Do you love reading mystery novels? Is there a little of Sherlock Holmes in you? Then, you would have loved finding out if the family folklore was true about the old Kentucky farm.
The Ohio Rigg Family had a story about a family farm in Kentucky. Cheryl Rigg Turner shared it with me and I was hooked from the start. We just had to find the farm. Many hours of page turning provided enough information from the Tax Records of Mason County, Kentucky to realize it was true! We even had existing land marks easily located--the Licking Creek and Panther Creek off Henson Ridge in Robertson County, close to Mt. Olivet.
Kentucky is made up of many small and very rustic country roads. Some are one laners with no shoulders. The families living along the roads keep the grass cut which is all very charming. To get to Henson Ridge Road:
There wasn't a road sign for Henson Ridge Road at the time we were there in May of 2003. But people are friendly and give good directions.
This is what we saw as we turned on to Henson Ridge Road. The Henson family still lives on the ridge and close by. You can see one of the Henson farm houses in the picture. There is another house down at the end of the road. The last 500 acres of the Rigg Farm was sold by "Ol' Man Riggs" to Bobby Henson around 1998. The land around there has been leased out to large tobacco companies for years. If you're up that way, Bobby and his friendly black dog may pay you a visit.
We didn't have a plane to fly over the ridge but if we did this is what we would have seen. Notice the barn to the left of the road. Look just across the road to see the copse of trees and knoll that the family cemetery is on.
Do you wonder why the Rigg's came to settle in Mt. Olivet? Did they just move from Pennsylvania to Kentucky? Besides being some of the prettiest country I've ever seen, there is another reason. The country had an attitude for adventure and there were men and families who, maybe knowingly or not, were expanding the country, in hopes for a better life. Around 1783 George Mefford, an explorer and surveyor got together a modest survey party and went south from Virginia taking the Ohio River to the town of Bellevue. He had invited to go with him John Rigg and others (Jacob Drinen, Thomas Mills, and Lott Master) according to a deposition at the courthouse in Mason County, taken on the 23rd of October, 1797.
Kentucky was a only a district of Virginia at the time. There were those who wanted to develop that area more and anticipated the statehood of Kentucky. Thomas Poindexter hired George Mefford to survey the area now known as Northern Kentucky. Poindexter was hoping to claim the land (10,000 acres) after Kentucky would be declared a state. The exploration was successful and John Rigg later came back and settled in the area of Maysville. At the time it was a new village known as Washington in the settlement of Limestone in Bourbon County. A web site called Mefford Station shows a building George Mefford constructed in Maysville and reminds us how humble a start our Nation truly had.
The settlers of the Limestone vicinity wanted a new town and county. John Rigg, George Mefford, and Thomas Mills and about 50 other settlers were early signers of petitions to the Virginia House of Delegates for creating the first town in what would later become Mason county. History of Maysville and Mason County V.1, G. Glen Clift, Transylvania Printing Company, Lexington, KY, 1936. These same settlers also petitioned for their own county but were denied it on 26 Oct 1786. Robertson, J.R. Petitions of the Early Inhabitants of Kentucky. Filson Club Publication, Number 34. Louisville, KY. The Filson Club. 1914. pp. 89-90
Well, the Ohio Riggs' had a story about a farm. And, the California Riggs' had a story about Simon Kenton and Daniel Boone being friends of the family. I thought this was a reach to believe, being how famous those two were. But, there may be an element of truth in both friendships.
I found Jacob Boone, father to Daniel, in the General Index to Real Estate #1 Conveyances, in the City of Maysville. 1794-1835 FHL#2111487. Jacob had bought some lots in town between Limestone St. and Cherry Alley on 5th St. (formerly called Boone St.). Our family was already living in the area at the time Jacob had purchased the lots. So, it is possible in a small community that the families knew each other very well. And, about Simon Kenton, he was also one of the petition signers along with John Rigg. No doubt everyone of the signers were friends or at least casual acquaintances.