CHARLES AUGUSTUS RIGGS
The late Charles Augustus Riggs, who enjoyed an enviable reputation as one of the best bankers in Orange county, was long numbered among the leading business men and prominent citizens of Santa Ana. He was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, November 19, 1857, a son of Oliver Platt and Margaret (Gaylord) Riggs. Oliver P. Riggs a native of Tioga county, New York, born September 9, 1824, became the head of an early mercantile agency similar to the Dun and Bradstreet agencies of today and attained success by reason of his marked ability in business affairs. He was a man of high ideals and a lifelong student. On the 5th of November, 1856, he married Miss Margaret Gaylord, who died December 22, 1864, leaving one son, Charles Augustus. Oliver P. Riggs was again married on the 23th of October, 1873, and he passed away February 9, 1894, being for two years survived by his widow, who died May 11, 1896.
Charles A. Riggs acquired his early education in New York city and attended a military school in which one of his fellow students was Theodore Roosevelt. After putting aside his textbooks he went to Elmira, New York, where he embarked in the heavy hardware business. It was in 1887, when a young man of thirty years, that he came west to California and took up his permanent abode in Santa Ana. He was for many years vice president of the Orange County title Company, and a director of the old Commercial Bank, which was later absorbed by the present Farmers & Merchants Savings Bank, while at the time of his death he was a director of the First National Bank of Santa Ana. He was secretary of the California Sugar Company and at different times during his residence here was interested in organizations which had a close relation to the community in which he lived. Secretary of the orange County Racing Association, Mr. Riggs was himself the owner of several fine horses. For a number of years he was president of the Santa Ana Valley Hospital Association and at the time of his death was president of the Orange County Society for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis.
On the 15th of November, 1894, Mr. Riggs was united in marriage to Miss Ana G. Dougherty, of Oakland, California, who was born in Woodbridge, San Joaquin county, this state, in 1869, an only child of George and Catherine (Burton) Dougherty. Her mother, a native of Michigan, passed away in 1924. Mrs. Riggs has membership in the Ebell Club and manifests an active and helpful interest in community affairs. She has always taken an active part in the work of the Orange County society for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis.
Mr. Riggs served as secretary of the Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the Orange County Historical Society. He was a constant Bible student and a member and supporter of the Church of the Messiah, Protestant Episcopal. His death occurred in Santa Ana, in his sixty-eighth year, on the 8th of April, 1925. A leading local paper said editorially:
“The death of Charles A. Riggs brought an end to the life of a man who has had an intimate part in the upbuilding of the business life of Santa Ana. That part was always a part in favor of sound, substantial, honest methods, for in character as well as in reputation Mr. Riggs was a man whose ideas were based on good judgment, good reasoning and common honesty. His death brings to a large circle of friends a distinct sense of personal loss. That sense of loss is due not so much to the fact that he was interested in business affairs as to the fact that his friends knew him to be a true friend. His counsel, often sought, was sincere and valuable. His heart went out to the unfortunate, and it was for that reason, as well as for the fact that he was known as a thorough business man, that he was chosen to head one of the county humanitarian organizations, the Society for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis. He was a kindly man, a likeable man, a sound businessman, a good citizen, a gentleman.”
Transcribed 3-24-12 Marilyn R. Pankey.
Source: California of the South Vol. II, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 207-209, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis. 1933.
© 2012 Marilyn R. Pankey.