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William H. Riggin
The son of Legend Sheriff Bill Riggin, William H. “Bill” Riggin was born in Port Norris March 8, 1918, in his Grandfather’s house on the corner of Brown and High Streets. He would become the fourth generation of Riggin and Riggin, the oyster and clam business started by his Great Grandfather Lewis Riggin in 1860.
Life on the Delaware Bay began at age six, when young Bill accompanied his father for two weeks on his oyster boat. He had no working duties then but by age twelve, Bill was put to work. Among his early jobs was unhooking fish for fishing parties.
When Bill’s father was elected Sheriff, the family had to move to Bridgeton. A fortuitous move, as it was there that he met his wife, Pauline "Polly" Lasenko. The high school sweethearts married in 1940, and would go on to have three children, Barbara, Kathleen, and William, Jr.
In 1941, Bill took over as head of the family business. In 1953, with the oyster industry in decline, he would merge with Robbins Bros., creating Riggin and Robbins. His oyster boats were modified to catch clams, with great success. They sold surf clams all over the United States. In 1962, he again merged, this time with Gorton’s Seafood, a New England company. In 1968, they were acquired by General Mills, which built a large processing plant in Millville.
Since retiring in 1983, Bill has remained active with his oyster business William P. Riggin and Son.
On November 16, 2008, Bill Riggin was recognized as a Living Legend of Port Norris.
Source: William H. Riggin
William P. Riggin
Bill Horseman, left, presents Bill Riggin at the Legends of Port Norris dinner.
Bill Horseman sharing memories in Bill Riggins basement office.
Bill Riggins and Bill Horseman, good friends pose in the
living room of the Riggin home.