March 21, 1861 - September 25, 1903
|Reverend Eli E. Riggs, the son of Samuel G. and Sarah Riggs, was born in New Iberia, Louisiana on March 21, 1861. He was reared on a farm and was a tiller of the soil from youth to manhood.
His opportunities for acquiring an education were limited, though he made good use of such advantages as that country in those days afforded. His religious training was exceptionally good, his father and mother both being consecrated Christians.
In our heart to heart conversations, of which he and I had many, he often alluded to them with expressions of deepest tenderness, believing that their godly admonitions and influence, as well as their prayers, had much to do, under God, in bringing, him to Christ.
His mother died in 1881, and at the death of his father, which followed in 1882, the care of eight younger children devolved upon him; this, though a great responsibility for one so young, he met with heroic courage and zeal, and with credit to himself and doubtless to the satisfaction of all concerned.
He was twice married. First to Miss Lula M. Petty of Centreville, Mississippi on October 20, 1882, but who died without issue in August 1891. Then in February 1893, he was married to Miss Comfort Bouie of Winnsboro, Louisiana who, with three little children, survives him.
Brother Riggs joined the Church when a boy, but was not converted till some years afterwards. In 1887 he was awakened to a sense of his lost condition by reading Wesley’s sermons on “Almost a Christian,” and under the preaching of Reverend George Andrews at or near Centreville, Mississippi, where he then resided. He sought and obtained salvation, entering into an experience that he never afterwards doubted. After his conversion, he became an earnest worker in his Lord’s vineyard; was class leader and steward while he lived at Centreville. .
In 1889 he moved to Monroe, Louisiana and while there served the Church as class leader until July 1895. At which time he was licensed to preach by the Delhi District Conference at Oak Ridge. He was admitted on trial In the Louisiana Conference the following December at Jackson, Louisiana. He served the Floyd Circuit in 1896-97; Vidalia Circuit in 1898; West Lake Circuit in 1899; Abbevllle Circuit in 1900.
In December of 1900 he located to engage in the evangelistic work, confining his labors to the Louisiana Conference, and judging from the success attending his efforts, he was eminently qualified for such work. At the end of two years, he found that his strength was not sufficient for such work. He therefore applied to the Conference for re-admission, and was re-admitted by a unanimous vote at Alexandria on December 18, 1902. He was assigned by Bishop Key to the Lake Arthur charge.
He entered upon this work full of hope, and with his usual zeal and energy. About the middle of the year his health failed, and he soon discovered that he was suffering from a genuine case of Bright’s disease. Although he had the attention of skilled physicians in both Louisiana and Arkansas, his struggle for life was in vain. On the 25th of September 1903, in the city of New Orleans, where he was under treatment, he fell on sleep, and entered into rest.
Brother Riggs was not what is commonly called a brilliant preacher, but his preaching was in demonstration of the spirit and with power. He was strictly a Bible student, and knew much of the con-tents of the Book. Upon the Bible be based all arguments and appeals, and his marked success throughout his entire ministry was due, doubtless, to his implicit faith in God and His promises, and his unwavering belief in the gospel he preached. He always expected immediate results, and was seldom disappointed.
In his death this Conference has lost one of its most consecrated and useful men, and this writer a warm personal friend.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; 1903, Pages 72-73, by J. B. Cassity|