Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden
ELIZABETH MARGARET BABCOCK RIGGS
Elizabeth was born on March 24, 1857, in Egremont, Massachusetts, the daughter of George and Eve Susan Thompson Babcock. She had two sisters, Bessie and Sara.

Elizabeth came to Southern Arizona at age 16 to work as a cook on Hooker’s Sierra Bonita Ranch. There she met her husband, Lewis Riggs, a horse breaker from Silver City, New Mexico. They married in Willcox, Arizona Territory, on December 4, 1885. The newlyweds narrowly escaped death on their wedding day when Geronimo and his band attacked Willcox and the Hooker Ranch.

Lewis Riggs went on to raise horses for the Army at Fort Grant on his ranch in the Graham Mountains, where Riggs Lake is now. He also owned a farm in Thatcher. Elizabeth and Lewis had a daughter, Florence Belle Riggs, later Shields, born on July 4, 1887, at Fort Grant.

In later life, the Riggses lived in Bowie, where their granddaughter stayed with them so that she could attend school.

Mrs. Riggs was nearly 100 years old when she died on January 14, 1958, in Yavapai County, where she lived with her daughter. She is buried in the Walnut Grove Cemetery.

Elizabeth's daughter, Florence Belle Riggs Shields, and her granddaughter, Theora Shields Widener, are also commemorated in the Rose Garden.

Nominated by Mona Lange McCroskey
February 2007


Additional documentation and photographs may be available in the Sharlot Hall Museum Archives and Library.