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Clagget Move to Illinois from Virginia

Sanford R. Claggett, 1841

The first immigrant to Illinois was Sanford R. Claggett, the son of Samuel Claggett III and Lucy Sanford. Sanford's obituary reports that he came to Illinois in 1841. He was later followed by three brothers and a sister.

The first brother to move west was James A. Claggett, married to Cathering "Kittie" Johnson. According to their son, Randolph Tucker Claggett, their home in Virginia was during the Civil War "near the scene of the first battle of Bull Run, and many times the armies of both the North and the South were encamped on their farm." Years later, his nephew Johonson Tucker Beasley related, "I have heard my grandmother [Catherine Johnson] tell of having watched the battle from the back porch, and Uncle Tucker tells me his father carried him on horseback to the scene of the battle after it was over, and that the sight of row on row of wounded and dying was never erased from his memory."

James and Kittie Claggett moved west and reached Lexington, Illinois on Christmas Day, 1866. With him came his mother Julia; his sons Randolph Tucker, William "Moses" Johnson, and James William; a daughter, Ruth Matella Beasley; and an aunt of Kittie's, Sarah Johnson. James was a farmer until June, 1886, when James and Kittie moved into Lexington.

The next brother to move west was Sanford's and James' half-brother, Thomas J. Claggett. Thomas was born in Fauquier county, Virginia, on June 1, 1841 to Samuel Claggett III and Julia Sanford. On Aug. 5, 1861, Thomas married his first cousin, Columbia Claggett, who was born in Buckland, Fauquier County, Virginia, September 25, 1836. She was the daughter of Christopher Columbus Claggett and Emily Kinchloe.

Thomas was the third great-grand nephew of Edward Claggett, the original immigrant. Thomas Claggett and family moved to Illinois in February 1879. For the last nineteen years of his life he resided in Lexington, Illinois in his home on North Street. To them nine children were born, two sons and seven daughters.

Thomas died at his home near Lexington, Illinois, on Monday morning Feb. 4, 1901, aged fifty-nine years, eight months and three days. During the Civil War, Thomas and Columbia lived near many of the important battle fields in Virginia and she was able to tell "some thrilling tales of those bloody days." Her obituary reports, "At one time a skirmish between the northern and southern forces took place in their yard and afterward Mr. Stephen Merrill, who was Chaplain of the Second Maryland, Regiment, took some pictures of the place." [Stephen Merrill apparently also moved to Lexington, IL., as we have additional photographs of the Clagget family taken while in Lexington with his imprint on them.]

Also moving to Lexington were siblings Benjamin Franklin Claggett and his sister Ann Elizabeth Claggett.