An Article by JACK RHEA

Some Big Rock History

Out in the Northwestern corner of Liberty Township in is a grand old historical site unsurpassed by any in Jackson County, Ohio. Legend tells us that it was named “Big Rock” by Indians in our area many centuries ago. This rock, which extends from a hill, is more than 200 feet from the valley floor to the highest point. In regard to the history of Big Rock, shortly after the Civil War ended, a group of blacks from Virginia resettled in Southern Ohio in Jackson County’s Liberty Township. The name of these black folks was Ragland. Concerning some history pertaining to the Ragland family—which incidentally is one of the best known and well liked families in Liberty Township- – I gleaned the following from a 1916 Jackson newspaper.
“A girl by the name of Mary Ann (who later became a Ragland by marriage) was born into slavery in Chesterfield County, Virginia, (the Richmond area) in 1812. She died in 1916 at the age of 104.
In regard to Mary Ann’s life, she was emancipated at the age of 45 in 1857 and came to Ohio. During her journey to Ohio, it is said that she came through Washington, D.C., the same day President Buchanan was inaugurated.
Upon her arrival in Jackson County, Mary Ann settled on a farm in the Big Rock area of Liberty Township. Eventually during the course of her life she met and was united in marriage to a Mr. Weston Ragland. To this union a son Daniel was born.
While still living in Virginia, Mary Ann had joined a church in Chesterfield County at the age of 15. After coming to Ohio, she united with the Sharon Baptist Church of Big Rock. She later became a member of the 2n d Baptist Church of Jackson.”