Tuesday, July 22, 2014

52 Ancestors - #29 George W. Ragan – Purveyor of Sturdy Chairs




George W. Ragan was born in Kentucky in 1834 to Richard and Priscilla Ragan. Richard Ragan, the son of John Ragan and Mary Younger was born in 1805 in Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky. His wife Priscilla (shown as Silla in the 1850 census) was born in 1813 in Kentucky. Her last name is unknown. I have been unable to discover any proof of his middle name but it is believed to have been Washington or William.

It is believed that George’s eldest brother was Joseph was born in 1831, also in Kentucky. His younger brothers were born in Missouri - Coleman born 1840, William D. born 1841, and James born in 1842 His younger sisters were also born in Missouri - Mary A. born in 1844, Sabina May born 1845, and Amanda born 1847.  George’s father Richard was a blacksmith and in 1850 the family was living in Kaw Township, Jackson County, Missouri.

George’s brother Coleman married Mary Elizabeth Daniels who was born in Virginia on January 17, 1833 to Eli Daniels and Elizabeth Dawson. By the June 29, 1860 census, Coleman and Mary Elizabeth had three children and were living in Jackson County, Missouri. Their eldest was Edward F. born in Virginia in 1855, George Thomas (he later went by Thomas Coleman or Tom)  born in Kansas in 1858, and a three month old baby girl born in March of 1860 in Missouri who was still unnamed. On July 13, 1861 they had another daughter Mary Catherine also born in Missouri. Coleman Ragan died in the civil war fighting for the North. George W. Ragan felt it was his duty to marry his brother’s widow and take care of his children.

George and Mary Elizabeth had sons William Dudley (Bill) born in 1864 and Alfred Brian or O’Brian (Alf) born in March 1867, and a daughter Amanda born in December 1869.  It is unknown when Coleman’s son Edward died or the baby girl born in March 1860, but they are gone by the time of the 1870 census on June 22, 1870. George is working as a fisherman and the family is living in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.



  Bill Ragan


My great grandmother Georgianna Katherine Ragan was born in Kansas City, Missouri on May 20, 1871. Georgianna Katherine was known to my family as Katie but is listed in most records as Annie and used Annie with her family. Amanda also died sometime between the 1870 and 1880 censuses.

George W. Ragan originally came out to the Russian River in the Guerneville area in Sonoma County, California as part of the group that went after Chief Paulina, a renegade war leader of the North Paiutes of Eastern and Central Oregon and the Klamath Basin who refused to move to a reservation from 1859 to 1865.

George W. Ragan then decided to move his family out west in about 1877. They came out to Guerneville on one of the first “choo choo” trains to the area. Robert Asbury Ragan (Bert) was born in California on May 29, 1877. Their house was on the steep side of a hill. A part of the roof was against the hillside. They could walk from the hill onto the roof as the goats did. The Ragan kids would slide down the hillside on boards. Annie’s brother Alf thought he could get a better ride on a large scoop shovel. However, when he got started the friction on the shovel against the dirt and the rocks caused so much heat that it fair burnt his little bottom before he could get off the shovel.

They lived there probably a couple of years then moved north by steamer to Union, Columbia County, Oregon where they were living on June 11, 1880 and George was working as a carpenter. From there the Ragan family moved to Washington. George had a business in Lewis County, Washington that made woven leather chair bottoms called “Ragan Chairs.” According to the descendants of the Charles N. Jordan Family in Memories of Family Albums published in 1976, “Simplicity described the furniture in our home. Our folks bought a set of large chairs and two small ones made by a Mr. Ragan who lived in the area. There were only two small nails in each chair and they were at the ends of the narrow cowhide stripping that was woven for the seat. Some of the chairs are still in use by members of the family.” The Ragan’s moved back and forth from Silver Creek, Washington to Selma, Oregon, to Crescent City, California.

On September 22, 1884 Annie and Robert Ragan were listed as pupils in Miss Cora Peabody’s class at Salkum School. In 1885 they were still living in Silver Creek, Lewis County, Washington.

September 2, 1888 George’s son Alfred married Unity Frost at her father’s house in Lewis County. William J Tucker and Alfred’s sister Anna were their witnesses. On October 14, 1888, seventeen year old Georgianna Katherine married William John Tucker who was twenty-six years old at George and Mary Ragan’s home.

In the April 1889 Washington Territory Census, George Ragan, his wife Mary and youngest son Robert were living in the area. George was listed as a farmer.



circa 1890-1891
William John Tucker, William Henry, Georgianna Katherine


In 1892 only Mary and her son Robert are listed in the Washington State census. George must have been out of state working.


 circa 1894
William John, Georgianna Katherine
Alva Ashbury, William Henry, Harold


On December 4, 1894 Alfred filed for divorce from Unity in Jackson County, Oregon. In 1895 he married Ella Mary Youngman. In January 1897 Annie Ragan Tucker left Washington State with her brother in law. Her husband William filed for divorce which was granted on May 19, 1897.

I have not been able to find George or Mary or their son Robert in the 1900 census. George W. Ragan died December 15, 1904 in Selma, Josephine County, Oregon. He is buried at Deer Creek Cemetery in Selma. George’s wife Mary Elizabeth died on March 1, 1917 in Alpha, Lewis County, Washington.

William Dudley Ragan (Bill) died October 3, 1924 at age 60.  He was found dead in his hotel room – he was mining for gold in the Grants Pass, Josephine County, Oregon. He is buried next to his father George. Thomas Coleman Ragan, George’s nephew/stepson, died April 23, 1932 in Portland, Oregon. Robert Asbury (Bert) died in Carson, Skamania County, Washington on September 21, 1934. Alfred Brian (Alf) died February 25, 1937 at age 69 in Josephine County, Oregon. George’s niece that he raised, Mary Catherine Ragan Christy died May 16, 1940 in Klamath, Oregon. George’s daughter Georgianna Katherine (Annie) died on November 11, 1943 at Medford, Jackson County, Oregon at the age of 72 and is buried in Grants Pass, Josephine County, Oregon.

Great Great Great Great Grandparents: John Ragan/Mary Younger
Great Great Great Grandparents: Richard Ragan/Priscilla
Great Great Grandparents: George W. Ragan/Mary Elizabeth Daniels
Great Grandparents: Georgianna Katherine Ragan/William John Tucker
Grandparents: Alva Ashbury Tucker/Effa Belle Graves
Parents: Elva Rosalie Tucker/Lionell Burris Mitchell