Southern Indiana, from Orange to Daviess County, mid-1830's:
Daviess County was originally part of Knox County. It lies at the junction of the East and West Branches of the White River. As originally formed, it included parts of Green and Martin Counties, but took its present size around 1820. Records of its settlement begin around 1792, but settlement by Europeans was very sparse until a decade or so later. Conflicts with the Indian inhabitants continued until after the War of 1812. Much of what follows takes place in and around Van Buren Township, which was scarcely settled by 1820. Early European settlers include Asbury Sims and Cyrus Crook [sic...], among others, according to the article on Van Buren Twp. in the 1886 "History of Knox and Daviess Counties". ["Asbury Scimms" [Asbury Sims] appears in the 1830 Indiana Federal Census for Daviess Co. Regarding "Cyrus Crook," there is no such name in either the 1820 or 1830 Indiana Federal Census. The name "Ozias Crooks" [Ozias Crooke] appears in the 1830 Indiana Federal Census for Lawrence County]. Land Registry Records from the U. S. Bureau of Land Management indicate acquisitions directly from the Vincennes Land Office, and are itemized below.
About the Raglesville settlement, the 1886 "History of Knox and Daviess Counties" says:
"A pretty village of perhaps 200 inhabitants, called Raglesville, is situated near the center of Van Buren Township. It has a church, schoolhouse, several stores, a flouring-mill and a brass band. It was laid out under the name of Stanford, June 21, 1837 by Ozias Crooke, and consists of forty-eight lots. The first settler in the vicinity was Asbury Sims, in 1832. Ozias Crooke was the first school teacher, and also the first merchant. He kept a general store there in 1840...."
A post office at Raglesville Indiana in Daviess County was established on July 14, 1849. John Ragle was the first postmaster and he served from July 14, 1849, until June 20, 1853. There were no circular date hand stamps for this post office, only manuscript cancellations with the earliest known example dating to 1851. The post office was discontinued on February 29, 1904. [Information provided by Capt. H. Hudson, USN ret. Sources: Baker, J. David.,The Postal History of Indiana Vol. II., Louisville, KY, Leonard Hartman, PB, 1976. Phillips, David, American Stampless Cover Catalogue., North Miami, FL, David G. Phillips Co., Publishers, 1997.]
Other versions of the village name are found in print: Standford, and Sanford. These names may commemorate the name of David Sanford (also spelled Sandford), a surveyor who worked in the area around 1805, and whose initials are found cut in a cliff on the White River. It has already been mentioned above that a railroad map from 1852 shows Raglesville as 'Rugglesville.' In the 1880's a local plat book still shows the name as Stanford, but the Baskin-Forster Illustrated Historical Atlas, published in 1876, shows the name as Raglesville. An original map of Indiana and Ohio by Samuel Augustus Mitchell in my possession and dated 1864 shows the settlement as "Ragles V." I remember that a small sign of modern origin stood at the crossroads in the late 1950's proclaiming the name to be Sanford. One might guess therefore that there is some dissention among the local residents about the actual name of the settlement. It has been suggested that the name Raglesville came into being both in honor of Rev. John Ragle, grandson of John Ragle, and because of the presence of another Stanford a few miles south of Bloomington, somewhat to the north of Raglesville, but this is inconsistent with the 1852 railroad map, with the name of the post office, and with the Mitchell map. The region is shown below:
The settlement now graces the crossing of two gravel County Roads and consists of a few residences, a small, shady park with a stream and a cannon, two churches, an inactive store, and a cemetery.
The two Raglesville churches are (a) the Frady Methodist Church, and (b) the Mt. Joy Mennonite Church. The graveyard near the NE corner of the crossroads, is prominently marked "Raglesville Cemetery." The graveyard is no longer associated with either church, and the current caretaker is Mr. Ron Beasley, who also has a copy of the plot map in his possession. Members of the Beasley family are amongst the earliest burials. Ms. Barbara [Hickey] Sims Waggoner of Elmira, IN has published a listing of this cemetery and of the plot plan.
It is convenient to think of the graveyard as divided into two halves, a "new" and an "old" part. The old section fronts to the west on County Road 1100 E and contains graves of the members of the Ragle families who died here. Many of the markers are made from the local limestone and have become illegible over the years, and some of the markers have suffered from vandalism, but plot maps exist, and the monuments at the grave of Peter and Margaret, Nathan, and Alfred are still in good condition. A memorial to Peter Ragle Jr., placed by Paul Gruver Ragle in recent times, is also prominent. No Ragles are buried in the new section of the cemetery.
Peter Ragle and his younger brother John bought land in Daviess County around the location of Raglesville beginning in the mid-1830's. A few familiar names are given below, together with dates and locations from tract book references to purchases from the public domain in the Vincennes Land Office District. The records are for Daviess County, and reference the Government Survey Township (T) and Range (R) grid. The five names are all marked on the records as residents of Daviess County at the time of purchase.
From T4N, R5W:
From T5N R5W:
Some information on these purchases is contained in Fulkerson, pp. 492-495 in a sketch on Peter Ragle Jr. (b. 1842, son of Peter Ragle and Margaret (Wadsworth) Ragle). This sketch was apparently written by Paul Gruver Ragle; an early version of the manuscript is in the possession of Barbara Ragle Lucak. The version published in Fulkerson has been substantially edited.
"Peter Ragle, Sr., the father of the subject of this sketch, was educated in Tennessee and reared on a farm. He was yet unmarried; he went to Orleans, Indiana, and was a farmer in that neighborhood for a time. After his marriage, about 1820 [sic...married March 1828; in the 1830 Federal Census for Orange Co. he is shown as a Head of Household] he located near Raglesville, Indiana. His brother, John, settled a little later in this community and was the first merchant at Raglesville; in fact, he established the town." [Probably Fulkerson simply means that a store is a natural focus for the formation of a community. Continuing...] "He hauled his goods from New Albany, Indiana. Peter Ragle, Sr., entered forty acres of land and continued entering forty acres at a time, until he had two hundred acres in all....." After the Civil War, when Peter Ragle Jr. bought his own farm nearby, his father gave 40 acres to him.
Of the stores in Raglesville, the History of Daviess County also says "In 1863, Mr. [Thomas Walker] Casey engaged in the mercantile business at Raglesville with A. Ragle as partner." A. Ragle is doubtless Alfred Ragle, the oldest son of John Ragle, b. February 21, 1834 and husband of Minerva Almeda Casey. Minerva Casey was the older sister of T. W. Casey.
Ray Armstrong, of Odon, provided the following clipping from "Daviess County History" Vol. I 1816-1900 by L. Rex Myers:
"1837 Raglesville Methodist Church: In 1837 Ozias Crooke and his wife, Nancy Skaggs Wadsworth, Peter Ragle, Sylvester Lee and wife plus others organized the Raglesville Methodist Church. ... In 1852 this class (church) erected a frame church building on a plot 60' x 90' donated by John Ragle. This structure was deeded to the Church trustees in 1867, and was destroyed by fire in 1871."
Land was held in this area by many descendents of Peter Ragle Sr.: Alonzo had a large farm to the southwest of Kecksville, and Peter Ragle Jr. eventually sold the property near his father's farm and moved to Martin county, where he purchased 147 acres. As we will see later, this was "lost" somehow (vide letters from Alonzo to Nathan Ragle) before 1897. After the Civil War, Alonzo and Peter Jr. donated an acre and a half of ground two miles southwest of Burns City (Kecksville), near the Loogootee road, for the construction of a church known as DePauw Chapel (completed in 1874, torn down for salvage in 1889 and the lumber used to build a church in Burns City; vide Holt: "Churches of Martin County," pp. 56-57). "DePauw Chapel housed services which had formerly been held in a cabin belonging to Jacob and Samantha Ragle. Prior to this, services had been held on a site donated by Christian and Catherine Keck in 1845 (Keck's Church)."
Families and Family Ties, 1828 - 1880