This is yet another installment about my search for Ragland ancestors, and unfortunately, I still have not determined the names of Winiford Ragland's parents.
Since I have been unable to locate Arthur C. Ragland on a census record in Mississippi between 1820 and 1880, I can only assume that he was counted under another name that I would not recognize, possibly one that began with his middle initial of "C." Another possibility, of course, is that he died sometime after 1841, the date he was issued patents for land in Attala County.
Yesterday, I decided to review again Edward Branch's War of 1812 records that I obtained from the National Archives. Although I had some information about Edward Branch to begin with, photocopies of the documents in his war and pension file have given me data and insight into his life that, otherwise, I would not have.
Included in the pension file was a copy of the Application for Widow's Pension filed by Winiford Ragland Branch after Edward's death on October 28, 1874. It appears from the documents, that when the pension office in Washington, D.C. requested proof of her marriage to Edward, Winiford was unable to provide a copy of the document. Apparently, the record of her marriage to Edward was either lost or destroyed during the Civil War, and all that remained at the Hinds County Courthouse in Raymond, Mississippi, was a copy of a marriage bond that was posted.
Edward's file documents show that Bryan Tyson, Esq., representing the pension office in Washington, wrote to Winiford's attorneys in Kosciusko, Mississippi, Butts & Scarborough, requesting a signed affidavit from two individuals who could attest to the fact that the marriage had actually occurred. A copy of the affidavit submitted, signed by Robert W. Ragland and Sarah Haxall, who stated they were each present and saw the couple married, is among the pension file documents. Now I have another Ragland name to include in my search. In addition, other members of the community who had known the couple for many years submitted separate affidavits attesting to the public's knowledge of the existence of the Ragland-Branch marriage. Two such individuals were Charles R. McNeal and Thomas W Evans.
Here is a look at the affidavit, signed by Robert W. Ragland and Sarah Haxall, that bears the seal of an Attala County Justice of the Peace, R. N. Ousley:
So now it's back to census searching, this time for Robert W. Ragland. Apart from the affidavit, one othe item of interest I found yesterday was that a member of the Ragland family in Hanover County, Virginia, Evan Ragland, alledgedly married Susannah Pettus. If you have been following this blog, you may recall that my maternal line includes the Pettus family, who lived in Kent County, Virginia before migrating south. Possibly, a connection between these two families existed in Mississippi, as well, since I have now found a Pettus family and a Ragland family living in 1860 near Paris, a community in Lafayette County, Mississippi. I am anxious to see where this research leads me.