Sunday, July 27, 2014

52 Ancestors - #30 Philander Davis Mitchell - a Judge and a Fair and Decent Man

Philander Davis Mitchell was born in Hickory Valley, White County, Tennessee on June 1, 1827 to Spencer Sterling Mitchell, Jr. and Mary Polly Malinda Lewis. Philander was the eldest of ten children – five sons and five daughters. According to the family bible birth and death records Spencer Jr. moved his family to Crawford County, Missouri sometime between August 1832 and July 1834 and most probably in 1833 according to reliable records. They then moved to Licking, Texas County, Missouri in 1837. Philander Davis received a fair education in the old subscription schools of early times. At the age of twenty-one he began farming for himself.

According to his obituary he made a profession of religion at the Crow Campground when 23 years of age, joined the Methodist Episcopal Church South and was a lifelong member.

Philander Davis Mitchell married Mary Loucinda Halbert (born on November 30, 1832 the daughter of Eli Garner Halbert and Frances Sherrill) on March 24, 1853 and settled on a 600 acre farm about 5 miles south east of town and lived there for the balance of his life. They lived in a one room log house. Their first child, Travis Burke was born December 1, 1855, followed by Spencer Eli born October 5, 1858; Frances Malinda (or Malvina) born March 8, 1861; and Mary Elizabeth born November 27, 1863. Before the start of the Civil War, they started work on a large two story house.

Philander served as Justice of the Peace for four years before the Civil War. During the war, he served six months in the Missouri State Guard and at the close of the war about six months in the Confederate Army. He served in Company D, Slayback’s Regiment, Missouri Calvary as a Second Lieutenant under General Jospeh O. Shelby. In May 1865 his unit surrendered to Union Forces at Shreveport, Louisiana. He was paroled on June 15, 1865 and shortly thereafter he returned to his farm in Texas County, Missouri.

After the close of the Civil War, they were able to finish their large two story house and move into it. The lumber for the house was brought around the Horn and the large front room doors were of solid mahogany. Their youngest was my great grandfather Hubbard Philander Mitchell was born April 22, 1866.

Philander was a Democrat and a Mason and served two terms as Worthy Master in the Masonic Lodge. All of his property was acquired by his own good management and industry and he deserved much credit for the success which attended his efforts. Besides his own property he gave all of his children good farms.

He was Judge of Texas County from 1886 until his death. Philander was one of the most beloved, devout, and prominent men Texas County has ever known. As to all moral questions and every moment of commendable public enterprise he was always found among those who would take the lead. Those who knew him best and longest loved him most. He was one of the very few of whom you heard no adverse criticisms.

In the 1900 census done on the 13th of June it was just the two of them, Philander and Mary. Philander Davis died two weeks later on the 2nd of July at the age of 73 of Bright’s disease. His funeral was held on Wednesday, July 4 at 3 p.m. in the presence of a large audience at the Methodist Episcopal Church South with his vacant seat draped in mourning and was buried at the Licking Cemetery with honors of the Masonic Order.

Great Great Great Grandparenets: Spencer Sterling Mitchell Jr./Mary Polly Malinda Lewis

Great Great Grandparents: Philander Davis Mitchell/Mary Loucinda Halbert

Great Grandparents: Hubbard Philander Mitchell/Effie Luella Harry

Grandparents: Roscoe Arthur Mitchell/Ruby Burris

Parents: Lionell Burris Mitchell/Elva Rosalie Tucker

Information from: Grand Aunts Veron and Gwen and Gwen’s daughter Bonnie.

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