TIMELINE: Susan Rice Ragan

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

Late last year, I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the pension files for this years challenge.

Today a timeline for my newly found GG grandmother with notation of where I found the information.

Susan Rice Ragan

Age 0: Birth  abt 1835 • Virginia

Age 19: Birth of Son Henry Rice (1854–) Tennessee. 1870 U. S. Census

Age 20: Birth of Daughter Anna Celia Rice: Feb 1855 • McMinn County. 1870 U. S. Census

Age 20: Marriage to Nelson Ragan:10 Dec 1855 • McMinn County. Widow’s Pension File

Age 22: Birth of Son Philip Ragan 26 Dec 1857 • McMinn County. Widow’s Pension File.

Age 25: Birth of Daughter Sarah Ragan:20 Jun 1860 •McMinn. Widow’s Pension File.

Age 25: Enslaved by William L.Rice. 1860 McMinn County Slave Census

Age 29: Husband Nelson Ragan mustered into the United States Colored Heavy Artillery in Knoxville, TN.

Age 29: Death of Husband Nelson Ragan (1838–1864)20 Mar 1864, Knoxville, TN Military Records & Pension File

Age 29:  21 Mar 1864 • McMinn County, TN Began to receive her $8 a month Civil War Widow’s Pension, back dated to her husband’s death. Widow’s Pension File.

Age 29: Birth of Daughter Mary Susan Ragan 20 Jun 1864 • Athens. Widow’s Pension File.

Age 34: 23 Jan 1869 • Susan applied for her Widow’s Pension. Widow’s Pension File.

Age 35: 1870 • Athens: Henry 15, Ann (Celia) 14, Phillip 10, Sarah 8, Mary 6. Celia can read, no one else can. Susan receiving pension. No outside work listed. 1870 U. S. Census.

Age 40: 25 Dec 1875 • Stops receiving  $2 per month for Phillip, has reached 16. Widow’s Pension File

Age 41: 19 Jun 1876 •  Stops receiving pension for Sarah as she has reached 16. Widow’s Pension File

Age 45: 19 Jun 1880 • Loses $2 pension for Mary as she reaches 16.

Age 45: 1880 • Athens, Widowed; Head; 2 children, Phillip(laborer) and Mary, who is literate and in school. 1880 U. S. Census

Age 55: Jun 1890  Census of Pensioners. 1890 Veteran’s Census

Age 65: 1900 Widowed; Birthed 5/3 alive;Sarah – cook, birthed 6/3 alive and her 3 – Frank (waiter), Blanch & Charles Hale (at school). 1900 U. S. Census

Age 75: 1910: Widowed; rents house, illiterate,Grandson Frederick Hodge, 18 laborer at odd jobs. 1910 U. S. Census

Age 76: 4 Nov 1911 Last pension payment of $12.00 Widow’s Pension File

Age 76: Death 6 Dec 1911 Died of heart disease. Doc. charged $4. Cared for by daughter Mary Hodge. Widow’s Pension File.

Burial Dec 1911 • Buried Hammond’s Cemetery, Athens. Find-a-Grave

14 thoughts on “TIMELINE: Susan Rice Ragan

  1. How fascinating you can find that information. It’s much harder to find that sort of info in Australia because we don’t have records like that (being such a young country).

    Visiting from A-Z
    AJ Blythe

    1. I’m not really familiar with Australian genealogy, but there are quite a few people doing it and they seem to have records.

      It’s not easy to find it here either. Takes a lot of digging.

  2. That is quite a timeline. I did one for one of my 2X great-grandfathers and included inventions just to become aware of what changes he saw in his lifetime. Of course, some inventions might not have made their way into everyday life for him to have even known about but it’s still interesting.

  3. She had a long and a very full life, was it a happy life? That’s difficult to figure. Also the standards we use now to measure happiness would not be valid in those times.

    The depth of research here has to be inversely proportional to the conciseness of the descriptions! So amazing.

  4. Your GG Grandmother was widowed at 29 but lived until 76–nearly 50 years longer. Thankfully she had three children live and thankfully she had that widow’s pension. Did they take the $2 off the $8/week as each of the children came of age, or was there an additional $2/child over and above the $8? It boggles my mind that you are still finding out new information about such close relatives. Makes one hope that there is still more to be found!

  5. This must have taken a lot of sleuthing to unearth all this information about one person. Strange how the bare facts tell a story themselves, imagination fills in all the gaps and the hardship. So sad.

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