Sunday, August 23, 2015

52 Ancestors #34: John Wesley Riggin's Farm

Ancestor Name: John Wesley "Wes" Riggin (about 1835-before October 1886)

One of my great great grandfathers was John Wesley "Wes" Riggin. He was born about 1835 in Illinois, likely Madison County, to Alfred and Sarah "Sallie" (Piper) Riggin. He married Mary Ramsey in 1858. When the 1860 census was enumerated, they had a 5-month-old baby named Josephine and John owned a farm valued at $800. His personal property was valued at $135.

Ten years later, he was a widower with three children and lived with his younger brother, William, who was the head of the household, his widowed mother, Sallie, and sister, Mary Jane (Riggin) Horton, and her young son.

Wes married Clementine Wells later that year. During the course of their marriage, they had six children -- five boys and one girl, who was my great grandmother, Ida Mae Riggin. Wes was a farmer until his death, which likely was sometime in 1888 before October. That month Clementine went to court to become the legal guardian of her minor children.

In an earlier blog post, I described the family farm in this way:

"The Riggin farm in Pin Oak Township was 38 acres, which Wes rented for shares of products he produced on the land. While on the small side, the farm seemed to be a going concern, used primarily to raise cereal crops, such as corn, oats and wheat, and Irish potatoes. Only two acres were wooded. Farm stock included 2 horses, 7 swine, and 23 chickens. The farmed produced about $400 a year in income and Wes hired hands for two weeks out of the year during harvest time."

How did I get such a specific description of the farm worked by Wes Riggin?

That's where the 1880 U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules came in handy. Wes Riggin's farm was enumerated in that schedule on 3 June. I use another document, Agricultural Census 1850-1900 to explain the various fields on the schedule, which helps me describe ancestors' farms when I write. It was critical to even reading the schedule for Wes Riggin as the image was so poor.

1880 U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedule for Wes Riggin, a
farmer in Pin Oak Township, Madison, Illinois; image courtesy of

Let's break it down into the four parts of the schedule...

1880 Statistics of Agriculture: Schedule 2, first section of form; image
courtesy of

The Census Act of 1879 provided for a more elaborate collection of statistics, and a new schedule for agriculture was adopted. This contained 100 questions related to 25 subjects. Although the sheets were of blanket form, but 20 farms could be entered, 10 on each page. The most important additions to this schedule were the questions of land tenure and those relating to the areas of the various crops. Inquiries for rice, cotton, and sugar cane were printed on the schedules for Southern states only.

For John Riggin, the following information was included:
  • The Name: John Riggins
  • Tenure/Owner:
  • Tenure/Rents for fixed money rental:
  • Tenure/Rents for shares of products: X (Yes)
  • Improved: Tilled, including fallow and grass in rotation (whether pasture or meadow): [illegible], but I have settled on 38 after close examination of how enumerator wrote numbers and the number of acres planted in specific crops
  • Improved: Permanent meadows, permanent pastures, orchards, vineyards:
  • Unimproved: Woodlands and forest:
  • Unimproved: Other unimproved, including "old fields" not growing wood:
  • Farm value/Of farm, including land, fences, and buildings: $1,800
  • Farm value/Of farming implements and machinery: $50
  • Farm value/Of live stock: $100
  • Fences/Cost of building and repairing in 1879:
  • Cost of fertilizers purchased in 1879:
  • Labor/Amount paid for wages for farm labor during 1879, including value of board: $10
  • Labor/Weeks hired labor in 1879 upon farm (and dairy), excluding housework: 2 weeks
  • Estimated value of all farm products (sold, consumed, or on hand) for 1879: $400
  • Grasslands/Acreage, 1879/Mown:
  • Grasslands/Acreage, 1879/Not mown:
  • Grasslands/Products harvested, 1879/Hay:
  • Grasslands/Products harvested, 1879/Clover seed:
  • Grasslands/Products harvested, 1879/Grass seed:
  • Horses of all ages on hand June 1, 1880: 2
  • Mules and asses, all ages, on hand June 1, 1880:
1880 Statistics of Agriculture, Schedule 2, second part of form; image
courtesy of

  • Neat cattle and their products/On hand June 1, 1880/Working oxen:
  • Neat cattle and their products/On hand June 1, 1880/Milch cows:
  • Neat cattle and their products/On hand June 1, 1880/Others:
  • Neat cattle and their products/Movement, 1879/Calves dropped:
  • Neat cattle and their products/Cattle of all ages/Purchased:
  • Neat cattle and their products/Cattle of all ages/Sold living:
  • Neat cattle and their products/Cattle of all ages/Slaughtered:
  • Neat cattle and their products/Cattle of all ages/Died, strayed, and stolen and not recovered:
  • Neat cattle and their products/Milk sold or sent to butter and cheese factories in 1879:
  • Neat cattle and their products/Butter made on the farm in 1879:
  • Neat cattle and their products/Cheese made on the farm in 1879:
  • Sheep/On hand June 1, 1880:
  • Sheep/Movement/Lambs dropped:
  • Sheep/Movement, 1879/Sheep and lambs/Purchased:
  • Sheep/Movement, 1879/Sheep and lambs/Sold living:
  • Sheep/Movement, 1879/Sheep and lambs/Slaughtered:
  • Sheep/Movement, 1879/Sheep and lambs/Killed by dogs:
  • Sheep/Movement, 1879/Sheep and lambs/Died of disease:
  • Sheep/Movement, 1879/Sheep and lambs/Died of stress of weather:
  • Sheep/Clip, spring 1880, shorn and to be shorn/Fleeces:
  • Sheep/Clip, spring 1880, shorn and to be shorn/Weight:
  • Swine/On hand June 1, 1880: 7
  • Poultry on hand June 1, 1880, exclusive of spring hatching/Barnyard: 21
  • Poultry on hand June 1, 1880, exclusive of spring hatching/Other: 2
  • Eggs produced in 1879: 180
1880 Statistics of Agriculture, Schedule 2, third part of form; image
courtesy of

  • Cereals/Barley, 1879/Acreage:
  • Cereals/Barley, 1879/Crop:
  • Cereals/Buckwheat, 1879/Acreage:
  • Cereals/Buckwheat, 1879/Crop:
  • Cereals/Indian corn, 1879/Acreage: 21 acres
  • Cereals/Indian corn, 1879/Crop: 1,000 bushels
  • Cereals/Oat, 1879/Acreage: 4 acres
  • Cereals/Oat, 1879/Crop: 100 bushels
  • Cereals/Rye, 1879/Acreage:
  • Cereals/Rye, 1879/Crop:
  • Cereals/Wheat, 1879/Acreage: 10 acres
  • Cereals/Wheat, 1879/Crop: 200 bushels
  • Pulse/Canada peas (dry) in 1879:
  • Pulse/Beans (dry) in 1879:
  • Fiber/Flax, 1879/Acres in crop:
  • Fiber/Flax, 1879/Seed:
  • Fiber/Flax, 1879/Straw:
  • Fiber/Flax, 1879/Fiber:
  • Fiber/Hemp/Acres:
  • Fiber/Hemp/Tons:
  • Sugar/Sorghum, 1879/Acres in crop:
  • Sugar/Sorghum, 1879/Sugar
  • Sugar/Sorghum, 1879/Molassas
  • Sugar/Maple, 1879/Sugar:
  • Sugar/Maple, 1879/Molassas:
  • Broom Corn, 1879/Acres:
  • Broom corn, 1879/Pounds:
1880 Statistics of Agriculture, Schedule 2, fourth part of form; image
courtesy of

  • Hops, 1879/Acreage:
  • Hops, 1879/Crop:
  • Potatoes (Irish), 1879/Acreage: 1
  • Potatoes (Irish), 1879/Crop: 20 bushels
  • Tobacco, 1879/Acreage:
  • Tobacco, 1879/Crop:
  • Orchards, 1879/Apple/Acres:
  • Orchards, 1879/Apple/Bearing trees:
  • Orchards, 1879/Apple/Bushels, 1879:
  • Orchards, 1879/Peach/Acres:
  • Orchards, 1879/Peach/Bearing trees:
  • Orchards, 1879/Peach/Bushels, 1879:
  • Orchards, 1879/Total value of orchard products of all kinds sold or consumed:
  • Nurseries/Acres:
  • Nurseries/Value of produce sold in 1879
  • Vineyards/Acres:
  • Vineyards/Grapes sold in 1879:
  • Vineyards/Wine made in 1879:
  • Market gardens/Value of produce sold in 1879:
  • Bees, 1879/Honey:
  • Bees, 1879/Wax:
  • Forest products/Amount of wood cut in 1879: 2
  • Forest products/Value of all first products sold or consumed in 1879: $12
This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge optional theme Non-Population.

Other posts about Wes Riggin's family include:

Photographs of My Great Great Grandmother
The Too Brief Life of Ida Mae (Riggin) Muir
An Adoption on a Train

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