Mystery Solved?

In researching the history of the Raglands, I’ve been concentrating lately on tracing the Raglands in America. From their arrival in the American Colonies their westward movement. But it’s murky at best about who the first Raglan to emigrate to the colonies and it’s uncertain when. On, I’ve seen several theories about who was the first and wherein the colonies they settled in America. But the question is: which is correct? It’s hard to double-check against official records because the ones in Virginia burned.

Recently, as my sister was helping my Mom clean out their 60-year-old-home, she found a copy of a letter written in 1896. In it, the writer recounts the family genealogy. D.B. Ragland wrote, “I am the son of Dr. William Ragland and a grandson of Pettus Ragland.” Stop the presses! This is valuable information.

Letter Written in 1895 Outlines Ragland History

The letter was addressed to J. M. Ragland in Osceola, Missouri on March 23, 1895. For those of you who are interested, I’m summarizing a portion D. B. Ragland’s genealogy of the American Raglands.[Note: I’ve added sentence and paragraph breaks for clarity.]

John Ragland, the progenitor of the  Raglands of Virginia. He married his kinswoman Anne Beaufort in Wales and they emigrated to Virginia around 1720.  They settled on Mechumps Creek near the Pamunkey River in Hanover County. John Ragland’s residence was known as Rippling Hall. It was destroyed by fire in 1826. The land books in the Registers office in Richmond show that he patented in the aggregate more than 15,000 acres of land in the counties of Hanover and Louisa. John Ragland and his wife, Aimie (Anne) Beaufort had nine children: John, William, Samuel, James, Evan, Pettus, Martha, and 2 other daughters.

Mr. Hugh Davis Ragland of Hadensville, Virginia can give you an account of his wife, Annie Dudley. Her parents were James Dudley and his wife, Catherine Davis. Catherine’s parents were Evan Ragland and Miss Lipscomb. James’ other daughter, Martha married Thomas Linsley. [R.A. Brooke, See Va. History.] Thomas Linsley is a great-grandson of Pettus Ragland. “I do not know of the two daughters of John of Ripping Hall; one of them married a Winfield, and the other a Davis. If my information is correct all the Ragland of Ameris are descendants of John of Ripping Hall.”

D. B. Ragland, 1895 Letter

D. B. goes on to write: The Davises are descendants of the old Welsh King and Princess. The Raglands and Davises were related in Wales to Jefferson Davis, the late president of the Confederate States of America. Jefferson Davis descended from Samuel Davis.

I am a son of Dr. William Ragland and a grandson of Pettus Ragland of Willson County Tennessee. My grandfather only had two brothers, Harden and Tolivar. Their father was named William, son of Pettus, who was a son of John of Ripping Hall.

I have two sons, William and Harden; my grandfather comes from Hanover Co., Virginia, but his two brothers remained in Virginia. I will be 57 years of age my next birthday. My oldest son William B. Ragland is a bookkeeper for Baldwin & Co. Louisville, Kentucky, a large piano firm.

D. B. Ragland

P.S. I have only one brother, Harden Raglands, a practicing physician of Gainsboro, Tennessee.


D. B. Ragland, 1895 Letter

At the bottom of the letter is a final notation that the information was passed on to Mary E. Ragland by Miss George Blakemore, Clinton, Missouri whose grandmother was Fannie Blakemore Ragland.

The Mystery

Could D. B. Ragland could be Daniel Burger Ragland (1855-1942) of Clinton, Missouri (when he died?) And, J. M. Ragland of Osceola, Missouri is John Milton Ragland (1837-1911)? But my research indicated their father was Rev. Nathaniel Madison Ragland (1810-1871) of Plano, Texas and D. B. wrote his father was Dr. Willliam Ragland. My tree is beginning to look like a tangled mess rather than a stately tree. Help!

Now I have a lot of leads to follow up on in However, I wanted to share this information as soon as I could with everyone who is researching the Raglands. If you have information that can shed some additional light on the first Raglands in America and their descendants, I am eager to hear about it. Genealogy research works best in collaboration with others and hence the topic of this blog post.

Debora Buerk
Writer, Editor. and
sometimes family historian