Sunday, August 10, 2014

52 Ancestors #32: The Too Brief Life of Ida Mae (Riggin) Muir

Ancestor Name: Ida Mae (RIGGIN) Muir

All I knew about my great grandmother Ida Mae (Riggin) Muir for years was her death year. Grandma told me she was three when her mother died and when her father remarried she and her older brother, Henry, went to live with their paternal grandmother, Margaret (Semple) Muir. When Grandma's grandma died in 1920, my grandmother, Alice Muir, was 14 years old. From that time until she married in 1924, she had to make her own way in the world.

I was able to discover many things about the Riggin family -- that one of their ancestors was a co-founder of Troy in Madison County, Illinois; another was an early member of the Madison Association to Oppose the Introduction of Slavery into Illnois; the family held family reunions every summer at Ida Mae's brother's summer place; many of her brothers and uncles worked for Donk Brothers Coal Mine until the coal ran out in the 1920s; and on and on. But there was precious little to learn about my great grandmother, Ida Mae Riggin.

I did learn a few things. Ida Mae was born on 8 August 1879, the fifth of six children born to John Wesley "Wes" and his second wife, Clementine (Wells) Riggin. Her father had three children by a previous marriage. He died in 1881 when little Ida Mae was barely two years old. Her mother married William Collins an English immigrant in 1898.

Ida Mae married Robert Muir on 12 October 1902. She had their only son Henry on 29 May 1903 and my grandmother, Alice, on 16 March 1906. Three years later Ida Mae died on 3 Aug 1909. Early on in my research I discovered her tombstone on She was buried in the Troy City Cemetery.

Ida M. Muir tombstone at the Troy City Cemetery in
Troy, Illinois; photo courtesy of Findagrave member

Last summer, my brother, husband and I cleaned out Mom and Dad's house prior to selling it. I came home with all Dad's genealogy files and all the family photograph albums. When sorting the papers and trying to create some sort of order out of chaos, I found Ida Mae's obituary:

Ida Mae (Riggin) Muir's obituary as it appeared in the Troy
Weekly Call
; personal collection

Mrs. Robert Muir, nee Ida Riggin, died at the home of her mother, Mrs. William Collins, in Troy, Tuesday morning at 3:30 o'clock, after an illness of six months. Mrs. Muir contracted a severe case of the grippe in March which later developed into tuberculosis, causing her death on the day above mentioned. She was well known here having kept house for her brothers the Messrs. Riggin's [sic] for about four years. If she would have lived until Sunday she would have reached the age of thirty years. She was married in 1902 and of this union were born two children, Henry aged six years and Alice aged three who with the father survive her. Mr. and Mrs. Muir resided here for about a year after their marriage, then locating in Missouri where they remained for about two years and then to O'Fallon, where they have since resided. About three weeks previous to her death, she express a wish to be taken to her mother's home in Troy, and the journey was immediately made. She was a devoted wife and daughter, a kind and loving mother, and a dear friend to all and he sympathy of this community is with the bereft family in their affliction. Deceased leaves besides her mother, husband and children, five brothers, Orland Riggin of Chicago; T. A. and Lawrence W. Riggin of this city; H. W. Riggin of Wichita, Kans.; and J. A. Riggin of Oakland, Cal., who were all at her bedside on Sunday before the end came. Many friends mourn her demise, as she was a woman that was loved by all and with whom she came in contact with. The funeral which was largely attended took place from the residence of her mother Wednesday afternoon at two o'clock, the remains being then laid to rest in the Troy Cemetery. The floral offerings were many and beautiful showing the high esteem in which this young woman was held.

And sadly that is all I know about my great grandmother.

This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge.

Ida Mae Riggin was born on 8 August 1879 in Troy, Illinois, to John Wesley and Clementine (Wells) Collins. She married Robert Muir on 12 October 1902 in Collinsville, Illinois. Robert had emigrated from Scotland in 1887 and was a coal miner. They had two children -- Henry in 1903 and Alice in 1906. Ida Mae Riggin died a few days before her 30th birthday on 3 August 1909 and was buried at the Troy City Cemetery.


  1. It's good you were entrusted with your dad's files and the photo albums. That yellowed obit produced lots of good information. All those sentiments expressed about Ida Mae make her seem like a lovely woman.

    1. I got a tiny bit obsessed after taking over the research from Dad so my brothers love setting aside old papers in case they have genealogical value. I've come home with old advertisement from restaurant placemat my Grandma kept because her land was on the map on the placemat. Crazy!

  2. How exciting to find her obit! They can be wonderful sources of information. I do have a qestion about the body of your blog when you say Ida mae was born in 1835. . . perhaps that is not correct?

    1. LJ, you are correct. I had a typo. Her birth year was 1879. I was excited to find the obit.

  3. Enjoyed reading of your finds. I just love the find of something unexpected. I also write on the 52 weeks challenge.

    1. Gabby, I will look for your blog posts on Amy's Wednesday recap.