Beagles/Biggles/Beigles of Rays Mill

After the Civil War, John Jefferson Beagles, subject of previous post, and his family made their home in Alachua County, Florida and took their mail at Gainesville, FL.  He was enumerated there in 1870 as Jefferson Beigle.

John Jefferson Beagles

John Jefferson Beagles

The confusion over the family surname seems obvious, and additional recorded variations of the name include Bigles, Beigles, Beacols, Birgles, Bugles, or Beagley.  No doubt, the illiteracy of John Jefferson Beagles and Nancy Catherine Wright was a contributing factor in the proliferation of Beagles variants.,77217

John Jefferson Beagles and Nancy Catherine Wright Beagles

John Jefferson Beagles and Nancy Catherine Wright Beagles. (Image courtesy of Berrien County Historical Foundation 1870 Census enumeration of John Jefferson Beagles and family. 1870 Census enumeration of John Jefferson Beagles and family.

The previous post gave the account of John Jefferson Beagles Confederate service, and his time in the Pioneer Corps.

The 1870 census enumerated John Jefferson Beagles at age 40. He was working on a farm in Alachua County, FL.  His wife, Nancy Catherine, age 30, was keeping house. Living with them were their children Thomas,  Mena, William, and as yet unnamed infant daughter Mary.

1870 Census enumeration of John Jefferson Beagles and family.

1870 Census enumeration of John Jefferson Beagles and family.

By 1880 the Beagles relocated to Cat Creek, about 10 miles southwest of Ray City. Their home was in Lowndes County,  in the 1307 Georgia Militia District. John Jefferson Beagles was enumerated as “John Biggles,” with his wife, Nancy, and children William, Mary, Ella, Bryant, Hiram, Nancy, and Lacy.

In 1887 John Jefferson Beagles and his son, James Thomas Biggles, were involved in a family quarrel with in which James shot and killed his brother-in-law, Madison Pearson.  The shooting occurred at H.H. Knight’s store in Rays Mill, GA (now Ray City). Afterwards, J. J. Beagles helped his son to escape the crowd that witnessed the killing.

The younger Beagles fled the area but eventually returned to Berrien County to stand trial before Judge Augustin H. Hansell.  James Thomas Beagles was convicted and sentenced to serve time in the convict camp at Fargo, GA.

In 1900 John J. Beagles was enumerated in the 1144 Georgia Militia District, the Rays Mill district.  At age 70, he was working as a brick mason.  John and Nancy were living in a rented house. Their son, Hiram, was renting the house next door.

Nancy Catherine Wright Biggles

Grave marker of Nancy Catherine Wright Biggles, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

In 1903, J. J. Beagles was left a widower when his wife of  42 years died.  Nancy  Catherine Wright Beagles died on the 5th of January.  She was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.  Her grave marker bears the surname, Biggles.

The census of 1910 shows the widower J.J. Beagles was  back in the Cat Creek District. living in the household of his son, L. O. Beagles.  At 81, the senior Beagles was still working on his own account as a brick mason.

Some time before 1920, John Jefferson Beagles died. He was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery, as stated above.

Children of John Jefferson Beagles and Nancy Catherine Wright (1835 – 1903)

  1. James Thomas Beagles 1861 – 1911
  2. William “Willie” Beagles 1866 – 1957
  3. Mary Catherine “Minnie” Beagles 1868 – 1929
  4. Ella A. C. Beagles 1870 – 1928
  5. Bryant Beagles 1872 – 1954
  6. Hiram B. Beagles 1874 – 1957
  7. Nancy Catherine Beagles 1835-1903


Related articles