Biography of Rev. Bethuel Riggs (1757-1835)
Compiled by Andrew Boyd, P.O. Box 831, Twin Peaks, CA 92391.
From various sources, primarily source was a book on early Baptist ministers of Missouri, also from Lincoln County History, p. 475.

Rev. Bethuel RIGGS, born 13 Dec 1757, Mendom Township, Morris Co, New Jersey (father: Isaac RIGGS, mother: Mary PIERCE), married abt 1778 Nancy LEE, and died 25 Jul 1835, Lincoln Co, Missouri. I pasted together this biography from several sources but most of it is from a book on early Baptist ministers of Missouri.

While a resident of Morris County, NJ, he enlisted in 1776 and served at various times, amounting to five months in all, as a private in Captain Jared Condict's company in Colonel Ford's New Jersey regiment. He then went to Wilkes County, NC and served as Lieutenant with NC troops under Captain Benjamin Cleveland and when Captain Cleveland was wounded, he took his place as Captain. He was in the battle of Ramsour's Mill and arrived at the battle of King's Mountain at the close of the battle and assisted in guarding the prisoners taken there. His entire service as a Captain amounted to 18 months.

At the age of eighteen, Bethuel Riggs was converted to Christ and became a Baptist. After the Revolutionary War he moved to Georgia, where he lived for some years. There he began his ministry; traveling and preaching extensively. Long before that state was densely populated he traveled from settlement to settlement and preached to poor sinners, warning them with tears in his eyes to flee the wrath to come. While still a young man, he, in company with a large colony, came across the Indian country to Kentucky. The trip was made during the early Indian wars. While crossing the mountains and the unsettled portions of country, the emmigrants were in great peril. But they used every precaution and were watchful and vigilant, and finally reached Kentucky in safety.

Bethuel settled in Campbell County opposite the city of Cincinnati, Ohio.

A 1800 taxpayer (1 Sep) for Campbell Co., Ky, he was the only Riggs in the county. While living in this place a somewhat rare incident occurred in his life. There were some restrictions in the territorial laws concerning marriage. One day a couple came to his house wishing to be married. Owing to the above named restrictions they could not be married in the territory. An expedient was thought of, which was to get into their canoes and go out into the river. And this they did, and when about midway in the Ohio River, Elder Riggs married them, and they went on their way happy.

In 1809 he came to Missouri and first settled on Dardenne Creek, in St. Charles County, where he lived for eight years. He then moved north and settled north of Troy, Missouri, by the Sulpher Lick Spring. This spring possessed some excellent medical qualities. Here he organized Sulpher Lick Church and served as pastor several years. He spent much of his time itinerating, preaching over large portions of Lincoln and adjoining counties. Later he moved to Monroe County, where he lived for awhile preaching in the settlements in the Salt River country. From there he moved to Illinois, to Ohio and finally back again to Missouri. He was buried by the side of his wife in Lincoln County.

A 1821 taxpayer Bedford Twnship (SW corner of county), Lincoln Co., MO. Bethuel was a delegate to the first meeting of the Missouri Baptist Association on 24 Oct 1818. He was elected to the Board of Managers of the "United Society for the Spread of the Gospel" to set up missions and schools for both whites and indians in the west. The meeting was in St. Charles County, MO.

Sulpher Lick Baptist Church was organized eight or nine miles NW of Troy, MO by Elder Bethuel Riggs, in his own private house near a large spring called Sulphur Lick, close to the north fork of the Cuivre River in the year 1823. There were four original members. Stout's Settlement Baptist Church in Lincoln County was organized 16 Jun 1821 by Elders Bethuel Riggs and Jesse Sitton (Lincoln Co. History, p. 475).

File submitted to HERITAGE PAGES of LINCOLN COUNTY, MISSOURI by Andrew Boyd, 7 October 1998.  Link change or update: 23 May 2000

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