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Crossed J Ranch ~ The Heritage of Brannick and Mary Elizabeth Riggs

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Brannick and Mary Elizabeth Riggs

“Brannick Riggs was born July 10, 1828 near Tuscaloosa, Alabama. As a young man he moved to Texas where he was a teamster for the United states Army, worked on a large plantation and farmed. In 1856 Brannick met and married Mary Elizabeth Robbins. Mary Elizabeth, the daughter of a teacher, was born near Nashville, Tennessee. When the Civil War broke out, Brannick left his family in Texas and joined the Confederate Army serving under Sibley. He was wounded in the shoulder and taken to a Confederate hospital for treatment where he was captured when the Union Army seized the hospital. He was soon released and returned to Texas.

In April 1870 Brannick and his family headed for California. In July they stopped in Trinidad, Colorado where the operated a sawmill to provide timbers for mines and rail roads. Seven years later they were on the move again driving a herd of milk cows to California. Arriving in Arizona in 1879, they set up camp at a spring in Big emigrant Canyon about five miles east of Fort Bowie and sold milk and butter to the soldiers at the fort. The spring dried up and the family was forced to look for another location. Passing through Apache Pass and finding permanent water in the Sulphur Springs Valley, they established ‘Home Ranch’ along Pinery Creek and began raising cattle and supplying beef as well as milk and butter for the fort.

The area proved to be an ideal place to raise cattle. Brannick and his sons improved their herd, acquired more land and water rights and found other markets. Soon the children began establishing ranches and by homesteading and purchasing other land, Rigg’s family ranches eventually stretched along the Chiricahua and Dos Cabezas Mountains from near Turkey Creek almost into Willcox and north into San Simon Valley.

Brannick and Mary Riggs had eleven children: Thomas, Rhoda, William, Martha, Brannick B., James, Mary, John, Lucy, B.K., and Edith. Brannick and Mary felt education was of utmost importance but there were no schools in the area. Brannick built a one-room school near his home and employed teachers from the east to teach his and other area children.

Brannick Riggs dies July 3, 1907 and Mary Elizabeth died in 1935. Many descendants of Brannick and Mary Riggs still live and ranch in the Sulphur Springs Valley.”

(the above text quoted directly from material provided by Jim Riggs – WOW ’13)


Sulphur Springs Valley below the Chricahua National Monument.


Jim Riggs and son, Tom Riggs, and their wives, Janna and Buffi, and their grandson and granddaughters, son and daughters currently run the Crossed J Ranch.



Crossed J Ranch stockpile and materials below the foothills of the Chiricahuas.







Posted by bigdawg on January 20, 2013
1 Comment Post a comment
  1. 12/9/2013
    Michael Thomas

    I enjoyed viewing these photos. I am the grandson of Eva Lee Riggs Harsey, daughter of Barney and Annie Riggs, Ft. Stockton, Tex. I live in Florence, AZ. Originally from Los Angeles, I lived in Charleston, SC, before retiring and moved to AZ to be near my son who is with US Customs and Border Protection in Nogales.


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