Person:Edward Riggs (6)

Sergeant Edward Riggs
chr.17 Oct 1619 Nazeing, Essex, England
m. 16 Sep 1618
  1. Sergeant Edward Riggs1619 - 1668
  2. Lydia Riggs1622 - 1633
  3. Elizabeth Riggs1627 - 1634
  4. John Riggs1629/30 - 1634
  5. Mary Riggs1632 - Bef 1672
m. Est 1641
  1. Edward RiggsAbt 1636 - Aft 1700
  2. Ensign Samuel RiggsEst 1640 - 1734
  3. Joseph RiggsAbt 1642 - 1689
  4. Mary RiggsAbt 1644 -
  5. John RiggsEst 1648 - Bef 1670
Facts and Events
Name Sergeant Edward Riggs
Gender Male
Christening[3] 17 Oct 1619 Nazeing, Essex, England
Immigration[2] 1633 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Marriage Est 1641 to Elizabeth _____
Military[2] Sergeant - Pequot Indian War of 1637
Death[1] 5 Jun 1668 Newark, Essex, New Jersey

Wife of Edward2

"The marriage by an Edward Riggs to Elizabeth Roosa predating the death of the first wife of Edward1 implies that it was his son Edward2 who married Elizabeth Roosa. For this to be true, Edward2 would have married at age 15 or 16, but this would have been highly unusual at that time. To support his theory, Jacobus estimated Edward2's birth as 1614 for a marriage at age about 21, but if Jacobus had known of the 1619 baptismal record of Edward2, he surely would not have suggested the 1614 birth year and hence not the marriage of Edward2 to Elizabeth Roosa. Furthermore it is now well-established that Edward1 married the mother of Edward2 on 16 September 1618, clearly supporting the son's baptism in October 1619.

"The conclusion then, with the only remaining contradiction being the October 1635 burial date [of Edward1's 1st wife], is that this month-year date must be in error having been recorded well after the fact. The correct burial date might be October 1634, assuming a single error only, in reading the year. If so, this was the same date that her son John was buried in Roxbury, the last of her three children to die in childhood. In any case, her burial preceded Edward's second marriage on 5 April 1635." [S4]


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 10 June 1669 and 8 August 1669, 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 2 September 1634 at Branford though this has not been corroborated [S69]. Records of the Newark Town Meetings of 25 January 1670 and 2 July 1670 [S69] both refer to a 'Widow Riggs' (for details, see the note on Sergeant Riggs's death), whilst Edward of Roxbury's will dated 2 September 1670 makes a bequest to "my daughter-in-law my son Edward Riggs his wife". Since none of these mention her christian name, it might be argued that Edward could have remarried.. However, no evidence has been found to prove Elizabeth pre-deceased Edward, or that he married a second time.

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 13 July 1637. 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.

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.

From Riggs Surname Study[1]

Edward Riggs,2 (son of Edward1 the immigrant) was born in England about 1614, and came to this country along with his father and family, landing in Boston, Mass., in the early summer of 1633. He assisted his father in preparing a new habitation and in taking care of the sick until April 5, 1635, when he married Elizabeth Roosa, quite a young girl, a daughter of a family of that name who had come over from England and settled in Boston. In August, of the same year, his mother died, and how long he remained in assisting his father is not known, but it is known that he soon set about establishing a home of his own. In 1637 he was a sergeant in the Pequot war, and he greatly distinguished himself by rescuing a body of his companions from an ambuscade into which they had been led by the Indians, and in which they they all would have been cut off. By this notable act of bravery and skill the name of “Sergeant Riggs” became his well-known designation as long as he lived. Nothing is now known of his location between 1635 and 1640, but in the latter year he became a settler at Milford, Conn., and had land assigned him. In 1655 associated with Edward Wooster, Richard Baldwin, John Browne, Robert Dennison, John Burnett and perhaps others, they bought from the Indians the district of country on the Naugatuck, then known as Paugusset, some ten or twelve miles above Milford, and established a plantation which was afterward called Derby. The location of Sergeant Riggs is still known as “Riggs Hill.” On this hill, which is still in the possession of his descendants, he placed his habitation and built a strong stockade as a protection against the Indians, The first house stood by the rock, a few rods from where the present residence stands, and in this house Sergeant Edward secreted and protected Whaley and Goff, two of the English Parliament that condemned and executed Charles I, while the emissaries of CharlesII were making most diligent search for them all along the Connecticut coast, in 1661. While Edward was not a member of the church and consequently no a voter, this brave act, in the face of the vengeance of the re-established English throne, established beyond question two points in his character, viz., that he was governed by his convictions in considering human rights, and that his sympathies were wholly with the Puritans in their struggle for liberty with the mother country. In such a character it is not difficult to understand that he should mentally rebel against laws which excluded from the exercise of the rights of citizenship unless he was first a member of the church. Here we find a possible motive for his change of location in the advanced years of his life.

The Province of New Jersey was named as a grant from the Crown, 1664, and it was believed to be a region specially attractive to settlers. In 1665 Edward, with some of his associated in the plantation of Derby, visited it, and were so well pleased with the prospects that they determined to found a new plantation on the Passaic that would be accessible to the outer world by the sailing craft of that date, and the site of Newark was then decided upon. The next year he spent most of the summer there preparing for the advent of the proposed colony, and his wife was with him, the first white woman to spend a summer in Newark. The fundamental agreement was executed June 24, 1667. The colony was quite large, and in it were a number of his old associated in the plantation at Derby. His two sons, Edward and Joseph, were designated as “Planter,” that is, original proprietors. The former did not arrive till later in the year, and the latter had no home lot assigned him, because he was still a bachelor. The other son, Samuel, was provided for at Derby and remained there. In 1668. The next year after the colony was fully organized, Edward died. His Widow, Elizabeth, still a healthy and well-preserved woman, sometime previous to 1671 married Caleb Carwithis. Previous to her marriage she conveyed to her son Joseph one-half of her home lot. The children living to maturity were as follows: Edward, b. about 1636, m. Mary---, family name unknown Samuel, b. about 1640, m. Sarah Baldwin, dau. of Richard Baldwin Joseph, b. about 1642, m. Hannah Browne, daughter of John Browne Mary, b. about 1644, m. George Day

From the "Genealogy of the Riggs Family"[2]

  1. 1.0 1.1 See Riggs Surname Study for additional discussion and sources
    Accessed 8 Aug 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Wallace, John H. (John Hankins). Genealogy of the Riggs Family: With a Number of Cognate Branches Descended from the Original Edward, through Female Lines, and Many Biographical Outlines. (New York: The Author, 1901).
  3. Smith, Alvy Ray. The Probable Genetic Signature of Edward (1) Riggs, Immigrant to Roxbury, Massachusetts, in 1633. New England Historical and Genealogical Register. (New England Historic Genealogical Society, Apr 2010)
  4.   Anderson, Robert Charles, and Alvy Ray Smith. The Genealogy of Edward (1) Riggs of Roxbury, Massachusetts, Revisited. Genealogist (American Society of Genealogists). (2009)