Thursday, November 10, 2016

Day Ten: Way To Walk!

Day 10: Using your location research from yesterday, describe your ancestor’s walk down the street. Invent his destination (work, church, market, etc.) and use a city directory and your imagination to describe who/what he might see on the way there.

When the Ragsdale family walked to church, they found it a lovely way to start their day of worship and Sabbath rest. Having removed to Greenville from Blair (or "Blairs" as it was known to the locals), the Ragsdales found they liked the nearness of everything. It was certainly a change from living in the country! Out the front door, turn right, and walk a block and a half up Hampton Avenue to Duncan Street, take a left and then the first right on Buncombe Street. Voila! You were at Buncombe Street Methodist Church, the family's chosen place of worship. Most people, upon seeing a map of the area, would recommend a route of Hampton to Academy and up to Buncombe, but Academy was a busy street and the sidewalks of Duncan were far more pleasant for a Sunday morning stroll.  

If John Knox Ragsdale lived today and you asked him
for a map to church from his house, this is what he would show you!
John Knox Ragsdale was a businessman with a number of investments and businesses in the area. Downtown was luckily only a few blocks away, and although he owned one of the first automobiles in Greenville, he enjoyed his walks into town. The family members agreed that their every day life was made much easier by living on Hampton Avenue, and they were blessed with wonderful neighbors as well as the physical proximity to the heart of their precious new hometown. Sunday morning saw many of them on their way to church. The Ragsdales would cross the street heading to the Methodist church just as their dear friends the Morans crossed the opposite way, to walk to St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, one block south of their house on Hampton Avenue.

John Knox Ragsdale passed away in 1915 and his widow, Minnie McMeekin Ragsdale, lived in the house until her death in 1952. Their middle daughter, Helen Ragsdale, remained in the house until her death in 1999, at age 105 1/2. Helen was a teacher and elementary school principal who served at Donaldson Elementary and the Anderson Street School, among others. She was a lifelong communicant of Buncombe Street United Methodist Church, and although she probably drove her Chevrolet Impala there on occasion,  especially as she grew older, the beautiful stroll must have been preferable on those cool, clear mornings for which Greenville is known.

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