Born in Kentucky in 1826, Henry Chiles Riggs was a destined pioneer who became instrumental in shaping Idaho history.  He was known as an adventurous and pragmatic individual who was also serious about his civic duty.

When he was 20, Henry joined the First Missouri Mounted Volunteers and fought during the Mexican War.  Four years later, he made a five-month trek by wagon train across the plains to California where he operated a hotel.  In 1852, he came back to Missouri to wed Mary Ann Lipscomb, and together, they returned to California where they purchased land and began farming.  Henry served two terms as county commissioner there. 

 

When Mary Ann began having health problems, they made the decision to move to Corvallis, Oregon, where Henry later became mayor.  But, at the age of 42, he learned of the gold discoveries happening in Idaho, and the territory beckoned.   The Riggs family arrived in Boise on July 6, 1863, and Henry quickly became involved in civic planning, serving as one of the key players in laying out the city.  He once again stood out as a citizen concerned with the successful growth of the territory and was appointed county judge.  Later, he was elected to the House of Representatives for Boise County and brought forth two famous bills during his term.  The first was to move the capital from Lewiston to Boise.  And, the second was to create a county in the vicinity of Boise to operate as the seat of Idaho government.  Several names were suggested for the new county—Grant, Lincoln, Douglas—but the name that was finally chosen was that of Henry's daughter—Ada.  During his second term in the General Assembly, he introduced the bill that made Boise an incorporated village.  He remained active in civic planning and leadership until his death in 1909 at the age of 83.  Henry was buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Emmett.  During their life together, Henry and Mary had 8 children, one of which passed away as an infant.  Henry is remembered as a devoted founder of Boise City by all and as a revered friend by those who knew him.