Age 67 years, 6 months, 13 days
Age 74 years, 6 months, 10 days
First wife of Rev. James M. Ragan
Second wife of Rev. James M. Ragan
Photo Taken on June 30, 1900
Age 64 years, 16 days
I was born in Morgantown, Tenn., December 17, 1832. My father was a Methodist Class-leader, and my mother was a Cumberland Presbyterian, having been converted under the preaching of Revs. Aston and Lansden, the first Cumberlands that preached in Monroe County. I was baptized at the age of six weeks, and in after years was well instructed in the design of that ordinance. August, 1847, at the age of fifteen, I was converted at a camp-meeting, at Old Concord, in Knox County. I had been so well taught the doctrines and polity of both churches that by the time I was twelve years old, I made my choice. After my conversion it was my fathers' wish that I join with my mother. I was pleased to have his approval. When only nineteen years old I had impressions to preach. Like many others, from Moses down to the present time, I began to make excuses, but the Lord followed me up, and the impressions grew stronger until I felt I would be responsible for lost souls. Now after sixty years in the ministry, I thank God that I did yield, and my good "sword" shall never be sheathed until called to lay it down to receive the victor's palm.
In 1852, my father having moved to Missouri, I was received as a candidate for the ministry by Platte Presbytery. My circumstances were such that I could not attend Presbytery regularly, so was not licensed until September, 1855. I made my first effort to preach in April, 1853. Then I was often sent by the old preachers to fill appointments, and visit vacant congregations. After I was licensed, I took regular work. I was ordained by the Chillicothe Presbytery over my protest in October, 1863. Have never been without regular work until the last three years, and then only through the winter--not able to go out through the cold weather, being eighty-one years old December 1913. But through the summer I preach almost every Sabbath. The Lord has done great things for me in leading hundreds of souls to the Savior. And when at last I come to lay at His feet my gathered sheaves, I know there will be much chaff, brambles, and bitter weeds, and--
Of course, when I started out this was all pioneer country, and the people believed in a free gospel--and that was what they got if they got any--I had a great many severe trials and risks of my life to get to my appointments, or my family, in crossing swollen streams, sometimes swimming my horse. But trusting in the "Rock of my salvation," I did not falter, or grow weary of my Master's service and to Him be all the glory.
When the Union question came up in the Presbytery, the basis was money and popularity. My conscientious convictions led me to oppose it. All the preachers in Chillicothe Presbytery went except myself. Thank the Lord he does not depend on big crowds to accomplish His work.--"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world, and they that dwell therein."
Senior Soldiers: The Biographies and Autobiographies
of Eighty Cumberland Presbyterian Preachers. Compiled by
The Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Publication. The Assistance of Revs. J. L. Price and W. P. Kloster is Greatfully Acknowledged. Nashville, Tenn.: The Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1915, pages 18-20]
Rev. J. M. Ragin [sic], Eldorado Springs, Mo., died recently.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, September 20, 1928, page 2]
James M. Ragan, son of Darby and Esther Ragan, was born in Morgantown, Blount County, Tenn., December 17, 1832, and died August 30, 1928, at the age of 95 years, 8 months and 13 days. He was the oldest of twelve children, only two of which are still living: Mrs. Ticia Stanton, Martinville, Mo., and Susan Smith of Springfield, Mo.
His father's family moved to Harrison County, Missouri, in 1851.
On November 8, 1853, he was united in marriage in Miss Sarah Halbert. To this union seven children were born, four having preceded him in death, namely, Mary Esther Hood, Minerva Ragan, Nannie Uuss, and Henry. Those living are Mrs. Mattie J. Trussell, Bogard, Mo., and Mrs. Maggie A. Ballinger, Chula, Mo.
His first wife died July 13, 1880, and on October 12, 1882, he was married to Miss Maggie McGee who preceded him in death on February 3, 1901.
Brother Ragan was converted on Monday night after the fourth Sunday in August, 1847, and at that time united with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Tennessee, and lived a consecrated Christian life until his death.
In young manhood he felt that God was calling him into the ministry, and in September, 1852, he answered the call of God and united with Platte Presbytery, Missouri Synod, of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He was licensed by Platte Presbytery September, 1855. In September, 1862, as a licentiate, he moved his membership to Chillicothe Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church under which presbytery he was ordained to the full work of the gospel ministry in September, 1863. He continued his ministerial work under Chillicothe Presbytery until the attempted merger in 1906 of the Cumberland Presbyterian with the U. S. A. Presbyterian Church when every other minister in said presbytery went into the U. S. A. Church except him.
Rev. J. M. Ragan was a man that believed much in prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit, and when he was faced with important questions in life he stood upon his own personal convictions regardless of the offers of both honorable and large salaried positions. He stood alone for Cumberland Presbyterianism and the whosoever-will doctrine, knowing at that time that he was the only minister in his presbytery and perhaps the only one in his denomination that would refuse to become a minister of the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A.
When Chillicothe Presbytery became disorganized, Missouri Synod of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church annexed the territory composing said presbytery to Platte Presbytery. He became a member of Platte Presbytery and remained a faithful and honored member until the close of his eventful life.
He was a very successful minister, having organized many congregations, built several houses of worship and won hundreds of souls into the Kingdom of God.
He had not been well for several years and the last two years of his life were spent in the home of his son, George D. Ragan, near El Dorado Springs, Mo., who, with the assistance of his good wife, tenderly cared for him during his illness and death.
Many, many time he prayed and told his friends that he desired his loving Savior to come and take him to his home in heaven.
At his request his funeral was conducted by his cousin, Rev.
J. S. Wayman, assisted by his son, Rev. W. O. Wayman, and other
ministers who were present, at Chula, Mo., in a church which was
built under his pastorate many years ago, after which his body
was laid in the nearby cemetery, to rest between the graves of
his wives and there to await the first resurrection of the dead.
Rev. W. O. Wayman.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, September 20, 1928, page 15]
Report of Committee on Mortuary
Platte.--Rev. J. M. Ragan, retired, died in Eldorado Springs, Mo., August 30, 1928, aged 95 years.
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1929, page 114]