James Madison Riggs
of Navarro County, Texas


Biography Index


Col. James Madison Riggs came to Texas from North Carolina at 40 years of age.  He married Miss Margaret C. Hancock in 1834, a short time before they headed for Texas.  They settled north of Chambers Creek in what is known as the Peters Colony in Red Oak Community.

Col. Riggs and W. R. Howe were close neighbors.  When Navarro County was created in 1846, Col. Riggs was elected District Clerk of the new county and attended court at the W. R. Howe home, then the court house.

In 1848 when it was decided to establish a permanent county seat, Riggs was one of the five chosen as a committee to help determine its location.

On February 6, 1848, the five men met and of the five votes cast, three were for Corsicana, then the home of Rev. Hampton McKinney, who lived on Pecan Creek, a camp site on the road.  McKinney's location was better known as the Richardson Settlement between Dresden and Porters Bluff on the Trinity River, known now as the Roger Q. Mills home.

In 1848 the Riggs family moved to Corsicana.  In 1849 Riggs was elected town commissioner to serve with W. A. Henderson, Ethan Melton, and James Johnson.

Col. and Mrs. Riggs had four children (see notes).  They were Ruth Riggs. James Riggs, Lucinda Riggs, M. Adeladie Riggs, who married Dr. W. S. Robinson, a noted physician of Dresden. 


  • The Navarro County History has him listed as Steven Monroe Riggs, this should be James Madison Riggs.

  • James Madison Riggs was born during the term of U.S. President James Madison, (1809-1817) which is where he got his name 

    He also had a son named Stephen Madison Riggs.
    Stephen, who was born in Missouri in 1842, was known as Tobe.
    During the Civil War, Tobe served in Company I of the 4th Texas
    Volunteer Infantry. (The Navarro Rifles)
    He died of wounds suffered at the Battle of Chickamauga in
    September 1863 and is buried in Marietta, Georgia.
    His military records may be found at Hill Jr. College.

    Mariah Adelaide Riggs, (Tobe's sister) married Dr. William
    Simpson Robinson and are both buried at Dresden Cemetery.
    Mariah Adelaide Riggs and Dr. Robinson were my g-g-grandparents.

    They had a son, (my g-grandfather) Sterling Edgar Robinson who
    married Terry Pearl Young.  Her father was John Young. John Young is buried outside of Blooming Grove at White Church Cemetery.

    Sterling Edgar Robinson and Terry Young had a son Wiley
    Durwood, (my grandfather) who married Maude Ella Sharp, of Frost.
    Their daughter, Nancy Robinson was my mother.

    I mention my lineage to Col. James Madison Riggs because I want
    to emphasize the name Madison has been in our family ever since.

    David K. Renfrow, Levelland, Texas

Navarro County TXGenWeb
Copyright February, 2020
Edward L. Williams