ME Riggs     William Monroe Riggs.jpg

29 Aug 1923William and Cora married in Tombstone

29William an cora Riggs was married in Tombstone   

Sept 29 in 1923 William Riggs an cora Riggs was married in tombstone

Nov 1923Biley Riggs children come from Yuma to see himBilly’s horse fell and hurt him.

WILLIAM MONROE RIGGS

 

    William Monroe Riggs, our second son, was born 27 Dec 1861 in Milam County Texas.  While we were living in Bandera County he attended the local school.  He was 9 years old when the family left Fort Riggs, Bandera, Texas and headed for Colorado.  William drove the wagon, pulled by a single oxen, which carried Grandmother, Rhoda Casey Riggs, and her possessions, to Colorado.  This was good training for becoming a teamster, a skill that served him well through the years. When the family decided to travel to the southeastern corner of Arizona, Williams’s brother, TJ, stayed in Colorado.  This made William the oldest boy with the family as they traveled to Arizona. Although he was only about 16, he drove the team of six oxen pulling the large covered wagon with all the family goods.  When we spent the winter at Fort Apache on our way to southern Arizona, William helped build a two room cabin for us.  

 

EDUCATION

    William attended school in Bandera County Texas and also the school that was started when we settled in Colorado.  When we first came to the Home ranch area William, Rhoda and Martha attended school in Dos Cabezas, the oldest school in Cochise County. We built a school house at Home Ranch and hired a teacher.  William attended this school.

    Like each of our children, when he was old enough to take care of it we gave William a heifer calf to use to begin his own herd of cattle.  After we decided to settle in the Sulphur Springs valley William helped get the family settled in a home. After a house, outbuildings and corrals were built at Home Ranch he began developing a ranch of his own.  Star Ranch, located 3 or 4 miles west of the family Home Ranch became his home ranch.  After he married, William and his wife, Ida, lived here and developed Star Ranch into a working ranch.  

 

 

William Riggs’ Star Ranch in the Riggs Settlement

 

    Miss Ida Lillie Berry from Missouri was our first teacher.  A romance ensued between student and teacher and on 3 Jan 1884, William married Ida Lillie Berry.  William was 23 years old and Ida was 32.  They made their home at Star Ranch which is located about a mile west of the Riggs Family Cemetery.  

William Monroe and wife Ida Lillie Berry Riggs

 

 

    In 1893, William and Ida, went to Valparaiso, Indiana, where he attended the Northern Indiana Normal school graduating in 1895 with a Bachelor of Science degree.  He was 34 years old when he returned to take up ranching again.  During his time in Indiana his sister, Rhoda, looked after his ranching interests.

 

Arizona Range News    

Tuesday, 27 August 1895        

Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Riggs returned last Wednesday from Valparaiso, Ind., where they have been for the past several years.  They looked well, and were exceedingly glad to get to Arizona again, after their long absence,     and were impatient to get to their well-appointed ranch, the equal of which     they believe to be nowhere in existence.  The News is glad to count them among its many staunch friends, and we welcome their return.

 

    William and Ida developed Star Ranch into their Home Ranch, living on the ranch for 29 years.  They were very involved in our family. William was involved with his community and spent several years serving on the County Board of Supervisors.  Ida was a Christian Scientists and was very involved in her church, 

    Ida was older when they married and never had children.  William wanted an Heir, so they decided to divorce so William could marry again. William was 52 and Ida 61 when they divorced. William was very generous in the settlement giving Ida over half of his estate.  Ida remained living at Star Ranch and the family continued to help her with her ranch.   Miss Carmen Kennedy lived with and took care of Ida for many years.

 

SECOND MARRIAGE

    William Austin Riggs is the son of Barney Kemp Riggs, Mr. Riggs’ brother.  William and his family lived for a time in San Angelo Texas, moved to Arizona after our family moved here and worked for a time for the Chiricahua Cattle Company.  The family moved to Yuma where they lived for a number of years.  After the Riggs Cattle Company was formed William A. and his daughter, Cora, moved here and worked for the Company. Cora and her father lived at the Riggs Cattle Company headquarters where she cooked for the cowboys and her father worked with them. William M. began courting Cora and on 29 August 1923, Cora and William Monroe were married.  William was 62 and Cora was 20.   

 

 

William M and Cora Riggs

 

29 Aug 1923          William and Cora married in Tombstone

29          William an cora Riggs was married in Tombstone   

Sept 29 in 1923          William Riggs an cora Riggs was married in tombstone

Nov 1923          Biley Riggs children come from Yuma to see him

Billy’s horse fell and hurt him.

 

On 18 August 1924 William Monroe Riggs, Jr., their only child, was born.  

Unto William an cora Riggs a son born august 18 1924

William M. Riggs and son William Monroe 2nd

    William loves good horses and is an expert horseman.  His hobby is to raise and train them. But even the best horsemen sometimes tangle with an 

ornery critter:

14          Mr hand toled us William was hurt

horse fell with him          he is in Willcox

 Arizona Range News    

16 Dec 1904            

    While working cattle this week Wm. Riggs' horse fell throwing the rider with great force to the ground.  Dave Johnson attempted to catch the horse Mr. Riggs had been riding when his horse found a hole in the ground and     went down.  Mr. Johnson was not injured but Mr. Riggs has been nursing a badly sprained leg.

 

Arizona Range News    

23 Dec 1904            

        Wm. Riggs who was injured last week by the fall of a horse

is now nearly recovered, but he informs us that Dave Johnson, who also met with a similar accident, is pretty badly damaged.  In giving account of the affair last week we mentioned that Johnson escaped injury, but it has developed later that he was the most injured.

 

Bisbee Daily Review    

22 Dec 1904            

    . . . . Wm. Riggs thrown from a horse, narrowly escaping death. . . . 

    Mr. Riggs, William and the boys know John Slaughter, for they ride together in roundups.  Mr. Slaughter told William once to “never live by the gun for if you do you spend the rest of your life always watching over your shoulder“.

 

    In January 1917 William bought out a Mr. Porch and Mr. Bluskey and started building his second Home Ranch.  This ranch is located on Witch Creek and is known as Oak Ranch.  A house was moved to the ranch from Light, AZ and William set up housekeeping. 

January 1917

3          baught Mr Bluskey out        every thing he had 

12          WM Riggs went to Phenix about bluskey land he baught

 

POLITICAL SERVICE

    Arizona was growing and land was being developed all over the Territory.  Shortly after we settled in the Sulphur Springs valley Pima County was divided and the southeast corner of the state where we live became Cochise County.  Before long there was a movement to make Arizona a State. 

    Our family came to the Arizona Territory when there were very few settlers, especially in the Sulphur Springs valley.  Like other early comers, our family settled on land that belonged to the US Government.  Mr. Riggs complied with the laws of the time to obtain ownership to the land we were developing.  Our children were maturing and developing their own ranches.  Some of our land was obtained by proving up on Homesteads.  Other land we purchased from homesteaders that had proven up on their homesteads but, for various reasons, were not able to continue to live on them.  Some of our land was Federal Lease land.  It was very important to Mr. Riggs, and a very wise move on his part, to have the Patent or recorded Deed to his land.  

    William was not of a nature to be just a bystander.  He saw that it would be to the advantage of the family to become involved in the political doings of the County.  He ran for and served on the County Board of Supervisors serving from 1904 until 1911.  The last four years he served as Chairman of the Board.  When he ran for the Board in 1904 he won with the most votes.  William is a hands on personality and filled his place on the Board of Supervisors well.

    Here are some of the articles written about him in the various newspapers of our area. 

   

Arizona Range News

13 Mar 1908     

    Salaries for County Board of Supervisors

         Wm. Riggs, Chairman Board of Supervisors

   for Feb. $125.

 

Tombstone Epitaph  

8 Oct 1911  

“W.M. Riggs is in the city today from his ranch.  Mr. Riggs was one of the original progressives in Cochise Democracy and as supervisor for four years performed his duties faithfully and honestly.  He is an aspirant for the same position in the new state and if elected would bring to the position the added prestige of practical supervisor experience and mature judgment.” 

 

Safford Guardian

29 August 1913

it was learned that as County Supervisor, William was involved with getting a road built from Willcox to Safford and on to Greenlee County.  The road went by the Monk ranch, the Ten ranch and Artesia.  (The road today pretty much follows the same route.)  It was no longer necessary to travel to Bowie, then north to about half way between Duncan and Safford, then west to Safford. 

 

    As a county supervisor he made many trips throughout the County looking at the conditions of roads and the land in general. 

 

Arizona Range News

3 May 1912            

Supervisor Wm. Riggs has been going over the roads in this end of the county with a view of establishing all those for which petition has been presented to the Board for the establish-of.  Now is the time to establish roads.  Later when the land gets more expensive, and lines fenced up it will be an endless source of trouble to establish a road.

 

Arizona Range News

Friday 10 May 1912

    ROAD WORK COMMENCED

  Supervisor Wm. Riggs is spending considerable time establishing roads in this section.  In company with County Superintendent of Roads Benton, he is working in this section.  A road is being graded and laid out from Willcox south, this road will turn off the Dos Cabezas road near the Speaks place.  It will continue south along the foothills and along the valley to Light, thence south to Douglas.  Branches will go to Pearce, Gleason and Courtland and other points.  Another road is being laid out on the west side of the valley, which will skirt the foothills and cross near Cochise and go south and west of the dry lake, joining the Dos Cabezas-Douglas road not far from the Allaire ranch.  Another great highway is planned from Lordsburg, following the Southern Pacific across the San Simon valley and on to Bowie, and from there to Willcox, where it will connect with the road running on the east side of the valley to Dos Cabezas, Pearce and other points south, and will swing from Willcox on the west side of the valley to Johnson and Dragoon and on to Benson to the west line of Cochise county, when the Pima county authorities will take it up and continue it on to Tucson and Phoenix.  Another line will also branch off from this road at or near Lordsburg and swing south along the El Paso Southwestern to Douglas, thence run to Bisbee and on west to Tucson.  This great net of highways will be of inestimable value in the future development of this section, as it will make two great routes through Cochise County for automobilists coming from the east during the winter season and going to the Coast.  A road grader was taken out by Mr. Riggs and Mr. Benton Monday which will be used in building roads, and the work is being pushed on this great road system with all haste.  Mr. Riggs as well as the other members of the board and the road superintendent, are to be congratulated on their magnificent work, and the splendid conception in laying out this system now while the country is in its infancy and before it is too thickly settled and land values have become too great.  It will save the county a vast sum for right of way, as well as laying the foundation for a road system diverting the great train of travel from east to the coast throughout Cochise County.  This will do more to bring the attention of Cochise County to people from the east and south than any other enterprise that could have been undertaken.  Autoists travel slower, and have a better chance to see the country than people who are whisked across the country on trains.  It is a noted fact that the railroads are always built through the worst and most unsightly places, following ravines, and water courses, hence it will be a relief to know that the autoists will have a chance to see some of the real good things which we have and not be led through the most undesirable sections of the country on their journey from coast to coast.

 

Arizona Range News

25 July 1913

Supervisor Wm. Riggs, while in town the other day, informed us that he was formulating plans for the improvement of the highway between Willcox and Dos Cabezas.  It is his idea to spend as little money as possible in temporary repairs as he realizes the need of putting some kind of a surface covering on this road that will pack and remain smooth and solid permanently.  If his plans carry he will secure an appropriation sufficient to do the work right, but he has little hope of securing the county grading outfit in the immediate future, owing to the fact that it is now engaged in the building of other roads in the county which will take several months to complete.

 

     William even traveled to Washington D.C. in behalf of the people of Cochise County.

4 June 1914

William M Riggs went to Washington DC

Tombstone Prospector

3 June 1914

MANY BONA FIDE ARIZONA SETTLERS ENTER CHALLENGE

Supervisor Riggs Leaves for Capital Today to Represent Cochiseites

HOLD UP PATENTS

    A Washington dispatch says--

    The secretary of the interior has set Tuesday, June 9th as the date for the hearing of the protest of Mulford Winsor, chairman of the State Land Commission of Arizona against the patenting of the land of settlers in Arizona who purchased Moqui and Navajo base and scripped their lands.

    The senators and representatives in Congress have been appealed to by hundreds of settlers to represent them at the hearing.  There are 920 settlers in Arizona who would lose if the protest of Winsor were to be upheld and many of them haven’t sufficient funds to send a lawyer to Washington to represent them at the hearing.  In their letters they have been bitter against Winsor, a state official, for holding up their patents.

Supervisor Riggs of Cochise Makes Strong Protest

    SENATORS PRESENT

    A Washington dispatch says.--

    Scrip hearings before Secretary Jones were concluded today.  A number of Arizonans are here who are interested in scrip and a strong showing was made by Wm. Riggs of Cochise, Wright and Taylor of Pima, Clark of Yavapi, Heldreth, Page and Davis of Maricopa, Rittenhouse and McInnery of Pinal.  Winsor represented the state land commission.  The decision of the secretary will not be rendered for a few days.

    Those interested in scrip selections made an excellent showing.  Senator Ashurst and Smith were at the hearing and also Congressman Carl Hayden.  All are strongly in favor of patents issuing.

These hearings came because Arizona had just received statehood making it necessary to clarify land ownership. 

 

Arizona Range News

Friday, 12 June 1914

Supervisor Wm. Riggs is in Washington looking after some land matters.  Some time ago he and others sold to settlers Moqui Base and Navajo scrip, which was applied on vacant government land throughout Arizona.  One of the land commissioners, Mulford Windsor, objected to the scrip being applied, contending the land was more valuable than the price paid for the scrip.  As a result patents were held up and now the warring factions have all gone to Washington for a hearing.

 

Arizona Range News

Friday, 3 July 1914

Wm. Riggs has returned from an extended visit to eastern points.  During his absence he visited Washington where a hearing was had on the question of granting patents to settlers and others who applied Navajo and Moqui Base scrip to government lands in this state.  Mr. Riggs believes the action, which is yet to be taken by the land commissioner, will be favorable to the settlers.

June 1914

28          William Riggs got home from Washington dc

    Not all men that had the responsibility for granting Patents were honest and working in the best interest of the rancher or even of the State.  The ranchers didn’t particularly like the “government men”. 

May 1915

9          four Scrip men is here  government men                                                

March 1916

29          the State land men are here   Stayed all night 

30          more land men   they will ruing this country

   

   

   

William Monroe Riggs

 

Arizona State Senator

    Arizona became a state on 14 Feb 1912.   William had a number of years’ experience in the county government, he was 53 years old and no longer married.  He didn’t have a ranch to maintain at that time and he could devote his time to the work of a Senator, so he decided to run for office in the 2nd State Legislature.  He was well known in the state and after his trip to Washington D.C. was interested in developing a new land code for Arizona.  

 

 

8 Apr 1914        

SUPERVISOR RIGGS FOR SENATOR

    Hon. William Riggs, of Dos Cabezas, at present a member of the board of supervisors of this county, has “sheild his hat into the ring” and will go after the nomination of State Senator in the coming primaries on the Democratic ticket.

    Mr. Riggs is a man who has a most excellent reputation from any direction the most scrutinizing eye may be cast and his nomination would mean his election, beyond the peradventure of a doubt if Cochise county should be so fortunate as to secure Mr. Riggs as one of its state senators for 1915 and 1916.

 

    Though most people supported William in his run for the Senate there were those who did not support him. People have always had differing political views.

 

Courtland Arizonan

17 Oct 1914

    William Riggs wants a seat in the senate, where he can tell his colleagues how hard he worked to lower the price of Sulphur Springs valley lands to three dollars per acre, for assessment purposes, to help the settler.  He never can think to tell that he purchased over 30,000 acres of those same lands by means of scrip.  Of course his anxiety for a low assessment was wholly for the poor settler.

 

Arizona Range News

Friday, 4 Dec 1914

Wm. M. Riggs was elected as senator from Cochise County along with W. P. Sims.

    William won the election as a State Senator from Cochise County with 2541 votes and served in the second State Legislature. He became known as the “father of the state land code”.  As a result of his trip to Washington D.C., he saw the need for change from the land code of a territory to one that fit the needs of a new state.  

 

Mohave County Miner

13 Feb 19

Death to Land Code

    The long expected land code made its appearance in the Senate Monday, being the offer of Senator Riggs (Cochise).  The measure, which is one of the important features of the session, is about 15,000 words long and embraces a complete land code, abolishing the present land commission and vesting its powers in various officers, boards and commissions as they appear from the provisions of the act. – 

 

Coconino Sun

Friday, 5 Feb 1915

Wm. M. Riggs served on the following committees while a State Senator:  Public Land, Labor, Appropriations, Corporations, Live Stock, Agriculture and Irrigation, and Counties and County Affairs.

 

Arizona Range News

21 May 1915

    WANTED--SUGGESTIONS

Senator Wm. M. Riggs has sent out a circular letter to the press of Arizona asking for suggestions relative to the handling of state lands.

Mr. Riggs says:

"As an extra session of the Legislature, to enact a land code is almost sure, and as Chairman of the Committee on Public Lands, I hereby ask for suggestions from any and all who have ideas in regard to how our State Lands should be handled, with a view to getting the greatest results and development in Arizona, this being one of the most important matters that will ever come before the Legislature in Arizona.

"All communications will be gladly received and given due consideration by this Committee.

 

SOME OF WILLIAM'S OTHER INTERESTS ALONG POLITICAL LINES

 

Arizona Range News

16 Oct 1912

. . . . William Riggs helped organize a group of men in Willcox that favored Women’s Suffrage . . . .   

Friday, 18 Apr 1913

The women have until May 1 to register.  If they don't register before that time they can't register for one year.  If they expect to vote they must register.  They should all do this if they are able to read and write and have lived in the state one year.

April 1913 

29          Ida is taken neighbor wimmes to regester

Arizona Range News 

29 Apr 1917

. . . . Senator Wm. Riggs opposed to moving county seat to Bisbee. He was also opposed to splitting Cochise County . . . .    

 

CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION

   The Riggs men first and foremost were cattlemen.  They had large holdings of ranch land where they ran large herds of good beef stock.  Joining together with other ranchers gave them all a greater voice in matters of livestock and land laws with the state legislature.  William and James J. were both involved with the leadership of the cattlemen’s associations. 

 

Arizona Range News

3 Mar 1912 

. . . . Wm. Riggs elected President of Cochise County Stock Growers Association.

 

Arizona Range News

22 Mar 1912

    CATTLEMEN HOLD CONVENTION

    The Cochise County Stock Growers' Association convened here Thursday, March 14, and was well attended by many cattlemen from the surrounding country.

      The citizens of Willcox extended a most cordial welcome to the visitors and after a most satisfactory business session, which was held at Norton's Hall in the afternoon, the visitors were banqueted at the hotel dining room in the evening.  A dance which followed concluded the day's program.

    The officers of the association are: Wm. Riggs, president; Jno. Slaughter, first vice president; Wm. Neel, second vice president and Thos. Hood, Secretary and treasurer.

 

OTHER BUSINESS VENTURES

AUTOMOBILES

7 July 1907      Mr Williams pass by in a all motor car

going to William Riggs ranch

    Progression is coming to the rural areas of Arizona.  The automobile, though considered a passing fad by some of the family earlier, has proven its usefulness in transporting people over a long distance faster.  The men of the Riggs family understood quickly the future of the automobile.  William became a part owner in the McCourt - Riggs Ford Agency in Willcox, AZ. 

       Wm. Riggs and T.B. Stark have ordered automobiles.  Autos are getting almost as common in this district as horse teams.  Within just a couple of years each member of the family will have their own car.

4          William Riggs is fixing a otomobile here

5          he Sold his to Mr Johson

 

 

 

Friday 9 Feb 1912

Ed Riggs and wife were down in their auto Saturday night to take in the show.

Thursday night of last week the Mascot auto, Ed Riggs, driver, brought down from the property Mr. and Mrs. W.C. Baskett and little son who had been making an inspection of the camp and who left for Chicago on the 10:45 train the same night.  They were accompanied to Willcox by Mr. and Mrs. J.E. France and son and Mrs. Susan Liebenthal.  A.B. Sanderson, a stockholder from Hanover Mich., was taken to the camp on the return trip.

 

Mar 1912        Grandmother Riggs Diary

27          Mr TB and Kay went to Willcox get there cars

28          Mary got her new Sewing mashine

29          Kay got home         Mr TB Stark car broak

Mar 1912

8          we went to TB with Kay in the car

9          Kay taken Ed Riggs car home to him

14          Mr TB got home with his new car 16 Mr Stark taken the neighbors riding in his new car

July 1912  

29          William John an Rhoda went to Dos cabezos in otomobile

Dec 1912

19           Mr TB went to Dos cabezos far gasoline   cisroe is painting                                                       

Feb 1913

7          it is raining         William and Ida got home with a new car (Ida learned to drive also)

June 1913

25          TB John and K working on there cars                                                      

29          Tom got a new car

August 1913

22          we broak TB car bringing cement on it 

24          TB K an Mr Dickson went to Willcox to bix TB car  

April 1916 

2          gus Moar an family come in there car         Spent a day

June 1916

14          Rhoda got a new cara ford 

August 1916

6          I went to Rhod         She can run her car      

October 1916

26          Mary Stark went to Rhodas in the car  She run it                          

November 1916

Mr Eekson baught Rhoda car     

29          Mr Scow come to Sell Rhoda a car 4 Mr Shaw  

January 1917  

11          William is learning Rhoda to ren her car    

February 1917

20          Mr Mc chuskey brought the boyes gasolineDos cab

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

RIGGS BANK

    In 1920 William, John and Kay decided to start a new venture.  We sold the building we owned in Safford and used the money to open a Bank in Willcox.  William was President and John C. Vice President.  Mr. McCaleb was the teller and Miss Bette Craig secretary.  When the Riggs Bank opened in 1920 William, aged 59, was not married.  He put a cot in his office and lived in the bank. It soon became apparent that his living arrangements were not satisfactory to his health and he was too readily available to the customers of the bank.  It was better that he find another place to live. 

    The boys had the bank for about 10 years.  Before the Bank Holiday of 19?? they had sold the bank but it still carried the name of The Riggs Bank.  The family had a reputation of being honest men of integrity that they did not want to lose.  They didn’t want their former investors to lose everything so they used their own monies to cover the losses.

 

RETIREMENT FROM PUBLIC LIFE

    The Riggs Bank was sold in 1933.  William was married by then and he was a father.  He walked away from his public life and settled down at his home at Oak Ranch and enjoyed his life as a husband, father and cattleman.   

    William was known and highly respected for his honesty and strength of character all over the state.  In the 16 Nov 1919,    Tombstone Epitaph there was an article about William Riggs coming to Tombstone to pay his taxes. It mentioned “he always came in person to pay his taxes“.

   

    William passed away 13 February 1949.  He is buried in the Riggs Family Cemetery.

(Riggs Family Cemetery location, row 2 headstone j)