Road To British Royalty Runs Through Chattanooga

Friday, November 17, 2017 - by John Wilson
Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle

British royal viewers are convinced they are not far away from Prince Harry officially making U.S. actress Meghan Markle his fiancee.

As the marriage talk heats up, there's been increasing interest in her background - and it turns out she's from Chattanooga in a sense.

The Suits TV star is being traced back to the Ragland family who lived in Chattanooga beginning about the 1930s.

Her mother, Dorian Ragland, who recently was with her with the British family in London, is the daughter of Alvin Azell Ragland, who was born in Chattanooga in 1930. His wife, Ava Burrow Ragland, worked for the Hamilton County Schools. 

The great-grandfather of Ms. Markle was Steve R. Ragland, who married Louise "Lois" Russell in 1929. Steve Ragland was working as a presser at a cleaning shop in Chattanooga early in the couple's marriage.

He had a sister, Dora Ragland Cooper, who taught at James A. Henry School. Another sister, Lillie, was a cook. Her husband, Robert Calloway, was the janitor at Dickinson Jr. High School.

Steve and his siblings were the children of Jeremiah Ragland, who was born in Jonesboro, Ga., in 1881, then brought his family to Chattanooga. His father was another Steve and his mother was Mahala "Texas" Hendrick. She was denoted as "white" in the census.

Jeremiah married Claudia Ritchie, who was also from Jonesboro, Ga. Her parents were a Ritchie and Mattie Turnipseed.

The Jeremiah Raglands lived at Tannery Flats and the West Side area, including homes at 1140 W. Terrace and 610 Maple Court. Jerry operated his own tailor shop at 808 Poplar St. It was called Victory Pressing Club. 

Claudia worked as a maid at Miller Brothers. She died in 1939.

Jeremiah Ragland passed away in 1944.

Both are buried with unmarked graves in the overgrown Greenhill Cemetery in the Shepherd community.

 


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