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Re: Rigsby census maps
Posted by: Dan Atwell (ID *****6520) Date: December 09, 2008 at 03:38:30
In Reply to: Rigsby census maps by Ken Hinds of 1063

I have enjoyed reading through your posts on the Rigsby family. Currently, I'm researching this family for my best friend who is a Rigsby descendant through his great grandmother, Betty Rigsby (1875-1937), daughter of William Rigsby (c.1830-c.1875) and his wife Nancy A. Miller (1830-1908.) I have seen the posts relating to this family and am trying to contact the submitters to verify some of this information. I was hoping we could help each other, since you seem to know very little about this branch of Rigsbys and I am interested in connecting them to their ancestors.

So far, there is only family tradition from one of the submitters on this message board that William RIGSBY was in fact the husband of Nancy A. MILLER and was the father of the following children, all supposedly born near (key word) Selma, Dallas Co, AL. Most of these children came with their mother to West Carroll Parish, LA between 1880 and 1884 and settled there.

1. James T. Rigsby b. abt 1861
2. William J. Rigsby b. abt 1863
3. Mary A. Rigsby b. abt 1866
4. Francis A. Rigsby (f) b. abt 1868
5. Martha S. L. Rigsby b. abt 1870
6. Lucy V. Rigsby b. abt 1872
7. Elizabeth V. "Betty" Rigsby b. abt 1875; d. 25 Jun 1937

Like you, I was totally unable to find any trace of this family in the 1860 or 1870 census. Nancy and the children are in the 1880 census for Hurricane Creek, Lauderdale Co, MS, but the father's name is listed as Stephen J. Rigsby (b. abt 1841 in GA, both parents listed as b.GA.) Before learning that the father's name was allegedly William, I did some research into Stephen Rigsby with the following results:

Stephen J. Rigsby b.GA, abt 1842, prob. the son of Jesse & Louisa (--------) Rigby (both b.GA). In 1850 Stephen is listed with Jesse & Louisa in Dale Co, AL (in the southeast corner of the state near the GA border.) The census seems to show that Jesse moved from GA to AL in 1848-1849. Jesse Rigby bought land in Dale Co, AL in 1852 (BLM-GLO records) and his son Jesse Jr. bought land in Wilcox Co, AL in 1858 (BLM-GLO records.) Stephen is listed again with Jesse and Louisa in the 1860 census of Wilcox Co, AL. Wilcox is the next county south of Dallas Co, where William & Nancy were supposedly living in the 1860s.

Stephen J. Rigsby served in the Civil War in the 36th Alabama Volunteer Infantry, Co. G, the majority of whose soldiers were from Monroe Co, AL, just south of where he was living in Wilcox Co. in 1860. He enlisted 1 May 1862 (stated as age 25) at the Mt. Vernon Arsenal, Mobile Co, AL, some 60 miles SW of Wilcox Co. He was captured at the battle of Missionary Ridge on 25 Nov 1863 and sent to a Union Prison Camp in Louisville, KY until he was exchanged on 7 Dec 1863.

As for William, the only possible reference I have found to William Rigsby in the census is the listing you found for the family of Allen & Mary Rigsby in Cobb Co, GA (1850.) This is promising since William did name his first (as far as I know) daughter Mary, and also named a daughter Martha, perhaps after his sister. The 1880 census also shows that the father of the Rigsby children above was born in Georgia, and Allen Rigsby's son William was, in fact, born in Georgia. In 1860, Allen is still in Cobb Co, GA as "A. J. Rigsby" but all of the children except daughter Bethania and Mary C. have left.

I'm assuming you are aware of the family tradition that William Rigsby fought in the Civil War, but deserted and, after coming home, died around 1873-1875 at the age of 45? This raises a number of questions, since if he died in 1873, then it is possible he is not the father of the last child above (Betty) who was born abt 1875. It also strikes me as odd that Nancy A. Miller would marry another Rigsby who does not seem closely-related to her first husband. You would know better than me, but were Allen Rigsby and Jesse Rigsby closely-related?

Next there is the tradition that William was "a Captain" in the Civil War, which does not seem to be borne out by the records. I found only a handful of William Rig(s)b(e)ys who served from Alabama, all of whom were Privates. Don't know if you've done much Civil War research, but the online d-bases are usually quite sloppy. It always looks like there were several men with the same name who served, but once you line them all up, it usually turns out to be only two or three men, whose names were misspelled or abbreviated. This is exactly the case I found with William.

Ultimately, there were only two men named William Rigsby who served from Alabama.
1.) William L. (or T.) Rigsbey served with the 13th AL Volunteer Infantry in Co. E and Co. K. He is also the man who was listed as serving at the "Camp of Instruction" at Talladega, AL.
2.) W. H. Rigsby served with the 2nd AL Battalion of Light Artillery in Co. F.

While neither of the above regiments were from Dallas Co, AL, the 13th AL Inf. did contain soldiers from Wilcox Co, AL (just to the south of Dallas Co.) and Elmore Co. (just to the east of Dallas Co.) The 13th was mustered out of Montgomery, also near Dallas Co. So this William L. Rigsbey is in the right place to be the one from this family. However, he was not a Captain, and the indexes do not say whether he deserted.

Still with me, Ken? I'm going to switch gears here and talk about Wilcox Co, AL. In 1858, Jesse Rigby Jr. bought land in Wilcox Co, and was listed as a resident of that county. Even more interesting, in 1852 and 1853, an Elijah Rigby bought three parcels of land in Wilcox Co. but was listed as a resident of Dallas Co. I recall that you came across Elijah at some point and were stumped as to who he was. Have you made any progress there? Elijah seems to be the only Rig(s)by that we can prove lived in Dallas Co. where William & Nancy are supposed to have lived.

It appears that William L. Rigsbey, the Civil War soldier, was actually a resident of Randolph Co, AL, not Wilcox Co. Companies E. and K. of the the 13th AL Inf apparently came from Randolph Co, AL. And furthermore, "William L. Rigsby" bought two parcels of land in Randolph Co, AL in 1859. The other men who bought land in Randolph Co. before the Civil War (from BLM-GLO) were as follows:

Thomas C. Rigsby (listed as a resident of Monroe Co, GA) in 1837
Samuel Rigsby in 1844
Allen T. Rigsby in 1860 & 1861
Andrew B. Rigsby in 1860

I'm hoping that you will see some kind of pattern with the above names that may help place William L. Rigsby. I was very disappointed to discover that he is in the 1860 census for Randolph Co, AL with a wife, Sarah and several children. Then in 1870, he is in Coweta Co, GA and none of the above Rigsby children are among the children listed in the house. So, I guess this is the wrong William.

As far as locating the correct William Rigsby in 1860, I did find one other clue. His wife, Nancy A. Miller, is listed with her parents (James & Mary) and brother James B. Miller in the 1850 census of Wilcox Co, AL. She seems to still be in Wilcox Co. in the 1860 census, living with her (widowed) mother, in the "Eastern Division." Since it appears William Rigsby & Nancy Miller had their first child abt 1861, and she was in Wilcox Co. in 1860, then we can probably assume William and his family were in the area at that time.

The 1840 census of Dallas Co, AL shows a Susan Rigsby (b.1800-1810) with several young females and one male b.1825-1830. The William Rigsby I am looking for was born 1825-1830. Any clue who this Susan's husband was? Based on birthdates and locations, I'm guessing her husband was a brother of Elijah Rigsby, since the 1840 census doesn't show him with any children. Assuming she was a widow, Susan was still fairly young in 1840 and with a what appears to be 4 young children, she may have remarried. In either case, there will hopefully be some guardianship papers for her children. I'm going to try and get some estate records from Dallas Co. to see if I can clear any of this up.

So, I'm theorizing that the William Rigsby who married Nancy A. Miller was either a son of Jesse Miller (which would be ideal since it would make him Stephen J. Rigsby's brother) or a nephew of the mysterious Elijah Rigsby. These seem to be the only two families with a connection to Wilcox and/or Dallas Co. in the 1850s-1860s. This, of course, is assuming that there ever was a William Rigsby--which I am beginning to have serious doubts about. The death records for Betty Rigsby and her siblings would hopefully shed some light on the matter.

Any feedback?

Dan Atwell

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