Friday, February 27, 2015

Slaves of the Riggin Family of Somerset County, Maryland

From time to time I will publish the names of the slaves of my ancestors so they are on the Internet and available to search engines. One day I hope they will help someone break through their slave brick wall.

The first Teage Riggin or Riggen was born in Ireland c1640. His family was on the losing side of one of several Irish Civil Wars. When Oliver Cromwell prevailed in 1652 he sent many young men 10 years of age or older as slaves or indentured servants to Virginia and the West Indies. Teage arrived in Virginia in the 1650s. We do not when or how he came to be on the eastern shore of Maryland in the next decade, but he did. In 1667 he registered his cattle brand and married Mary London, daughter of Ambrose London, who gave him property in Somerset County that same year. Teage Riggin wrote a will in May of 1707 and died later that year. His will was proved on 12 November 1707. In it he gave a few slaves to his heirs but did not name them. He sons would be different and name slaves in their wills.

Teague Riggin II (1670-1721)

Teage's oldest son, also named Teague was born on 27 March 1670 and died on 27 December 1721. His will was proved on 22 March 1722. In it he bequeathed two slaves by name:

Item...I give and bequeath to my son, Charles Riggin, 2 negroes that is to say -- negro, PAT and negro, MARK -- her increase to him and his heirs forever.

It is possible that Pat and Mark had entered into a slave marriage, which is why they were bequeathed together and that Teague Riggin mentioned "her increase," which is to say future children.

John Riggin (c1680-c1740)

John Riggin was a younger brother of Teague Riggin II. He wrote a will on 1 November 1738 and it was proved on 20 August 1740. In it he bequeathed some named slaves:

I give and bequeath to my son, Cornelius Riggin, one negro boy named, SAMPSON, at the death of his mother to him and his heirs forever. Likewise, I give and bequeath a young sorrel horse and one feather bed and furniture and one iron pot and one basin and dish and three plates to my son Cornelius Riggin and his heirs forever.

I give and bequeath to my daughter, Mary, one negro girl named LUCY, at the death of her mother -- only the first child that LUCY has that lives to be two years old. I give and bequeath to my daughter, Jemime. I give my daughter Mary one feather bed and furniture, one pot, one dish, one basin, two plates.

I give and bequeath to my daughter, Martha, a negro girl named FISSIS, at the death of her mother, one feather bed, and furniture and one pot, one dish, one basin, two plates.

I give and bequeath to my daughter, Jemima, as above mentioned, the first negro that LUCY brings that lives to be two years old to her and her heirs forever. One pot, one dish, one basin, two plates, one feather bed and furniture, one pair of curtains, one pair of sheets, and one pair of blankets, one chest, one trunk.

Teage Riggin III (c1702-c1743)

Teague Riggin II's oldest son was also named Teague. I call him Teague III for my own sanity. He married Mary Townsend, daughter of James Townsend. His will was proved on 23 February 1743. In it he bequeathed some slaves by name:

Item...I give and bequeath unto my son, Teague Riggin, one negro boy called HOWBOURN, my pistols and my holster, my case of bottles, and my desk to him, his heirs and assigns forever.

Item...I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife, Mary Riggon, my two negroes, QUAKER and DINA, my riding horse and the colt of my gray mare to her heirs and assigns forever.

Item...I give and bequeath unto my son, James Riggon, one negro boy called COSAIR, and young gray mare, my gun, one desk, to him and his heirs forever.

Item...I give and bequeath unto my daughter, Elizabeth Townsend, one negro boy called DRAM, one cow and calf, one chair which is now at her house to her heirs and assigns forever.

Item...I give and bequeath to my daughter, Sarah Riggon, one negro boy called HARRY, to her heirs and assigns forever.

Item...I give and bequeath to my daughter, Grace Riggin, one negro boy, named JONAS, to her heirs and assigns forever.

Item...I give and bequeath to my daughter, Rebecca Riggon, one negro boy, called JACOB, to her, her heirs and assigns forever.

Item...I give and bequeath unto my daughter, Mary Riggon, one negro girl called PATIENCE to her heirs and assigns forever.

John Riggin, Jr. (unknown-c1776)

John Riggin, Jr., was the son of John Riggin (c1680-c1740) and a grandson of the original Teage Riggin who came to the American colonies from Ireland. He wrote his will on 2 November 1773 and the will was proved or probated on 2 May 1776. In it he bequeathed some named slaves:

Item...I give and bequeath unto my well-beloved daughter, Sarah McCrady, my negro girl named GIN, to she and her heirs and assigns forever.

Item...I give and bequeath unto my well-beloved daughter, Mary Matthews, my negro girl named JUDAH, after the death or marriage of my wife, Jemima Riggin, to her and her heirs forever.

Item...I give and bequeath unto my well-loved son, Nathan Riggen, my negro boy named WATT after the death or marriage of my wife, Jemima Riggen, to him and his heirs and assigns forever.

Item...I give and bequeath unto my well-beloved son, John Riggin, my negro boy named FESTIS, and also one feather bed and furniture and my gun and my fiddle after the death or marriage of my wife, Jemimah Riggen, to him and his heirs and assigns forever.

Item...I give and bequeath unto my well-beloved daughter, Rhody Riggen, my negro girl named LEAH, and also one feather bed and furniture after the death or marriage of my wife, Jememiah Riggin, to her own heirs and assigns forever.

Hannah (Harris) Riggin (c1734-c1787)

Hannah Harris was the wife of Teague Riggin, son of Charles Riggin, Sr., younger brother of Teague Riggin II. She was born about 1734 and wrote her will on 1 October 1785. The will was proved on 29 May 1787. In it she bequeathed some named slaves:

Firstly...I give and bequeath my negro man called JACOB to my son, James Rigan, to him and his heirs and assigns forever.

Secondly...I give and bequeath my negro woman called NANCE with all her increase to my son, Benton Rigan, to him and his heirs and assigns, and also to the said Benton Regan, his heirs and assigns, I give one feather bed and bolster and pillow, one country made linen sheet, one English linen sheet...

Eighthly...I give and bequeath unto my negro woman, NANCE, one old damask gown, one black and yellow single chain pretty coat, one old shift and apron and a cape and handkerchief.

Teague Riggin (unknown-c1803)

I am not yet confident I have figured out how this Teague Riggin fits into the Riggin family. He wrote his will on 20 July 1802 and it was proved on 10 May 1803 in Somerset County, Maryland.

Item...I give unto my son, George Riggin, one negro man name YORK and one half of the stock of hogs now in my mark over and above what I have heretofore given him in possession to be his whole share of my estate both real and personal.

Item...I give unto my son William Riggin, one negro named PETER provided that my son returns to the United States of America within five years from this date but if he should not return in the five years as aforesaid then my will is that the said negro PETER shall become part of the remainder of my estate and be distributed in the same manner as herein after directed...

Edward Riggin (unknown-c1813)

Edward Riggin is another person who I do not yet know how he fits into the Riggin family. He wrote his will on 8 June 1812 and it was probated on 22 June 1813 in Somerset County, Maryland.

I give to my beloved brother, James Riggin, whom I likewise constitute and make and ordain the sole executor of this my last will and testament, two mules, negroes by the name of JOSHUA, one negro woman named JANE and her child and all her increase and all other my property after paying my just debts by him freely to be properly enjoyed...

7 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post. It will help so many descendants of these slaves. Slavery is a very difficult topic, but these documents will help so many. Hopefully, others will follow your lead and share their documents. Descendants of slaves (such as myself) should have the same opportunity to find information on their Ancestors. Thank you for sharing these documents. Your post was very detailed and well written. I am really excited for the descendants when they find this post. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for understanding the spirit with which it was done. I thought long and hard about it, but felt we can't judge our ancestors using today's moral lens. We have to accept what we find and do the best good we can do with the information. I think it's pretty hard to have Southern roots in your tree, who owned land in the Piedmont areas, who didn't own slaves. I do have one and he was active in the anti-slavery movement as early as the 1790s. But he was rare for times sadly.

      Delete
    2. I do understand why you felt the way you did in giving this post some thought. It is a very touchy subject and some may not appreciate what you did in writing it and the courage it took. I have come across some people who have thrown away or blacked out the documents from their ancestors who owned slaves. In doing so, they have blocked the descendants of those slaves from learning about their ancestors.

      I do believe that so many are going to be grateful for what you did in writing this post. No one in my opinion can or should judge. They should be thankful the information is available. They should be thankful they will have the opportunity to learn/trace their ancestors. For that and them, I thank you. Oh, don't know how or why my response posted twice, could you please delete the first one. Thank you.

      Delete
    3. Thank you for doing this blogon some of my relatives the Riggin's. It has given me clarification on some of my information that I have.

      Delete
  2. Thank you because I have Riggins from Somerset county in my tree...and I'm just starting on this list...Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have direct Riggin Relatives in My family tree that are from Somerset County Maryland. If I can Help let me know.

      Delete