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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Span Regan and Questions Regarding his Name

Span Regan

Span Regan, the son of Elizabeth Span Regan and Joseph Regan was born on April 1, 1818. The date is well documented; however, the spelling of his name varies from Spann to Span and Regan to Ragan. It is said that Span Regan changed the spelling of his last name to Ragan. In Public and Private Trees at, Span Regan along with name variations were found in over 100 trees. I found the name Span to be used in 73 trees and Spann in 55 trees. Regan was used in 82 trees, Ragan in 25 trees and the rest could not decide whether to use Regan or Ragan so used Regan/Ragan

Elizabeth Span Regan Bryan, 
Span's mother. I'm sure I have

written her name as Spann as

well and will need to make 
many changes. 
E. Ragan Pruitt
1922 - 2009
Deciding between Span and Spann was easy. I loved E. Ragan Pruitt's explanation for the Span/Spann confusion and wish I could undo some of my mistakes as well. Ragan, a descendant of Span Regan and a genealogical researcher who began his search for family in the  1970s, stated that it's Span (not Spann) in Span Regan's family bible and that an error was made when he (Ragan) wrote a family history. He wrote, "it has just gone the rounds - don't really know how to stop it." 

Span Regan and his birthday of April 1, 1818, is written in the transcription of his step-father's family bible. 

Span was the second of three sons; John born in 1816 and Rufus Wiley born on February 16, 1820. Rufus died just a few days before his father, Joseph Regan, in December 1820. Joseph named his sons, John and Span Regan in his will dated December 18, 1820. 

Span's mother, Elizabeth Span Regan married Reddick Bryan in 1821 in Pulaski County, Georgia. They lived in nearby Twiggs County and later settled in Houston County, Georgia

In 1836, Span Regan, John Regan, and their step-brother James Bryan were drafted into the Georgia Militia during the Creek War. In the index records, Span's name is written as Span Ragan

Span sold land in Coweta County, Georgia to his brother John in 1838. His name was transcribed as Span Regan

In the fall of 1838, the blended Bryan / Regan family left Houston County for Northwest Louisiana where they settled in what is now Bienville Parish. In a brief biography about Span Regan's son, Joseph Thomas Ragan, it is said that Span accompanied his family to Louisiana where he was employed as a school teacher before medical school.

Elizabeth Bryan wrote a letter to her son, Span Regan, in 1845. He was living in Houston County, Georgia. In 1846 Span graduated from Southern Botanico-Medical College in Macon, Georgia. The name on his diploma was Span Regan

The census taker wrote, Spann Ragan on the 1850 census in Lee County, Georgia. In the 1852 tax digests of the same county, his name was written as Span Regan

According to written family histories, Span married Julius Leurany Speight on May 1, 1856. I do not have a documented record for this marriage. 

The 1860 United States Census shows his name as Span Ragan. And, in 1863, Span Regan was named in his brother-in-law's will as his executor. Span Reagan was the name listed in the county index. 

 He is Span Regan on the Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers. Span is found in the Georgia, Returns of Qualified Voters and Reconstruction Oath Books, 1867-1869.  He signed his name as Span Regan although, in two of three sections completed by a county official, his name was written as Span Rigen

On December 15, 1867, in a document giving Terrell Bryan Power of Attorney, Span signed his name Span Regan

Span Ragan was listed with his family on the 1870 United States Census. 

Span died in 1875. Obituaries, cemetery records, and written family histories all record his last name as Ragan. Old letters, written by his wife to Joseph B. Bryan in the early 1880s, show that she signed her name as Ragan. And, Ragan is the surname used by his children and their descendants. 

I've always wondered why Span Regan changed his name to Ragan. Now, I don't believe he did.

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Sources U.S., Confederate Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865 U.S. Army Indian Campaign Service Records Index, 1815-1858 Georgia, Returns of Qualified Voters and Reconstruction Oath Books, 1867-1869 Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1893 1850 United States Federal Census 1860 United States Federal Census 1870 United States Federal Census Pubic Member Trees

"A History of Savannah and South Georgia - William Harden."  Google Books Accessed 15 Mar. 2020.

Family photographs and documents from the collection E. Ragan Pruitt. Used with permission. 

Family photographs and documents from the collection of Diana Bryan Quinn.

Family photographs and documents from the collection of Marguerite Cook Clark. Accessed April 28, 2014, September 14, 2014, and November 9 to 11, 2016. Used with permission.

The transcription of the Reddick Bryan Bible was found at the DAR library in Washington DC by Diana Bryan Quinn on July 7, 2010.  This bible record was submitted in 1950 and found in Louisiana Bible Records (1950), Louisiana DARGRC report S1v25. These records were submitted by Mrs. John Newton Pharr of the New Iberia Chapter of the DAR. 

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