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Ancestor of the Month

December 2008

 

Richard Ragan

b. 1776/1777       d. 1829

 

Our ancestor Richard Ragan was a true pioneer.  He spent his life taming the wilderness and helping to develop the regions where he lived.  If he saw that something was needed, he was the kind of man who fulfilled that need.

 

Ancestry

 

Richard Ragan’s ancestors were Irish.  According to Donald Reagan, author of The Book of Ragan/Reagan and Smoky Mountain Clans, Vols. 1-3, the family dates back to the Eleventh Century, and its name was originally O’Riagan.    Pinkney J. McCarter, one of  Papaw’s cousins who did genealogical work on the Ogles, Reagans, and McCarters in the 1940’s and 50’s wrote,   “In 1650  the O’ragans migrated from the north of Ireland to Lancaster County, PA where they dropped the "O.”   Pioneering southward into VA, they added the "E" to make it [the name] fit in with the English colonies.“  Our East Tennessee Reagans, however, were not so speedy with the name changes.  They kept the Ragan spelling until they reached Tennessee and then waited two additional generations after arriving before they settled on Reagan.  Timothy, our first Tennessean of that surname, spelled his name Ragan, as did his children.  Apparently some of Timothy’s grandchildren and great grandchildren were the first to use the Reagan spelling—although in doing research, one is apt to find Ragan and Reagan used interchangeably.

 

Richard’s parents

 

Richard Ragan was born during a tumultuous time.  The Revolutionary War had passed the simmering stage and was at a boil.  In spite of this, or maybe because of it, Richard’s father, Timothy Ragan, chose this period of upheaval as a time to marry and start a family.  Around 1776 Timothy married Elizabeth Trigg, daughter of Clement Trigg, Jr., and Mary Ann Fouracres.  (See AOM concerning Elizabeth on the navigation bar to the left.)  Elizabeth was only sixteen at the time of their marriage.  Their first son, Richard, wa born in 1776/1777, and shortly thereafter Timothy entered the war effort as a soldier.  Richard and his mother felt the effects of war very much because his father fought in several battles and was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine.

 

The family moved several times during and after the Revolutionary period, living in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.  Each time the family moved, it grew in number.  Richard was born in Maryland; three more children were born in Virginia, and five more in North Carolina.  When the family moved to East Tennessee, four more children were born in Sevier County.

 

Thus, Richard grew up as the eldest son in a large family of 13 children:

 

1.      Richard REAGAN (b. c1776  in Prince George County, Maryland, d.  c1829 in Sevier County, Tennessee)   m. c1796 in Sevier County, TN to Julia Ann SHULTS (b. 1775 in Tryon, North Carolina, d. 23 Apr 1845 in Gatlinburg, Sevier County, TN.)  Julia Ann was the daughter of Johann Martin SHULTS and Juliana STENTZ. Richard and Julia Ann had 12 children.

2.      Robert Nelson REAGAN (b.c1779 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia , d. ?)   m. c1805 to Louisa EMERT (b. 11 Feb 1789 in Green County, North Carolina, d.  before 1843)  Louisa was the daughter of Frederick E. EMERT and Barbara Ann (Knight) NEIDIG.  (This marriage is not proven, but it is part of family tradition.  The family lost touch with Robert Nelson when he moved away as a young man, probably to the Ohio area. The couple had no known children.)

3.      Rachel REAGAN (b. c1781 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, d. before 6 Nov 1826 in Bibb County, Alabama)  m in 1798 to Edward "Ned" MAHAN (b.1772 in Frederick, Virginia, d. Aug 1855 in Bibb, Alabama.) Ned was the son of John MAHAN and Mary SCOTT.  Rachel and Ned had 14 children.

4.      Reason REAGAN (b. c1783 in Pittsyslvania County, Virginia, d. 11 Jul 1814 in Madison County, Illinois) m. 3 Feb 1808 in Livingston Kentucky to Rachel Thomas (b. 1786 in Pendleton, South Carolina, d. 10 Jul 1814  in Madison County, Illinois)   Rachel was the daughter of Evan THOMAS and Elizabeth HUBBARD.  (Rachel, her unborn child, and her son Timothy were killed during an Indian raid 10 Jul 1814.  Reason was killed the next day in a fall from his horse while he was part of a search party looking for the renegades. [The story of this encounter is part of the AOM article on Timothy Reagan.  Scroll down the navigation bar on the left until you reach Timothy Ragan.  Click.  At the end of the article on Timothy, you’ll have to click a link to get to Reason’s story.])

5.      Elizabeth REAGAN (b. 4 Nov 1785 in Caswell County, North Carolina,  d. between 1838-1840 in Sevier County, Tennessee) m in Sevier County, Tennessee to Philip EMERT (b. 17 Oct 1786 in Virginia, d. 23 Jul 1821 in Sevier County, Tennessee).  Philip was the son of Frederick E. EMERT and Barbara Ann (Knight) NEIDIG.  Elizabeth and Philip had 7 children.

6.      Sarah REAGAN (b. 16 OCT 1787 in Caswell County, North Carolina, d. 6 Jun 1855 in Emert's Cove, Sevier County, Tennessee.) m. c 1816 in Sevier County, Tennessee to Daniel EMERT (b. 13 Jun 1783 in Green County, North Carolina, d. 28 Aug 1851 in Pittman Center, Sevier County, Tennessee)  Daniel was the son of Frederick E. EMERT and Barbara Ann (Knight) NEIDIG.  Sarah and Daniel had 10 children.

7.      Nancy Jane REAGAN (b. c1789 in Caswell County, North Carolina, d.  4 Mar 1844 in Macoupin County, Illinois)  Nancy Jane remained unmarried. 

8.      Cecila Drusilla REAGAN (b. 15 Feb 1792 in Caswell County, North Carolina, d. 29 Oct 1869 in Townsend, Blount Count, Tennessee)  m. Nov 1812 in Sevier County, Tennessee to Frederick E. EMERT , Jr.(b 12 Jan 1790 in Middle Creek, Sevier County, Tennessee (a part of Greene County North Carolina at that time), d. 10 Apr 1871 in Townsend, Blount County, Tennessee.  Frederick was the son of Frederick E. EMERT and Barbara Ann (Knight) NEIDIG.  Cecila Drusilla and Frederick had 11 children, the youngest of whom (Catherine) died at birth.

9.      Catherine REAGAN (b.  c1794 in Caswell County, North Carolina, died c1844 in Greene County, Illinois)   m. 26 May 1815 in Madison, Illinois to  Davis CARTER (b. c1784 in North Carolina, d. 20 Nov 1847 in Greene, Illinois.)  Because of a premonition, Catherine escaped the Indian raid in 1814 (also described in the Timothy Ragan AOM article)  “Caty” and Davis had 6 children, including Joseph who died during the Mexican War.

10. Rhoda REAGAN (b. 20 Mar 1796 in Sevier County, Tennessee, d. 10 Oct 1855 in Bird Township, Macoupin County, Illinois)   m. c1813 in Sevier County Tennessee to James M. HUSKEY (b. 14 Feb 1785 in Edgefield , South Carolina, d. 15 Sep 1845 in Bird Township, Macoupin, Ilinois)  James was the son of Isaac HUSKEY and Jane MILLER.  Rhoda and James had 14 children.

11. Jeremiah REAGAN (b. 1798 in Sevier County, Tennessee, d. after 1880 in Bartow County, Georgia.)  m (1)  Mary HUSKEY (1799 in South Carolina, d. c 1870 in Bartow County, Georgia)  Mary was the daughter of Isaac HUSKEY and Jane MILLER.  (2) Louisa Eliza POWELL (b. c1823 in South Carolina, d. ?)  Jeremiah and Mary had four known children.  He and Louisa had no children.

12. Timothy REAGAN, Jr.  (b. 1 Jul 1800 in Sevier County, Tennessee,  d. 21 Aug 1883 in Bollinger County, Missouri)  m. (1) 30 Sep 1819 in Sevier County, Tennessee to Barbara SHULTS (b. 20 Mar 1803 in Emerts Cove, Sevier County, Tennessee, d. 21 Sep 1834 in Madison County, Missouri.  Barbara was the daughter of Martin SHULTS and Barbara Ann EMERT  and (2) after 1834 to Martha MOORE (b. c1809 in Tennessee, d.? )  Timothy and Barbara had 7 children; he and Martha had 8.

13. Joshua REAGAN (b. c1804 in Sevier County, Tennessee,  d. 13 Oct 1874 in Macoupin County, Illinois)   m. c. 1824  in Sevier County, Tennessee to Jane HUSKEY (b. 1806 in Sevier County, Tennessee, d. Aug 1857 in Phelps, Missousri.   Jane was the daughter of Isaac HUSKEY and Jane MILLER.   Joshua and Jane had 10 children.

 

Move to Tennessee

 

By the time his brother Joshua was born in 1804, Richard was about 28 years old and was already married with two children of his own.  His father had moved the family to Sevier County, Tennessee in the early 1790’s where they established a farm in the Middle Creek area.  Sometime between 1793-1795 Richard moved to Emert’s Cove (Pittman Center) where Frederick Emert and Martin Shultz, Jr. were clearing land for farms for their families.  Here Richard showed his initiative by hiring a man named Thomas Stockton to build a mill to grind the settlers’ corn. 

 

Some sources indicate that the men who lived in the community moved to Emert’s Cove first, built cabins and planted crops, and then moved their families to the area the second year.  There is also disagreement as to whether Richard went to Emert’s Cove with Emert and Shultz or whether he came later.  Whatever the case, Richard found the land and the company to his liking.  After the settlement at Emert’s Cove was underway, relatives of Martin Shultz, Jr. moved to the area.  Among these was Martin’s sister, Julia Ann Shultz.  She would become an important person in Richard’s life.

 

Julia Ann Shultz

 

Julia Ann’s heritage was German.  Family tradition says she was bilingual and preferred her German Bible and hymnal to English ones.  Her father, Dr. Martin Shultz, had served in the Revolution as a surgeon and had participated in the Battle of King’s Mountain.  When he died in Sullivan County, Tennessee, Julia Ann’s mother Juliana Stentz Shultz brought her children to Emert’s Cove, where her son Martin, Jr. had already established a home.  Here Julia Ann met Richard.  The two were married in 1796.  He was 20 or 21 and she was 21. 

 (Again there is disagreement.  Some sources indicate Richard and Julia Ann were married in Middle Creek and had their first two children there before moving to Emert’s Cove.  One way or the other, they eventually got to Emert’s Cove.)

 

Eventually the young couple had eleven children. 

 

  1. Timothy Richard RAGAN (b.c1796 in Middle Creek or Emert’s Cove, Sevier County, Tennessee, d. 1847 in Fulton County, Arkansas) m. (1) c1817 to Elizabeth LUSK (b. 1799 d.1831), daughter of Joseph and Sarah ROBERTS LUSK and (2) 1839 in Knox County to Elizabeth HOWSER (b1820/25 d. ?)  Timothy and Elizabeth had 6 children including John Henninger REAGAN, Postmaster General of the Confederacy and for a brief time at the end of the Civil War, Secretary of the Treasury of the Confederacy.  John Henninger is probably Gatlinburg’s most illustrious citizen.  Timothy and Elizabeth HOWSER RAGAN had one child.

 

  1. Mary Ann RAGAN (b c1798 in Emert’s Cove, Sevier County, Tennessee, d. 9 Mar 1878, Phelps Co., Missouri) m. c1815 to Peter Franklin HUSKEY (b. 1794 in Edgefield District, South Carolina, d.c1850 Phelps County, Missouri.)  Mary Ann and Peter first lived in Emert’s Cove, then with her parents on their farm in White Oak Flats.  When her father died, the couple moved to Alabama, then to Macoupin County, Illinois.  Next they moved to Missouri.  After Peter died, Mary Ann moved back to Illinois, and then, after that, she moved back to Missouri.  After Peter died, she lived in the homes of several of her children.  Mary Ann and Peter had 13 children

 

  1. Elizabeth RAGAN (b. 28 Dec 1800 in Sevier County, Tennessee, d. 24 Aug 1831 in Floyd County, Indiana) m. 30 Nov 1820 in Sevier County to Rev. John HAWTHORN (b. 7 Feb 1793, d. 22 Aug 1943) son of Noah and Mary Mourton HAWTHORN.  John was a Methodist circuit rider.    As a fairly young woman, Elizabeth became an invalid.  After several doctors advised her to travel, she and her husband started for Iowa where they planned to settle.  Unfortunately, she died on the trip there and was buried in Floyd County, Indiana.  John traveled on to Iowa with his children and continued with his ministry.  He did not remarry.  John and Elizabeth had 4 children.

 

  1. Daniel Wesley RAGAN (b.15 Oct 1802 in Sevier County, Tennessee, d. 25 Jan 1892 in Sevier County, Tennessee) m. 30 Jan 1830 to (1) Nancy OGLE (b. 24 Aug 1810, d. 18 Feb 1844) daughter of Thomas J. and Sophia Bosley OGLE and 20 Jun 1844 to  (2) Sarah WHALEY (b. 24 Jan 1819, d. 5 Dec 1901) daughter of Middleton and Rebecca Ogle McCarter WHALEY.  Daniel is our ancestor.  Daniel and Nancy had 9 children; he and Sarah had 5.  (Daniel is the subject of one of the AOM articles if you would like to read more about him.  Check the navigation bar to the left.
  2. Jane RAGAN (b. c1804 in Sevier County, Tennessee, d. c187? in Lawrence County, Arkansas)  m. c1826 to Albert HUSKEY (b. c1900, d. between 1852-1859) son of Isaac and Jane Miller HUSKEY.  Jane and Albert moved back and forth several times from White Oak Flats to lands west of the Missippi.  The couple had 11 children.

 

  1. Aaron RAGAN (b. c1806 in White Oak Flats, Sevier County, Tennessee, d. before 1830 in Emert’s Cove, Sevier County, Tennessee) m. 1824 to Susannah OGLE (b. 1810, d. after 1830), daughter of Isaac (Shucky) and Susannah Bohannon OGLE.  Aaron and Susannah had 3 children.  Aaron was only about 24 years old when he died.   Susannah and her mother-in-law Julia Ann lived together with their remaining children after their husbands died.

 

  1. Unknown RAGAN (b. c1808 in Sevier County, d.?)

 

  1. Nancy RAGAN (b. c1810 in Sevier County, Tennessee, d. c1854 in Sevier County, Tennessee) m. c1828 to Joseph McCARTER (b. c1810, d. 12 Dec 1884) son of James and Rebecca Ogle McCARTER.  Nancy was buried in White Oak Flats near her parents.  Joseph remarried twice and was buried in Cartertown Cemetery.  Nancy and Joseph had 6 children.

 

  1. David L. RAGAN (b. c1812 in Sevier County, Tennessee, d. 20 Jun 1864 in Gallatin, Sumner County, Tennessee) m.  1 Jul 1833 to Jane OGLE (b. 1818, d. after 1870) daughter of William (Black Bill) and Nancy Bohannon OGLE.  David was a Union soldier during the Civil War.  (See photo in McCarter Family Album)  He and Jane had 12 children, one of whom died in infancy and one who died at age 3 or 4.

 

  1. Unknown RAGAN (b. c1814 in White Oak Flats, Sevier County, Tennessee, d.?)

 

  1. Unknown RAGAN (b. c1816 in Sevier County, Tennessee, d.?)

 

The Ragans move to White Oak Flats

 

Throughout his life to this point, Richard had grown up on the frontier.  Each time his father moved the family, they had faced and tamed a new wilderness.  Around 1806 Richard moved his own family from Emert’s Cove to White Oak Flats.  (Even though he moved his family, Richard kept the land he owned in Emert’s Cove, made payments on it, and made the final installment in 1819, 10 years before he died.)  Legend has it that Richard and Julia Ann’s fourth child and second son, Daniel Wesley Reagan, was the first child to be born in White Oak Flats.  This legend is probably not true because Reagan family members have said that Daniel Wesley was born in Emert’s Cove before the family moved.  He was about 4 years old when his family moved to White Oak Flats (now Gatlinburg, TN).

 

Life in White Oak Flats

 

In the early 1800’s settlers in White Oak Flats had to be farmers in order to survive.  Richard took care of that first.  He established a farm with a vegetable garden and other crops and raised horses, cows, sheep, and pigs.  Once he was settled into White Oak Flats, Richard came into his own and was to become one of the community’s most influential citizens.  Almost immediately upon arrival he began to acquire property, eventually making himself a major landowner. 

 

(Unfortunately, the Sevier County courthouse burned in 1854, destroying most of the records; thus, we do not know exactly how much land Richard finally owned or exactly where it was all located.  However, some records do exist, including 4 land grants in the Tennessee State Archives.  In addition, in 1836 Richard’s son Daniel Wesley Reagan attempted to have all his father’s land resurveyed and was somewhat successful in this endeavor.  He accomplished enough that we can be sure Richard’s landholdings were extensive.  We do know where much of the land was located.  For example, the Ragan’s first log home was situated where the Riverside Hotel is now located in downtown Gatlinburg.  Later another log house and farm was built at the confluence of Mill Creek (LeConte Creek) and the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.  One source says that Richard probably owned about 100 acres in White Oak Flats.  He may have owned more than that.  Richard’s son Daniel Wesley inherited his father’s fondness for land and at one time owned over 6,000 acres in the area.)

 

Not only did he provide for his family, Richard served his community in several capacities.  As he had done in Emert’s Cove, he had a grist mill built in White Oak Flats.  The mill was located on Mill Creek (at the time called Ragan’s Mill Creek).  He also opened a blacksmith’s shop.  He was a justice of the peace and acted as postmaster for the area.  He sent his children to subscription schools and was a lay leader for the fledgling Methodist congregation in White Oak Flats (as he had been in Emert’s Cove.)   He offered his own home to be used as a meeting house for the Methodists.   Ever helpful, he shared a large spring on his property with his neighbors if they needed water.

 

Signs and Omens

 

Though he was a religious man, Richard Ragan was apparently also a bit superstitious.  Family tradition says that one day in 1829 when he was sixty years old, Richard Reagan saw an omen or sign of his own demise.  He was sitting on his porch of his home, smoking his pipe.  Suddenly a bird swooped into the porch area and thrashed about trying to get back into the open air.  Richard jumped up from his chair and pronounced that the bird was a death sign.  He was very disturbed about the incident.  It was commonly thought in those days that a bird flying into a house was a sign of a forthcoming death in the family.

 

What happened the next day (or a few days later) is in dispute.  One version is that while Richard was cutting a tree, a branch fell off and hit him on the head, fracturing his skull.  The other version is that he was taking his horses from pasture to barn and a limb fell off a beech tree and struck him in the head.  Whichever of these stories is true, he died a few days later, fulfilling his own prophecy.  Richard was buried in the Ragan family graveyard located on his farm in White Oak Flats.

 

Julia Ann’s Later Years

 

Julia Ann survived her husband by some 16 years.  She lived for a while in Emert’s Cove with her daughter-in-law Susannah, her son Aaron’s widow.  At the time both women still had children at home.   Later she lived with her son Daniel Wesley Reagan and his family in White Oak Flats.  She did not remarry.

 

Julia Ann passed away in her sleep when she was 70 years old.  Her family thought that she had recovered from a spring cold, but when they went to wake her one morning, they discovered that she had died.   Julia Ann was buried beside Richard in the Ragan family graveyard.  Years later this family cemetery was given to the town by Daniel Wesley Reagan and is now the oldest part of the White Oak Flats Cemetery in Gatlinburg.

 

Richard Ragan was one of the first settlers of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  He and his descendants were instrumental in the development of the town and the region.  Their contributions to the area were outstanding.

 

Richard Ragan was Eli McCarter’s great grandfather.  If you are Papaw McCarter’s great great grandchild, Richard Ragan is your 5-great grandfather.

 

Line of descent from Richard Ragan to Eli McCarter

 

Richard Ragan (1776-1829) + Julia Ann Shultz (1775-1845)

Daniel Wesley Reagan (1802-1892) + Nancy Ogle (1810-1844)

Marriah Reagan (1842-1923) + Thomas Hill McCarter (1846-1923)
Eli McCarter (1886-1955) + Mary Elizabeth Hatcher (1889-1969)

 

 

Sources:

 

“Aaron McCarter.”  Ahnentafel, Generation No. 4 http://wc.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=AHN&db=irishmurr2&id=I09187

 

Cardwell, Glenn.  “Cardwell Chapel.”  http://74.125.113.104/search?q=cache:wOwagUXPcA8J:www.sevierlibrary.org/NewGen/Churhis/THE%2520CARDWELL%2520CHAPEL.pdf+%22Richard+Reagan%22+%2B+Julia+Ann+Shultz&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=7&gl=us

 

Gatlinburg Interpretive Outline 3/14/2007 http://www.gatlinburg-tennessee.com/library/cms/File/Interpretive%20Outline.pdf

 

Gatlinburg History.”  Jackson Mountain Homes  http://www.jacksonmountain.com/gatlinburg/history.htm

 

Greve, Jeanette.  The Story of Gatlinburg (New York: Vintage, 1931; reprint Nashville: Premium Press America, 2003).

 

“Julia Ann Shultz.”   Smokykin.com.  http://www.smokykin.com/ged/f000/f06/a0000673.htm

 

McCarter Charts and Traditions

 

McCarter, Pinkney J.  “Yours and My Reagan Line,” 1959.

 

Reagan, Donald B.  The Book of Ragan/Reagan.  Knoxville, TN:  np, 1993.

 

Reagan, Donald B.  Smoky Mountain Clans, Vol. I, Knoxville, TN:  np, 1983.

 

“Richard Reagan.”  Smokykin.com

http://www.smokykin.com/ged/f000/f06/a0000671.htm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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