Algern McReynold Ragle was born April 30, 1859 in Raglesville, Daviess County, Indiana to Alonzo and Susan Ragle. He was the first of 10 children of this marriage, 9 of whom survived to adulthood. We know about his activities as a young adult from an autobiographical sketch in his own hand, written out for the Kansas Historical Society. The sketch was solicited by the Society in an effort to bring into its collections biographical material on all prominent citizens of Kansas, especially those who have helped to found the institutions of the State. Information is also available in the form of numerous land transaction records from the Toronto and Coffeyville area, and from Coffeyville newspapers and other publications.
Prior to coming to Kansas, Algern lived in Martin Co. IN, Burns City PO. He attended the Common Schools of Martin Co., the Teacher's Course, National Normal School, Lebanon, Ohio, High School and Freshman Class at Indiana University, Scientific Class, Kansas Normal College, and special courses in Kansas Normal School, Emporia, Kansas.
He was a republican, and lists his religious denomination as Methodist Episcopal. He had no military service. He was a member of the following Lodges: AF&AM, R.A.M, A.O.U.W. & F.A.A.
Algern served as a member of the board of County High School, Montgomery Co. Kansas, and as a member of the Board of Education, Coffeyville, Kansas. He began teaching in the public schools of Indiana in September 1876, moved to Kansas January 1882, and taught school in Woodson Co. Kansas and Coffeyville, Kansas, quitting May 1897. He taught school in the Kalida, KS School District 16 at a school the first class of which (in 1865) included Mary Jane Woodruff, later to be the wife of his brother Jacob Ragle.
Algern Ragle served in the Kansas Legislature from 1913 to 1915, elected in 1913 to a 2-year term for House District #26 as a Republican from Montgomery Co. The cartoon below is from the Legislature's Scrapbook, and is accompanied by this text.
Delia O. Adelstine Williams was born August 17, 1868 in Deerfield (near Richards), Vernon County, Missouri, to Daniel B. Williams and Mary Jane Williams nee Orr. She had one sister, Mrs. C. A. VanVelzer [Lutie Williams]. Nothing is known about her early life, other than the fact that she and her family moved to Ft. Scott in 1885. Information about her family is available from newspaper articles and obituary notices, mainly from the Fort Scott area. Her father ran a successful creamery and dairy store in Fort Scott, and one or two of the original photographs which we have of her are marked "Williams Photography," though this name may be a coincidence.
Algern and Delia Ragle were married November 6, 1889 in Fort Scott, Kansas.
Four children were born to Algern and Delia Ragle:
Juanita A. Ragle, b. August 20, 1890, d. 10 November 1891 according to Woodson Co. KS Deaths 1853-1926. She died at the age of 1 year, 2 months, and 11 days, and is interred in Toronto Township Cemetery sec B1 BE row 28 near the graves of her grandparents Alonzo and Susan Toon Ragle. An obituary from the Toronto Republican, Eureka Herald, Nov. 20, 1891 reads:
"Died, Nov. 10 1891 Juanita H. Ragle, infant daughter and only child of Mr. and Mrs. Algern H. [sic] Ragle of this city, aged 1 year 2 months and 11 days. The funeral was preached at the M. E. church by the pastor, Rev. M. C. Culler, Wednesday afternoon, after which the remains were taken to the Toronto cemetery and there laid to rest. The grief-stricken young parents have the sincere sympathy of this entire community."
Photographs of Juanita and of Harland as infants were accidentally discovered in Texas and are reproduced below: It is not known to whom these photographs belonged. They were recovered in an abandoned house, the mortgage of which had been foreclosed, by a representative of the Federal Government. This man's wife sought members of Algern Ragle's family via various means on the internet, and eventually contacted the author.
Herman Harland Ragle, b. December 30, 1892, d. about 1950 in New York City. A photograph of Harland, together with his first cousins Richard Charles Ragle and Forrest Shumate Ragle, is reproduced below.
Roland Culler Ragle, b. January 11, 1896, d. January 1968. The Reverend Culler officiated at the funeral for Juanita, and his influence on the family is commemorated in Roland's middle name. It is not known if there is any other family connection between Ragle and Culler or between Williams and Culler. A newspaper halftone picture of Roland is reproduced below.
Jean Merrill Ragle, b. December 21, 1898, d. February 11, 1957. A photograph of 'JM' is reproduced below.
Althought Harland was born in Toronto, KS, RC and his brother JM were born in Coffeyville. While the Ragle store in Quincy continued to operate and sell off inventory under the supervision of Will, Fred and Nate, by the fall of the year 1892 Algern and Delia were apparently living in Coffeyville. Algern's association with the school systems in Independence County is mentioned above, and his business activities in Coffeyville are documented in the City directories and newspaper articles of the time. There was apparently a short interlude in Lexington, KY before the family returned to Ft. Scott so that Delia could care for her mother.
The following newspaper obituaries summarize the lives of Algern and Delia, trivializing, as newspapers are wont to do, what must have been very rich and interesting years for an extraordinarily capable man and woman in post-Civil War Indiana and in Kansas after the "Bleeding Kansas" period.
Ft. Scott, KS Tribune, Tues, June 16, 1925:
"A. M. Ragle Dead.
>"Well-known Resident of 1202 Judson Street, Died Last Night After Long Illness.
"A. M. Ragle of 1202 South Judson stree, for a number of years a leading resident of Fort Scott, and in early life a student at the Fort Scott Normal, passed away at the family home last night. He has been in failing health for the past six years and since April his condition has been critical.
"Mr. Ragle was born in Martin County, Indiana, April 30, 1859. At his death he was 66 years, 1 month, and 15 days old. In early life he was a teacher. He attended the Bloomington, Ind. State University, and also the Fort Scott Normal. It was while a student here that he met his future wife, Miss Delia Williams, and they were married in 1889.
"Mr. and Mrs. Ragle resided in Coffeyville for several years. During that period Mr. Ragle served ably for two terms in the state legislature. After a period of residence in Lexington, KY, the family returned here in 1916, when Mrs. Ragle's mother was ill.
"Mr. Ragle, until his health failed, was a traveling salesman for the Sinclair Oil Company and took a great interest in public welfare work. He was a faithful and active member of the Methodist church. He also belonged to the Masons.
"He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Delia O. Ragle, and the following sons: H. Harland Ragle of Jackson, Mich.; Roland Culler Ragle and Jean Merrill Ragle, both of Dearborn, Mich. A daughter, Juanita, died in infancy.
"He also leaves these brothers and sister: Jacob of Iola, KS., William of Los Angeles, Robert of Burdette, KS., Horace of Colorado Springs, and Mrs. Carrie Buss of Colorado Springs.
"The body will be taken to the home tomorrow. The funeral will be arranged after relatives have been heard from. Dr. Parkinson will conduct the services. Burial will be in Evergreen cemetery."
Ft. Scott, KS Tribune, Tues, August 4, 1953:
"Funeral services for Mrs. Delia O. Williams Ragle, 85 yrs, who died in her sleep Sunday night will be held at the Konantz Funeral Home tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m.
"The decesed daughter of Daniel B. and Mary Jane Williams was born near Richards, Mo. August 17, 1868. She moved with her parents to Fort Scott in 1885.
"On Nov. 6, 1889, she was married to Algern McReynold Ragle in Fort Scott. He died in 1925. They made their home continuously in Fort Scott with the exception of 20 years spent in Coffeyville and Toronto.
"Mrs. Ragle was a regular attendant at the Nazarene church where she held membership. She attended services there Sunday. She also was a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the Women"s Christian Service.
"Surviving are three sons: J. M. of Kansas City, Mo., Roland of South America, and Harland of New York City; a sister, Mrs. C. A. VanVelzer, 224 South Main, 5 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
"Mr. And Mrs. J. M. Ragle arrived here today. The body is at the Konantz Funeral Home.
"The family has requested that no flowers be sent to the funeral."