Documentation – census and land records

Census records[1]

Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses

1790 – 1930

William Thorndale and William Dollarhide

In trying to determine the birthplace of Thomas Riggs and Rhoda Casey and their children, I went to the above book.  The following is the information gleaned from my study.



1800 The northern part of present-day Alabama was known as Georgia at this time.  The southern part was Mississippi Territory, which was created in 1798.  Both northern and southern Alabama were considered Indian Lands.  The Federal Census was lost for all counties.

1810 In 1802 Georgia ceded its land in present-day Alabama and Mississippi.  In 1804 these lands were added to Mississippi Territory.  All of present-day Alabama was Indian Lands.  The Federal Census was lost for all counties.

1820 Alabama became a territory in 1817 and a state in 1819.  Marion County was not on the Federal Government’s 1820 population list so no Census was taken.  Tuscaloosa County covered the area that became Pickens County.  Marion County covered part of 5 counties.  Part of Marion County was still Indian lands.

1830 Pickens County and Tuscaloosa County are independent counties.  Marion County became smaller.  The northwest corner of Marion County still is Indian Lands.

1840 Pickens County and Tuscaloosa County are still the same.  There are no Indian Lands in Marion County.



1800 Tennessee became a state in 1796.  The Federal Census was lost for all counties.  The area known as the Walker Line (affecting Montgomery, Robertson, Sumner, Smith, Grainger counties and Indian Lands of Tennessee) was on the northern border of Tennessee and the southern border of Kentucky. The Tennessee-Kentucky boundary, intended to be 36 degrees 30”, was run too far north in 1779-1780 by Virginia surveyors.  Kentucky finally accepted this erroneous Walker Line in early 1820, but significant parts of the boundary remained uncertain until a resurvey completed in 1859.  Some settlers in the disputed strip were uncertain in which state they lived, though Tennessee exercised jurisdiction over much more of the strip than Kentucky ever did.  By contrast, the Tennessee-Kentucky line west of the Tennessee River was surveyed in 1819 essentially on 36 degrees 30’.

1810 The Federal Census was lost for all counties except parts of Grainger County.  The area of the Walker Line was still part of Kentucky.

1820 The Federal Census was lost for all counties of East Tennessee.  The Federal Census is available for Stewart, Montgomery, Robertson, Sumner, Smith, Jackson and Overton counties.  The area of the Walker Line was still part of Kentucky.



1800 Kentucky became a state in 1792.  The area of the Walker Line, considered part of Kentucky at this time, affected Christian (Montgomery in Tenn.), Logan (Robertson in Tenn.), Warren (Sumner in Tenn.), Barron & part of Cumberland (Smith in Tenn.), Indian Lands in Kentucky extend into Indian Lands in Tennessee.  The Federal Census is lost for all counties.

1810 The Federal Census available for all counties.  The area of the Walker Line still part of Kentucky.

1820 The Federal Census available for all counties.  Kentucky accepted the erroneous Walker Line in early 1820.


Census Records for the Riggs Family

The following records have been found in the United States Census records.

1810 Logan County Kentucky (Located in the area of the Walker Line)

Head of Household:  Thomas Riggs, 3 males under age 10, 1 male age                 26 to 45, 2 males age 45 and over, 2 females under age 10, 1 female                                       age 10 to 16, 1 female age 26 to 45

(This family is a possibility for the family of our Thomas Riggs)


1820 No records found as of this writing


1830 Pickens County Alabama

Head of Household:  Thomas Riggs, 1 male under age 5, 2 males age                            5 to 10, 1 male age 20 to 30, 1 female age 20 to 30

(Ages fit the family of our Thomas Riggs)


1840 Izard County Arkansas

Head of Household:  Thomas Riggs, 1 male under age 5, 2 males age                            5 to 10, 1 male age 10 to 15, 2 males age 15 to 20, 1 male age 20 to                              30, 1 male 30 to 40, 2 females under age 5, 1 female age 30 to 40.

(Ages fit the family of our Thomas Riggs)


1850 Arkansas, Izard County, Sylamore Township

Dwelling number 249      Family number 249

Name   Age Sex  Color   Occupation    Real estate Value   Birthplace

Thomas Riggs  48    M  White        Farmer                300                  Kentucky

Rhody                  46    F         “                                              Georgia

Brannick     22    M        “          Farmer                                  Alabama

Barny          19    M        “                                                             “

Thomas       17    M        “                                                             “

James          15    M        “                                                       Mississippi

Margarett     13    F                 “                                                                “

Martha                  11    F         “                                                                 “

Rhody                     9    F         “                                                       Arkansas

Charles               5   M        “                                                             “



1860 Arkansas, Izard County, Blue Mountain Township, Richwoods Post                                                                                                      Office

Page 158     Dwelling number 1021     Family number 1022

Name         Age Sex  Color   Occupation    Real estate  Personal               Birthplace

Value      Property


Thomas Riggs    58    M   White    Farmer           1300     1200             Tennessee

Rhoda            56    F          “      Domestic                           Georgia

Charles           14    M         “                                               Arkansas

Rhoda E.        12    F          “                                                              “

Susan             10    F          “                                                    “

Margaret            9    F          “                                                   “

Rachel               8   F           “                                                   “

William             5   M         “                                                    “

John                  2   M         “                                                  Texas





Thomas was deceased by this time.  We have not found Rhoda on a census record.  We know she was with her sons Brannick and James Monroe.  They left for Colorado in April of 1870, the taking of the Census began 1 June 1870.  The family did not arrive in Colorado until July so they may have been missed by a Census taker.  Also, the 1870 Census of the southern states omits a great many persons.


1880 Texas, Bell County, Precinct 8

Name  Birth Year  Birthplace  Age Sex  Color  Marital Status  Head of  House                                                                                                          Relation

Rhoda Riggs  1802   Georgia     78    F    White      Widow        Rhoda   Copeland                                                                                                             Daughter

Rhoda died in 1881.


The 1860 Census has six children living with Thomas and Rhoda that have not been on previous Census records with them.  We know that Rhoda E., Margaret, William and John are their grandchildren.  Their parents are John and Jane Riggs who were killed by the Indians in Texas.  Who are Susan and Rachel Riggs?  This Census has caused lots of speculation.  My aunt, Mary Larsen, visited many years ago with some of the children of Rhoda Riggs Copeland Miller, youngest daughter of Thomas and Rhoda.  This question came up during the visit.  The explanation given was they were illegitimate children of Thomas.  He supposedly brought them home for Rhoda to raise, because their mother had died.  Perhaps Thomas met a woman when he was in Little Rock, Arkansas, serving in the Legislature.  Susan’s age would fit in that time frame.  Rachel’s birth was after he was in the Legislature.  Did these children stay with the family when they moved to Bell County Texas or did they go to their Mother’s family?  So far, this is the only place I have found them mentioned.  Did they marry in Bell County Texas or in Bandera County?  Susan would have been 20 in 1870 when Brannick moved to Colorado.  At this point I have not found a marriage record for either girl except possibly Rachel.  Was their mothers’ name Rachel?  In a Bible that belonged to Thomas Riggs, now in the possession of Bet Riggs in Trinidad, Colorado, the name Rachel is written many times on the blank pages in the front and back of the book.  Why the name Rachel?  Who wrote it there?  Nothing is mentioned of these girls going with the Uncles and Grandmother to Colorado in 1870.  What happened to them?  I have also been told that they are listed as “colored” on the census.  I have looked at the census records on microfilm personally and found no mention of them being colored.


Land Records[2]                                                                 

From land records found, we know that Thomas Riggs owned land in Marion County Alabama.[3]

Thomas Riggs was one of the first 10 families to settle in the Izard/Stone counties area of Arkansas.  Records have been found showing that Thomas Riggs and his sons William C. and John C. Riggs all owned land in Izard County Arkansas.[4]  Much of the land they owned was located in the area of the county that became Stone County after 1870.  Most of the land that Thomas owned was located in the Richwoods area.  John C. owned land in the same area. Thomas also owned land in the town of Mountain View located about a block from the square where the present day Stone County Courthouse stands.  Most of that land is now a City Park. William Carroll owned land in Sylamore Township.  Part of his land bordered on the White River.


In June 1999 and again in April 2000, my husband, Gordon Sloan, and I drove to Izard and Stone counties in Arkansas.  Because we come from the dry deserts of Arizona, both of us were enthralled with the lush green of Arkansas.  As we drove the curving roads on the tops of the hills of northern Arkansas, the road-sides appeared as a garden of wildflowers.  More than once we wondered why they left this beautiful country, moving farther and farther west until they stopped at the base of a high range of mountains in the southern Arizona desert.  The place they chose as their home did have gorgeous views and miles of tall lush grass.  It may have been overuse of the land and it had played out.  Or it may have been because of great financial loss as a result of the Civil War.  Or it may have been that there was not enough available land for a family with 7 sons to obtain a reasonable amount of land on which each son could raise their families.  Most likely it was a combination of all three reasons.

[1] Census Records taken from original census records on Microfilm obtained from the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City Utah.

[2] See Appendix 1, note 2.

[3] We found that Thomas Riggs owned Sec 23 T 10S R 15E in Marion County, Alabama.

[4] Add where Thomas, William C. and John C. Riggs’ land was located.