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Browns, Sugar Creek and Riggs, Waterford Township, Clinton County, Iowa
Compiled by Lorraine Houghton and Marilu Thurman, updated August 2006.
Thank you so much to Lorraine and Marilu for sending this information to us.
In 1871, a section of the Sabula, Ackley and Dakota railroad was laid out
on a farm owned by A. J. Riggs in section 17 in Waterford Township. A. J. Riggs
was a farmer and stock raiser and Riggs Station was named after him. The community
grew as a result of the railroad building tracks through the area. Later this
railroad was called the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul. Riggs Station had a
railroad depot, school, hotel, general store, post office (from 1872 to 1907),
stockyards and a few homes, in the adjoining corners of section 7, 8, 17, and
18 of Waterford Township. The first railroad depot in Riggs, built in the bottom
land, was north east of the still existing abutment along 290th Avenue, about
7/10 of a mile north of highway # 136 in Clinton County. The hotel was located
on the east side of 290th Avenue and north of the intersection with 120th St.
It is said that the local residents would gather in this depot during the cold afternoons in the winter, to play cards. Later in the evening, they would hop on a train, pocket a few pieces of coal, and jump off the train when they got close to home.
In 1913, there was a large trestle derailment near Riggs. This was not the first derailment in the area. After this 1913 derailment, the railroad was rebuilt, with better trestles and on higher ground. The depot was either moved from the original location, or another depot was placed on the west side of 290th Avenue, a little north of the old location. You can see the remains of Waterford Township # 5 school, built in the 1870s, on top of that hill. The railroad depot was located behind (or to the west) of the school and had double tracks running north of the depot. To the south of depot were the stockyards. You can still see the elevated ground and the path (through the trees) of the double track, just north of the still standing school. One of the Riggs depots, when it was no longer used, was loaded on a flatbed car and hauled to the Fier farm, north of Riggs, and used as a cattle shed for many years.
The 1892 Farmer's Directory of Clinton County, Iowa shows the following families with a Riggs address: Martin Blute, Martin Buthals, M. J. Feir, Tony German, Matt Golobritch, Mats Hansen, Mathias Hynes, E. J. Hynes, M. H. Hynes, Thomas Lamoth, James McCloy, Joseph McCloy, Robert McCloy, William Markham, E. O'Mera, Matt O'Mera, Patrick O'Mera, Thomas Riggs, A. J. Scolo, John Stanke, John Strubzel, John Teehak, George Waters, J. F. Waters, W. J. Winey, R. M. J.
The 1905 Directory of Farmers and Land Owners of Clinton County, Iowa, shows the following families with a Riggs address: Clem Assenmacher, Mrs. Bawden, Mike and Gertrude Stonitsch (Stanitsch) Buthala, John Dolan, Jerry Driscol, Michael Driscol, Anton Fier, John F. Hynes, Joseph Loske, William McCloy, Joseph McCloy, Alfred McCloy, John Maloney, Patrick O’Mera, Matt O’Mera, Fred Schrader, John Skalla, Jacob Skalla, Steve Stuckle, Eliza Ward, Thomas Ward, R.M.J.Winey, and Samuel Winney.
The 1925 Farmer’s Directory of Waterford Township shows the following families owning land near Riggs, Iowa: Clem and Veronica (Burken) Assenmacher, Ed Buthala, John and Della Dolan, A. J. Driscoll, D. H. Driscoll, M.F. and Agnes Driscoll, N. K. Driscoll, Anton and Mary Fier , Alfred and Ella McCloy, J. T. McDonald, Chris and Mary Mohr, Fred and Kathrine Schrader (Pleasant Ridge Farm), Max and Ruby Schrader, Agnes Skalla, S. S. and Mary Stuckel, and J. C. Winey.