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Godfrey Ragsdale Jr. And The Jamestown Massacre

December 6, 2016 , , ,




My 8th great-grandfather was born in Virginia Colony in 1643.  His parents were both killed in the Jamestown Massacre when he was an infant.

Godfrey Ragsdale I was the first generation emigrant to America. He came sometime before 1641. He and his wife were killed in an Indian massacre on April 18, 1644. Their baby, Godfrey II, was spared. He evidently came at his own expense with intent to inhabit the land, for no grant has been found to him, but there is a record of a purchase of 300 acres of land by deed from John Butler, 25 Feb 1642. This land lay on the north side of the Appomatox River in Henrico Co. Virginia. Source: “Godfrey Ragsdale From England to Henrico Co. Virginia” by Caroline Nabors Skelton; 1969; and Henrico Co. Records; Bk. 6; p. 21.

Godfrey Ragsdale II (1643 – 1703)
8th great-grandfather
Ann Wragsdale (1659 – 1724)
daughter of Godfrey Ragsdale II
Benjamin Abraham Vesser (1740 – 1779)
son of Ann Wragsdale
Samuel Harris Vassar (1757 – 1846)
son of Benjamin Abraham Vesser
Mary Vessor (1801 – 1836)
daughter of Samuel Harris Vassar
Margaret Mathews (1831 – 1867)
daughter of Mary Vessor
Julia McConnell (1854 – 1879)
daughter of Margaret Mathews
Minnie M Smith (1872 – 1893)
daughter of Julia McConnell
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Minnie M Smith
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

The Ragsdale family name is said to come from Ragdale, England, meaning either “valley at the pass” or “dweller in the valley where the lichen grows.” Henry Ragsdale was born in Leicestershire, England about 1450, his son Robert was born about 1485 in Ragsdale, Leicestershire, England. He died about 1559 and some of his children were Henry, Thomas R. and John R. Henry was born about 1510; he married Elizabeth Oglethorpe about 1532 , and their children were William, Dorothy, Elizabeth, Margaret, Owen and Catherine. Henry died in 1559. William was born in 1575; he married a woman named Heathcote, about 1615; they had a son, Godfrey I, who married Lady Mary Cookney and they both came to America.

Godfrey Ragsdale I and his wife, Lady Mary Cookney arrived in Virginia some time late in the summer of 1638. They were some of the first Ragsdales to come to America. Godfrey Ragsdale I ands his wife, Lady Mary Cookney lived in Henrico County Virginia on a 300 acre plantation on February 25, 1642, upon the north side of the Appomattox River.

On April 18, 1644 afterwards known as “Opechancanough Day” the Pamunkee Indians and several tribes in the Indian Federation went on a rampage. There was a carnage that was greater than the one in the Norfolk area in 1622. The Indians slaughtered no less than 500 Englishman. This massacre fell almost entirely upon the frontier Counties at the head of the great rivers, and upon the plantations on the south side of the James River. Both Godfrey I and his wife Lady Mary were killed and scalped.

From documents we know that Godfrey and Lady Mary had a son named Godfrey Ragsdale II, who was born in 1644. Because his mother and father had been killed in the “Jamestown Massacre”, Godfrey II’s next door neighbors raised him and later became his in-laws. Historians say that most Ragsdales in America came from Godfrey II.

Ragsdales in Virginia

Ragsdales in Virginia

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Your current genealogy thread is very interesting. Wish they provided more details about his survival


Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

December 19, 2016

My Gradmother was a decent of Godfrefy Ragsdale her name was Bur Bon Arkasas she was born in 1874 she married Cloumbus Lee Lynn had 3 boys Jhon Boyd Lynn, Robert Ear Smith Lynn ,My father Clayton Howard Lynn, there was 4 daughters Lessie , Vernor ,Louise. Who died as a small child from the fever and Viola Lynn my name is Patricia Ann Lynn but love reading about my ancestor


Patty Waters ( Lynn)

March 28, 2017

Thanks, cousin. I am obsessed with the ancestors. So happy to meet you here.


Pamela Morse

March 28, 2017

I was researching my 6th great grandfather Godfrey Ragsdale Jr. and found this post. I was thrilled.

I will study your information with great interest and let you know if I find anything else.


Tim Ragsdale

December 4, 2018

My grandmother on my Mother’s side was a Ragsdale and I’ve traced her ancestry to this Godfrey Ragsdale through research on This was all very fascinating. That side of the family all from Virginia. I’m very proud to have ancestors from the very early history of America!


Martha Bowman

April 5, 2019

I am a descendant of Godfrey Ragsdale. If not for his infant son, Godfrey Ragsdale, II none of us would be here today.

I am Rosemary Jackson, great-granddaughter of Sarah Druscilla Ragsdale of Missouri who married James Walker Gallion.

My grandmother, Mattie Inis Ragsdale was their daughter. She married James Walker Gallion.

Mattie gave birth to Rose LaVonne Snodgrass-O’Dell-Willingham, my mother.


Rosemary O'Dell - Jackson

November 26, 2019

Thank you. I am spending time on my Virginia ancestry. until now I could not find a single list of those killed in the 1644 massacre. I am a descendant of Godfrey Ragsdale.


Sue Myers

January 19, 2020

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