Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Successful Farmer: Theodore Augustus Riggin (1840-1910)

Theodore Augustus Riggin was my three times great uncle, son of Alfred Riggin and younger brother of my two times great grandfather, John Wesley Riggin. He was born on 15 September 1840 in Pin Oak Township, Illinois, to Alfred and Sarah "Sally" (Piper) Riggin.

The Portrait and Biographical Record of Madison County, Illinois: Containing Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County, published by the Biographical Publishing Company in 1894, included a biographical portrait about Theodore which stated that his father died when he was nine years old, or in 1849.[1]

The biographical sketch continued...

"Our subject [NOTE: Theodore Augustus Riggin] carried on his studies in the little school house in his neighborhood, but received very limited educational training, the matter of education not receiving any other care at that time than is generally given it in all parts of the country. At the early age of fourteen he commenced to make his own way in the world, working out as a farm hand. He soon, however, was enabled to rent property and put in crops of his own. He is now the proprietor of one hundred and three and one-half acres under a nice state of cultivation, and as a farmer he has been quite successful.

Madison County, Illinois, townships. Theodore Augustus Riggin purchased
land in Jarvis Township, which is one of the southernmost townships in
the county; courtesy of Standard Atlas of Madison County, Illinois: Including
a Plat Book of Villages, Cities and Townships of the County
Theodore Augustus Riggin's 103-acre farm in Jarvis Township; created using
Microsoft PowerPoint

In 1865 our subject was united in marriage with Miss Myra M., daughter of Charles and Rebecca (Owens) Roselle. On the paternal side of the house Mrs. Riggin was of French descent, while her mother's people were natives of Illinois. By her union with our subject there were born four children, of whom the youngest, Sallie, died at the age of two years and ten months. Tressa U. (NOTE: Teresa Endora) is the wife of John Null, of this county; Eugene married Cora Pritchett and also makes his home in this county; Selva E. (NOTE: Sylvia E.) is now Mrs. John Hamilton and resides in Barton County, Missouri.

The wife and mother departed this life in 1878, and two years later Mr. Riggin was married to Mrs. Carolina Pritchett, daughter of John Vangundy, formerly a resident of Ohio. To them were born four children, Pearl (deceased), Emma M., Alfred and Mary J. Socially, our subject is a member of Lodge No. 588, A.F. & A.M., and Nelson Lodge No. 25, I.O.O.F. of Troy.[2] Politically he is a staunch believer in the principles promulgated by the Democratic party. He has been an eye witness of the rapid strides progress has taken in this county and township, and has won a host of friends by his interest in public matters and his willingness to assist in the advancement of all worthy causes."

The relationship between the Pritchett, Riggin, and VanGundy families was a little complicated.

Relationship between the Pritchett, Riggin and VanGundy family;
created using Microsoft PowerPoint

Step-brothers, Augustus Eugene Riggin and Stephen John Pritchett, married sisters, Cora Ann and Emma Pritchett. Since Stephen and Emma Pritchett's fathers were brothers, it was a marriage between first cousins.

Theodore Augustus Riggin died on 14 April 1910 and his obituary was printed on the front page of the 16 April 1910 edition of The Troy Weekly Call:


Well Known Resident Succumbs After Siege of Pneumonia

T. A. Riggin, a resident of Jarvis township for over 50 years, passed away at his country home northeast of this city Thursday afternoon at 3:45 o'clock, at the age of 69  years, 6 months and 29 days. His death was due to a siege of double pneumonia of about three weeks' duration.

The funeral will take place tomorrow afternoon at 12:30 o'clock from the residence to the M. E. chuch, the service being conducted by Rev. N. D. Sweeny of East St. Louis, formerly pastor of the church in this city. The interment will be in the Troy cemetery and will be under the auspices of the local Masonic and Odd Fellow fraternities.

Theodore Augustus Riggin was a son of Alfred and Sallie (Piper) Riggin and was born on a farm in Collinsville township on September 15, 1840. Soon after the family moved to this township where the subect of this sketch had resided ever since.

His marriage to Miss. Melinda Roselle took place December 1, 1864, and four children were born to their union. One of these died in infancy and the survivors are Mrs. Theresa Noll of Greenville, and Eugene Riggin and Mrs. Sylvia Hamilton of this city. The wife and mother passed away July 26, 1874.

Mr. Riggin's second marriage was on September 15, 1875, to Mrs. Caroline Pritchett, who survives him. Four children were also born to this union and of these three survive. They are Mrs. Emma Porter of East St. Louis, and Alfred N. Riggin and Mrs. Mollie Manley of this city. There are in all twelve grandchildren besides a number of other relatives.

Mr. Riggin engaged in farming during the whole of his active life and in that occupation achieved a marked measure of success. In late years, however, he had not been largely ingaged owing to his advanced age. He recently purchased the Deek property in this city and contemplated taking up residence in the same next fall.

Personally Mr. Riggin had many traits which characterized him as a man, a citizen, a neighbor and a husband and father. He was for many years a member of Troy Lodge No. 588, A. F. & A. M., and of Neilson Lodge No. 25, I. O. O. P. The memory of him will long endure, not only among those near and dear to him, but within the wide circle of his acquaintance.

[1] Alfred Riggin was enumerated in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, so I believe that he died in the early 1850s, but no record of his death or interment have been found. 

[2] A.F. & A.M. = Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and I.O.O.F. = Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

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