Jefferson Riggs was born in 1846 in Belmont County, Ohio. He served with Company H of the Third West Virginia Cavalry during the Civil War. In 1919, he was residing at the U.S. National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Grant County, Indiana.
By 1924, Jefferson Riggs was residing at the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Home in Sandusky, Ohio. He died in Sandusky on June 2, 1924, and is buried in the cemetery at what is now known as the Ohio Veterans Home.