Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Finding the Raglands

Searching for the graves of a few of my ancestors, including members of the Ragland Family, has been like an Easter egg hunt - especially for those who died before 1850.  Although I knew where they lived in Mississippi at one time, often based on a marriage date, I often had virtually no information about where they lived at the time of their deaths.  

One of my own rules for research, regardless of the situation, has always been "Go with what you know." And it was with this philosophy, that I began my search for the grave sites of Ragland family members in Hinds County, Mississippi, since I already knew that Winiford Ragland and Edward Tillman Branch, my third great-grandparents, were married there in 1833.  With a little luck, I found the graves of three Ragland family members buried in Palestine Cemetery, in Hinds County, near Raymond, Mississippi. Buried in this small rural cemetery are Elizabeth Smith Ragland, my paternal great-great-great-great-grandmother, who died in 1850, and two of her children, Arthur S. Ragland and his sister, Mary V. Ragland

As was the case then, and now, as well, parents named their children for sisters and brothers.  And this was exactly what Winiford and Edward Branch did when they named two of their children for Winiford's brother, Arthur S. Ragland, and for her sister, Mary V. Ragland. According to the U.S. Census recorded in 1850 for Attala County, Mississippi, "Auther" Joseph Branch (Arthur Joseph, later known simply as "Joe") was 12 years old.  Later, Joe would become the father of Clark Commander Branch, my paternal grandfather, and over one hundred years later, one of my brothers would be named for him. In 1860, the U.S. Census shows that Winiford and Edward had a daughter, Mary V. Branch, likely named for her mother's sister who died before the six year old was born.

For photos of these Ragland family members' grave stones, please visit Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek.  

Source Information: 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch; Accessed 10/31/2010. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Accessed 10/31/2010.
Find-A-Grave, Palestine Cemetery, Hinds County, Mississippi; Site accessed on 10/30/2010.

Ragland Family Book

Thanks to a little internet research, I have discovered Charles Ragland's book, entitled "The Raglands:  The History of a British American Family," that traces that family's origins back to England.  Actually the book is two volumes and can be found in most genealogy libraries.  According to what I have read so far, the book traces the lineage of the Ragland family in America through Evan Ragland, the emigrant.  Now I need to locate a copy to read more about the "Mississippi Raglands, " William Ragland, Jr., Joseph Ragland, and John Ragland (Winiford Ragland's father, and my ancestor.)  More later......

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Edward Tillman Branch - 1850 - 1902

Today on Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek, a sister blog to Mississippi Memories, I posted a photo of the monument that marks the grave of Edward Tillman Branch.  A brother of my paternal great-great-grandfather, Joseph Arthur Branch, Edward Tillman Branch, was born on November 25, 1850 and lived his entire life in the Newport area of Attala County, Mississippi. The letter below, dated April 7, 1902, was written by Edward Tillman Branch to his young daughter, Mamie, while he was undergoing medical treatment in New Orleans. One day short of seven months later, on November 6, 1902, Edward Tillman Branch died.  He left a young widow, Nettie Allen Branch, and several small children, including a son, his namesake, born the year before his father's death.

Copy of letter (scanned) courtesy of B. Branch, Birmingham, Alabama

Monday, October 25, 2010

Most-Read Posts According to Blogger Stats

Although I have tried, I cannot predict how many readers will be attracted to a particular post. On a number of occasions, I have researched and written posts that I thought would be of interest to a large audience, only to find the actual number of readers was very low.  In other instances, the opposite was true.  Nevertheless, I continue to analyze the popularity of posts on topics that have appealed to the largest number of readers of this blog, and today I thought it might be fun to list the top five posts, according to Blogger statistics.  So here they are, listed in the  order of reader popularity.

Robert Johnson's Grave and a Trip to Tallahatchie Flats, June 16, 2009

"One Night of Madness" - A True Account of the Leon Turner Murder Case,
October 20, 2009

Burel Family - Pennsylvania>Union County, SC>Gwinnett County, GA, March 28, 2009

Uriah Conner and His Descendants - November 19, 2009

The Netherland Family of Holmes County, MS - February 22, 2009

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Downtown Brandon and Old Brandon Cemetery on National Register of Historic Places

According to an article in the online version of RankinLedger, downtown Brandon, Mississippi, county seat of Rankin County, as well as the Old Brandon Cemetery will be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Photo by Natalie Maynor

The cemetery containing more than 1000 graves, with some dating back to 1834, is the burial place for two former Mississippi governors, Robert Lowry and Anselm McLaurin. Also of special historical significance is the fact that Old Brandon Cemetery is the final resting place for the remains of 200 Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Battle of Shiloh.

To see photos and read more about historic places in Brandon, Mississippi, visit the website for the Brandon Historic Preservation Commission.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ragland Ancestors

Thanks to research today on, I found the name of my great-great-great-great-grandfather Ragland.  I have long known that Winiford (Winney) Ragland, married to Edward Tilman Branch (born 1798 in Virginia) was my paternal great-great-great-grandmother.  But I had not been able to determine the names of her parents.  Today, I found those names - John W. Ragland and Elizabeth Smith.  John, born in 1788 in Newberry, South Carolina, married Elizabeth, born 1790, about 1810 in Newberry, South Carolina.  Their marriage produced nine children, including my great-great-great-grandmother, Winiford, born in 1814.  Winiford's siblings were John W. Jr. (1808), Arthur S. (1811), Sara (1814), William A. (1825), Robert W. (1826), Eliza (1832), Mary V. (1835), and Julia V. (1840).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday - Storm Cloud Near Flora, MS

Photo by Ashley Rennie Photography

Amazing photo of storm cloud taken from Highway 22 en route to Petrified Forest near Flora, Mississippi.

Monday, October 18, 2010

More Cousins!

Blogging about family research has always been a positive experience for me.  Often, I have received help from readers with my own research, and on some occasions, I have been able to help a few readers.

But by far, my best experience as a blogger has been meeting new cousins. This past week I met two.  One individual lives in Greenville, Mississippi, and the other calls Gonzales, Louisiana home.  One contact was an email through Facebook, and the other was in a beautifully written letter that arrived in the U.S. Mail.  I plan to keep in touch with both people.

Ironically, each cousin has ties to the Burrell family that settled in Attala County, Mississippi over 150 years ago and found my blog while searching for information about that family.  Jean Baptiste Elz√©ar Burel, the family's common ancestor, was a physician who sailed with Lafayette from his native France to serve in the American Revolution.  Now, over two hundred years later, Dr. Burel's descendants number in the thousands and live throughout his adopted country.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Poem for Sunday - The Wisdom of Folly

The cynics say that every rose is guarded by a thorn which grows to spoil our posies;
But I no pleasure therefore lack;
I keep my hands behind my back
When smelling roses.
Though outwardly a gloomy shroud 
Is bright and shining: I therefore turn my clouds about, And always wear them inside out To show the lining.
My modus operandi this -- To take no heed of what's amiss; Because, as Shakespeare used to say, A merry heart goes twice the way That tires a sad one.
- Ellen Thorneycroft Fowle
         (The Honorable Mrs. Alfred Felkin)

From Verses Wise and Otherwise

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010: Water

Ross Barnett Reservoir (MS)
By Ashley Rennie Photography

Water - such a simple word for something that most of us take for granted. All living things, including our own bodies, which are mostly water in the first place, need water to live. Yet so many people throughout our world do not have enough clean water to drink. It is difficult for me to imagine not being able to turn on a faucet and have clean water immediately available - for drinking, cooking, bathing, or any other purpose I might want. But millions of people throughout the world must rely on water, for all their needs, coming from a something other than a faucet, and often from sources that are unsanitary and sometimes contaminated.

As individuals, what can each of us do to help? 

First, water is not an unlimited resource, and we should learn to conserve it. Become aware of conservation methods that apply to daily living. A few examples of these methods include taking shorter showers, turning off the water while brushing your teeth, and doing laundry only when the washer is full. Other methods to help conserve water outside our households include the planting of drought friendly landscaping plants and less frequent watering of our lawns. Saving water in small ways does add up if each of us incorporates some simple conservation techniques into our daily lives.

Secondly, clean water is becoming harder and harder to find. Many of this nation's streams and waterways have become contaminated by industrial processes that did not exist in years past and have affected not only the fish that live in the water, but the natural habitat and wildlife that depend on clean water to survive. Becoming involved in our communities and having active voices about what happens to our natural resources is more important than ever before.

Third, become an advocate for water conservation, and volunteer to help others globally who struggle to have clean water to drink. Become involved in community efforts to maintain clean, safe water. 

On this Blog Action Day, I hope you will take a closer look at how important water is to all of us. And I encourage you to consider making water conservation a part of your daily life. 

To read other Blog Action Day posts, click here.