Thomas Riggs

Thomas Riggs (1633 - 1722)

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Thomas Riggs
Born in Hawkshead, Lancashire, Englandmap
Son of [uncertain] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusettsmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusettsmap
Profile last modified | Created 1 Jul 2011
This page has been accessed 1,767 times.


Disputed parentage

Some have maintained that Edward Riggs was the father of Thomas Riggs of Hawkshead. However, Alvy Ray Smith and Robert Charles Anderson have provided convincing evidence that while Edward and Thomas share a common ancestor, they are not father and son. (For details, read the paper at the following link.) They also provide some evidence that the father of Thomas was Robert Rigg of Hawkshead.

DNA evidence shows that Thomas Riggs is related to Edward Riggs of Roxbury but he is not the father of Thomas.


Thomas Riggs was educated in England for the profession of a scrivener. He was town clerk of Gloucester, Massachusetts for fifty-one years, a selectman upwards of twenty years, and representative in 1700. He also served as Schoolmaster. He was an exceedingly valuable man in the town, more than half of whose male inhabitants and most of the female inhabitants at that early period could not read or write. Thomas died February 26, 1722, at the age of ninety.

THOMAS RIGGS was born in Lancashire, England about 1633.

He was baptized March 25, 1633 Hawkshead, Lancashire, England. Son of Robert Riggs (Cowper, Hawkshead Parish Register) batch no. P005961, FHL 476869

Records of the Drapers Company of London show a Thomas Riggs, son of Robert of Hawkshead, Lancashire - apprenticed 3 February 1646 for nine years to Richard Barlow, Scrivener, of Tower Street, London. The apprenticeship would have been completed in 1655 and shortly after Thomas must have immigrated to Gloucester, Massachusetts

Arrival - About 1656

The earliest reputed evidence in Gloucester of Thomas Riggs is a small pigskin notebook, Kept by Thomas Riggs, the town clerk of Gloucester, dated 1656. - The notebook dated 1656 suggests that he arrived that year and purchased the book, He might however, have purchased the notebook before departing from England and dated it there.

Thomas Riggs and Mary Millet were married 7 June 1658 in Gloucester, Essex Co, MA. May Millett (Millet) who was born 26 Aug 1639 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts daughter of Thomas and Mary (Greenway) Millett

Mary's father Thomas died intestate and his estate was eventually divided up equally into 5 parts to be shared between his children - Thomas Riggs of Gloucester receiving Mary's share (Essex Probate Records Vol 3 1675-1681 pp83-84).

Thomas Millett; who had a grant in 1658 of six acres of upland lying at Little River, and 7 Oct 1661 bought of Coe and Lee Wakleys, houses, gardens and home lots on the south side of Goose Cove; who by grant and purchase acquired other lots of land, and was at one time the largest owner in the common territory; who lived a long and useful life here, and whose descendants here and in the neighbourhood have continued to the present day." (written in 1888).[S42:p147]

After Mary died 23 Jan1695, Thomas married his second wife, 30 Oct 1695 in Gloucester - Elizabeth Frese, born about 1642, she was the widow of James Frese of Salisbury by whom she had had a son James, born 16 March 1667.

Thomas died at Gloucester, Essex Co, MA on 26 Feb 1722 aged about 90, town clerk about 51 years, Elizabeth his widow died shortly afterwards at Gloucester, Essex Co, MA on 16 June 1722 aged 80.

Thomas was town clerk for 51 years, selectman for 20, a representative to the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and Gloucester's first schoolmaster. Many of Gloucester's early records are in Thomas Sr.'s hand.

For more info on the history of the house which Thomas Riggs occupied, see the Thomas Riggs's house at Cape Ann. - - When Thomas Sr.'s youngest son Andrew married Mary Richardson in 1704, a single-storey cape was added to the log house. In 1753 Andrew's youngest son George built the gambrel roof, accommodating three upstairs bedchambers. The house remained in the Riggs family nearly untouched until the current owner designed a timber-frame wing of 18th-c. handhewn beams that provides a great room and loft as well as the house's first permanent electricity, running water, and heat (save for the six working fireplaces).

Children - Thomas and Mary had ten children:

MARY RIGGS. Born 6 March 1658/9 in Gloucester, Essex Co, MA. Mary married "BENJAMEN HASKALL" at Gloucester, Essex Co, MA 21 NOV 1677 Mary died 29 JAN 1699. They had nine children

THOMAS RIGGS Born 23 JAN 1660/1 in Gloucester, Essex Co, MA. died 1 Feb 1660/61

SARAH RIGGS Born 16 JAN or Feb 1661/2 in Gloucester, Essex Co, MA.

On 9 MAY 1681 Sarah married JOHN TUCKER of Gloucester, Essex Co, MA. Their marriage was recorded at Gloucester and at Salem (where they were both described as being "of Gloucester" Their son William, born 11 MAY 1690, married Dorcas Lane, an older sister of Sarah Lane who married Thomas Riggs the son of Thomas and Ann. The had nine children.

ANNA alias ANN RIGGS, Anne Born 27 APR 1664 in Gloucester, Essex Co, MA. She is entered in the VRs as ANNA. On 30 JAN 1684 at Gloucester, Essex Co, MA, -Ann married NATHANIEL WHARFF , born 1662 the son of Nathaniel Wharff of Casco. Savage quotes the date as 30JAN1684 [S5], whilst Torrey quotes the date as 30 JAN 1683. . She died 17 DEC 1701 shortly after the birth of their thirteenth child (including a set of twins).

THOMAS RIGGS Born 7 DEC 1666 in Gloucester, Essex Co, MA. married Ann Wheeler and had 11 children. (four sons and seven daughters) Married 2nd Elizabeth Wood, and third Ruth Dodge.

JOHN RIGGS Born 25 FEB 1669/70 in Gloucester, Essex Co, MA. married Ruth Wheeler, and had 11 children (four sons and seven daughters)

ELIZABETH RIGGS Born 22 APR 1672 in Gloucester, Essex Co, MA. died 28 April 1728 - On 28 APR 1692 at Gloucester, Essex Co, MA, Elizabeth married EZEKIALL COLLINS , born 23 FEB 1665 the son of John and Mehitable (Giles) Collins of Gloucester, Essex Co, MA. Elizabeth and Ezekial had 7 children

ABIGAIL RIGGS Born 29 DEC 1678 in Gloucester, Essex Co, MA.

ANDREW RIGGS Born 8 JAN 1681/2 in Gloucester, Essex Co, MA. married Mary Richardson and had nine children (three sons and six daughters)


  • The Great Migration Begins, Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633. Three Volumes. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995. 2386p.

Page: 1583

  • The New England Historical & Genealogical Register, 1847-2011
  • American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI)
  • American Marriages Before 1699
  • Essex County, Massachusetts Biographies
  • Family Data Collection - Births
  • Family Data Collection - Deaths
  • Family Data Collection - Individual Records
  • Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988
  • Smith, Alvy Ray, and Anderson, Robert Charles. (2007) Proposed Hawkshead, Lancashire, origins of Edward Riggs of Roxbury, Massachusetts, and Thomas Riggs of Gloucester. The American Genealogist, 82:120-129.
  • Laury Kenton, firsthand knowledge. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Laury and others.
  • WikiTree profile Riggs-254 created through the import of Steve Sanders family tree_2011-08-28.ged on Aug 30, 2011 by Steve Sanders. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Steve and others.
  • Source: S1 Title: Ancestry Family Trees Publication: Name: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.; Repository: #R1 NOTEThis information comes from 1 or more individual Ancestry Family Tree files. This source citation points you to a current version of those files. Note: The owners of these tree files may have removed or changed information since this source citation was created.
  • Repository: R1 Name: Address: E-Mail Address: Phone Number:
  • Source: S30 Author: Edmund West, comp. Title: Family Data Collection - Deaths Publication: Name: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2001.; Repository: #R1
  • Source: S32 Author: Yates Publishing Title: U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 Publication: Name: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.Original data - This unique collection of records was extracted from a variety of sources including family group sheets and electronic databases. Originally, the information was derived; Repository: #R1
  • Source: S76 Author: Title: American Marriages Before 1699 Publication: Name: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1997.Original data - Clemens, William Montgomery. American Marriage Records Before 1699. Pompton Lakes, NJ, USA: Biblio Co., 1926.Original data: Clemens, William Montgomery. American Marriag; Repository: #R1
  • WikiTree profile Riggs-272 created through the import of HERMANSON_RICHARDSON.ged on Sep 13, 2011 by John Hermanson. See the Changes page for the details of edits by John and others.
  • WikiTree profile Riggs-363 created through the import of carey haskell tree edited for wiki tree.ged on Jan 24, 2012 by Carey Haskell. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Carey and others.
  • Source: S12 Repository: #REPO11 Title: Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England Author: James Savage Publication: Boston, 1860-1862
  • Repository: REPO11 Name: University of Maine-Fogler Library Address: Orono, Maine 04469 Phone Number: 207-581-1666


Note N2348
Note: The First Settlers of New England,

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No known carriers of Thomas's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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Images: 2
Thomas Riggs House
Thomas Riggs House

The Genealogy of Edward Riggs of Roxbury by Robert Charles Anderson, F.A.S.G., and Alvy Ray Smith
The Genealogy of Edward Riggs of Roxbury by Robert Charles Anderson, F.A.S.G., and Alvy Ray Smith


On 28 Dec 2017 at 19:04 GMT SA (Reed) Asher wrote:

Thomas Riggs

Born Mar 1633 in Hawkshead, Lancashire, England...I can't see that he is the son of Edward....when he is the son of Robert Riggs from Hawkshead.

Dna shows he is related to Edward Riggs but not sure how that relationship is connected.

Thomas is 18 degrees from SJ Baty, 18 degrees from Orville Redenbacher and 15 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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