PAST AND PRESENT
OF
MENARD COUNTY, ILLINOIS - 1905

Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company

   

Transcribed by: Steve Madosik III

Page 234

AUGUSTUS KERR RIGGIN, deceased, was one of the most successful farmers and stock-raisers, as well as one of the most prominent citizens of his community, his home being five miles east of Petersburg. He was the third child born in Menard county and his natal day was April 23, 1822. His father, Harry Riggin, was a native of Tennessee, born September 2, 1793, and was of Irish decent. Coming to Illinois in 1817, he first located in the American bottom and then with his brother settled in Madison county at a place called Troy, they being the principal parties in laying out the town. There they embarked in merchandising, but were unsuccessful in that business. On the 2d of March, 1820, Harry Riggin was united in marriage to Miss Miriam Lee Rogers, a native of New York and a descendant of John Rogers, who suffered martyrdom for religious principles. Her father, Matthew Rogers, was from Connecticut and removed from that state to New York. He married Miriam Lee Morse, who was connected with the Morse family, of whom Professor S. F. B. Morse was a distinguished member. In 1818 Matthew Rogers came to Illinois and settled near Athens, where he built a frame barn, which was the first frame building erected north of the Sangamon river. The Rogers family are connected with the Lees of Virginia, of whom General Robert E. Lee was the most noted. During his residence in Menard county Harry Riggin followed the occupation of a farmer and possessed the confidence and esteem of the community. On several occasions he was a candidate for public favors, but was defeated, which was not surprising, as his opponents were generally such prominent men as Logan, Edwards and Lincoln. He and his wife were members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church and lived to a good old age. The family has been distinguished for longevity, some even living to the age of one hundred years. Harry Riggin had six children, four of whom reached years of maturity, namely: Mary Ann, wife of Claiborne Hall, of Athens; Augustus Kerr; Eliza Maria; and Arminda Priscilla, wife of McKinley Jones, of Athens.

Augustus Kerr Riggin was reared amid pioneer scenes and could relate many interesting incidents of frontier life in this region. As his parents were great friends of education and progress, they gave their children every school advantage that they could and "Gus" was early qualified for teaching, which profession he followed for several years. He attended McKendree College in Jacksonville, where he numbered among his classmates General Lippincott and John L. Stocking. After teaching school for several years he studied law in the office of Major Harris, of Petersburg, and was admitted to the bar, but never practiced his profession. He served two terms as circuit clerk and on his retirement from office in 1860 turned his attention to farming, which occupation he followed up to within the last year or two of his life, when his sons relieved him of the management of the farm. He gave considerable attention to stock-raising, making a specialty of shorthorn cattle, and found that branch of his business very profitable.

On the 26th of November, 1874, Mr. Riggin married Miss Mary C. Deal, who was born six miles west of Bloomington, in McLean county, Illinois, April 12, 1850, and was a daughter of Samuel C. Deal, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Riggin were born three children. Harry, born October 9, 1876; Augustus K., born October 5, 1878; and Samuel Chesterfield, born January 5, 1881. They are now carrying on the home farm. The eldest son was married November 29, 1899, to Irene Walker and lives a quarter of a mile north of the old homestead.

In politics Mr. Riggin was a stanch Democrat and always took a very active and prominent part in political affairs, no private citizen of this county contributing more of his time and money to the cause of his party than he did. Socially he was a Mason, and at his death, which occurred July 27, 1903, he was laid to rest with Masonic honors. He was a man highly honored and respected by all who knew him and when he passed away the community realized that it had lost one of its most valued and useful citizens. Mrs. Riggin died January 10, 1905, leaving many friends as well as her immediate family to mourn her loss.


1905 Bio. Index

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