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