Smith Ragsdale, teacher and university regent, was born on June 21, 1829, in Hempstead County, Arkansas, the son of James Campbell and Rebecca (Moss) Ragsdale. In January 1834 the family moved to what is now Fayette County, Texas. While Ragsdale served in the revolutionary army, other members of the family participated in the Runaway Scrape. In 1841 Ragsdale attended McKenzie College; after his graduation he taught mathematics there. During the Civil War he served as a captain in the Confederate army. After the closing of McKenzie College in 1869 Ragsdale and his wife, familiarly known as Aunt Patsy, taught in various Texas communities. In January 1881 he was a member of the committee of the Texas State Teachers Association that memorialized the Texas legislature on the founding of the University of Texas. Before the university was opened Oran M. Roberts appointed Ragsdale a member of the board of regents, on which he served from April 1881 to January 1883. He was proctor of the university during its first term (1883) and proctor and librarian in 1884–85. Upon leaving the university he resumed teaching, and after his retirement he made his home in Dallas. On October 2, 1850, Ragsdale married Martha E. McKenzie. He was a Methodist and a member of the Masonic lodge. He died in Dallas on January 5, 1909, and was buried in Oakland Cemetery there.
Is history important to you?
We need your support because we are a non-profit organization that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every penny helps.
Please make your contribution today.
Dallas Morning News, January 6, 1909.
School Trustees and Regents
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Ouida Ragsdale Bradfield,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 20, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
May 1, 1995
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: