Jonathan Riggs (1788 - 1834)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Campbell, KY, USA
Death: Died in Lincoln, MO, USA
Managed by: Harold (Mick) Davis
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About Jonathan Riggs

The following story is from:

William S Bryan and Robert Rose, A History of the Pioneer Families of Missouri, with Numerous Sketches, Anecdotes, Adventures, Etc., Relating to Early Days in Missouri, 1876, Genealogical Publishing Co, Inc, Baltimore, 1977 (a reprint of the facsimile edition of 1935).

"General Jonathan Riggs, whose name has frequently been mentioned in this work, and particularly as Lieutenant under Capt. Callaway at the time of his death [see below], was the son of Rev. BETHEL RIGGS, a Baptist preacher, of Campbell Co., Ky. In 1812 he removed to Missouri, and settled within the present limits of Lincoln county; and in 1813 he organized the Sulphur Springs Baptist Church. His son Jonathan married Jane Shaw, of Campbell Co., Ky., and they had ten children - Samuel, Franklin, Tucker, Clinton, Nancy, Epsy, Lucinda, matilda, Eliza, and Sally. Samuel was killed in Texas, by a runaway team. Franklin died in Wisconsin. Tucker lives in California. Clinton lived in Louisiana, Mo. Nancy married James Shaw. Epsy married Eli H. Perkins. Lucinda married a lawyer, named Raymond. Matilda married John Massey. Eliza married John Mitchell. Sally married Daniel Draper. General Riggs settled in Lincoln county, three miles north of Troy, on the Auburn road, where he died, in 1835. His widow died in 1873, and was buried at Louisiana, Mo. The remains of several of the children, who had died and were buried in Lincoln county, were removed in 1874, and re-interred by the side of their mother's grave."

Daniel Boone spent his old age in the home of Flanders Callaway, his son-in-law and father of Capt James Callaway, who figures highly in the story below. The Boones and Callaways had been friends for many years, since their 14-year-old daughters had been captured by Indians and then jointly rescued by the fathers. It was Jemima Boone, one of these girls who later married the James Callaway of this story, brother of another one of the girls. The following story is as much about Riggs as Callaway.

"The most serious calamity that befel the settlers during the Indian war, was the defeat of Captain James Callaway and a portion of his company, and the death of their leader, at Loutre creek, near the line of Montgomery and Callaway counties. Captain Callaway was a son of Flanders Callaway, and grandson of Daniel Boone ….

James Callaway, eldest son of Flanders Callaway and Jemima Boone, was born in Lafayette county, Kentucky, September 13, 1783. …

He served as deputy sheriff of St. Charles county for several years, under Capt. Murray, and in 1813 he raised his first company of rangers for service against the Indians. This company was composed of the following named men, as shown by the muster roll, which is still preserved:

Captain, James Callaway; …; Cornett, Jonathan Riggs; …

This company was enlisted for a term of only a few months, and Captain Callaway organized several others before his death. The roll of his last company was in his possession when he was killed, and it was lost, but from the memory of old citizens we are enabled to give a pretty correct list of the names of the men, as follows:

Captain, James Callaway; First Lieutenant, David Bailey, Second Lieutenant, Jonathan Riggs. …

Early in the morning of the 7th of March, 1815, Captain Callaway, with Lieutenant Riggs and fourteen of the men … left Fort Clemson, on Loutre Island, in pursuit of a party of Sac and Fox Indians who had stolen some horses from settlers in the vicinity. They swam Loutre slough on their horses, and followed the Indian trail, which led them up the west bank of the main stream. … The trail being very plain, they had no difficulty in pursuing it, and they made rapid progress. Reaching Prairie Fork, a branch of Loutre, they swam it on their horses, a distance of seventy-five yards above where it empties into Loutre creek. It was now about noon, and feeling sure that they were not far in the rear of the Indians, they advanced with caution, in order to avoid surprise. About two o'clock in the afternoon, and about twelve miles from where they had crossed Prairie Fork, they came upon the stolen horses, secreted in a bend of Loutre creek, and guarded by only a few squaws. These fled upon the approach of the rangers, and the latter secured the horses without further trouble. They were not molested in any manner, and not a sign of an Indian warrior could be seen anywhere, although the appearance of the trail had proven conclusively that the party numbered from eighty to one hundred. These circumstances aroused the suspicions of Lieutenant Riggs, and obtaining the consent of his Captain, he reconnoitered the locality thoroughly before they started on their return. No signs of Indians could be discovered; still his suspicions were not allayed, but on the contrary, they were increased, and he suggested to Callaway that it would be dangerous to return by the route they had followed in the morning, as the savages were evidently preparing an ambuscade for them. Captain Callaway was an experienced Indian fighter, and as wary as he was brave, but on this occasion he did not allow himself to be governed by his better judgment. He declared that he did not believe there were half-a-dozen Indians in the vicinity, and that he intended to return to the fort by the same route they had come.

Seeing that further expostulation was useless, Riggs said nothing more at the time; and the rangers were soon in the saddle and on the march for the fort.

Upon reaching a suitable place, about a mile from the mouth of Prairie Fork, they stopped to let their horses rest, and to refresh themselves with a lunch. Riggs availed himself of the opportunity, and again represented to the Captain the danger they were incurring. He anticipated an attack at the crossing of the creek, and entreated Callaway, for the sake of the lives of the men, to at least avoid that point. He showed that the Indians would have all the advantages on their side; they outnumbered the rangers three to one, were not encumbered with horses, and would, no doubt, fire upon them from their concealment behind trees and logs, where the fire could not be successfully returned.

But Callaway, instead of heeding the good advice of his Lieutenant, flew into a passion, and cursed him for a coward. He declared, also, that he would return the way he had come if he had to go alone.

Riggs said nothing more, but reluctantly followed his Captain into what he felt sure was almost certain death.

Hutchings, McDermid, and McMullin were in advance, leading the stolen horses, while Callaway, Riggs, and the rest of the company were fifty or a hundred yards in the rear.

The three men in advance, upon reaching Prairie Fork, plunged their horses into the stream, which was swollen from recent rains, and were swimming across, when they were fired upon by the entire body of Indians, concealed on both sides of the creek. They were not harmed by the first volley, but succeeded in reaching the opposite shore, where they were killed.

At the first sound of firing, Callaway spurred his horse forward into the creek, and had nearly reached the opposite shore, when he was fired upon. His horse was instantly killed, while he received a slight wound in the left arm, and escaped immediate death only by the ball lodging against his watch, which was torn to pieces. He sprang from his dead horse to the bank, and throwing his gun into the creek, muzzle down, he ran down the stream a short distance, then plunged into the water and commenced swimming, when he was shot in the back of the head, the ball passing through and lodging in the forehead. His body sank immediately, and was not scalped or mutilated by the Indians.

In the meantime Lieutenant Riggs and the rest of the men were hotly engaged, and forced to retreat, fighting as they went. Several were wounded, but none killed. They could not tell what execution was done among the Indians. Scott and Wolf became separated from the main body, and the former was killed. Wolf escaped to the fort, and was the first to bring the news of the disaster, which he greatly exaggerated, supposing himself to be the only one who had escaped death.

Riggs and the men under him fell back about a mile, and turning to the right, crossed Prairie Fork about the same distance above its mouth, and making a wide circuit, escaped, without further molestation, to the fort.

The following day a company of men returned to the scene of the fight for the purpose of burying the dead. The bodies of Hutchings, McDermid, and McMullin, had been cut to pieces, and hung on surrounding bushes. The remains were gathered up and buried in one grave, near the spot where they were killed. …

Captain Callaway's body was not found until several days after his death, when, the water having receded, it was discovered by Benjamin Howell, hanging in a bush several hundred yards below the scene of the fight. His gun had been recovered several days before. It was found standing upright, with the muzzle sticking fast in the mud at the bottom of the creek. Lewis Jones swam in and brought the gun to the shore, and it fired as readily as if it had never been in the water. It had an improved water-proof flint-lock, which water could not penetrate."

Old Daniel Boone and Jonathan Riggs were undoubtedly together to mourn Callaway at his funeral, because Daniel Boone spent the last years of is life 1813-1820 in the Flanders Callaway home.

Source: http://alvyray.com/family/Stories/DanielBoone.htm



      
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Gen. Jonathan Riggs's Timeline

1788
1788
Campbell, KY, USA
1811
May 13, 1811
Age 23
Campbell, KY, USA
1812
November 4, 1812
Age 24
Campbell, KY, USA
1814
November 4, 1814
Age 26
Campbell, KY, USA
1816
August 29, 1816
Age 28
Campbell, KY, USA
1818
April 24, 1818
Age 30
Campbell, KY, USA
1820
December 26, 1820
Age 32
Campbell, KY, USA
1822
November 1, 1822
Age 34
Campbell, KY, USA
1825
February 16, 1825
Age 37
Campbell, KY, USA
1827
January 25, 1827
Age 39
Campbell, KY, USA