William Riggs was born in Canada and emigrated to the United States in 1890 at the age of 16. He received American citizenship in 1906 at age 32.
He then came to Fresno in 1912 as the District Deputy for the Independent Order of Foresters. IOF was a fraternal insurance company based in Canada.
He was a member of Las Palmas Masonic Lodge No. 366 and at the age of 56 in 1930, became its twenty-sixth Master.