John W. Ragland and Elizabeth Smith Ragland were the parents of four sons: John W., Jr. (1808), Arthur S. (1811), William J. (1825), and Robert W. (1826). Arthur Ragland, for whom my paternal great-great-grandfather, Joseph Arthur Branch, was named, died in 1845 and is buried in Palestine Cemetery near Raymond, Mississippi. Although Arthur may have had a wife and children, I have not yet found that information.
According to the U. S. Census recorded in 1850 for Hinds County, Mississippi, William J. Ragland, a planter by occupation, was the head of a household that included Mary M., 27 years old, and four children named Josaphine (age 8), Benjamin F. (age 6), Rebecca A. (age 4), and Winferd Ragland, age 2. Likely, "Winferd" was named for William's sister, Winiford Ragland Branch, my paternal great-great-great-grandmother. Although Mary was shown to have been born in South Carolina, William and each of their four children were born in Mississippi. To date, I have been unable to locate William J. or his wife and children on an 1860 census record. Look for more about William and his family in a later post.
Also, I have had difficulty in locating John W. Ragland, Jr., born approximately 1808. Although I did find a John W. Ragland, born in Virginia in 1808, living near Nashville, Tennessee in 1850, further research is needed to determine his relationship, if any, to John W. Ragland, my fourth great-grandfather.
Two issues that most family researchers must deal with when reviewing old census records is the inaccurate spelling of surnames, often recorded phonetically by the census taker, and the mispelling of names contained in transcribed records. Searching for Robert W. Ragland on U.S. Census records for 1850 and 1860 found both situations existed. In 1850, R. W. "Raglin" was enumerated on the U. S. Census in Hinds County, Mississippi. A twenty-four year old "overseer," his birthplace was shown as Louisiana. R. W., based on his age, birthplace, and the place of his residence, was Robert W. Ragland, son of John W. and Elizabeth Smith Ragland. According to the 1850 census record, R. W. was the head of a household that included his twenty-one year old wife, Sarah Jane, and a one-year old daughter named Laura. Later research revealed Sarah Jane was the daughter of William and Louisa Anastacia Porter of Hinds County, Mississippi.
In 1860, the U.S. Census record showed Robert "Rogland" living in Attalaville, now an extinct town in Attala County, Mississippi, in a household that included five young children. The oldest child was Laura, 13, almost certainly the same small child who was listed on the 1850 census recorded in Hinds County. A second daughter, an 11-year old named Elizabeth, lived in Robert's household in 1860 and most likely named for Robert's mother, Elizabeth Smith Ragland. Robert's other children included Mary, 9 years old, Turner, age 7, and Sarah, age 5. Since Robert Ragland's household did not include a wife, I believe that Sarah Jane, with whom he lived in 1850, may have died during or shortly after the birth of 5-year old Sarah, probably named for her deceased mother. Since Robert's sister, Winiford Ragland Branch and her husband, Edward Tillman Branch and their children, already lived in Attala County in 1860, Robert may have moved his family from Hinds County to Attala County to be near relatives who could help him care for his children.
A review of the U.S. Census of 1860, Slave Schedules, found that Robert Ragland of Attala County, Mississippi, was the owner of three slaves, a 30 year old black female and two black males, aged 25 and 15.
In 1860, Robert's neighbors in Attalaville included the Burell and Jenkins families, of whom I have written on this blog, along with the family of James M. and Eliza (Walker) Porter, my paternal great-great-great-grandparents in my paternal grandmother's line.
Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Township 13 Range 4, Attala, Mississippi; Roll: M653_577; Page: 464; Image: 464; Family History Library Film: 803577. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
Ancestry.com. 1860 U.S. Federal Census - Slave Schedules [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.