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A Moment in History The life of

Eliza Thomas

A Tale of Two Sisters Eliza and her sister Lydia are the daughters of Hubbard and Maryanna Ragsdale.  They both first married Watson brothers, then both later married Woodson Thomas.      When it comes to the Thomas’ and their children it is a story more like yours, mine and ours.  I don’t feel I can tell Eliza’s story without telling Woodson’s story also.  I believe it was Woodson’s obituary that described his home as a mansion, and he would need one with all the children in the house.  By the  time Woodson passed away in 1862 there were 19 children in the family.   Woodson married 5 times.  He first married Abigail Hackett in 1834.  Family says in Williamson, TN, but I found a bond for them in Guilford Co, NC.  They had 5 children: Celia A. 1836, Demarius G. 1838, Sarah 1840, Abigail Margaret 1842 and Robert 1843.  It is believed Abigail died because he married Eliza in 1844.            

 Eliza Ragsdale was born 1817 in SC according to census.  She and Mr.  Watson had son William H. in June 1844 MO.  Later that same year in August Eliza married Woodson Thomas in Greene Co, MO. With Woodson she had 3 children: John Wesley 1845, Mira Matilda 1847 and James Allen 1849.  It is believed by the family that she died in childbirth.     

Woodson went on to marry twice more, 1851 to Julia Ann Dunn and 1853 to Harriett Carnes.  It does not appear he had any children with either of these wives.   Woodson then, in 1855, married Lydia.  Lydia was Eliza’s younger sister born in 1823 in Missouri.  Lydia first married in 1843 in Maury Co, TN to Jesse Watson.  She brought 5 Watson children with her into the marriage with Woodson:  Sarah A. E. 1844, Jane 1845, Rachel 1847, Samuel James 1850 and Marshall 1852, who had a twin that died.   Though 6 of the children were actually Watson’s, on the census with Woodson, before and after his death, all of the 19 children are listed as Thomas.  It took great detective work to figure out who belonged to who.     

Woodson was born in Pittsylvania Co, VA where the Jeffries and many others in the area were from.  They may very well have known each other before coming to Missouri.  As I recall, Woodson is buried in Maple Park.  He died in 1862.  He had at least 3 siblings, James Douglas 1810 VA, Sarah Ann 1814 NC and Wesley D. 1816 NC.      Woodson purchased 40 acres ca 1840, Twp 29, Rng 21, Sec 4.  In 1850 he purchased another 40 acres immediately south of his current property.  In 1868, 5 years after Woodson’s death, Lydia purchased 40 acres northeast of Strafford.  In 1872 she marriage a J.M. West.  I have not been able to locate her death information.        I can’t help but wonder if Abigail and the two Mr. Watson’s are buried in Union Campground.    

 I have been in contact with some of their descendants and have more to contact, but as of yet, none of them have had a picture of Eliza, Lydia or Woodson.

by Cynthia (Jeffries) Davison 2017, assisted by descendant William “Bill” Yates