came to Illinois when he was 8 years old (i.e., circa 1860). In the 1870 U.S. Census, Albert is listed as 18 years of age and a resident of Madison County, Illinois. In the 1880 U.S. Census, Albert, 28, and his wife Luvenia, 23, are listed with two children, Mary, 5, and Scott, 1. Albert married on 13 May 1874 at Godfrey, Illinois, to LUVENIA LA DORA STILL, born 27 Feb. 1857 at Alton, Illinois, daughter of Jeremiah and Charlotte Still, who were immigrants from England. Luvenia died 21 April 1934 in Jacksonville, Illinois, at the home of her daughter Ida Ketner. After the marriage of Albert and Luvenia, they lived for several years in Godfrey, where their first four children were born. While they lived in Godfrey, Albert was head gardener of Monticello Female Seminary (today called Lewis and Clark Community College), and Luvenia, a gifted seamstress, did sewing for the Monticello employees and students. They moved to Murrayville in June 1885. Albert and Luvenia had eleven children, including their daughter Sada, ancestress of the Millions (a very large branch of this family), two boys, Clarence and William, who died in infancy, and an unnamed boy who died the day of his birth and is buried with his oldest sister Mary Elizabeth in Bethel Cemetery, Murrayville, Illinois. It is uncertain when Clarence and William were born (was Clarence a twin of Clara?), so they are listed last in order, but the other children are here listed in order of birth, starting with the firstborn child of Albert and Luvenia -- Mary Elizabeth, who was born 1875 in Godfrey, Madison County, Illinois.
Albert and Luvenia Riggs family, Summer 1917
Back row: Waldon Scott, Herbert Benjamin, and George Lawnsberry Riggs
Middle row: Sada Amelia (Riggs) Million, Clara Clarissa (Riggs) Ketner, Ida Mae Frances (Riggs) Ketner, and Charles Vertrees Riggs
Front row: Luvenia La Dora (Still) Riggs and Albert Riggs
-- MARY ELIZABETH RIGGS, born 14 March 1875, md. William Andrew Still, her cousin. -- WALDON SCOTT RIGGS ("Walter"), born 8 Feb. 1878, md. Emma Adelia Million. 13. HERBERT BENJAMIN RIGGS, born 7 Aug. 1880 in Godfrey, Ill. -- GEORGE LAWNSBERRY RIGGS (or "Lonsberry"), born 28 April 1883, md. Myrtle Blanch Kent. -- IDA MAE FRANCES RIGGS, born 21 Dec. 1885, md. Basil Cameron Ketner. -- SADA AMELIA RIGGS ("Sadie"), born 30 June 1889, md. Clinton Uriah Million. -- CLARA CLARISSA RIGGS, born 29 April 1892, m1. Clifford H. Ketner; m2. Charles J. Roberts. -- CHARLES VERTREES RIGGS ("Charlie"), born 11 March 1895, md. Lelia Ann Galloway. -- "Infant Son", born and died 19 Oct. 1897. -- CLARENCE RIGGS, died in infancy. -- WILLIAM RIGGS, died in infancy.
13. HERBERT BENJAMIN RIGGS, son of Albert and Luvenia Riggs, born 7 Aug. 1880 at Godfrey, Madison County, Illinois; died at age 81 on 26 April 1962 in Passavant Hospital, Jacksonville, Morgan County, Illinois, after suffering a heart attack on Saturday, 21 April 1962; buried in Murrayville Cemetery. On 14 Feb. 1900 in Murrayville, Morgan County, Herbert Benjamin married MARGARET ELSIE MUTCH ("Maggie"), daughter of William and Clara (Sooy) Mutch, born 21 July 1882 in Murrayville, died at age 82 on 30 Jan. 1965 in Greenfield, Illinois, buried in Murrayville Cemetery. According to her granddaughter Carolyn, Margaret died after suffering a stroke while excitedly enjoying a televised boxing match. Herbert Benjamin and Margaret's marriage license shows their names as "Herbert B. Riggs" and "Maggie Mutch." The 1910 U.S. Census lists "Herbert B. Rigg" (sic), age 29, a farmer of Athensville, Greene County, Illinois, with his wife Margaret, age 27, and their three children, Carl, 9, Iva, 6, and "Russel T.," 1. In the 1920 U.S. Census, "Herbert B. Rigg" (sic), age 39, a farmer of Athensville, appears with his wife Margaret, age 37, and their three children, Carl, 19, Iva, 16, and Russell, 11. "Herbert B. Riggs," age 49, and Margaret E. Riggs, age 47, are listed together in the U.S. Census of 2 May 1930 as living at Murrayville, with Herbert Benjamin's occupation shown as "farmer." By that time, their three children were grown and living in their own households. In the U.S. Census returns for Murrayville dated 29-30 April 1940, Herbert B. Riggs, age 59, farmer, is listed with his wife "Margret E. Riggs," age 57, and a male lodger named Tracey E. Still, age 12.
Herbert's obituary was published in the Jacksonville Daily Journal on Friday, 27 April 1962, page 10, column 6:
Herbert Riggs, Murrayville, Dies Thursday
Herbert B Riggs, 81 year old retired Murrayville farmer, died at 5 o'clock Thursday morning at Passavant Hospital where he had been a patient since suffering a heart attack Saturday.
Mr Riggs was born at Godfrey, Illinois August 7, 1880, son of Albert and Lavina (sic) Riggs. He was married February 14, 1860 (sic -- 1900) to Margaret Mutch who survives with two sons, Carl of Alsey and Russell, Greenfield. A daughter, Mrs Iva Stansfield, preceded her father in death. There are 10 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren and three great great grandchildren.
A brother and three sisters are survive, Charles Riggs, Mrs Ida Ketner and Mrs Clara Roberts all of Jacksonville and Mrs Sadie Million, Murrayville.
The deceased was a member of the Murrayville Baptist church.
The body was taken to the Mackey Funeral Home and will be removed from Roodhouse Home Friday to the Murrayville Home where friends may call after 12 noon.
Funeral services will be held at 2 PM Saturday at the Murrayville Baptist church will Rev Ollie Phillips officiating, assisted by Rev Albert Hinners. Interment will be in Murrayville cemetery.
The three children of Herbert and Margaret Riggs were:
14. CARL SPENCER RIGGS SR., born 26 Aug. 1900 at Ceres, Ill. -- IVA BERNICE RIGGS, born 5 June 1903, md. Archie Kingsley Stansfield. -- RUSSELL THOMAS RIGGS, born 29 April 1908, md. Marjorie Hope Barton.
14. CARL SPENCER RIGGS SR., son of Herbert Benjamin and Margaret Riggs, born 26 Aug. 1900 at Ceres, Greene County (near Murrayville), Illinois; died at the age of 85 on 20 June 1986 in White Hall, Greene County, Illinois; buried in Murrayville Cemetery. Carl was known among his friends by the nickname of "Jockey." Around 1918, Carl married BESSIE W. CLARKSON, daughter of Caswell Bates and Ella B. (Judd) Clarkson, born 16 Aug. 1900 in Manchester, Scott County, Illinois, died 15 Jan. 1973, probably in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, buried in Oak Hill Cemetery of Clear Lake, near Springfield. Carl and Bessie had three children, but Carl divorced Bessie in 1930 after the birth of their daughter Eileen ("Alleane"), and Bessie subsequently remarried at least twice. On 5 Aug. 1933 in Murrayville, Illinois, Carl married secondly to RUTH MAY BIRDSELL (HYDE) BOHM, daughter of Charles H. and Thenia (Kelly) Birdsell, born 11 Oct. 1909, died 30 July 1976 in Covina, Los Angeles County, California. This was Ruth's third marriage. Carl and Ruth were not married very long, divorcing around 1934. Carl reportedly had a daughter around this time, and Ruth may have been her mother. The daughter is said to have been born in Springfield, Illinois, which might mean that she was born after Carl and Ruth had divorced. Ruth later remarried again in 1950 to Fred Ashley. On 22 June 1935 in Jacksonville, Illinois, Carl married thirdly FANNIE PAULINE JOHNSON ("Pauline"), daughter of Richard and Caroline Johnson, born 23 June 1914 in Brighton, Jersey County, Illinois, died 26 May 1996 in White Hall, Greene County, Illinois, buried next to her husband. Carl and Pauline had two children. During his lifetime, Carl lived at Murrayville, then Alsey, Illinois, during the 1960s, then Roodhouse, Greene County, Illinois. He previously was living in Roodhouse in 1918 around the time he married Bessie. In the U.S. Census of 16 April 1930, Carl and Bessie are listed as residents of Murrayville, and Carl's occupation is listed as livestock trader. In the U.S. Census of 15 April 1940, Carl and his third wife Pauline, farming in Sandy, Scott County, Illinois, are listed with Carl's son Wilbert, age 14, and their son Carl Jr., age 3.
Carl and Pauline Riggs family, circa 1951
Back row: Wilbert Clarke ("Bud") and Pauline Ellen Riggs
Front row: Fannie Pauline Johnson Riggs, Carl Spencer Riggs Jr. ("Junior"), Carl Spencer Riggs Sr., and Carolyn Jean Riggs
Roodhouse -- Carl S Riggs Sr, 85, of Roodhouse, died at 6:30 pm Friday, June 20, at White Hall Hospital. He was born Aug 26, 1900 in Morgan County, a son of Herbert and Margaret Mutch Riggs.
He married Pauline Johnson, June 22, 1935, in Jacksonville, and she survives with one son, Carl Jr, of Murrayville, one daughter, Mrs Roy (Carolyn) Spencer, of Roodhouse, nine grandchildren, nine grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, he was preceded by a son, a daughter, a sister and one brother.
He was a member of the Murrayville United Methodist Chuch and a retired farmer from the Alsey and Murrayville communities.
Graveside services will be 2 pm Sunday at Murrayville Cemetery. Airsman-Hires Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
The children of Carl Spencer Riggs Sr. were:
-- PAULINE ELLEN RIGGS ("Ella"), born 11 Aug. 1920, md. Ralph Pate. -- WILBERT CLARKE RIGGS ("Bud"), born 15 Jan. 1926, md. Margaret Helen Manthei. -- MARGARET EILEEN RIGGS ("Alleane Shipley"), born 16 Dec. 1929, twice married. ?? (DAU.) RIGGS, born 1930-1935 in Springfield, Illinois (?). -- CARL SPENCER RIGGS JR. ("Junior"), born 24 June 1936, md. Wanda Jo Anderson ("Joey"). 15. CAROLYN JEAN RIGGS, born 15 Jan. 1949 in Jacksonville, Ill.
15. CAROLYN JEAN RIGGS, daughter of Carl and Pauline Riggs, born 15 Jan. 1949 in Passavant Hospital, Jacksonville, Morgan County, Illinois; died at 4 a.m. 11 June 2017 in the Pekin Hospital emergency room, Pekin, Illinois, after suffering a massive heart attack around 2:30 a.m. at her home; buried 19 June 2017 at Murrayville Cemetery, Murrayville, Morgan County, Illinois. On 22 May 1971 in Nevada, Iowa, Carolyn married ROY ELDON SPENCER, born 31 March 1940 near Bedford, Taylor County, Iowa, son of John Howard and Helen Elizabeth (Smith) Spencer. Carolyn and Roy had two daughters, but she left Roy in 2000 and filed for divorce in early 2001, the divorce being granted in Greene County, Illinois, Circuit Court on 8 Jan. 2003. Her obituary, which includes a biographical sketch of Carolyn's life, was published in the Pekin Daily Times on 14 June 2017 and the Jacksonville Journal-Courier on 15 June 2017, and reads as follows:
Carolyn Jean Spencer, 68, of Pekin, formerly of Roodhouse, died at 4 a.m. Sunday, June 11, 2017, in the Pekin Hospital emergency room after suffering a heart attack around 2:30 a.m. at her home in Court Place Apartments. She had been in poor health for some time.
Carolyn was born Jan. 15, 1949, at Passavant Hospital in Jacksonville, the youngest child of Carl Spencer Riggs Sr. by his third wife, Fannie Pauline (Johnson) Riggs. She married Roy Eldon Spencer on May 22, 1971, in Nevada, Iowa, and had two daughters. Carolyn and Roy divorced in 2003. He survives.
She is also survived by her daughters, Christina Carlene (Jared) Olar of [central Illinois] and Gina Louise (Steve) Zavala of [southeast Wisconsin]; nine grandchildren, Alexander Olar, Julia Olar, Joseph Olar, Elizabeth Olar, Stephen Olar, Anna Olar, Michael Olar, and Sophia Olar, all of [central Illinois], and Micah Zavala of [southeast Wisconsin]; one sister, Alleane (Byron) Buchanan of South Jacksonville; and a very large number of nieces, nephews, and cousins belonging to the Florence, Riggs, Johnson, Million, Stansfield, and Mutch branches of her family.
She was preceded in death by one sister, Pauline Ellen (Riggs) Pate; two brothers, Wilbert Clarke “Bud” Riggs and Carl Spencer Riggs Jr.; two grandchildren, Lael Zavala and T.S. Olar; and a niece, Maxine (Riggs) Bauter Quintero Munoz, daughter of her beloved brother Bud.
As a baby, Carolyn lived on the farm in rural Manchester, where her brother Junior and sister-in-law Joey later lived. When she was 3 years old, the family moved to Alsey, where she grew up. She lived across the street from Alsey Elementary School. Carolyn was a member of the Class of 1968 at Winchester Community High School, Winchester.
After high school, she lived for a while with her Grandma Johnson at the farm where her Uncle Ed and Aunt Bev Johnson now live. She then moved to St. Louis, Mo., where she worked as an aide in a nursing home and as a waitress. She met her future husband Roy in the autumn of 1970 at a church singles’ dance in St. Louis. Roy had driven down from his home in Des Moines, Iowa, to attend the dance. Carolyn said when they danced together that night, it felt like her feet floated over the floor.
After their marriage, Roy and Carolyn lived in Des Moines, Iowa, where their daughters were born. They moved to Modale, Iowa, in the summer of 1976, then to Roodhouse, on July 17, 1983. Carolyn lived in Roodhouse until October 2010, when she came to Pekin to live with her daughter Christina for a while as she convalesced after heart valve surgery. She moved to the Mel Hasty Retirement Center in East Peoria in March 2011, then to Court Place Apartments in Pekin in March 2014. She made friends very easily wherever she went.
Carolyn was a Christian, attending Alsey Baptist Church and several other denominations as a child, later joining the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1960s, and occasionally attending various churches in the last several years of her life.
Carolyn liked collecting angel figurines, Norman Rockwell plates and cups, and Thomas Kinkade pictures. She loved wearing jewelry and nice clothes, and she had a purse for every occasion and almost every outfit. She enjoyed reading, doing word search puzzles, and watching TV and movies, and loved cats. Always patriotic, she was honored to learn that her Riggs family had lived in North America since 1633, and that she was descended from Pequot War hero Sgt. Edward Riggs and Revolutionary War veteran Pvt. Daniel Riggs, whose discharge papers were signed in 1783 by Gen. George Washington.
But her greatest love and joy in her life came from being a grandmother, and her grandchildren will miss her very much.
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Monday, June 19, 2017, at Davison-Fulton Woolsey Funeral Home in Pekin. Visitation will be one hour prior to the services at the funeral home. Graveside services will be Monday following the services at 2 p.m. in Murrayville Cemetery, Murrayville. After the graveside services, a light meal will be served in Roodhouse.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to an educational trust fund to be set up for Carolyn’s grandchildren.
With the many joys of her life, Carolyn also suffered from depression, anxiety, and related maladies throughout much of her adult life. In addition, when she was in the first grade in 1956 she suffered significant permanent hearing loss, losing almost all of her hearing in one ear and much of her hearing in her other ear due to a botched tonsilectomy. Her hearing loss interfered with her education and she was made to repeat the first grade, after which her hearing loss was properly diagnosed and accommodations were made to ensure she heard her teacher -- she had no further difficulties with her studies after that. In Carolyn's latter years she developed type II diabetes and, as indicated in her obituary, in 2010 her aortic valve failed, requiring her to undergo open-heart surgery on 21 Sept. 2010 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, to replace the ailing valve with a pig's valve. Carolyn died intestate, but on the day of her heart valve replacement surgery she had quickly written out a short, unofficial will expressing her intentions for the disposition of some of her possessions and making funeral plans in the event that she died during surgery. Carolyn's unofficial will, dated "9/21/10," says:
"Due to my demise: I want my daughter Christina Olar to take charge of arrangements about my items in the mobile home [in Roodhouse, where Carolyn then lived]. I told Karrie Bauter [Carolyn's grand-niece] she can have some of my mom's dishes -- Homestead / fireplace -- green + white dishes. Also she can have a few pictures. Chris Olar + Gina Zavala + Roy Spencer can divide rest of items in mobile home. Roy Spencer is in charge of funeral arrangements. My favorite songs are, How Great Thou Art, The Winds (sic) Beneath my Winds (sic). I want Gary Coates to speak at the funeral + Jean Coates to play piano / keyboard. They live in White Hall. I am of sound mind. This is my request. Carolyn Spencer."
This expression of her desired funeral arrangements was not found until after her funeral, which was arranged by her daughter Christina with the help of her sister Gina and their father Roy, whose wise foresight made it possible to pay for his wife's funeral and who also bought her funeral plot in Murrayville Cemetery, where her parents and many other relatives are also buried. Thus, Carolyn's friends Mr. and Mrs. Coates did not have the abovementioned roles at Carolyn's funeral. Her favorite hymn, "How Great Thou Art," was sung, however.
Carolyn and Roy's two daughters are:
-- CHRISTINA CARLENE SPENCER, born 7 July 1972 in Des Moines, Iowa. -- GINA LOUISE SPENCER, born 1 May 1975 in Des Moines, Iowa, md. Steve Zavala.
Riggs Genealogy Resources:
Oxford Past (History of Oxford, Connecticut, incl. our Riggs genealogy)
Descendants of Wolphert Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven (Incl. ancestry of Carl Spencer Riggs Sr.) Murrayville Cemetery Index Riggs Family Genealogy Forum Riggs Genealogy Message Board Riggs Genealogy Email List Archives
Children of Albert and Luvenia Riggs (with errors) Riggs burials in Murrayville Portune Family Tree (including descendants of Ida Mae Frances Riggs)
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