The First James Madison Ragland

What’s in a Name?

EDITOR’S NOTE: I began this research for my father before he died this winter during COVID-19. My father died on his 90tth birthday, January 25, 2021. I write this post in his memory.

My father, James Madison Ragland 1931-2021), is named after the first Ragland to bear the name “James Madison Ragland” born in 1743.

The first James Madison Ragland was born in the third generation of the Raglands in America (1743-1818).

1743, Virginia

The first James Madison Ragland was born in the third generation (as best as I can tell) of the Raglands in America(1743-1818).

First Generation 

Evan Ragland and Susanna Pettus had five children:

  1. Catherine Ragland, born 1681, St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, Virginia; death. Unknown.
  2. Jr. Evan Ragland, born 1683, St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, Virginia; died 1739, St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, Virginia.
  3. Thomas Ragland, born 1685, St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, Virginia; died 1719, St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, Virginia.
  4. Stephen Ragland, born 1688, St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, Virginia; died 1747, Northampton County, North Carolina.
  5. John Ragland, born 1690, St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, Virginia; died 1751, Hanover County, Virginia.

Second Generation

Our branch of the Ragland tree continues through the son, Evan born in 1683 in St. Peter’s Parish, in New Kent County, Virginia and died in 1739 in the same county.

Evan married Hannah Walker (1680-1760) they lived in St. Peter’s Parish in New Kent County Virginia. 

Evan had several occupations in his lifetime: farmer, soldier, and road gang superintendent in New Kent County. 

Records indicate that Evan Ragland (the son) served as a private in the Virginia Continental Army in 1778 and earned a stipend of 36 (dollars or English currency I don’t know.)

Evan and Hannah Walker had four sons

  1. Nathaniel James (1707-1760)
  2. William(1709-1773), 
  3. John (1710-1791) 
  4. Gideon (1723-1795).

Third Generation

Our history continues through Evan’s son, Nathaniel James.

Nathaniel was born in 1707 in St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, Virginia and died in 1760. Like his father and grandfather, he was a farmer.

About 1735, Nathaniel married Elizabeth (1714) and they had two children before her death:

  1. John (1736-1737)
  2. Nathaniel (1738 to about 1769)

Nathaniel remarries in about 1742 to Belinda Blandina. Together they had eight children.

  1. James Madison (1743-1818)
  2. Joseph (about 1757-1810)
  3. Samuel (about 1747-1799)
  4. William (1753-1805)
  5. Nancy (1755-)
  6. David (about 1757-1810)
  7. Edmund (1758-1818)
  8. Elizabeth (about 1760-1814).

Fourth Generation

Nathaniel’s son James’ middle name was Madison. Hence, the first James Madison Ragland (1743-1818).His grandfather, Evan, we know served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. We also know that the Ragland homestead is not far from James Madison, our fourth president in our infant United States of America. 

What’s in a Name?

Why did the Ragland’s of Virginia start a tradition of naming their sons, James Madison? I suspect it was after James Madison, our fourth president. It could be that they admired this fellow Virginian who wrote our US Constitution. Or, perhaps they knew the Madison family since Mount Pleasant was reportedly near the Ragland farm. Maybe it was through Dolly Madison who was born in New Kent County. Or, perhaps one of the Ragland’s living during this time of the Revolutionary War served under James Madison. 

President James Madison

It’s all conjecture on my part but still, this first James Madison Ragland was born to a contemporary of James Madison, the fourth president, and so begins a tradition within the Ragland Family Tree of naming future generations James Madison.

Within my branch of the Ragland Tree, seven ancestors bear some variation of James Madison Ragland—James Madison, James, or Madison. But other branches bear some James Madison’s as well. 

My Father’s Direct Ancestors
of the First James Madison Ragland

First Generation

Nathaniel Ragland (1707-176), grandson of the original immigrant, Evan Ragland (1656-1717), and son of Evan Jr. Ragland (1683-1739). Nathaniel Ragland and his wife Belinda Blandina named one of their sons, James Madison Ragland (1743-1775). 

Second Generation

James Madison Ragland(1743-1775) and his wife Sarah Rowland named one of their sons James Madison Ragland (1784-1803)—he is your third great-grandfather.

Third Generation

Dad’s third great grandfather, James Madison emigrated to Kentucky as part of the Westward Expansion. He married Frances Tandy Burris in Virginia and she emigrated with him to Kentucky. They named one of their sons Nathaniel Madison (1810-1831), your second great-grandfather.. 

Fourth Generation

Nathaniel Madison of Kentucky married Mary Frances Quisenberry in 1831 and during their lifetime, they emigrate to Monroe County, Missouri—the first of the Ragland’s in Missouri. Nathaniel was your second great-grandfather.1

Fifth Generation

From Nathan Madison and Mary Frances Quisenberry comes: Dad’s great-grandfather, Robert Harrison Ragland who marries Laura Elizabeth Gillispie.

Sixth Generation

Robert and Laura are the parents of Frank Ragland, Dad’s grandfather. Dad’s grandparents were Frank Ragland and Ella Middlecoff.

Seventh Generation

And of course, Dad’s father is James Baker Ragland and your mother Eva Fern Ohare.

Eighth Generation

And Dad is the eighth generation descendent of the original James Madison Ragland.

Other James Madison Ragland’s

Along the way, I saw glimpses of other James Madison Ragland’s on other branches of the Ragland tree. I’m currently investigating the connection to President James Madison. so

1 My thanks to Bill Ragland of Clinton, Missouri for his extensive Ragland Ancestry research.