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The Raglands. Wales, England and America
(see our note on the Welsh and slavery)

 Mr. James Green of Texas was kind enough to send me some extracts from The Raglands: The History of a British-American Family by Charles James Ragland Jr. (privately printed 1978 and 1987). This traces the origin of the Ragland family of Granville County, North Carolina and its relationship to other Ragland families of the United States. It appears that one Evan Ragland was the progenitor of the American Raglands. According to the History, Evan arrived some time around 1670, probably after having been abducted from the village of Watchet in Somerset, England by the captain of a ship sailing from Bristol to America. Evan's family had inherited land in Somerset but the Raglands had their roots in Wales and were related to several of the most prominent Welsh families in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire. 

Note: Names like Ragland, Raglan and Rhaglan are normally associated with the parish of Raglan in Gwent (Monmouthshire). See our note on Raglan Castle. Authorities notice that the surname was also found in east Glamorgan and it is possible that there was once such a place name in that county of south Wales.    

Family tradition has it that once Evan Ragland had arrived in Virginia, he was sold into servitude. Because of his education, he became secretary to a planter (perhaps Stephen Pettus of New Kent County, Virginia). Once the term of his indenture had expired, Evan married the daughter of his employer and ultimately the couple inherited 500 acres in New Kent. Charles Ragland writes "While he (Evan) and his sons obviously worked in their own plantation the register reveals that he owned slaves, although in what number is not known".

Thus a Welsh name became associated with slavery almost by accident. Charles Ragland quotes an English source as estimating that between 1640 and 1680 up to 100,000 children may have been kidnapped in Britain and sold to the highest bidders in America. This is a surprisingly high figure but the author says that in periods when the British were reluctant to emigrate, captains of ships bound for the colonies would simply kidnap children for sale on their arrival. He says that protests (and increased interest in voluntary emigration) had brought the practice to an end around 1679, in which year a captain was hung for kidnapping an eleven year old boy.    
 John Weston / Data Wales, 2001

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