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J.L. Ragsdale

Page 687

As, perhaps, the principal dealer in general mechandise at Dixie, might be mentioned Mr Ragsdale, a son of Peter M. Ragsdale and Sarah Cowen, who was born in Marshall County Ala, on October 23, 1846. The father was a native of South Carolina, who moved to Alabama about the year 1838 or 1840 and established a general merchandise business, besides operating several saw and flour mills. He became a man of much influence and was high in the estimation of the people of that State and was elected to several public offices of trust. His death occurred in 1883, his wife surviving him but three years. Edward Ragsdale, the father of Peter M., was a native of Virginia, where he was a wealthy planter and the wife was born in South Carolina. They were the parents of eight children: Eliza (born in 1838, who was married to Dan Walker and who died in 1884, leaving five children), John W. (born 1836, a prominent farmer in Marshall County Ala), Marinda (born in 1838, wife of M.S. Kirkland, who resides in Conway County), Anna (born in 1840, and married to M. Andrews of Mississippi, where they resided until her death in 1882, leaving 6 children), Edmund M. (born in 1844, who died in Mississippi about the year 1873, leaving a wife and one child), J.L., Franklin J. (born in 1848 and residing in Missippi), Preston C. (who was born in 1842, is a well known merchant of Ragsdale Ala, who was married to a Miss Alexander, by whom he has had several children). J.L. Ragsdale was reared on a farm in Marshall County Ala and received his education in the subscription schools of that place. He was only fifteen years of age when the Civil War came on, but he enlisted in the then famous Griffin's Scouts, and served till near the close of hostilities, taking part in the battles of Franklin, Nashville, under Forrest in his raids and a great number of skirmishes. He was severely wounded in a fight near Huntsville Ala which laid him up for about eight weeks and on another occasion while on the return march with Hood from his raids through Tennessee, he was taken sick and was unable to join his command again until after the war was over. He then resided with his father until 1866 when he was married to Miss Mary J. Brown, a daughter of Calvin Brown, a well known steamboatman and merchant. In 1867 Mr Ragsdale and his wife removed to DeSoto County Mississippi where he engaged in merchandising and farming until 1878. He soon had established his reputation in business and was growing wealthy when he lost everything he owned by the great floods of 1877. One yar later he moved to Morrilton Ark and again started in business, also opening up a first class hotel in the same place, where his family at present resides. In 1887 he came to Houston, Perry County, where he was engaged in the liquor business for two years and just lately he has again commenced merchandising at Dixie, where his stock, which is one of the best in Perry County, will invoice about $30,000. Mr Ragsdale and his wife are the parents of three daughters: Sallie (an estimable young lady, wife of James Evans, a well known railroad man), Willie A. (born in 1870 and married to Thomas Edmands, a commercial traveler for the tobacco house of Grist, Clayton & Co in Virginia), Emma L. (born 1873, residing at home). In politics Mr Ragsdale is a Democrat and a valuable man to that party. His wife and children are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Mr Ragsdale's efforts in building up and improving the county have been well appreciated by its citizens. He is a wide awake and energetic man and one whose citizenship adds to the advantages of a place. He is a member of the Knights of Honor.