Biography - Sophrona Ragains

MRS. SOPHRONA A. RAGAINS, widow of Capt. David Ragains, resides in the northern suburbs of Vienna, Johnson County, on the Ragains' farm on section 32, Bloomfield Township. She is a daughter of John Tune, who was a Virginian by birth, and was a soldier in the War of 1812. When young he was taken by his parents to Tennessee, where he was brought up on a farm. His education was limited, as his boyhood was passed amid pioneer environments, and he had but little means with which to start in life. He was successful, however, and accumulated a comfortable property. He married Mary Cooper, a native of Tennessee, and they reared a family of fifteen children: Frances H., who married Thomas P. Wells, a resident of Pope County, and died in that county; William T. and James C., both of whom died in Tennessee; Robert Bedford, who died in Pope County; John B., a farmer in Tennessee; Jane, who married Brown Knott, and died in Tennessee, her husband also dying; Charles W., who died on the old homestead in Tennessee; Mary, widow of John Bomar, and a resident of Oklahoma; Kester, a farmer of Tennessee; Marcus, living in Tennessee; Melinda, who died in Tennessee; Sarah, wife of Watson Williams, a farmer of Tennessee; Sophrona; Caleb, a farmer of Pope County; and Evaline, who died in Tennessee.
The subject of this biographical review was the thirteenth child of the family, and was born in Bedford County, Tenn., September 7, 1836. She was well trained at home in all that goes to make a good housewife, and in her girlhood she attended the primitive pioneer schools of the time, which were taught in rudely built log houses. In the fall of 1858 she was married to Thomas Collins, who was from the neighboring State of Georgia. She accompanied him to Pope County, this State, where he obtained and settled on a tract of wild land, erecting a log cabin for a habitation. He there worked energetically at his pioneer task of clearing his land, and had made good progress in improving a farm when the war broke out. In October of that year he left his little family to go forth and fight and die for his country, enlisting in Company G, Sixth Illinois Cavalry, and for nearly three years he did good service at the front, and at Memphis he died. All that was mortal of the heroic soldier was brought back to Pope County for burial.
Thus left a widow in early womanhood, our subject remained on the farm her husband had left her, and was assisted in its management by a young brother of hers until her second marriage, which united her with David Ragains, from East Tennessee, and which took place on the 16th of June, 1870. She sold the old place and removed to the farm that she still lives upon, which was owned by Mr. Ragains, and was well improved at the time of her marriage. It comprises forty-three acres of fine land, amply supplied with buildings, including a comfortable, well-built house erected by Mr. Ragains years before his death. The farm is now in charge of one of his sons, and is kept in good condition. Mrs. Ragains has here a cozy home, and her days are passed serenely and in comfort, in the full enjoyment of the respect due to her sterling qualities of head and heart. By her first marriage she had three children: Mary and Marilda, both of whom died in Pope County; and William Thomas, who is railway- agent at Bivens, Tex., and was married in that State to Miss Maud Miller, of Michigan; they have one child, Edith.
David Ragains was mainly a self-educated man, having attended school only about six months in all, but he had a clear, active brain, and by study and intelligent observation he made up in later life for his early deficiencies in the acquirement of knowledge. When he came here from Tennessee in 1852, he was poor, but he possessed the requisite Energy, thrift and ability to work, seconded by good habits and sound judgment, necessary to win him success. He had those traits of character that make a man influential, and he became a well-known and prominent citizen of Johnson County. He held the offices of Deputy Clerk and Deputy Sheriff of the county, and his genial manners, coupled with frankness and a generous spirit, made him popular and gained him a host of friends, who lamented with his family his death, February 17, 1887. He was ever loyal in his citizenship to his country, and while fighting in its defense won a military record of which his wife and children may well be proud. In the spring of 1862 he raised a company of citizen-soldiers in response to a call for troops, which was incorporated in the Sixtieth Illinois Infantry as Company H, and he went to the front with it as its Captain. He made an excellent officer, who was always at his post, and never flinched when his duty led him into the most dangerous and trying situations. He was actively- engaged in a number of important battles, including that at Stone River, and look part in various skirmishes around Nashville. Thirteen months in the field, on the long and weary marches, or in miasmatic camps, nearly ruined his health, and he was discharged at the end of that time on account of disability, and never fully recovered from the effects of his army life.

Extracted 19 Jun 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 259-260

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