Martha Riggs 1840-?

Born: 1840  Mississippi


Died: ?

Martha Riggs

We find that by 1840 the family is living in Izard County Arkansas.  A third daughter, Martha Riggs, was born in 1840.  The 1850 Census says she was born in Mississippi.  I have not been able to find her on another Census to see where she gave as her birth place. I don’t know exactly when the family moved to Arkansas so this is possible.  They were in the 1840 Census in Izard County Arkansas.

It has been very difficult to find information about Martha, who her spouse was and who her children were.

In the story of John and Jane Riggs being killed by the Indians in 1859 it says that Rhoda and Margaret were taken to their Aunt, Mrs. Mack Whitehead, after they were found.  She was apparently living in Bell or Coryell County Texas at that time.

The following is a copy of a letter from her sent to her parents after the Civil War.

Carroll County Arks                             8th March 1868

Dear Father & Mother & Brothers, Sisters and all the rest.

We are all well and hopeing the lines may find you all in like blessings.  We are doing as well as could be expected.  We bought land on White River near the Missouri line but we do not like this new Constitution and I expect we will move again to where we will not be trampled upon by Negro equality, & where the Conservative Party is strongest and will soon be in power.  I expect to live in town.  I would like to see and be with you all again, but circumstances will not admit of it.  Though I hope to meet you all once in this world we are now a great way apart, and likely to get further.  I heard that about a year ago you was speaking of moving back to old Izard.  I only live about seventy-five miles above Richwoods but I will soon be about four hundred from old Richwoods.  When we get stopped again – will write.  We have plenty to live on and I hope we always will.  Byron is nearly as tall as I am and is yet growing as fast as a Butterweed.  I would like to hear from Eliza & Margaret Ann & all how & what they are doing.  Mack is not murdered yet.  He went to Louisiana last fall got me plenty of wool roles & cotton which is very scarce here.  Tell Hannah I live close by her Uncle James Glover & some of the other Glovers.

Tell all to write to me.  I am your daughter most affectionately.  Direct your letters to Lead Hill P.O. Marion County Arks if you will write.  The letters will be forwarded to me.

Martha Whitehead

From this letter I think she had at least one son, Byron.  In the book “Chicosa Bill”, William Carroll Riggs went to Cumby, Hopkins County, Texas about 3 times and visited with his cousin Jones Byron Whitehead who was a mail carrier in that area.  In the 1860 Census I find a Martha Whitehead age 20, an AM Whitehead age 32 and a J. B. Whitehead age 4 living in the home of L. J. Wallace in Clifton Post Office, Norman Hill, Bosque, TX.  Is this our Martha?  In the 1900 Census I find a Martha Whitehead age 53 born in MS and a John Whitehead age 15 born in TX in the home of Ollie J. Trotter.  Says she is his Mother-in-Law and that John is his Brother-in-law.  His wife is Katie E. Trotter age 18 born in Texas.  Is this our Martha?

In the letter she refers to her husband saying “Mack is not murdered yet.”  In Family Search Texas Death Records I find an Allen McAlister as the father in the death record of Robert F. Whitehead in Hunt County Texas, but the mother is Mary Ann Penington.  In the Find A Grave Index record for Jones Byron Whitehead it shows his birthplace as Fayetteville, Washington, Arkansas on 12 Jul 1855.  His death date is 11 Aug 1933.  It also names his father as Allen McAlister Whitehead.  Some of the records I have from other people say she married JB Whitehead.  I have not found any records for a JB Whitehead.

Possible children for Martha and her husband are Jones Byron b. 1855, Robert b. 1876, Katie b. 1882, and John b. 1885.

Martha possibly died in Greenville, Hunt, Texas.