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Below is a family biography from the book, History of Kentucky, Edition 1 by J. H. Battle, W. H. Perrin and G. C. Kniffin and published by F. A. Battey Publishing Company in 1885.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JAMES M. RAGSDALE is a native of Pittsylvania County, Va. He was born August 15, 1839, and is a son of the Rev. Thomas M. Ragsdale, a Methodist preacher. The father was born in North Carolina, where he was reared, educated and there married to Miss Nancy W. Baldwin, a native of the same State. After residing in Virginia and later years in North Carolina, he came to Calloway County, Ky., in 1843, and being licensed to preach, had charge of a local congregation until 1849, when he removed to Henry County, Tenn., remaining there about six years, during which time he gained a wide spread reputation as a powerful and effective speaker. He possessed a remarkably strong voice, which it is said has been heard a distance of two miles while engaged in prayer. He was an excellent singer, and was noted for his great zeal and consistent Christian course in life. For thirty years he labored in this State, Illinois and Tennessee, having charge at different times of many and various circuits. In 1861, he was elected chaplain of the Seventh Kentucky Infantry (Confederate), but after the engagement at Shiloh resigned and returned home. He died January 24, 1882, after an illness of six days, brought on by a chill contracted while conducting service. He was three times married, his first wife having died in 1863. She bore him fourteen children, eight of whom are living. There were seven children by his second wife, Sarah Harper. She died in 1879. His third wife, Sophia M. Ross, is yet living in the county. At eighteen years of age, our subject began the management of the home farm, being allowed a share of the crops, to enable him to attend school. In 1861, at the breaking out of the war, he entered the Seventh Kentucky Infantry, Company F, and served with the same until the spring of 1864. He participated in the battles of Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg, Nashville, etc., and after the latter battle returned to McCracken County. He hired out to farm work, and with the money earned continued his school studies, and in 1865 taught in the public schools for several months. November 24, 1866, he was married to Miss Georgia A. Jones, of this county. After his marriage he engaged in farming and in teaching, and has since devoted his time to these occupations. He has two farms of 124 and 151 acres respectively, under a good state of cultivation. Mr. Ragsdale is a member of the Masonic order, and of the Methodist Church South. Mr. and Mrs. Ragsdale have four children: Oney, Minnie, Sallie I. and Deany A.

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This family biography is one of 165 biographies included in the McCracken County, Kentucky section of the book, The History of Kentucky, Edition 1 published in 1885 by F. A. Battey Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: History of Kentucky, Edition 1

View additional McCracken County, Kentucky family biographies here: McCracken County, Kentucky Biographies

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