Saturday, December 9, 2023

A tale of two Timothy’s

While researching and writing the previous blog post, ‘Ties that bind or just a coincidence?’ I realized that there were two Timothy Ragsdale’s in early Montgomery County, North Carolina. This seemed to be common knowledge among serious researchers of the Ragsdale line while others have combined the Timothy’s into one. Records show, however, that there were two very different and distinct Timothy Ragsdale's.

The Ragsdale's are yet another mysterious family whose roots are only speculatively known, and the families, who may be the same or different (that remains to be seen), are, like so many other families who resided in the Uwharries, mixed up. The Ragsdale’s deserve a dedicated post of their own to ensure that other researchers know there are two distinct and separate Timothy Ragsdale’s who lived in Montgomery and Stanly counties; one born about 1798, whom I call Timothy, the elder, and another born about 1818, whom I call Timothy, the younger.

Before I get into Timothy, the elder and Timothy, the younger, let me note that there were other Ragsdale families who lived in the neighboring counties of Randolph, Moore, Richmond, Orange, Chatham, and even Cumberland, and as far away as Caswell. The Randolph County Ragsdale family may be the same family as the Caswell County, North Carolina family.

In fact, from 1767 – 1840, I have found many Ragsdale families in the following counties.

Moore County, North Carolina

Benjamin (from Orange/Chatham, NC, moved to Williamson County, TN per Rev. War pension records), John, Daniel, Abner, Richard (may be same man living in Chatham County). Lived on Big Pocket Creek & Raccoon Branch.

Richmond County, North Carolina

Edmond, Edwin, William, Thomas, Elisabeth, Fanny. Lived on S. side Big Buffalo Creek.

Montgomery County, North Carolina

Thomas I, Timothy (the younger), Nancy, Jesse, Elizabeth, John; lived on Barnes Creek. Thomas II, lived near Clarks Creek.

Stanly County, North Carolina

Timothy (the elder), family moved to Greene County, TN, lived on Long Creek, Stanly County. Nancy, Mary (found on 1830 Census, and both living with David Kendell in 1850).

Randolph County, North Carolina

William (moved from Caswell, NC to Randolph, NC, & Cheraw, SC), Joel; lived on both sides of the Uwharrie River.

Chatham County, North Carolina

Richard lived on the east side of Georges Creek (may be the same man found in Moore County).

Cumberland County, North Carolina

Hannah, John; shown on early (1767) Census records.

Currently, I do not know if these Ragsdale families are related. Direct male descendants of all the lines should Y DNA test to determine relatedness.

William Ragsdale of Caswell County, North Carolina settled in Randolph County, North Carolina and purchased land there from John Stanfield in 1794. William Ragsdale sold that land to Joel Ragsdale in 1795 and moved to Cheraw District, South Carolina by 1805 as shown in a deed stating that he was a resident of Cheraw, South Carolina when he sold his land in Randolph County, North Carolina.

My previous blog generated a comment with some information about the Ragsdale family that caught my attention and being driven by curiosity, prompted me to start digging into the records.

There were at least two Thomas Ragsdale’s in Caswell County. One looks to have been born prior to 1756 or earlier. This Thomas Ragsdale is noted on early state Census records in Caswell in 1777 and is listed on a petition dated 26 Oct 1779, to the “house of Burgises” from inhabitants of Caswell Co. asking that an equal division be made of the county since it is forty miles in length and twenty wide. This makes Thomas Ragsdale of Caswell County born prior to 1756, assuming he would have to meet the minimum age requirement of 21 years to participate in signing a petition.

Deeds in Caswell County indicate Thomas Ragsdale sold land on Bold Branch in 1785 to Lord Lord of Caswell County.

Caswell County Census records show Thomas Ragsdale on the 1777 North Carolina, U.S., Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1790-1890 for Nash District, Caswell, North Carolina.

The 1840 Census shows Thomas Ragsdale age 30 thru 39, making this man born about 1805 and distinctly different from the older Thomas Ragsdale.

On the 14th of Feb 1783, Thomas Ragsdale of North Carolina sold to John Bruce of Mecklenburg, Virginia a tract of land where John Bruce now lives containing 100 acres and bounded by John Ragsdale, Benjamin Ragsdale, Hutchens Burton, Sampson Lamkin, Thomas Berry, and John Berry. The deed was witnessed by John, William, and Drury Ragsdale.

To obtain the release of dower for the land that Thomas Ragsdale sold to John Bruce, the court ordered Richard Holeman and John Womack, of Caswell County, North Carolina, to visit Mary Ragsdale, the wife of Thomas Ragsdale, and obtain the release of dower, which they did.

So, from this record, we know Thomas had a wife named Mary.

This is clearly the older Thomas Ragsdale in Caswell, North Carolina and shows that he probably migrated from Mecklenburg, Virginia to Caswell, North Carolina.

Timothy Ragsdale, the elder

Timothy Ragsdale, the elder was living on the west side of the Pee Dee River as early as 1823 when he performed chain carrier duties for a survey for Thomas Rice for a tract of land on the Southwest side of the Yadkin River joining George Stiles corner and Thomas Rice’s line and Callaway’s line. Elisha Laton was also a chain carrier.

Timothy is shown on the 1830, 1840, and 1850 Census records. He may be related to Nancy Ragsdale who was also living in the area in 1830 and 1850. Nancy looks to have been born about 1780 in Virginia. In 1850, she, and Mary Ragsdale, age 50, are shown living with the family of David and Charlotte Kendall.

Now, to be fair, the 1830 Census does not specifically state that the area was the west side of the Pee Dee River but based on those named on that Census record, when compared to land and other records, pinpoints the area, without doubt, as the west side of the river.

The 1850 Census is clear that the area is Albemarle, Stanly County.

Timothy Ragsdale, the elder, was born between 1791 and 1800 making him about 35 years old in 1830. His wife was born between 1801 and 1810, making her about 25 years old. The couple have a young family, two boys under the age of 5, one daughter under five years old, and one daughter aged 5-9 years.

A total of four children. My guess is that Timothy has been married less than seven years.

Home in 1830 (City, County, State) Montgomery, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - Under 5 - 2 (bef. 1825)
Free White Persons - Males - 30 thru 39 - 1 (bet. 1791-1800)
Free White Persons - Females - Under 5 - 1 (bef. 1825)
Free White Persons - Females - 5 thru 9 - 1 (bet. 1821-1825)
Free White Persons - Females - 20 thru 29 - 1 (bet. 1801-1810)

Timothy Ragsdale, the elder, according to the 1840 Census, was still living in Montgomery County, North Carolina on the west side of the Pee Dee River. The 1840 Census makes the distinction of which side of the river the Census taker is on. Timothy, the elder, gives his age to match the 1830 Census, born between 1791 and 1800. There is no guess work here. His family has grown to nine children.

Home in 1840 (City, County, State) West Pee Dee River, Montgomery, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - Under 5 - 2 (bef. 1835)
Free White Persons - Males - 5 thru 9 - 2 (bet. 1831-1835)
Free White Persons - Males - 40 thru 49 - 1 (bet. 1791-1800)
Free White Persons - Females - Under 5 - 1 (bef. 1835)
Free White Persons - Females - 5 thru 9 - 4 (bet. 1831-1835)
Free White Persons - Females - 30 thru 39 - 1 (bet. 1801-1810)

The 1850 Census for Stanly [formerly Montgomery] County, North Carolina finds Timothy Ragsdale, the elder, and family, all named. Timothy, born about 1798 in North Carolina and wife, Martha, born about 1803, also born in North Carolina. There are 8 children in the home. It looks like the eldest has moved out. Shown on this Census was Davidson, born 1829, John, born 1831, Nancy, born 1833, Eunice, born 1835, Martha, born 1837, Peter, born 1840, Sarah, born 1843, and Priscilla, born 1844.

Timothy, the elder, was not found in 1860; although a lot of families were missed on this Census, I believe it possible he died about this same time. It looks like his children and wife moved to Greene County, Tennessee with Martha living with son, Peter, in 1870, Greene County, Tennessee. The surname has been written Ragsdill. Both Martha and Peter are recorded as being born in North Carolina.

An Agriculture schedule dated 18 Jun 1880 for Greene, Tennessee finds what looks to be brothers, Davidson, and John, along with William, who is probably a child of Timothy and Martha Ragsdale.

Marriage records for Geene County, Tennessee indicate that Peter Ragsdale married Phoebe Isabella Crozier on 1 Sep 1861. The couple moved to Cork, Warren, Illinois and are found there in 1880. In 1900, they were living in Milton, Umatilla, Oregon. Phoebe died about 1905 and Peter remarried to Dillie Williams Cox. The couple, both listed on their marriage license as living in Freewater, Oregon, married in Walla Walla, Washington on 29 Sep 1909. Peter is listed as a Blacksmith, the same occupation he is listed as in the 1880 and 1900 Census records.  

It is Peter’s marriage record that provides his mother’s maiden name, Martha Stone, as well as a middle initial for his father, Timothy T. Ragsdale. Peter is listed as born in North Carolina. Circling back to the Census records for his father, Timothy, finds that he lived very close to Samuel S. Stone in 1830, Montgomery [now Stanly] County, North Carolina. There may be some relation between Samuel and Martha.

Timothy Ragsdale, the younger

Timothy Ragsdale, the younger, is found on the east side of the Pee Dee River. I am not able to find him in the 1840 Census, even though it looks like he was married with children by that time. The 1850 Census shows Timothy was born about 1818 and his wife, Nancy was born about 1812, both in North Carolina.

1850 Montgomery, North Carolina

Timothy Ragsdale 32 (1818)
Nancy Ragsdale 38 (1812)
Daniel Ragsdale 13 (1837)
Jesse Ragsdale 9 (1841)
Mary J Ragsdale 7 (1843)
Susan A Ragsdale 5 (1845)
James Ragsdale 3 (1847)
Deborah Ragsdale 1 (1849)

In 1855, Timothy was granted 100 acres of land on the waters of Barnes Creek adjoining his own land and beginning at William Hurley’s corner post oak and runs with his line to John Hudson’s corner, now Ragsdale’s, to Ragsdale’s Steed line. The land also joined Leah Steed and Green Hardister’s land. Chain carriers were James and Ezekiel Hardister.

In 1860, Timothy, the younger, and family are living in Beans, current day Ophir (I believe), still on Barnes Creek. His family has increased by three children. Interestingly, a son, Wyatt, was born in 1851. The name Wyatt was also found in the family of Etheldred Morris across the river and is found in later generations of the Samuel Morris family from Campbell County, Virginia. Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but naming patterns sometimes were used throughout families, so I am always on the lookout for them.

1860 Beans, Montgomery, North Carolina

Timothy Ragsdale 46 (1814)
Nancy Ragsdale 47 (1813)
Daniel Ragsdale 22 (1838)
Jesse Ragsdale 19 (1841)
Mary J Ragsdale 17 (1843)
Susan Ragsdale 15 (1845)
James Ragsdale 13 (1847)
Debora Ragsdale 11 (1849)
Wyatt Ragsdale 9 (1851)
William Ragsdale 6 (1854)
John Ragsdale 4 (1856)

Timothy, the younger, on 27 May 1861, enlisted in the Confederate Army and officially joined the Civil War. A ‘Descriptive List and Account of Pay and Clothing…’ shows that Timothy was age 54, eye color, gray, hair, gray, fair complexion, 6 feet tall. He was born in Montgomery County, North Carolina.

Timothy, the younger, died in hospital, of disease on 29 Jun 1862, a year after enlisting, in Richmond, Virginia. P. C. Saunders filed for settlement on 26 Jan 1863 and was paid $128.80, the money found to be due Timothy. P. C. Saunders executed a Power of Attorney to Lt. A. F. Saunders who collected the personal effects of Timothy Ragsdale, and an additional $24.60 on 9 Jul 1863.

In Oct 1862, Nancy Ragsdale, widow of Timothy, the younger, filed her petition for dower in the estate of her husband, which was granted. By Jan 1863, James Davis, Eli Davis, and Thomas Bright, were appointed to lay off and allot Nancy, and her 7 children, a year’s support out of the estate of Timothy Ragsdale, deceased. In Oct 1862, items belonging to the estate of Timothy, the younger, were sold. Nancy, widow, purchased almost everything.

Timothy and Nancy had at least nine children. Daniel, the oldest, died in the Civil War a year after his father.

Daniel, born about 1837 married Margaret Hardister, daughter of Wiley and Margaret Saunders Hardister.

Jesse C. born about 1840, married Jeluna Russell, daughter of Newton and Rutha Hearne Russell, and second, Martha Logan, daughter of John and Elizabeth Steward Logan

Mary Jane, born about 1843, married William Brown, son of John and Sarah Tucker Brown of Moore County, North Carolina

Susan Adeline, born about 1844

James, born about 1847, married Mary Strider, daughter of Jacob and Priscilla Hurley Strider

Deborah, born about 1849, married Levi Madison Dennis, son of Littleton Jackson and Sarah Tolbert Dennis

Wyatt, born about 1851, married Christian Strickland, daughter of John and Nancy Jackson Strickland

William, born about 1851, married Margaret Dennis, daughter of Littleton Jackson and Sarah Tolbert Dennis

John Harris, born about 1856, married Lunda Morris, daughter of Thomas and Mary Williams Morris, second, married Mary Jane Parker, daughter of Joel and Margaret Jenkins Parker, third, married Rosanna Catledge

What about Thomas Ragsdale?

It seems to be overwhelmingly believed that Thomas Ragsdale who lived in Caswell County, North Carolina is the same Thomas Ragsdale who lived in Richmond and Montgomery counties and is the father of Timothy, the younger, as well as Jesse P. Ragsdale who lived very near both Thomas and Timothy on Barnes Creek. I have seen some family trees that show Thomas as the son of Thomas of Caswell, North Carolina. Doing this accounts for the age gap.

Currently, I have found no real proof that these men are one in the same. While there were two Thomas Ragsdale’s in Caswell County, one born before 1755 and the other born around 1800, he of course being too young and the other being too old to account for parentage of Timothy or Jesse Ragsdale of Montgomery County.

There is another discrepancy here as the Thomas Ragsdale in Caswell had a wife named Mary (some people have merged her name to be Mary Elizabeth to account for the name discrepancy between the two Thomas’s wives) and was born before 1756 and the Thomas Ragsdale in Montgomery County who had a wife named Elizabeth and was born much later, about or after 1771.

I am not sure who the wife of Thomas Ragsdale of Richmond County was. Thomas of Richmond County was shown as over 45 years old in 1800 (with no wife) but only 26 thru 44 years old in 1810 (with a young wife and child). So, these are probably two different Thomas Ragsdale’s in Richmond County. Maybe a father, son.

The Richmond County 1830 Census record shows Elizabeth Ragsdale, age 40 thru 49 (born about 1785) living in the same neighborhood that Thomas, William, and Edmund Ragsdale were shown living in on earlier Census records. The neighbors are the same – Stringfellow and Roper. Who she is, is currently a mystery.

Thomas Ragsdale is shown on the 1800 Census for Fayetteville, Richmond, North Carolina, age 45 and over, making him born before 1755.

The 1810 Richmond, North Carolina Census shows Thomas Ragsdale age 26 thru 44, making him born as early as 1766 but as late as 1784. Considering the female in his home age 16 thru 25 and there is one child under the age of 10, this looks to be a young family.  

Thomas Ragsdale found on Census records East of Pee Dee and Yadkin River, Montgomery, North Carolina in 1830, listed as age 50 thru 59, making him born about 1780, and the 1840 Census showing Thomas Ragsdale, age 70 thru 79, making him born about 1765.

Below is a chart for easier comparisons.

In 1836, Thomas Ragsdale of Montgomery County sold to Leonard Hutson for $50, 160 acres of land joining Luther and Steed's lines on Barnes Creek. Samson Sanders was witness.

Read more about Leonard here