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James C. HAGANS was born on October 8, 1809, the son of William HAGANS and Elizabeth (SMITH) HAGANS. William HAGANS was born November 11, 1769, in North Carolina. Elizabeth (SMITH) HAGANS was born March 24, 1784, in Virginia. William and Elizabeth were married circa 1800 in Virginia, and were the parents of seven children:

1) John Smith HAGANS
    born March 5, 1801, Barren Co. KY; died Aug. 1, 1872, Santa Rosa CA
2) Samuel Campbell HAGANS
    born Jan 18, 1805; died circa 1855, Boone Co. MO
3) William Boyd HAGANS
    born Sept. 23, 1807, Kentucky; died June 18, 1881, Ukiah, Mendocino Co. CA
4) James Conrad HAGANS
5) Hugh C. HAGANS
    born June 19, 1814
6) Nancy A. HAGANS
    born July 31, 1816; married Reuben WANGER
7) Clarissa A. HAGANS
    born circa 1824; died Dec. 14, 1914, Mendocino Co. CA
    married 1st F. F. EDDY (ca. 1817-1886); married 2nd Shadra K. GREENE

James Conrad HAGANS enlisted with Captain Jesse CLAYWELL's Company which was with the 4th Regiment of the 3rd Brigade of the Illinois Mounted Volunteers. The 3rd Brigade of the Illinois Mounted Volunteers were called into service during the Black Hawk War upon the requisition of General Henry ATKINSON by Illinois Governor John REYNOLD's proclamation on May 15, 1832. Among those on the roster of Capt. CLAYWELL's Company are:

  • Samuel Campbell HAGANS, from Sangamon County, Illinois, Private

  • William Boyd HAGANS, from Sangamon County, Illinois, 2nd Corporal

  • James C. HAGANS, from Sangamon County, Illinois, 3rd Corporal

    Capt. CLAYWELL's Company was organized on June 5, 1832, and took up line of march on the 10th of June for the place of rendevouz, arriving on June 14th, 1832. The company was mustered out of service on June 20th, 1832, drawing six days of traveling rations.

    BLACK HAWK WAR  In 1804 the Native Americans residing along the Mississippi River in northern Illinois lost their ancestral lands in a disputed treaty which was signed in Saint Louis, Missouri. The contention was that the Sac Nation was not informed of the treaty and those who signed the treaty were not representatives of the Sac People. The United States Government insisted that the treaty was legal and therefore binding. Under the leadership of Chief Black Hawk (Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kish or "Black Sparrow Hawk"), the Sac and Fox returned to their homeland in May of 1832. This action created mass hysteria and widespread panic among the White settlers. In response, Illinois Governor REYNOLDS immediately called up a militia. Those responding to the call included a young Abraham LINCOLN.

    During June of 1832, both the militia and regular army were unsuccessful in locating Chief Black Hawk's band. In July, Chief Black Hawk and his People were pursued across northern Illinois and southwestern Wisconsin. There was a major engagement at Wisconsin Heights prior to a final routing at Bad Axe on the Mississippi River where dozens of Sac, including women, children, and the elderly, were killed. Of the 500 Sac People who were with Chief Black Hawk, only approximately 150 survived.

    Chief Black Hawk, one of the survivors, was forced to surrender, then was sent East where he was paraded around through the Eastern cities as though he were a captured animal. The public, however, greeted him with a hero's welcome.

    Chief Black Hawk returned to Iowa, finding himself admired by the Iowa settlers. He often accepted an invitiation to address sessions of the territorial legislature. At his last public apperance on July 4, 1837, he said, "A few summers ago I was fighting against you. I did wrong, perhaps, but that is past. It is buried, let it be forgotten. Rock River was beautiful county. I loved my towns, my cornfields, and the home of my People. it is yours now. Keep it as we did."

    Chief Black Hawk died on October 3, 1837 in his lodge with his wife Asshewaqua (Singing Bird) beside him. He was 70-years-old.

    James Conrad HAGANS married Harriet W. TAYLOR on December 23rd of 1833 in Sangamon County, Illinois. Harriet W. (TAYLOR) HAGANS was born December 23, 1815. James and Harriet were the parents of six children:

    Civil War Flags.jpg 1) Jasper N. HAGANS
        born Dec. 11, 1835, McDonough Co. IL
        died Feb. 16, 1892, Mount Ayr IA
        married Mar 22, 1857, Sarah Jane SOLES (1840-1920)
        Jasper and Sarah were interred at Oakdale Cemetery, Ringgold Co. IA
    2) Sylvester James G. HAGANS
        born Oct. 28, 1847, Sangamon Co. IL; died Oct. 20, 1918, Ringgold Co. IA
        married Louisa Permelia HOPKINS (1838-1925)
        Sylvester & Louisa interred Oakdale Cemetery, Ringgold Co. IA
    3) Clarinda HAGANS
        born Dec. 23, 1839, Ogle Co. IL; Dec. 18, 1932, Strong City, Chase Co. KS
        married March 21, 1858, Ringgold Co. IA Thomas Jefferson HARVEY (1835-1918)
    Civil War Flags.jpg 4) Charles HAGANS
        born March 31, 1842, Ogle Co. IL; died July 13, 1892, NE
        married Sept. 1, 1870, Des Moines Ruth Jane STRATTON (1842-1923)
    Civil War Flags.jpg 5) Bird HAGANS
        born Jan. 18, 1844, MO
        died April 23, 1874, Redding, Ringgold Co. IA
        married Nov. 22, 1865, Ringgold Co. IA Elizabeth Jane TARDY (1845-1916)
        Bird and Elizabeth's daughter Blanche died at the age of two years.
        Bird and Elizabeth's daughter Dora A. died at the age of six weeks, two days.
        Bird, Elizabeth, Dora A. and Blanche were interred at Oakdale Cemetery,
        Ringgold Co. IA
    6) George Washington HAGANS
        born Aug. 17, 1845, MO; died 1845

    Harriet died on August 19, 1845, in Missouri, two days after the birth of her sixth child, George Washington.

    James' biographical sketch in the History of Ogle County, Illinois states that he was one of the first justices of the peace in the county.

    James Conrad HAGANS married second on January 12, 1847 in Green County, Missouri, to Tabitha BANDFIELD, born in Tennessee on November 22, 1826. James and Tabitha were the parents of three children:

    1) Elizabeth HAGANS
        born in 1848, IL; died Oct. 10, 1927, McPherson KS
        married Ringgold Co. IA Gustavus Adolphus KINDBLADE (1851-1921)
    2) William Campbell HAGANS, born July 4, 1851, IL
    3) George Karr HAGANS
        born Oct. 14, 1853, Springfield IL; died Sept 18, 1935, Beaverton OR
        married June 25, 1876, MO Cordelia Ann HARROW (1855-1921)

    James Conrad HAGANS and his family moved to the newly formed Ringgold County, Iowa, sometime around the year 1855. In election of county officers shortly after the establishment of Mount Ayr as the county seat on June 9, 1855, James C. HAGANS was appointed as the county judge. James HAGANS was among the 34 citizens who voted in this first Ringgold County election.

    In what was probably his first offical duty, Judge HAGANS settled financial matters with Judge LOWE of Taylor County on June 29, 1855. Ringgold County was formed from Taylor County. Apparently Taylor County owed Ringgold County $1.45. With the account settled, Ringgold County began operations from this small capital.

    On December 24, 1855, the second marriage license in Ringgold County was issued to Josiah TURNER and Eliza Ann SCOTT. Judge HAGANS performed the wedding ceremony on the same day.

    In Andreas' Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa, published in 1875, it is noted:


    One of the most prominent men in the early history of the county was Judge HAGANS, who wielded great influence from the time of his first election as County Judge until his death. He came to the county from McDonough County, Illinois, in June, 1854, and was a native of Kentucky. He served the people three terms in the office of County Judge [from 1855 to 1859], and was elected State Senator at the general election of 1857, from the district composed of the Counties of Ringgold, Taylor, Adams, Union, and Clarke. He served with ability in the Eighth and Ninth General Assemblies. He discharged his last senatorial and official duties at the extra session of September, 1862. Soon after this time his health began to fail. He died September 7, 1863, at his home in Mount Ayr.


    As early as 1859, Ringgold county organized an agricultural society. On the 18th of June of that year a formal organization was completed, with the following board of officers; I. W. KELLER, President; E. SHELDON, Vice President; A. Z. HUGGINS, Secretary; and J. C. HAGANS, Treasurer. Eight directors were also elected. The first annual fair was held October 14, 1855. The society purchased a beautiful forty-acre tract of land about one mile northeast of Mount Ayr, on which they located their fair grounds, and have made good improvements. The affairs of the society are in a prosperous condition.

    Three of James' sons served in the Civil War:

    Jasper enlisted as a Private on July 4, 1861 at the age of 25 in Ringgold County, Iowa. He was assigned to Company G of the 4th Iowa Infantry and was mustered into service on August 15, 1861. Jasper was promoted to Full Corporal on March 20, 1863. He received a shell wound between his hip and knee. Jasper was home on furlough and then re-enlisted in either July or August of 1863. He was promoted to Full Sergeant on July 4, 1864. Jasper was mustered out of service at Louisville, Kentucky, on July 24, 1865.

    Charles enlisted at the age of nineteen as a Corporal on July 4, 1861 in Ringgold County, Iowa. He was assigned to Company G of the 4th Iowa Infantry and mustered into service on August 15, 1861. Charles was wounded at Claysville, Alabama, then later was captured by Confederate troops. Charles was mustered out of service at Davenport, Iowa, on May 8, 1865

    Bird enlisted at the age of eighteen as a Private on August 9, 1862, at Mount Ayr, Iowa. He was assigned to Company G. of the 29th Iowa Infantry, mustered into service on November 18, 1862. Bird was working as a nurse and later promoted to ward master in a hospital. Late in February of 1863, he became ill with pneumonia. In June, 1863, Bird developed diarrhea. Bird was mustered out of service at New Orleans, Louisiana, on August 10, 1865. Bird never fully recovered from his illnesses. He was weak and suffered from a hacking cough until his death on April 23, 1874 at the age of 30.

    James didn't live to see his sons return home from the War. He died at his home in Mount Ayr, Iowa, on September 7, 1863. His second wife Tabitha died on October 8, 1906. They were both interred at Oakdale Cemetery, Ringgold County, Iowa.

    Also interred at Oakdale Cemetery are James and Tabitha's grandchildren: Orsa A. HAGANS who died at the age of seven weeks on July 11, 1875; and, Ralph E. HAGANS who was born in 1869 and died in 1870.

    "Ringgold County" Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa A. T. Andreas. Chicago. 1875.
    American Civil War Soldiers database,
    WPA Graves Survey

    Compiled and submitted by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2009

    To submit your Ringgold County obituaries, contact Sharon R. Becker at
    Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.

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