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Stars and Stripes

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Charting the Immediate Descendants of
EDWARD RIGGS 1589-1672
of Roxbury, Suffolk County, MA, USA

9 times greatgrandfather of  MAMIE GENEVA DOUD
wife of DWIGHT D EISENHOWER, 34th US President

and probably7 times greatgrandfather of
WARREN G HARDING, 29th US President
including those who migrated to
Generation 1 This page Generation 3 Generation 4 Notes Sources
Return to Home Page THE  SECOND  GENERATION Go to next Section
New England

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Return to Top SERGEANT  EDWARD  RIGGS  of  ENG, MA, CT & NJ Go to next Section


Map of Eastern MassachusettsEdward was baptised at Nazeing, Essex in the UK on 17OCT1619 [S1][S2] and migrated to America with his parents, landing in Boston in the early summer of 1633 and settling in nearby Roxbury.

In the Roxbury Vital Records there is an entry on 5APR1635 for the marriage of Edward Riggs and Elizabeth ROOSA [S42][S3]. Whilst Edward would only have been 15 at that time, he was allegedly married "quite a young girl" [S3]. Elizabeth's surname in the entry is apparently difficult to decipher. It has generally been quoted as Elizabeth ROOSA, but on the CD-ROM of these VRs it is apparently REOSA [S17], and Savage [S5] had read it as ROOKE. However, in all probability her name was ELIZABETH ROSE, as substantiated in the separate notes on the two marriages of Edward and Elizabeth and on Elizabeth Rose and her family.

After he married, he probably moved to Wethersfield, CT and, following a notable act of bravery in the Pequot Indian War in 1637, he became known as Sergeant Riggs for the rest of his life. He was a true pioneer in that he was one of the original planters of Milford, CT in 1640, and later helped establish the Derby Plantation, CT in 1655, before finally moving to Newark, NJ which he helped to found in 1666.

Sergeant Riggs's death took place in Newark, New Jersey between 10JNE1669 and 25JAN1670N, only a few years after moving there from Connecticut. His widow subsequently married CALEB CARWITHIE.[S3]

It has been said that Elizabeth ROSE possibly died 02SEP1634 at Branford [S69]. However, this has not been corroborated and records of the Newark Town Meetings of 25JAN1670N and 02JLY1670 [S69] both refer to a 'Widow Riggs' (for details, see the note on Sergeant Riggs's death). Furthermore, Edward of Roxbury's will dated 02SEP1670 makes a bequest to "my daughter-in-law my son Edward Riggs his wife". Admittedly, none of these mention her christian name, and it might be argued that Edward could have remarried, but no evidence has been found to prove Elizabeth pre-deceased Edward or that he married a second time.

Map of Connecticut MOVE TO WETHERSFIELD, CT, 1635?. Adams & Styles [S67] describe Robert ROSE, Edward's father-in-law, as one of the original ten "adventurers" at Wethersfield, CT, and they quote Drake [S68] as saying: "Wethersfield, the oldest town in Connecticut, received ... its first considerable emigrations in 1634."

Wallace says nothing was known of the whereabouts of Edward between 1635 and 1640, but he probably went to live with his wife's parents in Wethersfield after his marriage to Elizabeth. This is a reasonable assumption based on the facts detailed in the separate Note on the Wethersfield Plantation, CT.

ACT OF BRAVERY. Edward Riggs served in the Pequot Indian War of 1637 and was commended for an act of bravery, which took place on 13JLY1637. Wallace said "By this notable act of bravery and skill the name of "Sergeant Riggs" became his well-known designation as long as he lived" [S3]. Abbot [S48] also states that Edward "was a Sergeant in the Pequot War", but may have derived this from Wallace who is referred to as Abbot's source for details of Edward's marriage. Anderson included the incident in his entry [S4] describing Edward of Roxbury but, although he distinguishes clearly elsewhere between Edward "the immigrant" and Edward "the son of the immigrant", in this instance I believe he confused the two. Drake reports the act of bravery took place on land which became the town of Fairfield, CT [S46].

MOVE TO MILFORD, CT, 1640. In 1640, 3 years after the act of bravery at Fairfeld, CT, Edward became one of the original planters at Milford, CT [S3], only 15 miles or so from Fairfeld. Citizen soldiers, especially those who had gained fame and notoriety from it, were given grants of land in the territory where that war was essentially fought.[S69] Atwater [S66] states that Edward was an "after planter" and received lot #63 of 3 acres on the west side of West Town Street, Milford. Having been baptised in October 1619, he would have been 21 by October 1840 and old enough by then to receive a grant of land.

MOVE TO DERBY PLANTATION, CT, 1655. According to Wallace, in 1655 Edward, with Edward Wooster, John Browne, Robert Dennison and others, bought land from the Indians on the Naugatuck River and establshed a plantation called Derby some 10 or 12 miles above Milford [S3] (the town of Derby wasn't created until 1675). A more accurate account of this is given in the note on the Derby Plantation, based on the facts according to the Derby Historical Society [S25]. Edward located his homestead on a hill which came to be known as "Riggs' Hill" and this was still in the possession of his descendants in 1900 [S3].

In 1661, the year following Charles II's restoration to the English throne, Wallace refers to the search along the coast of Connecticut and New Haven by Charles II's emissaries for two members of the English Parliament that had condemned and executed his father Charles I [S3]. During this search, Wallace states that Edward helped to hide and protect the two men. There is a fuller account elsewhere on Hiding the Regicides [S30] but this does not mention Edward.

Map of New Jersey MOVE TO NEWARK, NJ, 1666. In May 1666, Edward, his wife and Joseph his son left New Haven Colony with other families from Branford and Milford and sailed for New Jersey. According to Wallace, in 1666 Edward's wife Elizabeth was the first white woman to spend a summer in Newark [S3], but he may have confused her with Elizabeth Swaine (the affianced bride of another founder Josiah Ward), who by tradition was the first of the party to set foot on New Jersey soil [S56]. To learn the political and religious reasons which forced this move, please see the note on the move to Newark, New Jersey.

On October 30, 1666 the men of these families signed an agreement to form a common township at "New-Ark on Pesayack" and this contains the signature of Edward Riggs and that of his son Joseph [S58] (according to Wallace [S3], the "fundamental agreement" was executed on June 24 1667). Edward, Joseph's brother, arrived with his wife and children later in 1667.

Sgt.Edward received the 6th lot awarded in the first drawing [S18] in the creation of "New-Ark" in 1667. The following diagram shows the plots occupied by the early settlers based on the original map made by Samuel H.Conger [S60]. It identifies the plots of Sgt.Edward's two sons Edward and Joseph and the plot of his daughter Mary and her husband George Day. The original map, identifying the rest of the occupiers including Edward's probable brother-in-law Lt.Samuel Rose (who had moved there from Branford), can be seen in the separate note on the First Settlers of Newark, NJ.

Town Lots of Newark

Wallace documents the known children of EDWARD and ELIZABETH as follows:


Born in Roxbury MA about 1636.


Born in Milford CT about 1640.


Born in Milford CT about 1642.


Born in Milford CT about 1644.

Wallace states that little is known about Mary, except that she married GEORGE DAY and that legal proceedings show they had three known sons: Paul, born about 1665; George, born about 1667; and Samuel, born about 1669 [S3]. The map of the Home Plots of Newark above shows George Day occupying the next-but-one plot to the plot occupied initially by Mary's father Sgt.Edward and subsequently by her brother Joseph. A recent researcher [S51] states that Mary remarried ANTHONY OLIFFE sometime after 1684 in Newark, Essex Co. NJ.

Another recent researcher [S32] has reported that Mary's son PAUL DAY married a PHEBEE(sic) BROWN, and that PHEBEE DAY was a beneficiary under the Will of LT SAMUEL ROSE. Samuel was most probably Edward's brother-in-law and had also moved to Newark. He referred to Phebee in his Will as his "cousin", but this term was often used up until the nineteenth century to cover a large number of indirect relationships, not just the specific relationships currently meant by the term cousin.

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This page was last updated: 1st October 2001
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