Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Suspect Roundup: William Riggin

William Riggin - 1917
I have previously discussed William Riggin with regard to the murders of the Hill family in Ardenwald, near Portland, Oregon.  However that was written a long time ago and I would like to revisit Mr. Riggin in a little more depth and perhaps discover a little more about what made him tick.  William Riggin was born in 1883, in Yamhill county, Oregon, to George and Susan Riggin.  For George, William was his third child and for Susan it was her first.  Susan was George's second wife and was about 10 years younger than him.  Not much can be said for William's younger days except to say that his mother died sometime between 1883 and 1885.  William wouldn't grow up with any full siblings and his only mother figure would be a step mother.  George married his second wife, America Thomas, in 1885 and had six more children with her.  There are a couple of things to note at this time in William's young life.  The new "mother" of the family was just seventeen years of age when she married George, literally young enough to be George's daughter.  She would have married into the responsibility of caring for a a teenage girl of fourteen, a boy just entering adolescence at eleven and a just barely two-year-old boy, none of whom where her children.  By the age of five, two new babies would have come into the family and it would have been easy for a rambunctious young boy to get lost in the chaos.  And lost he was.  At the age of eleven he stole a horse, a major crime in 1894.  Because of his age he was sent to Salem and the Oregon State Reform School, with occasional visits home, until he was eighteen.