Martin & Buckley, Part 3: Gibson Martin & sister Sally Martin Herrin, Oglethorpe Co., GA

Gibson Martin is one of four Martin men – William, David, Claiborne (“Clay”) and Gibson – who were most likely sons of George and Elizabeth Martin of Elbert & Oglethorpe Counties, GA. See these links for prior articles about Clay,  David, and William Now it’s Gibson’s turn.

His first appearance in the records was when he witnessed a 1799 Oglethorpe deed from George to Clay.[1] Gibson was probably George’s youngest son, because he was the grantee in the last of George’s deeds and he received the home place – a 175-acre tract on Big Creek.[2]

In 1800, Gibson both acquired the home tract and got married. There were two Martin marriage bonds in Oglethorpe dated September 22, 1800: one for Gibson Martin and Sally Buckley, and another for Sally Martin and Elisha Hernie, sic, Elisha Herrin.[3] Is that a coincidence, two Martin marriage bonds on the same day? Seems improbable. It is more likely that there was a double wedding involving two Martin siblings. Keep reading …

Beginning in 1800, Gibson paid taxes on the 175-acre tract he bought from George.[4] The last year Gibson paid land taxes was in 1809, the year he died.[5] During 1810 through 1813, the 175-acre tract on Big Creek was listed in the name of Gibson Martin, deceased, with tax paid by Claiborne Martin. Also in 1811, the tax list in that district shows a payment by “Claborn Martin for Elisha Herrin, no poll, 150 acres Big Cr.” Those tax lists are short on explanations, but “no poll” means that there was no taxable male on that tract. This suggests Elisha was either dead, no longer living there, or exempt from tax.

Clay’s tax payment for Elisha Herrin, plus the marriage bonds for Gibson Martin and Sally Martin on the same date, are good circumstantial evidence that Sally Martin Herrin was a sister of Clay and Gibson. I haven’t found a trace of the Herrins after 1811, when Elisha sold the Big Creek tract and Clay paid the tax thereon.[6]

As for Gibson’s 175-acre home tract, it was listed in the name of Sally Martin (nèe Buckley) beginning in 1814.[7] Sally remained in Oglethorpe her entire life, dying there in 1863. She never remarried.[8] Although I found no probate records for either Gibson or Sally Buckley Martin in Oglethorpe, their children are nonetheless conclusively proved – by deeds, of course! They are (1) John, (2) Elijah, (3) Smithfield, (4) Anny or Amey (probably Amy/Amey, although she appears both ways in the original records), and (5) Catherine. All are proved by one deed and confirmed by several others, with assists from two marriage records for the daughters:

  • 29 October 29, 1818 Oglethorpe County marriage bond for Catherine Martin and William Edwards.[9]
  • January 1,1827 deed from grantors Sarah Martin (Gibson’s widow), William W. Edwards, Anny Martin, John Martin, Elijah Martin, and Smithfield Martin, all of Oglethorpe, to Martha Callaway, 15 acres on the waters of Big Cr. All grantors signed.[10]
  • 24 October 24, 1827 Oglethorpe County marriage bond, Amy Martin and Frederick Butler.[11]
  • March 4, 1830 deed, Frederick Butler to John Martin and Elijah Martin, all of Oglethorpe, all of Butler’s interest as an heir of Gibson Martin’s estate in the land where John and Elijah Martin now live.[12] Butler’s interest “as an heir” does not suggest that he was Gibson’s heir – Butler’s wife  was Gibson’s heir but, as a married woman, she had no legal capacity to own property.

Only two of Gibson and Sarah’s five children – John Martin and Amy Martin Butler – stayed in Oglethorpe.[13] Elijah probably left about 1834, after he sold his Oglethorpe land to his brother John.[14] I don’t know where he went, although Lumpkin County, Georgia is a possibility. Catherine Martin and her husband William Wade Edwards were definitely in Lumpkin County by 1835, and appeared there in the 1850 census.[15]

Smithfield Martin married an Elizabeth Martin (I don’t know who her parents were) in 1825 in Oglethorpe County. They were in Walton County, Georgia by 1830, and then appeared in the 1840 census in Coweta County.[16]

So … what do you think? Is there enough evidence to justify concluding that Gibson was a son of George and Elizabeth Martin and a brother of Claiborne, David, and William Martin and Sally Martin Herrin? Summing it up: George and Elizabeth sold Gibson the plantation where they lived, reserving the right to remain there for life; Gibson Martin and Sally Martin obtained marriage bonds on the same day; Gibson witnessed the conveyance in which Clay acquired his tract from George; Claiborne paid the tax on Gibson’s tract for several years after Gibson died and on Sally Martin Herrin’s tract once; David and William, proved brothers, both owned tracts on Big Creek adjacent to the other Martins; and David also acquired his land from George. Deeds involving the Martin tracts on Big Creek involve all five Martin men as parties, witnesses, and/or adjacent landowners.

Ordinarily, the fact that Clay paid property tax on behalf of Gibson’s estate would be enough by itself to justify concluding that Clay and Gibson were brothers. In this case, though, there is a complicating factor: Gibson’s wife Sally Buckley Martin, and Clay’s wife Frances, were almost certainly sisters. Please stay tuned … that’s coming in the next installment.

First, though, there is one more possible child of George and Elizabeth: Clara Martin Skinner of Wilkes and Elbert counties, Georgia, wife of Archer Skinner. The evidence is all circumstantial. It consists of family names, connections in the deed records, and migration patterns. IMO, it’s sufficient to consider Clara a proved sibling of the William, David, Clay and Gibson.

Here are the Elbert and Wilkes County deed and tax records establishing the Martin-Skinner connection:

  • Archer Skinner witnessed the 1792 conveyance of George Martin’s former tract to David Martin.[17]
  • Archer Skinner and his wife Clary of Wilkes Co., GA conveyed land to Joseph Bell of Elbert in the 1792 deed witnessed by David Martin.[18]
  • David Martin acquired land in Wilkes County from Lewis Clark in a 1792 deed witnessed by Archer Skinner and Matthew Huff (more on the Huffs later).[19]
  • David Martin and his wife Alcy exchanged land in 1792 with Archer Skinner, who obtained land in Wilkes County in the exchange; David acquired land in Elbert County. Claiborne Martin witnessed the deed.[20]
  • The 1787 tax list for Wilkes County, Georgia, Captain Clark’s District, included George Martin, David Martin and Archer Skinner.[21] In the 1792 tax list, David Martin was listed adjacent Archer.[22]

Finally, there is Archer Skinner’s Elbert County 1813 will naming his wife Clary and “all my children,” a lazy phrase that makes me grind my teeth.[23] Archer’s will expressly named only his sons James Skinner, Morris Skinner and George Martin Skinner. Two of the proved Skinner children – James and George M. Skinner – turned up later in Dallas and Perry counties Alabama along with their likely siblings Claiborne Skinner, William G. Skinner, and Clara Skinner.[24] At least Claiborne Skinner was definitely born in Georgia.[25]

Hitting the highlights: the evidence that Clary Skinner was George Martin’s daughter and Clay’s sister includes (1) the names of Clary’s sons Claiborne and George Martin Skinner, (2) the multiple Skinner/Martin connections in the deed records, (3) the fact that some of the Skinners migrated to the same area as Claiborne, and (4) the fact that Claiborne and Frances Martin named one of their daughters Clara. That is certainly not conclusive, but is a nice web of circumstantial evidence.

And this concludes the likely children (so far as I have found, that is) of George Martin and his wife Elizabeth of Oglethorpe County:

  1. David Martin, who married Alay Unknown and died in Baldwin County, five children;
  2. William Martin, who died without children in Baldwin County;
  3. Claiborne Martin and wife Frances of Oglethorpe, Georgia and Perry, Alabama, eleven proved children;
  4. Gibson Martin and wife Sarah Buckley of Oglethorpe County, five proved children;
  5. Sarah Martin and husband Elisha Herrin of Oglethorpe County; and
  6. Clary/Clara Martin and husband Archer Skinner of Elbert County, Georgia (3 proved and six likely children).

Next, on to Claiborne’s wife Frances, and a trip back to the Northern Neck of Virginia. See you on down the road.

*  *   *   *  *   *   *  *   *   *

[1]FHL Film 158,674, Oglethorpe Deed Book C: 434, deed of 15 Aug 1799 from George Martin to Claybourne Martin, 147 acres.

[2]FHL Film 158,674, Oglethorpe Deed Book D: 5, deed of 29 Jan 1800 from George Martin to Gibson Martin, 175 acres.

[3]Ingmire, Oglethorpe County, Georgia Marriage Records, marriage bonds dated 22 Sep 1800 for (1) Gibson Martin and Sally Buckley and (2) Sally Martin and Elisha Hernie (sic).

[4]FHL Film 177,698, Oglethorpe County, GA Superior Court Tax Digests, 1795-1803, 1805; FHL Film 177,699, Oglethorpe County, GA Superior Court Tax Digests, 1806 – 1815.

[5]Historic Oglethorpe Co., Inc., Cemeteries of Oglethorpe County, Georgia (Fernandina Beach, FL: Wolfe Publishing Co., 1995). Gibson’s tombstone reads “Gibson Martin, 10 Sep 1770 – 2 May 1809, grandfather.”

[6]FHL Film 158,675, Oglethorpe Co., GA Deed Books E – G, 1806 – 1812, deed of 14 Feb 1811, Elisha Herren to John Mitchell, both of Oglethorpe, 150 acres on the waters of Big Cr. adjacent Widow Martin and Pope. Deed Book G: 49. Widow Martin might be either Sally Buckley Martin, Gibson’s widow, or Elizabeth Martin, George’s widow.

[7]FHL Film 177,700, Oglethorpe County, GA Superior Court Tax Digests, 1816 – 1824.

[8]Historic Oglethorpe, Cemeteries of Oglethorpe County, Georgia, abstract of Sally Buckley Martin’s tombstone: 21 Aug 1770 – 1 Feb 1863, “grandmother.”

[9]Ingmire, Oglethorpe County Marriage Records.

[10]FHL Film 158,687, Oglethorpe Co., GA Deed Books L and M, 1823 – 1823, Deed Book M: 289.

[11]Ingmire, Oglethorpe County Marriage Records.

[12]FHL Film 158,679, Oglethorpe Co., GA Deed Book N, 1829 – 1834, Deed Book N: 390.

[13]See, e.g., 1850 census, listing for John Martin, 44, dwl 205; Anna Butler, 49, dwl 280; FHL Film 1,894,009, noncupative will of John Martin given on 23 Oct 1863, witnesses included Amy Butler.

[14]FHL Film 158,680, Oglethorpe Co., GA Deed Books O and P, 1834 – 1841, Oglethorpe Deed Book O: 214, deed of 30 Dec 1834, Elijah Martin of Oglethorpe to John Martin of same, $1,000, a tract adj Benjamin Blanton, John Harris, Wilie Pope, Elisha Strong, Benj. Pope and Blanton M. Hill.

[15]Id., Oglethorpe Deed Book O: 212, deed of 26 Oct 1835, William W. Edwards of Lumpkin Co., GA to John Martin of Oglethorpe, $100, Edwards’ claim to “the Martin lot” adjacent Pope, Blanton and others; 1850 census, Lumpkin Co., GA, p. 38, dwl 104, listing for W. W. Edwards, 50, b. GA, Catharine Edwards, 46, b. GA, and Ann Edwards, 25, b. GA.

[16]Id., Oglethorpe DB N: 391, deed of 10 Mar 1830, Smithfield Martin of Walton Co., GA to John & Elijah Martin of Oglethorpe, Smithfield’s interest as an heir of Gibson Martin to land where John & Elijah live, $100. Interestingly, a 14-year-old male named Smithfield Martin was enumerated in the 1880 census in Austin, Travis County, Texas. Smithfield was born in Alabama, and both of his parents were born in Georgia. Odds are that Smithfield of Austin was the grandson of Smithfield Martin of Oglethorpe, Walton & Coweta, Georgia. It is probably possible to connect those dots, I just haven’t tried to do so.

[17]Farmer, abstract of Elbert Co., GA Deed Book A: 128.

[18]Id., abstract of Elbert Co., GA Deed Book A: 50.

[19]Farmer, abstract of Wilkes Co., GA Deed Book OO: 60.

[20]Id., abstract of Wilkes Co., GA Deed Book PP: 1.

[21]Frank Parker Hudson, Wilkes County, Georgia Tax Records, 1785 – 1805, Volume Oneand Volume Two(Atlanta: 1996).

[22]Id.

[23]Grace Gillam Davidson, Georgia DAR, Historical Collections of the Georgia Chapters, Daughters of the American Revolution, Volume III, Records of Elbert County, Georgia(Atlanta: Stein Printing Co., 1930, reprint by Georgia Genealogical Reprints, Vidalia, GA), abstract of Elbert Co., GA Will Book K: 55

[24]Several Skinners appeared in Perry Co., AL along with the Martins, including James and George Martin Skinner, proved sons of Archer and Clara Skinner of Elbert Co. Other Skinners in the Perry Co. records included Claiborne, Clara, and William G. Skinner. Claiborne and William G. Skinner were both born in Georgia and would have “fit” in the 1820 census profile for Clara Skinner in Elbert Co., GA, which included three males not identified in Archer’s will.

[25]Claiborne Skinner was listed as a head of household in the Perry Co. census for 1840, see p. 268 (born 1800 – 1810). In 1850, he was enumerated in Kemper Co., MS, p. 198, dwl 869, listing for Claiborne Skinner, 44, b. GA.

 

Martin & Buckley, Part 2: Who Were Claiborne Martin’s Parents & Siblings?

The Oct. 27, 2018 post on this blog  introduced Claiborne (“Clay”) Martin of North Carolina, Elbert and Oglethorpe Counties, GA, and Perry Co., AL. I promised to address Clay’s family of origin: who were his parents and siblings? Answer: there is no conclusive proof, so far as I know. There is a compelling web of circumstantial evidence. Clay’s parents were probably George and Elizabeth (maiden name unknown) Martin of Elbert and Oglethorpe Counties, GA.

Most of the evidence concerning Clay’s family of origin is in the land and tax records. Clay bought his first Oglethorpe tract – 147 acres – from George Martin in 1799.[1] The deed states that both George and Claiborne were then residents of Oglethorpe County. Clay paid real money for it: the tract was not a gift, and it does not recite any family relationship between the parties. The deed does recite that the tract, which was part of an original 538.5-acre grant to a Jesse Sanders, was adjacent to William Martin. Also, a Gibson Martin witnessed the deed. Finally, the 1797 deed in which George Martin acquired the tract states that it was located on the Big Creek of the Oconee River.[2]

Once again, the “follow the land” theory of genealogy produced a goldmine. Just one deed identifies three Martins who were almost certainly Claiborne’s relatives: George, Gibson and William.

George sold additional pieces of his tract at about the same time:

  • In 1798, George sold 125 acres on Big Creek to David Martin. Both George and David were then residents of Oglethorpe.[3]
  • In 1800, George sold to Henry Pope 291 acres on the waters of Big Creek in two separate deeds – tracts of 187 acres and 104 acres.[4]The 187-acre tract was adjacent to Claiborne Martin. The 104-acre tract was adjacent to David Martin, who witnessed the second deed.
  • Also in 1800, George sold Gibson Martin a tract of 175 acres in Oglethorpe.[5] That tract included the plantation where George then lived. The deed provided that George and his wife Elizabeth would retain possession for life. Although the deed did not specify the location, later tax records establish that the tract was on Big Creek and that it was adjacent to Claiborne Martin.[6]

Those deeds are good circumstantial evidence that Clay, George, William, David and Gibson Martin were family of some sort. They had another common characteristic besides the Martin surname. All five of the Martins signed deeds the majority of the time with a mark, as opposed to writing out a full name.[7] That helps distinguish this family from a plethora of more educated Martins in the area, most of whom typically signed a name in full.

There is also an intangible factor lurking in these deeds. George possesses an aura of seniority: he was the grantor in every deed and he reserved possession of the home plantation for life. Moreover, George has evidently sold all of his land in just a little over two years to a group of men who mostly shared his surname. This raises the inference that George didn’t expect to live much longer and was dividing up his estate – presumptively to family members. A reasonable hypothesis is that George Martin was the father of Claiborne, David, William and Gibson. Gibson’s acquisition of the home plantation, where George reserved a right to live for life, is almost conclusive proof of a father-son relationship despite the failure of that deed to recite one.

The next place to look for evidence is the Oglethorpe tax records. The first year I found these Martins on a list was 1799, when David, George and Claiborne appeared in the same district.[8] For some unknown reason, William was not listed, although he evidently owned land there as of George’s 1798 sale of land to Claiborne. Gibson did not yet own any land in 1799.

By 1806 – the first year after 1799 for which there is an extant tax list – George was no longer enumerated.[9] The 1807 Georgia land lottery establishes that he had died by then. Eligible participants from Captain Pope’s district in Oglethorpe included Claiborne, Gibson and Elizabeth Martin. She was identified as a widow.[10] George must have died some time during 1800 through 1805, because he was listed in the 1800 census.[11] David and William were evidently no longer in Oglethorpe.

So … let’s follow the sons. First, where did David and William go? The answer: Baldwin County, Georgia.

David sold his 125 acres on Big Creek to Henry Pope in 1801, including the plantation where he lived.[12] That was apparently all of David’s land in Oglethorpe, and he didn’t appear in any other records in that county. Frequently, family members who disappear like that cannot be found. David was nicely traceable, thanks to his wife’s distinctive name.

Back in Elbert County (where this Martin family lived before they were in Oglethorpe), there was a 1796 deed in which David and Alay Martin conveyed land on Falling Creek.[13] The deed was signed (as is customary in this Martin crowd, with marks) by David (x) Martin and Ala (x) Martin. You have to smile when you see the same name spelled two different ways in the same deed.

What is the evidence that David Martin with wife Alay/Ala of Elbert County is the same man as David Martin of Oglethorpe, who bought a tract from George Martin in 1798?  A sequence of deeds akin to a trail of crumbs, of course:

  • 1789 deed from George Martin and wife Elizabeth to Joseph Bell, all of Wilkes County, 579 acres granted to George Martin in July 1786.[14]
  • 1792 deed from Joseph Bell to David Martin, all of Elbert County, 300 acres in Elbert (which was created from Wilkes in 1790) on both sides of Falling Creek, part of 579 acres granted to George Martin. Archer Skinner– more on him later – was a witness.[15]
  • 1792 deed from David Martin and wife Alcy – a third spelling of her name – of Elbert Co., GA to Archer Skinner of Wilkes Co., an exchange of land in which David and Alcy (Alay/Ala) traded the tract David acquired from Joseph Bell. David signed in full, the only instance of that I have seen in this Martin family. His wife signed with a mark, as Alay (x) Martin. Clabourn [sic] Martin witnessed the deed, his first appearance anywhere in the records, at about age twenty-five.[16]

Here they were, in the period from 1789 through 1792 – George and wife Elizabeth, Clay, and David with wife Alay, Ala or Alcy – linked by Elbert Co. deeds, several years before they appeared in Oglethorpe. A minor aside: Falling Creek is going to be a key link to the Martins’ extended family.

More than a quarter of a century later, Alay and David appeared again, this time in the records of Baldwin County. David had died by then, leaving his wife and children. Alay Martin, widow, and David Martin’s children participated from Baldwin as one entry entitled to two draws in the 1821 Georgia land lottery.[17]

Baldwin County’s records were almost entirely burned to a crisp by William Tecumseh Sherman. Ironically, Baldwin (and not Oglethorpe, where there are excellent surviving records) is where I finally found conclusive proof of some family relationships among these Martins. In Baldwin, the only surviving antebellum county records were those in the office of the probate judge, which miraculously survived Sherman’s conflagration. They included the will of one William Martin, proved in Baldwin County in 1808. William’s will named his brother David Martin as his executor and David’s son John as the only beneficiary.[18]

Because of the loss of Baldwin County records, there is little information about David and even less about William. The best source of information in Baldwin County is contemporary newspapers. Here is the little bit that I know for sure about David Martin …

First, David died between 1813 and 1819 while he was a resident of Baldwin County. He had apparently given up farming, because he owned a public establishment in Milledgeville, according to this charming advertisement in the Georgia Journal in October 1813:[19]

“The subscriber, having taken that well known stand in Milledgeville, formerly occupied by Thomas Dent, intends keeping a House of Entertainment … He can accommodate from fifteen to twenty members of the Legislature in a genteel manner.”  Signed David Martin.

A “house of entertainment” (not what you might think) was a local pub/boarding house where one could eat, drink, and perhaps get a room for the night, much like the so-called “ordinaries” of Virginia. Sherman undoubtedly reduced it to a heap of cinders, too.

David and Alay were married by at least 1796, when she appeared as a party in that Elbert County deed.[20] By 1800, the Oglethorpe County census suggests they had only one child, a son (perhaps John, the beneficiary of his Uncle William’s will), who was then less than age ten, so “circa 1795″ seems a reasonable estimate for a marriage date.[21] When Alay/Aly Martin (over age 45) appeared in the 1820 Baldwin County census, she had five children listed with her: (1) a male born about 1795-1800, (2) and (3) two females born about 1800-1804, (4) a male born 1804-1810, and (5) a female born 1804-1810. [22]

Earlier Wilkes County tax lists provide a clue to David’s age. David made his first appearance anywhere in the records in 1785 as a landowning minor in Wilkes County. In 1787, he appeared again in the Wilkes tax records, still a landowner – but of full legal age.[23] Taken together, those two records suggest that David was born about 1765-66, since Georgia taxed free males at age twenty-one at that time. That birth year, plus a marriage and first child born some time during the 1790s, place David (and therefore his brother William) in the same generation as Claiborne (born 1767) and Gibson (born 1770).

Alay and David’s children had all disappeared from Baldwin by the 1830 census. I don’t know where they went. The only proved child is John. However, a William Martin appeared with Alay among the 1821 land lottery participants from Baldwin, and he is probably another son, named for his father’s brother. If you have a Martin family with Georgia origins and someone named Alay/Aly/Alcy in your line – possibly all nicknames for Alice – you might consider looking at this family. Check out the Martin Family DNA Project for help. I looked at it briefly, but didn’t spot Clay’s line.

As for David’s brother William Martin, there is little information about him other than his 1808 will. His first appearance in the records was in 1798 in Elbert County, witnessing a deed to a tract on the same creek where David Martin owned land.[24] Based on William’s will – a legacy to his nephew John and no one else – he was almost certainly single and childless.

I never found the deeds by which William acquired and disposed of his tract adjacent to Claiborne and George Martin in Oglethorpe. However, his tract on Big Creek was mentioned in Henry Pope’s will and was described as containing 147 acres.[25] The acreage figure strongly suggests that George sold the tract to William, since George sold to Claiborne a tract containing precisely that acreage.

Thanks to William’s will, David’s probable age, and the conveyances of land on Big Creek, I would bet a decent sum that David, William, Claiborne and Gibson Martin were brothers. I would also bet that their parents were George and Elizabeth. Of course, it is always possible that Elizabeth was not George’s first wife and she was not the mother of those men (or not all of them).[26] It is also possible that George was an uncle or other relative rather than their father. But … c’mon, now …

Finally, we haven’t yet followed Gibson Martin, and I’m pretty sure the Martin brothers also have at least one sister waiting in the wings. This is more than enough for now, so let’s save them for the next post.

See you on down the road, friends.

 [1]FHL Film 158,674, Oglethorpe County, Georgia Deed Books C and D, 1798 – 1806, deed of 15 Aug 1799, George Martin to Claybourn Martin, both of Oglethorpe, $225 for 147 acres adjacent William Martin, Mrs. Waters, John Tanner, part of 538.5-acre tract granted Jesse Sanders, then located in Washington Co. Signed George (x) Martin. Thomas Wooten and Gibson Martin, witnesses. Deed Book C: 434.

[2]FHL Film 158,673, Oglethorpe County, Georgia Deed Books A and B, 1794 – 1798, deed of 19 Aug 1797, John Tindall of Columbia Co., GA to George Martin of Washington Co., GA, 538.5 acres on the Big Creek of Oconee Waters, part of Jesse Sanders survey granted 27 Aug 1786. Signed George (x) Martin. Witnesses John Barnett, Jacob Hinton. Deed Book B: 209.

[3]FHL Film 158,674, Oglethorpe Deed Book C: 420, deed of 20 Nov 1797 from George Martin to David Martin, both of Oglethorpe, $200 for 125 acres on the west side of Big Creek adjacent Miles Hill. Signed George (x) Martin. Witnesses Thomas Wooten, James Thomas, JP.

[4]Id., Oglethorpe Deed Book D: 73, deed of 11 Jan 1800 from George Martin to Henry Pope, both of Oglethorpe, $400 for 187 acres on both forks, waters of Big Cr., adjacent William Patrick, Claybourn Martin and Samuel Waters, part of the Sanders tract; Deed Book D: 74, deed of 28 Jan 1800 from George Martin to Henry Pope for $200 for 104 acres adjacent John Tanner, David Martin, Tindal. Signed George (x) Martin. Witnesses David (x) Martin, Thomas Wooten.

 [5]Id., Deed Book D: 5, deed of 29 Jan 1800 from George Martin to Gibson Martin, both of Oglethorpe, $500 for 175 acres including the plantation where George lives adjacent Hinton, Pope, Tanner and Tindal. George Martin and wife Elizabethto retain possession during their lives. Witnesses Thomas Wooten Jr., Jacob Hinton.

[6]FHL Film 177,699, Oglethorpe County, Georgia Superior Court Tax Digests, 1806 – 1811.

[7]E.g.,FHL Film 158,674, Oglethorpe Deed Book C: 434.

[8]MariLee Beatty Hageness, 1799 Tax List of Oglethorpe County, Georgia(1995).

[9]FHL Film 177,699, Oglethorpe County, GA Superior Court Tax Digests, 1806 – 1811.

[10]Clayton Library microfilm No. R-1047, Oglethorpe County Georgia Land Lottery Eligibles 1807.

[11]There was no administration of George’s estate in Oglethorpe, undoubtedly because he had no significant assets left to administer. He evidently sold all of his land between 1797 and 1800, and he owned no slaves in the 1800 census. In those circumstances, there is virtually no chance that anyone applied to the court for an estate administration, nor would a court order sua sponte that one take place.

 [12]FHL Film 158,674, deed of 20 Feb 1801 from David Martin to Henry Pope for $400, 125 acres on the east fork of Big Cr. including the plantation where Martin now lives, adjacent Henry Pope, Miles Hill. Signed David (x) Martin. Witnesses Charles Bedingfield, Thomas Wooten. Oglethorpe Deed Book D: 75.

[13]Michal Martin Farmer, Elbert County, Georgia Deed Books A – J 1791 – 1806(Dallas: 1997), abstract of Deed Book E: 47.

[14]Michal Martin Farmer, Wilkes County, Georgia Deed Books A – VV 1784 – 1806 (Dallas: Farmer Genealogy Co., 1996), abstract of Deed Book A: 39.

[15]Farmer, abstract of Elbert Co., GA Deed Book A: 128.

[16]Farmer, abstract of Wilkes Co., GA Deed Book PP: 1.

 [17]The Third and Fourth or 1820 and 1821 Land Lotteries of Georgia (Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press and Georgia Genealogical Reprints, 1973). A child whose father died was referred to as an orphan, notwithstanding that the child’s mother was still living.

[18]Delwyn Associates, Records of Baldwin County, Georgia (Albany, GA: 1975), abstract of Will Book A: 22.

[19]Fred R. Hartz and Emilie K. Hartz, Genealogical Abstracts from theGeorgia Journal(Milledgeville) Newspaper, 1809 – 1840, Volume One, 1809 – 1818 (Vidalia, GA: 1990).

[20]Farmer, abstract of Elbert Co., GA Deed Book E: 47.

[21]Mary Bondurant Warren, 1800 Census of Oglethorpe County, Georgia (Athens, GA: 1965), listing for David Martin includes, among others, one male < 10.

[22]1820 census for Baldwin Co., GA, p. 39, listing for Aly Martin, 010100-01201, no slaves. Birth years for the children are estimated based on listings for the family in 1800, 1810 and 1820. The 1820 census shows 1 male 16 < 26, probably born 1795 -1800 (since he appeared in the 1800 census), 2 females 16 < 26, but born 1800 -1804 (since they did notappear in 1800), 1 male 10 < 16, born 1804 -1810, and 1 female 10 < 16, born 1804 -1810.

[23]Frank Parker Hudson, Wilkes County, Georgia Tax Records, 1785 – 1805, Volume One and Volume Two (Atlanta: 1996).

 [24]Farmer, abstract of Elbert Co., GA Deed Book E: 105.

[25]Fred W. McRee, Jr., Oglethorpe County, Georgia Abstract of Wills 1794 – 1903 (2002), abstract of Will Book B: 10; FHL Film 158,674, Oglethorpe County, Georgia Deed Books C and D, 1798 – 1806, Deed Book C: 434.

[26]Note that Claiborne and Frances Martin named their first child Elizabeth. Typical English naming patterns suggest that one of the child’s grandmothers had that name. Frances’s mother was named Amy, not Elizabeth. Thus, Claiborne and Frances’s child named Elizabeth is some evidence, although slender, that Claiborne’s mother shared that name.

Martin & Buckley, Part 1: Oglethorpe/Elbert GA, & Perry AL

My ancestor Claiborne (“Clay”) Martin has been a longstanding brick wall. He was born in North Carolina in the latter part of the 18th century. Unfortunately, Martin is a relatively common name in that time and place: the 1790 federal census has 177 Martin heads of household listed in North Carolina. The numbers are daunting.

Frustrated by lack of success, I have abandoned research in NC in favor of writing what I know (or think I know) about Clay and his wife Frances. Here are the two issues this series of posts will address:

  • who were Clay’s siblings and parents?
  • who were the siblings and parents of Clay’s wife Frances?

God willing and the creek don’t rise, I will manage to complete a series of articles addressing these questions before I get diverted onto yet another Rankin rabbit trail. Let’s start with a brief summary of Clay’s life.

He was born in North Carolina about 1767,[1] but had moved to Georgia by at least 1785.[2] Given his relatively young age at the time, it seems likely he moved with family. He was a farmer and a slave owner.[3] He married his wife Frances circa 1794, probably in Elbert County, Georgia.[4] Clay and Frances raised a large family – two sons and nine daughters survived to adulthood – in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, before moving to Perry County, Alabama.[5]

I like Clay, despite his slave ownership, because (among other things) he took care of his extended family. When one of his brothers died in Oglethorpe, Clay paid property taxes on behalf of his brother’s widow for several years.[6] He also paid taxes for a year on behalf of a widowed sister.[7] He stayed out of politics, public life, jail, lawsuits and other controversies. So did his children. He and Frances were married for roughly sixty years, which is no mean feat (said the woman who has been married more than 50 years).[8]

Here is a charming thing about Claiborne and Frances Martin: they had mules named Bill and Cuff and horses named Jimmie and Ned.[9] What are the odds that, 170 years from now, someone will unearth the name of your animals? Only, I’m guessing, if they are preserved in answers to the security questions on your bank account.

Clay is identified in an abstract of Georgia records as a Revolutionary War veteran.[11] That is probably wrong. At first glance, it seems unlikely that Clay served, because he was only fourteen (maybe sixteen, given the margin of error in census age reporting) when the war was mostly over. However, my husband Gary tells me that there were actually soldiers that young.

The evidence is at odds with the abstract, even ignoring the age issue. First, Clay never applied for a Revolutionary War pension, although he would have been eligible under the act of 1828 if he had served for at least nine months – or six months, under the 1832 act.[12] Clay was still alive in 1832, and would presumably have applied had he been eligible. Second, the abstract also names Gibson Martin, Clay’s brother, as a Revolutionary War soldier. Gibson’s grandchildren kindly erected a tombstone for him in Oglethorpe County giving his birth date as September 10, 1770.[13] Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown in September 1781, when Gibson was just turning eleven, much too young to have served. If the abstractor erred with respect to Gibson’s war service, he/she was probably also wrong about Clay, since both names purportedly came from the same list found in the office of the Oglethorpe Court of Ordinary. Eventually, I will get a look at that record. I suspect it will be evidence that Clay and Gibson were entitled to draw lots in the Georgia land lottery because their father was a Revolutionary War soldier.

In September 1818, Clay sold his land in Oglethorpe.[14] Some time during the next twelve months, Clay and Frances and a large extended family moved to Alabama. One of Clay’s daughters – my ancestress Amy Martin – married my ancestor Isaac Oakes (also born and raised in Oglethorpe) in Dallas County, Alabama in October 1819.[15] Clay was not listed as a head of household in the 1820 census for Dallas County, and there is no extant 1820 census for Perry County, so the census is no help. It’s a good bet, however, that Amy, age nineteen at the time, didn’t move from Georgia to Alabama without family chaperones.[16] In fact, Claiborne’s father-in-law was definitely in Perry County by 1819.

Once in Perry County, Clay farmed and cared for family. He gave his eldest son a gift of land, provided for his children and grandchildren in his will, and took care of his widowed daughter Sarah and other family members.[17] The Martins apparently never got to enjoy an empty nest. In 1850, when Clay was 83 and Frances was 74, they had seventeen-year-old and fourteen-year-old girls living with them (children of their widowed daughter, Sarah Martin Crow).[18] In the 1840 census, there were six children under the age of fifteen and several young adults in Frances and Clay’s household.[19] So far as I can determine, their own youngest child was born in the middle 1820s at the  latest, and was married before the 1840 census.[20] Consequently, the six kids living with the Martins in 1840 likely qualified as extended family, probably grandchildren. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Clay died in Perry County about September 1853, leaving a decent estate that generated a huge probate file.[21] Those documents conclusively prove his wife Frances, the identities of children and some of their spouses, and quite a few grandchildren.[22] The moral: in genealogy, as with everything else in this life, it pays to come from a family that is moderately well-to-do.

Here are Claiborne and Frances Martin’s children and their spouses, all proved in Clay’s will and/or in Perry County estate files.

  • Elizabeth Martin,vb. abt 1794 Oglethorpe, d. by 1851, Perry, m. Theodoric Oliver 1820, Dallas AL. Two children.
  • Haney Martin, b. abt 1796 Oglethorpe, d. after 1880, Perry, m. Thomas Oakes (1785-1857) in 1816, Oglethorpe. One child, Lucy Oakes
  • Fanny Martin, b. abt. 1798 Oglethorpe, d. 1860-70, Union Par. LA, m. John Smith 1814 Oglethorpe. Six sons.
  • Amy Martin, b. 1800 Oglethorpe, d. 1865 Claiborne Par. LA, m. Isaac Oakes (b. 1797 Oglethorpe d. 1885 Claiborne) 1819, Dallas Co. AL. Ten children: Elizabeth, Elijah Moseley, Haney, Washington Lafayette, Reuben M., Susan, Isaac C., Lucy Frances, Nancy Wisdom, and John L. Oakes.
  • Frances Martin, b. bet. 1800-1810 Oglethorpe, d. bef. 1865, m. David Chandler 1827 Perry Co. 6 children.
  • William Buckley Martin, b. abt. 1806 Oglethorpe, m. Susan A. MNU. Probably 10 children.
  • Sarah A. martin, b. abt. 1807 Oglethorpe m. Silas Harlan Crow 1827, Perry AL. Children Mary Frances, Silas H. and Isaac M. Crow.
  • Clara Martin, b. abt 1812 Oglethorpe d. aft 1880 m. John J. Hunter 1830 Perry AL. 8 children.
  • Lucinda “Lucy” Martin, b. abt 1812 Oglethorpe d. bet. 1860-70 Perry, m. Jesse Suttle 1831 Perry AL. Eleven Children.
  • Claiborne Jackson Martin, b. 1815 Oglethorpe d. 1892 Freestone Co., TX, m. Elizabeth b. Kelly (1818-1903) 1837 Perry AL. Five children.
  • Malinda Martin, b. abt 1823 Perry d. 1853-56 Perry, m. Zachariah Chandler 1839 Perry AL. Seven children.

Frances Martin died in Perry County in 1865, about age ninety.[23] By my count, the Martins had 69 grandchildren. I may have missed some. She and Clay were undoubtedly both buried in Perry Co., probably on their own farm. Their tombstones, if there were any, have long since either been reclaimed by the land or swiped by someone who collects that sort of thing.

That will have to remain a mystery. There is NO WAY I am wandering around any more woodsy cemeteries in Perry County looking for ancestors’ tombstones. Gary and I did that during a genealogy trip in August 2007, and we learned a very, very hard lesson about Alabama chiggers.

That is pretty much everything I know about Clay’s life, other than some facts relevant to identifying his family. I will save those for subsequent posts in this series.

See you on down the road. It’s kind of nice to let the Rankins be for a while.

*   *   *   *   *   *   

 [1]1850 federal census, Perry Co., AL, Radfordsville, dwl 61, listing for Claiborne Martin, 83, b. NC, farmer, Frances Martin, 74, b. VA, Sarah Crow, 43, b. GA (neé Martin), and Sarah’s two daughters.

[2]Clay first appeared in the records in a Wilkes Co., GA deed of 28 Dec 1792, when he was about twenty-five (see note 1). Michal Martin Farmer, Wilkes County, Georgia Deed Books A – VV 1784 – 1806(Dallas: Farmer Genealogy Co., 1996), abstract of Deed Book PP: 1, deed from David Martin and wife Alcy of Elbert Co., GA to Archer Skinner of Wilkes Co., witnessed by Clabourn Martin. David Martin had been appearing in the Wilkes County records since 1785. Assuming that David was Clay’s brother, which is highly likely (more on that later), it is reasonable to assume that Clay had alsobeen around Georgia since at least 1785.

[3]E.g.,1840 federal census, Perry Co., AL, p. 250, Claiborne Martin enumerated with five slaves; 1850 federal census, slave schedule, Perry Co., AL, Radfordville, Claiborne Martin listed with twelve slaves.

[4]The Martins’ marriage date of 1794 is a rough estimate based on Frances’s birth date (1775 or 1776 according to the 1860 or 1850 census) and the births of their children, three of whom were born during the 1790s. Seenote 1 (1850 federal census); 1860 federal census, Perry Co., AL, p. 633, dwl 22, listing for Frances Martin, 85, b. VA; Mary Bondurant Warren,1800 Census of Oglethorpe County, Georgia(Athens, GA: 1965), Claiborne Martin enumerated with three females under age ten in his household. Clay and Frances were likely married in Elbert Co., because that is where both lived when they married.

[5]FHL Film 1,509,297, Perry County, Alabama Probate Records – Lockett, Napoleon to Martin, George M., File #53-022-1069, estate records of Claiborne Martin (hereafter “Martin Estate Records”). The file, which I copied in its entirety and have transcribed, contains numerous documents identifying Clay’s children and heirs. Documents include Clay’s will, depositions, and several accounts of the estate distribution. Clay and Frances left Oglethorpe for Perry Co. about 1818.

[6]FHL Film 177,699, Oglethorpe County, Georgia Tax Digests, 1806 – 1815. Claiborne paid county land  taxes on behalf of Gibson Martin, deceased, or his widow Sarah/Sally Martin, during 1810 through 1816.

[7]Id.Claiborne paid land tax on behalf of Elisha Herrin (whose wife Sally was neé Martin) in 1811.

 [8]Clay and Frances were probably married circa 1794, see note 4. Clay’s will was recorded on 12 Sep 1853, and he probably died shortly before that date. Martin Estate Records.

[9]Martin Estate Records, appraisal dated 8 Sep 1865 of the personal property of the estate of Claibourn [sic] Martin, taken after Frances died. Per her husband’s will, Frances owned only a life estate in their property. That ownership interest terminated when she died. As a result, the estate remaining after her death was administered as part of Claiborne’s estate, even though Frances died about twelve years after Claiborne. The remaining estate was therefore disposed of in accordance with the terms of Claiborne’s will.

[10]Marie De Lamar & Elisabeth Rothstein, The Reconstructed 1790 Census of Georgia(Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1989).

[11]Rev. Silas Emmett Lucas, Some Georgia County Records Vol. 7(Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc., 1993) at p. 465, from a list dated 1 Feb 1804, “Names of Revolutionary Soldiers who drew Land Lots, found of record in the Ordinary’s Office of Oglethorpe County, Georgia.”

[12]The 1828 act did not require the applicant to prove he was indigent, as had the previous pension legislation. W. T. R. Saffell, Records of the Revolutionary War(Baltimore: Clearfield Company, Inc., originally published 1894; reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1969).

[13]Historic Oglethorpe Co., Inc., Cemeteries of Oglethorpe County, Georgia(Fernandina Beach, FL: Wolfe Publishing Co., 1995).

 [14]FHL Film 158,677, Oglethorpe Co., GA Deed Books J and K, 1818 – 1823, deed of 18 Sep 1818 from Claborn [sic] Martin of Oglethorpe to John McCleath, 170 acres on the waters of Big Creek, Deed Book J: 154. Clay’s last appearance on the Oglethorpe County tax list was also in 1818. FHL Film 177,700,  Oglethorpe County, GA Superior Court Tax Digests, 1816 – 1824.

[15]Family Adventures, Early Alabama Marriages 1813 – 1850(San Antonio: 1991), 18 Oct 1819 bond, Isaac Okes [sic, Oakes] and Anna [sic, Amy] Martin, Dallas Co., AL.

[16]The first Alabama record I found for Clay was a May 1822 order in the court minute book appointing him to a jury to lay out a road. Original of Perry County Record Book 1826 – 1840 at p. 29, viewed at the Perry County courthouse in August 2007. Note that the title of the book suggests that it dates from1826. However, actual entries begin in 1820. Perry County was created 13 Dec 1819.

[17]FHL Film 1,578,227, item 1, Perry County, Alabama Deed Book B (cont’d), deed from Claiborne Martin to his son, Buckley Martin, for love and affection, 158.52 acres. Deed Book B: 56. See also Martin Estate Records and notes 6 and 7.

 [18]1850 federal census, Perry Co., AL.

[19]1840 federal census, Perry Co., AL.

[20]Family Adventures, Early Alabama Marriages 1813 – 1850(San Antonio: 1991), marriage bond of Zachariah M. Chandler and Malinda Martin, 7 Mar 1839.

[21]Martin Estate Records.

[22]See id. Claiborne and Frances’s eleven children were Elizabeth (wife of Theodorick Oliver), Haney (second wife of Thomas Oakes), Fanny (wife of John Smith), my ancestor Amy (wife of Isaac Oakes), Frances (wife of David Chandler), William Buckley Martin (wife Susan LKU), Sarah (wife of Silas H. Crow), Clara (wife of John J. Hunter), Lucinda (wife of Jesse Suttle), Claiborne Jackson Martin (m. Elizabeth Kelly), and Malinda (wife of Zachariah M. Chandler). Isaac and Amy Martin Oakes had a daughter named Haney, my ancestress, who is easy to confuse with her aunt Haney Martin Oakes, wife of Thomas.

[23]Martin Estate Records.

Family History Blog Preferences … and Cantaloupes

Right now, someone out there in the blogosphere is rolling his/her eyes and thinking there cannot possibly be any connection between a melon and family history research. Just keep reading, Mr./Ms. Skeptic.

I recently emailed several friends to ask what kind of articles they want to see from our genealogy blog. The most fun response: “The heck with my ancestors. Right now, all I want is for someone to tell me how to pick out a RIPE cantaloupe. I’m tired of buying melons that are tasteless and too hard to eat with a spoon. I just threw another one in the trash. WAAAAAHHHH!”

Hahahaha … OK, friend, we’ll address that shortly. Meanwhile, we have two genealogy questions. First, what do you want from a family history blog? Are you more inclined to look for general articles, such as the ones we have published about genealogical proof, the Scots-Irish, legal issues relevant to genealogy, or how to identify a second cousin once removed? Perhaps you’d like to see reviews of family history books? Or are you more interested in specific ancestral lines?

This blog has been oriented thus far toward particular families with a few general articles sprinkled in. Here’s the second question: what family line(s) particularly interest you? Check out the list of our ancestral names on the “ABOUT THIS WEBPAGE” link and let us know if any of them pique your interest or if you have another family you’d like to see as the subject of an article.

Many of you know how to contact us directly via email. If not, there is a link on the website for posting comments.

As for the cantaloupe question, I know of several theories, and will bet a small sum there are many, many more (PLEASE let me know if you have a foolproof approach):

  • I saw a woman a few years ago at Houston’s Central Market shaking a cantaloupe while holding it up to her head — first to her right ear, then to her left. Fascinated, I asked her what the hell she was doing. She claimed that she can hear the seeds rattling if a cantaloupe is ripe.  Ummm-hmmmm. I have made a total fool of myself trying that several times while never hearing a blessed thing.
  • Another theory is to look at the white sort of lattice pattern on the rind. The more closely-spaced the lattice pattern, the more ripe it is. Surely this is arrant nonsense.
  • Also: press with your thumb on the end where the cantaloupe was attached to the vine. A ripe cantaloupe theoretically yields a bit to gentle pressure. This at least has some superficial logical appeal. However, they all seem totally unyielding to me.
  • Finally, we have this from the comic strip “Pearls Before Swine:”

Never mind the theory: I consistently buy rock-hard cantaloupes. Gary, on the other hand, picks nothing but winners. He has the same talent with avocados. Go figure. The only reasonable conclusion, IMO, is that men should do all the grocery shopping.

Fortunately, genealogy is far more consistently rewarding, if less nutritional, than cantaloupes. As for genealogists in general, an Alexander cousin likes to say: NOBODY HAS MORE FUN THAN WE DO! So keep on truckin,’ and I’ll see you on down the road.

MORE Accomplished Rankins … and a Possibly Confused TN Senator

We’re on a run of accomplished Rankins here, although I promise not to find any royalty in the line! A friend forwarded the October 2018 newsletter he received from Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. The Senator claims some distinguished Rankin relatives. Here is what he had to say in his newsletter:

“Joined Tusculum University to inaugurate their new president, and celebrate their 225th homecoming celebration

I enjoyed my time at Tusculum University yesterday (about Oct. 13, 2018), where I got to participate in the inauguration of their new president, Dr. James Hurley. Dr. Hurley has a lot to offer this university — he knows the territory, has a passion for education and basketball, was the first in his family to graduate from college and became president of that college, and we already know he thinks big. Big dreams include new programs to help the region deal with the opioid epidemic, transitioning from a college to a university and announcing a new College of Optometry. I also got to celebrate Tusculum’s 225th homecoming. Let’s look at Tusculum’s roots. Tusculum was founded two years before Tennessee became a state. There were a lot of Presbyterian pioneers and fighters who came to the area, including Rankin relatives of mine —William B. Rankin, who became president of Tusculum College in 1854, and Thomas Samuel Rankin, who was a professor at Tusculum from 1885 when he graduated until 1931. These pioneers created the first higher education institution in Tennessee. This homecoming was a good reminder that Tusculum has plenty that is unique to celebrate, and it now has the arrival of an experienced, big thinking, new president who dreams of building on the success Tusculum has already had.”

Senator Alexander needs someone to examine his Rankin roots! It is unlikely that he is related to both Rev. William B. Rankin (call him “Rev. William,” since he had a Doctorate of Divinity) and Professor Thomas Samuel Rankin (“Prof. Thomas,” who taught Latin, bless his heart, for 47 years). Here is a link to information about Rev. William published online by Tusculum College.

Rev. William, the first president of Tusculum College, descends from John Rankin who died in Lancaster Co., PA in 1749. The family of John’s son Thomas (whose wife was Isabell Clendenon/Clendennin) wound up in Jefferson Co., TN, where they are memorialized on the famous bronze tablet in Mt. Horeb Cemetery. I’ve written about the tablet, and John d. 1749, here and here. Six descendants of Thomas have done YDNA tests and have joined the Rankin Family DNA Project. They belong to what Rankin Project administrators have designated “Rankin Lineage 2A.” 

Prof. Thomas descends from David Rankin Sr. of Greene Co., TN, who died there in 1802. At least four proved descendants of David Rankin Sr. have done YDNA tests and have joined the Rankin Family DNA Project. They belong to “Lineage 3.”

Rankin Lineage 2A members are not a YDNA match with members of  Lineage 3, of course –or they would all belong to the same lineage. Thus, the only way Sen. Alexander could have been related to both Rev. William and Prof. Thomas would be if someone from Rev. William’s family married someone from Prof. Thomas’s family, and the combined L2A/L3 family is related to the Senator. A good researcher could puzzle it all out in a trice. I didn’t go to the trouble. Sen. Alexander is, after all, a politician, and the cynic in me suspects he was just burnishing his Tusculum resume for the attendees. <grin>

Here are outline descendant charts for both of the Rankin men Sen. Alexander claims as relatives. Part of Rev. William Bradshaw Rankin’s chart is taken from his own S.A.R. application. His ancestry was easy to verify, because this is an extremely well-documented Rankin line. The application says that Rev. William remembered his grandfather talking about the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. And Rev. William said he owned a piece of grapeshot from Yorktown that his grandfather gave to him. I was charmed. I’m tickled to claim him as a distant cousin.

Here is the line of Rev. William, Rankin Lineage 2A:

1 John Rankin, birth date unproved, died 1749 in Lancaster Co., PA. Wife traditionally identified as Mary McElwee; will names his wife as Margaret.

2 Thomas Rankin, abt. 1724 – 1812. Wife Isabella Clendenon (various spellings).

3 William Rankin, 27 Jan 1759 – 13 Dec 1833. Wife Sarah Moore, 21 Jul 1764 – 9 Oct 1850. William was the Revolutionary War soldier whose service was the basis for Rev. William’s S.A.R. application. See Virgil White’s abstract of William’s pension application in the footnote at the end of this sentence.[1] William and Sarah are both buried in the Timber Ridge Cemetery in Greene Co., TN.

4 Anthony Rankin, 1794 – 1872. He married Margaret Gray (1796 – 1863) on 25 Dec 1821 in Washington Co., TN. Both are also buried in the Timber Ridge Cemetery. 25 Dec 1821.

5 Rev. William Bradshaw Rankin, MA, DD, 1825 – 1903. He is buried in the Salem Churchyard at Washington College, Limestone, TN.

And here is the line of Prof. Thomas, Rankin Lineage 3:

1 David Rankin Sr., birth date unproved, d. 1802, Greene Co., TN. Wife’s identity unproved.

2 Robert Rankin, wife Elizabeth Dinwiddie of Greene Co., TN. Possibly married in Campbell Co., VA in 1798.[2] Robert’s Greene Co. will named his son Thomas C. Rankin as an executor.

3 Thomas C. Rankin(30 Mar 1806 – 12 Nov 1851) and Elvira Blackburn (1810-1901). His 1851 will named his son Robert. Thomas and Elvira are both buried in the Mt. Bethel Presbyterian Cemetery in Greene Co.

4 Robert Rankin, b. 25 Mar 1832 – d. 15 Apr 1866, Greene Co., TN. Wife Margaret McGaughey. Married in Greene Co. in 1854.

5 Professor Thomas Samuel Rankin, b. 15 Jun 1858 d. 30 Oct 1938 or 1939, buried Oak Grove Cemetery, Greenville, Greene Co., TN. Tombstone says he was “47 years professor of Latin” and a college trustee, as well as a ruling elder of Mt. Bethel Presbyterian. His first wife was Margaret Folk (1849 – 1887); second wife was Mary Coile (1866 – 1941).

As always, please let me know if you spot any errors or have any questions. Senator Alexander, I welcome your comments!

See you on down the road, friends.

[1]William Rankin, wife Sarah, served in the PA and VA line. Born 27 Jan 1759 “some 5 miles below Carlisle in Cumberland Co., PA.” He lived at Juniata in that county at enlistment. In Jun 1780 he moved with his father to Augusta County, VA and also enlisted there. Soldier married Sarah Moore29 Aug 1787 in Greene Co., TNand she was b. Jul 1763. Soldier d. 13 Dec 1833, widow applied 25 Mar 1844 in Green Co., TN. Children were (1) Thomas b. 13 Jul 1788, (2) Peggy b. 1 Jan 1790, (3) John Moore Rankin b. 10 Apr 1792, (4) Anthony b. 23 Aug 1794 (see Greene Co. TN records for Anthony) (5), Isabel Clindinon Rankin b. 30 Aug 1796, (6) William b. 23 Mar 1799, (7) Ginny b. 17 Nov 1801 and (8) David b. 10 Feb 1804.

[2]The Encyclopedia of Quaker Genealogy, 1750-1930, Vol. VI(MyFamily.com, Inc., 2006), 849.

So … Is He My Second Cousin or My First Cousin Once Removed???

I’ve been talking to a friend who is a fifth cousin once removed. “How on earth,” she said, “do you determine our relationship?” I mumbled something incoherent about “rules” concerning degrees of consanguinity before concluding it was impossible to explain without visual aids.

Most of you undoubtedly figured out long ago how to tell a fourth cousin from a fifth cousin, and what “once removed” and “twice removed” mean. It took me a while to get to an “AHA!” moment on those issues. If this stuff is old hat for you, please head for this website’s archives and find an article about genealogical proof, or legal concepts in family history research, or the Scots-Irish.  If you have had any trouble calculating consanguinity, please read on.  There WILL be visual aids.

OK, we all know how to identify a first cousin, right? He, or she, is a child of one of your parent’s siblings, and you share a set of grandparents. The chart below shows a pair of Rankin first cousins, Tom and Robert (the green rectangles), grandsons of John Rankin and Emma Brodnax. Please note: John and Emma, my grandparents, are the only real people on the charts in this article. All others are fictional.

Please notice that there is one generation in between the first cousins, Tom and Robert, and their common ancestors, John and Emma.

OK, moving on, let’s add a generation: Chris and Alex, sons of Tom and Robert, respectively – the green rectangles in the chart below. Chris and Alex are second cousins. Note that there are two generations between the second cousins and their common ancestors, John and Emma.

This demonstrates the general rule: the number of generations between the youngest members of the line and their common ancestors equals the degree of consanguinity. Like so …

  • One generation between the youngest & the common ancestors = first cousins
  • Two generations between the youngest & the common ancestors = second cousins

And so on.

“Removed” simply means that one of the cousins has more generations between himself and the common ancestor than does the other. In the chart below, Tom and Alex are first cousins once removed, since Alex is one more generation “removed” from their common ancestors John and Emma.

Simple, oui? Hahahaha … I still have to sketch a little chart in order to figure out distant relationships. Alternatively, I could just enter the family into my family tree software and let it calculate the relationships. But what fun would that be?

See you on down the road. I’ve got a load of Rankins on my mind …

 

 

Rev. Adam Rankin of Lexington, KY: YDNA Controversy, Ancestry Issues, and Theological Fanaticism

A distant Rankin cousin recently introduced me to Confederate Brigadier General Adam Rankin “Stovepipe” Johnson. His mother was a Rankin, so I wrote about him here. Today’s subject is Presbyterian Rev. Adam Rankin of Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky. Rev. Adam is the source of Rankin YDNA and family history issues, although he didn’t just become controversial after he died: he caused considerable turmoil in his denomination during his lifetime.

Here is a summary of the issues …

  • The YDNA question. YDNA tests of Rev. Adam’s descendants cast doubt on one part of famous Rankin family legend preserved on a tablet in Mt. Horeb Cemetery  in Jefferson Co., TN. The story concerns an Alexander Rankin and his son William (two other sons having been martyred) who fled to Ulster in 1688 to escape the “Killing Times” in Scotland.[1] The family then survived the Siege of Londonderry in 1689. Three sons of William reportedly immigrated from Ulster to Pennsylvania in the 1720s, where one died without children. One of the two surviving brothers was probably Rev. Adam’s grandfather. Descendants of Rev. Adam and the other surviving brother have YDNA tested, and they do not match each other. Absent another explanation, this means the two men traditionally considered sons of William Rankin weren’t brothers.
  • The family history question. One explanation for the YDNA mismatch might be an error in the family trees of descendants who have tested. Alternatively, there might be an NPE (a so-called “non-paternal event,” such as an adoption) in a line. To sort that out, we need to look at the other YDNA matches and ancestor charts of the Rankins who have tested.
  • Theological turmoil. During his lifetime, Rev. Adam caused an uproar in the Presbyterian church about an obscure theological issue. Rev. Adam was a fanatic on the question. If anyone reading this post has ever even heard of it, you must be a serious theologian. Read on …

The YDNA Question

The Mt. Horeb Rankin legend described above identifies three brothers who came to Pennsylvania in the 1720s:

(1) Adam Rankin, who died in 1747 in Lancaster Co., PA. His wife (reportedly his second) was Mary Steele Alexander. Let’s call him Adam d. 1747. His will named three sons and one daughter.[2] I’ve written about Adam here  and here.

(2) John Rankin, who died in 1749, also in Lancaster Co., PA. His first wife was reportedly Jane McElwee, and his widow was named Margaret. His will named two sons, six daughters, and two sons-in-law.[3] Let’s call him John d. 1749. You can find John’s will at this link.

(3) According to the legend, Hugh Rankin, the third brother, died without children.

Conventional wisdom says that Rev. Adam was a grandson of Adam d. 1747. Two of Rev. Adam’s descendants have YDNA tested and fall into “Lineage 3” at the Rankin Family DNA Project. At least five descendants of John d. 1749 have also YDNA tested. They fall into Rankin “Lineage 2.”

The Lineage 3 descendants of Adam d. 1747 do not match the Lineage 2 descendants of John d. 1749. However, descendants of Adam d. 1747 and John d. 1749 are all genetic Rankins. We know that because each of them matches men descended from other Rankin lines. For example, the descendants of John d. 1749 are also YDNA matches to descendants of Samuel and Eleanor Alexander Rankin of Lincoln Co., NC. That is also true of the descendants of Adam d. 1747, who match yet another Rankin line. Because all of the tested descendants of John d. 1749 and Adam d. 1747 are genetic Rankins, a non-Rankin adoption in one line, or an illegitimate birth, probably cannot explain the Lineage 2/Lineage 3 mismatch.[4]

The question becomes whether there is an error somewhere in these men’s family trees. That brings us to …

The Family History Question

Let’s start with the descendants of John d. 1749, because we can dispatch them quickly. There is no doubt about their ancestry. All five of them descend from Thomas, one of John d. 1749’s two sons, and there are no weak links in their descendant charts.

Rev. Adam as a descendant of Adam d. 1747 is a tougher case. Rev. Adam is traditionally deemed a son of Jeremiah Rankin and Rachel Craig. Jeremiah, in turn, was a proved son of Adam d. 1747.[5] Family tradition also says that Jeremiah died young in a mill accident.

The problem is a lack of primary sources of evidence identifying Jeremiah’s children. Consequently, we have to rely on secondary sources of evidence. That means information that has no reasonable guarantee of accuracy. Primary sources of evidence include county deeds and probate records, for example. Secondary sources of evidence include books. (Online family trees are not evidence of any sort.)

The best secondary evidence about Rev. Adam’s family of origin may be an 1847 book by Rev. Robert Davidson titled History of the Presbyterian Church in the State of Kentucky.

Here is what Rev. Davidson wrote about Rev. Adam. The emphasis and italics are mine.

“The Rev. Adam Rankin was born March 24, 1755, near Greencastle, Western Pennsylvania [sic, Greencastle is in south-central Pennsylvania]. He was descended from pious Presbyterian ancestors, who had emigrated from Scotland, making a short sojourn in Ireland by the way. His mother, who was a godly woman, was a Craig, and one of her ancestors suffered martyrdom, in Scotland, for the truth. That ancestor, of the name of Alexander, and a number of others, were thrown into prison, where they were slaughtered, without trial, by a mob of ferocious assassins, till the blood ran ancle [sic] deep. This account Mr. Rankin received from his mother’s lips. His father was an uncommon instance of early piety, and because the minister scrupled to admit one so young, being only in the tenth year of his age, he was examined before a presbytery. From the moment of his son Adam’s birth, he dedicated him to the ministry. He was killed in his own mill, when Adam, his eldest son, was in his fifth year. [Rev. Adam] graduated at Liberty Hall [now Washington & Lee University], about 1780. Two years after, Oct. 25, 1782, at the age of twenty-seven, he was licensed by Hanover Presbytery, and, about the same time, married Martha, daughter of Alexander McPheeters, of Augusta county,” Virginia.[6]

The most important thing Rev. Davidson said about Rev. Adam was in a footnote: “This sketch of Mr. Rankin’s early history so far is derived from his autobiography, prepared, shortly before his decease, for his friend, Gen. Robert B. McAfee, then Lieut. Governor of the State.” That qualifies as information straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.[7] Several facts stand out in Rev. Davidson’s sketch:

  • The death of Rev. Adam’s father in a mill accident is consistent with the conventional wisdom. The date is established by the autobiography at about 1760, when Rev. Adam was five.[8]
  • Adam’s mother was, as the conventional wisdom says, a Craig.[9]
  • There was a Presbyterian martyr among Rev. Adam’s ancestors, although the murdered man was his mother’s kin, not his father’s.
  • Adam was born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, which had been created in 1750 from Lancaster County (where Adam d. 1747 lived when he died). Adam d. 1747’s sons William and James began appearing in Cumberland in the 1750s. The location of Rev. Adam’s birth in Greencastle is good circumstantial evidence that Rev. Adam is from the line of Adam d. 1747.

Rev. Davidson didn’t mention the legend preserved on the Mt. Horeb tablet, although he does recount Rev. Adam’s father’s examination before a Presbytery at age ten. Surely Rev. Adam would have been aware of the Mt. Horeb legend if it had concerned his family, and would have included that story in his autobiography. Had he done so, then surely Rev. Davidson would have mentioned it, because the Rankin martyrs were as important as both the murdered Craig and the Presbytery examination at age ten. The omission raises the inference that the Mt. Horeb legend was not part of Rev. Adam’s family history.

On balance, Rev. Davidson’s biographical sketch supports the conventional wisdom – that Rev. Adam Rankin, born in Cumberland Co., PA, was a son of Jeremiah and Rachel Craig Rankin and a grandson of Adam d. 1747. However, the best way to resolve the issue would be with a YDNA test by a proved descendant of Adam d. 1747. I need some help on that, because I’m terrible at convincing men to take a YDNA test. Let’s all pause here while you phone or email a prospective YDNA test participant … then let’s move on to Rev. Adam’s theological controversy and remarkable character.

Theological Turmoil

There is plenty of evidence regarding Rev. Adam’s personality. An 1872 History of Lexington describes him as a “talented, intolerant, eccentric, and pious man, [who] was greatly beloved by his congregation, which clung to him with devoted attachment through all his fortunes.”[10]

Rev. Davidson wrote that Rev. Adam “appears to have been of a contentious, self-willed turn from his youth … and his wranglings at last ended in a schism. Obstinate and opinionated, his nature was a stranger to concession, and peace was to be bought only by coming over to his positions … his pugnacious propensities brought on at last a judicial investigation.”

Another source describes Rev. Adam as “a strange, eccentric man, a dreamer of dreams, a Kentucky Luther, and, perhaps, a bit crazed with the bitter opposition his views received.”[11]

What on earth do you suppose all the fuss was about?

The theological issue about which Rev. Adam was fanatical is the “Psalmody controversy.” Psalmody, said Rev. Davidson, was “his monomania.”

The what controversy?

An article entitled “How Adam Rankin tried to stop Presbyterians from singing ‘Joy to the World’ ” describes the origin of the issue:

“In 1770 [sic, 1670], when Isaac Watts was 18 years of age, he criticized the hymns of the church in his English hometown of Southampton. In  response to his son’s complaints, Watts’ father is reputed to have said, ‘If you don’t like the hymns we sing, then write a better one!’ To that Isaac replied, ‘I have.’ One of his hymns was shared with the church they attended and they asked the young man to write more.

For 222 Sundays, Isaac Watts prepared a new hymn for each Sunday, and single-handedly revolutionized the congregational singing habits of the English Churches of the time. In 1705, Watts published his first volume of original hymns and sacred poems. More followed. In 1719, he published his monumental work, ‘The Psalms of David, Imitated.’ Among those many familiar hymns is the Christmas favorite ‘Joy to the World,’ based on Psalm 98.

For many years, only Psalms were sung throughout the Presbyterian Churches and the old ‘Rouse’ versons were the standard. The first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States convened at the Second Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia in 1789. One of the Prebyterian ministers of the time, a man by the name of Rev. Adam Rankin, rode horseback from his Kentucky parish to Philadelphia to plead with his fellow Presbyterians to reject the use of Watts’ hymms.[12]

You had to be a fanatic on the issue to ride more than 600 miles from Lexington to Philadelphia, right? Worse yet, Rev. Adam had no “commission” to attend the Assembly: he was not even an official attendee![13] He simply requested to be heard by the Assembly on the subject of Psalmody. Specifically, he sought a repeal of a 1787 resolution allowing Watts’ Psalms to be used in churches. He presented this query to the General Assembly:

 “Whether the churches under the care of the General Assembly, have not, by the countenance and allowance of the late Synod of New York and Philadelphia, fallen into a great and pernicious error in the public worship of God, by disusing Rouse’s versification of David’s Psalms, and adopting in the room of it, Watts’ imitation?”[14]

According to Rev. Davidson, the Assembly listened to him patiently and recommended “that exercise of Christian charity, towards those who differ from him in their views of this matter, which is exercised toward himself: and that he be carefully guarded against disturbing the peace of the church on this head.”[15]

You can probably guess how well Rev. Adam followed that advice:

No sooner had he returned home than he began to denounce the Presbyterian clergy as Deists, blasphemers, and rejecters of revelation, and debarred from the Lord’s Table all admirers of Watts’ Psalms, which he castigated as rivals of the Word of God.[16]

“Debarred from the Lord’s Table” means that Rev. Adam refused to administer communion to his parishioners who disagreed with him about Watts’ hymns. It is hard to imagine a more radical punishment in a Presbyterian church short of, I don’t know, burning dissenters at the stake.[17]

Rev. Adam didn’t mince words. He verbally abused his Psalmody opponents in ways that would make even current partisan politicians cringe. He called them weak, ignorant, envious, and profane, compared them to swine, said they bore the mark of the beast and that they were sacrilegious robbers, hypocrites, and blasphemers. It makes Newt Gingritch instructing his House colleagues circa 1986 to refer to Democrats as “traitors” and the “enemy” seem mild-mannered, doesn’t it?

In 1789, several formal charges were brought against Rev. Rankin before the Presbytery to which his church belonged. One charge was that he had refused communion to persons who approved Watts’ psalmody. Apparently attempting to dodge a trial, he made a two-year trip to London. When he returned, his views unchanged, his case was tried in April 1792. At that point, Rev. Adam just withdrew from the Presbytery, taking with him a majority of his congregation.[18]

He then affiliated with the Associate Reformed Church, although that also ended badly. Rev. Davidson wrote that Rev. Adam “was on no better terms with the Associate Reformed than he had been with the Presbyterians; and his pugnacious propensities brought on at last a judicial investigation.” In 1818, he was suspended from the office of the ministry. He and his congregation simply declared themselves independent.

Rev. Adam wasn’t merely stubborn and pugnacious. He claimed early on that he was guided by dreams and visions, convinced that “God had raised him up as a special instrument to reinstate ‘the Lord’s song.’” Eventually, he was led by a dream to believe that “Jerusalem was about to be rebuilt and that he must hurry there in order to assist in the rebuilding. He bade his Lexington flock farewell, and started to the Holy City, but, on November 25, 1827, death overtook him at Philadelphia.”[19]

That is a sad ending: I find myself wishing he had made it to Jerusalem. Although there is no telling what additional trouble we might now have in the Middle East if he had done so.

Rev. Adam’s widow moved to Maury County, Tennessee along with her sons Samuel and Adam Rankin Jr.  She died there, and her tombstone in the Greenwood Cemetery in Columbia reads simply “Martha Rankin, consort of A. Rankin of Lexington, KY.” It was probably no picnic, being a planet in Rev. Adam’s solar system.

One final note: I keep promising to post outline descendant reports on the Rankin lines I write about. I keep failing to do it, so I am not going to make that promise about Rev. Adam’s family. Faced with facts, I must admit that I just don’t like compiling descendant reports. If you have a question about Rev. Adam’s line, you know where to find me.

See you on down the road.

[1] Many sources recite the history of this Rankin family during Scotland’s “Killing Times” and the Siege of Londonderry in Ireland. The memorial tablet in the Mt. Horeb cemetery in Jefferson County, TN may be the most well-known example: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10727017/family-memorial-rankin.  Another source for an abbreviated version of the legend is Rev. Samuel Meek Rankin, The Rankin and Wharton Families and Their Genealogy (Salem, MA, reprint by Higginson Book Company, origianally published in 1931), pp. 13, 16. The legend is even posted on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1441329275900632&id=157190774314495

[2] Lancaster Co., PA Will Book J: 208.

[3] Lancaster Co., PA Will Book J: 211.

[4] An Alexander cousin of mine suggested that perhaps Mary Steele Alexander, widow of James Alexander and wife of Adam Rankin d. 1747, may have had Alexander children who adopted the name Rankin when she married Adam d. 1747. Unfortunately, the theory doesn’t work. Descendants of Adam d. 1747 don’t even remotely match descendants of James Alexander’s family, the so-called Alexander line of “Seven Brothers and Two Sisters.”

[5] Adam’s 1747 will named sons Jeremiah, James and William. Lancaster Co., PA Will Book J: 208. Adam d. 1747 left land to each of them in what was then Lancaster Co., PA. Cumberland County was created from Lancaster in 1750, and Franklin was created from Cumberland in 1784. Adam d. 1747’s sons James and William left numerous records in both counties, including their Franklin Co. wills. Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 256, 345.

[6] Rev. Robert Davidson, History of the Presbyterian Church in the State of Kentucky (three publishers, including C. Marshall, Lexington, 1847), p. 95. Chapter III of the book is titled “The Rankin Schism,” see p. 88 et seq. The book is available online as a pdf at https://ia802302.us.archive.org/24/items/historyofpresbyt00davi/historyofpresbyt00davi.pdf, accessed 30 Aug 2018.

[7] I’m looking for that autobiography. No luck so far.

[8] I said Rev. Adam’s father died “about” 1760 simply because of the difficulty a 70-year-old man would naturally have pinpointing the exact time something happened when he was a child.

[9] Rev. Davidson may have been more impressed by the Craig connection than the Rankin name on account of Rev. John Craig, a famous Presbyterian minister from Ireland who lived in Augusta Co., VA. See, e.g., Katharine L. Brown, “John Craig (1709–1774),” Dictionary of Virginia Biography, Library of Virginia, published 2006 (http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/dvb/bio.asp?b=Craig_John_1709-1774, accessed Aug. 29, 2018).

[10] George W. Rankin, History of Lexington, Kentucky (Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co., 1872), pp. 108-110.

[11] John Wilson Townsend and Dorothy Edwards Townsend, Kentucky in American Letters (Cedar Rapids, IA: The Torch Press, 1913), p. 17.

[12] Staff of the Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, March 20, 2015, “How Adam Rankin Tried to Stop Presbyterians From Singing ‘Joy to the World,’ published by The Aquila Report at this URL: https://www.theaquilareport.com/how-adam-rankin-tried-to-stop-presbyterians-from-singing-joy-to-the-world/

[13] Davidson at 82.

[14] Ernest Trice Thompson, Presbyterians in the South, Volume One: 1607-1861(Richmond: John Knox Press, 1963), pp. 115-116

[15]Thompson, Presbyterians in the South, Volume One, pp. 218-219.

[16] Id.

[17] I was baptized and confirmed in, and currently belong to, a Presbyterian church. I am, after all, a Scots-Irish Rankin. My church’s motto is “ALL ARE WELCOME.” That has several meanings in this era of immigrant-hatred, but one of them is that everyone is welcome to take communion.

[18] Rankin, History of Lexington, Kentucky,  pp. 108-110.

[19] Townsends, Kentucky in American Letters at 17.

Adam Rankin d. 1747, Lancaster PA & Family: Serendipity + Civil War History + Major League Baseball

Any genealogy researcher whose family has been in the U.S. for a while probably has ancestors who were Civil War soldiers. Likewise, many genealogists have experienced what seems to be family history research serendipity — finding something good even though you weren’t looking for it. Having a little major league baseball (complete with pictures) thrown in along with the research serendipity and Civil War history is a new one for me, but this post has it all. What’s next? Hot dogs? Apple pie?

Here is the background

This post starts from the line of Adam Rankin who died in 1747 in Lancaster Co., PA, and his wife Mary Steele Alexander. My July 27th post on this family was about what Gary and I call the “follow the land” (“FTL”) theory of genealogical research. In that post, FTL made it possible to track four of Adam and Mary’s grandsons, sons of their son William Rankin.

William and Mary Huston Rankin (daughter of Archibald Huston) had eight children, all named in William’s will:[1]

  1. Dr. Adam Rankin, b. early 1760s – d. ?
  2. Archibald Rankin, b. 10 Apr 1768, d. 24 Jun 1849, Mercersburg, Franklin Co., PA
  3. James Rankin, b. ca. 1770, probably d. 1820-1830, Centre Co., PA
  4. William Rankin (Jr.), b. 5 Nov 1770, d. 29 Nov 1847, Centre Co., PA
  5. Betsy Rankin (dang, I wish it were easier to follow women!)
  6. David Rankin (still haven’t gotten around to researching David)
  7. John Rankin, b. 8 May 1778 or 1779, d. 22 Apr 1848, Centre Co., PA
  8. Jeremiah Rankin, b. 26 Nov 1783, d. 18 Feb 1874, Centre Co., PA

The “FTL” post tracked James, William Jr., John and Jeremiah from Franklin to Centre County, PA. Their father William Sr. had devised land to each of them in his 1792 will. He described the devised tracts with sufficient particularity to make finding those four sons easy as (apple) pie.

I gave rather short shrift to one son, Dr. Adam Rankin, who had me stumped at the time I wrote that post. Here is what the FTL post originally said about Dr. Adam (the post is now updated to include more current information):

Adam Rankin (b. ca 1760 – ?) was a doctor, probably born in the early 1760s. In 1792, he granted his brother Archibald a power of attorney for “as long as I am absent” to “transact all my business.” I don’t know where Dr. Adam went when he was “absent.” In 1796, Archibald sold Adam’s inherited Westmoreland tract pursuant to the power of attorney[2]… in 1798, Dr. Adam Rankin was listed on a Franklin County tax list … I can find no Pennsylvania record for him after that.”

Truth in lending compels me to admit that I didn’t look very hard for Dr. Adam, because at that time I was hot on the heels of his four brothers in Centre County. Spoiler alert: Dr. Adam is (hang in there) a part of this narrative.

Here are the Civil War and baseball parts

Three weeks after the above FTL post, I was exchanging emails with a nice Rankin family history researcher and distant Rankin cousin. He is a Civil War history expert, having taught several short courses on the subject at a well-known university. We have been talking about his Rankin family specifically, and Rankins in general. He mentioned a Confederate Brigadier General named Adam Rankin “Stovepipe” Johnson and enclosed an article about him. Here is Stovepipe’s picture:

Stovepipe acquired his nickname in July of (probably) 1862, thusly:

“With a mere thirty-five men at his command, he crossed the Ohio [River] – he believed it to be the first Rebel “invasion” of the North – and attacked the town of Newburgh, Indiana, on July 18. There were two hundred or more Federals in the town, though mostly convalescent soldiers in hospitals. To bluff them into surrendering, Johnson mounted two stovepipes on an old wagon and paraded it around to look like artillery. The ruse worked, the town gave up, and he became ever after Stovepipe Johnson.”

Stovepipe was born in Henderson, KY in 1834, but moved to Burnet, Texas when he was twenty. (That’s pronounced BURN’-it, with emphasis on the first syllable, for you non-Texans). He went back to Kentucky when the war broke out, made a name for himself as a scout for Nathan Bedford Forrest and as a recruiter, and evenually organized and equipped the 10th Kentucky Calvary. He was accidentally shot in the face by one of his own men in August 1864, lost his eyesight, and was captured and imprisoned at Fort Warren until the end of the war. He returned to Texas, where he founded the town of Marble Falls (nicknamed “the blind man’s town”), worked to harness the water power of the Colorado River, served as a contractor for the Overland Mail, and founded the Texas Mining Improvement Company. Oh, yeah, he also wrote an autobiography that is considered a “must read” regarding certain aspects of the Civil War. Whew!

He died in Burnet  in 1922, and was reportedly a happy, cheerful man, blind or not. It sure didn’t slow him down much, did it? I’m just sorry he wasn’t fighting against slavery. He is buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. There is a ton of information about him on the internet – Googling “Adam Rankin Stovepipe Johnson” will produce a wealth of hits for you. Here is a  short article posted by the Texas State Historical Association, so it has some credibility (and has a citation to Stovepipe’s autobiography).

Among other things, the TSHA article tells you that Stovepipe had six children. Keep Googling, and you will find that one of them was named Adam Rankin “Tex” Johnson (1888 – 1972). He was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals during 1914-1918. His ERA in the majors was a very respectable 2.96. Dallas Keuchal should have done as well for the Astros today (August 18, 2018). Here is a picture of Tex:

AND Tex had a son, Rankin Johnson Jr., who was also a major league pitcher — for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1941. He’s a nice-looking man, and his tombstone is inscribed “TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME,” so you’ve got to love him! Here’s his picture:

… the next time the announcers for the Houston Astros have a trivia question about father-son major league players, I’ll be ready with “Tex” Johnson and Rankin Johnson. I imagine they will be stumped.

The serendipity part

What, you may well be asking, do Brigadier General Adam Rankin “Stovepipe” Johnson, “Tex” Johnson, and Rankin Johnson have to do with the family of Adam and Mary Steele Rankin of Lancaster Co., PA? Or their grandson Dr. Adam Rankin?

The serendipity was having my Rankin cousin and friend just drop Gen. Adam Rankin Johnson in my lap. From there, it doesn’t take too much imagination to deduce that Stovepipe Johnson’s mother was née Rankin. Yes, indeed, says the Texas State Historical Association summary about Stovepipe. Her name was Julia Rankin, and she was the daughter of … Doctor Adam Rankin of Henderson Co., KY, who was originally from Pennsylvania.

Apparently, Dr. Adam Rankin (son of William and Mary Huston Rankin and brother of Archibald) was “absent” from Pennsylvania in 1792 because he was busy marrying Elizabeth Speed of Danville, KY that year. She was the first of his three wives, by whom Dr. Adam fathered thirteen children — including a daughter Mary Huston Rankin (his eldest child) and a son Archibald Rankin.

Here is a link to a biographical article about Dr. Adam’s family in an 1887 history of Henderson County, KY.

I haven’t been into the deed and probate records of Henderson Co., KY, yet. With any kind of luck, they will provide evidence tying Dr. Adam Rankin, grandfather of Adam Rankin “Stovepipe” Johnson, back to Franklin Co., PA. As for me, I consider the names of those two children to be  extremely persuasive circumstantial evidence.

See you on down the road. There are more Pennsylvania Rankins on the horizon.

RRW

[1]Will of William Rankin of Antrim Township, Franklin Co., PA dated 20 Oct 1792 proved 28 Nov 1792. “Advanced in age.” Franklin Co., PA Will book B A-B: 256.

[2]Westmoreland Deed Book 7: 392. The deed recites that Archibald Rankin was of Antrim Township, Franklin Co., that the 274-acre tract in Westmoreland was originally granted to William Rankin of Antrim on 27 July 1773 and William devised it to his son Dr. Adam Rankin by will dated 20 October 1792. The deed also recites that Dr. Adam Rankin granted his brother Archibald Rankin power of attorney dated 29 Jun 1792. The POA is also recorded at DB 7: 392.

Rankins of Fayette Co., PA: Help Wanted

I’ve been exchanging emails with a charming family history researcher who said she frequently feels she is going in circles. She said the circles are “usually good, weird or funny coincidence sort of things.” Specifically, she had read Roberta Estes’s blog about genealogical proof, which contained a link to my article on the same subject at this website, where she read some of my Rankin posts, which led her to the  Rankin Family DNA Project, where she emailed project administrators with questions about the project website, which led her back to me because I responded to her questions. Completing the circle, I recommended Roberta Estes’s blog as one source of information for her. Voila!

My own version of going in circles feels more like chasing my own tail, because it usually goes nowhere.

I’ve been working on various Pennsylvania Rankins and going nowhere on one puzzling part of the Rankin family of Fayette County. I need help, and someone out there undoubtedly has answers.

A Rankin family started appearing in Westmoreland (a predecessor to Fayette County) in the 1770s.[1] There seems to be no evidence in the records where they lived immediately prior to Westmoreland/Fayette. The Rankin family patriarch, William Sr., may have been the original immigrant in his line. Alternatively, he may be related to one of the other Rankin families multiplying like rabbits across Pennsylvania in the mid-eighteenth century during the Great Migration of Scots-Irish that began in 1717. YDNA testing doesn’t provide a definitive answer. YDNA of a descendant of the Fayette County Rankins puts him in Lineage 2 of the Rankin Family DNA Project — along with almost twenty other participants from a number of Rankin families whose common ancestor has not yet been identified.

I need help on one particular branch of the Fayette County line. Deed records, cemetery tombstones, and an old county history establish a good start for a conventional outline descendant chart for the Fayette Rankins. As usual, I will omit material available on countless online family trees for which I have not yet found proof, and stick to facts for which I can provide actual evidence. In the interest of brevity, I will omit detail about these families.

1 William Rankin Sr.,whose will was dated 1794,  proved 1799, in Fayette Co., PA. The children listed below are not necessarily in birth order.[2]

2 James Rankin, who left Fayette circa 1800 and headed “west.”[3] The deed records make it clear that he was well over his head in debt to a number of people in Pennsylvania and Virginia, including quite a few members of his own family.[4] He was probably born in the late 1740s or early 1750s. I have no idea where James went, but would be interested to hear from anyone who has tracked him. The 1790 and 1800 censuses for Union Township, Fayette Co., suggest James had a large family, including four possible sons.

2 Hugh Rankin, 1750 – 1826, died in Fayette Co., wife Esther MNU. They had four children born between 1790 and 1810. Three of the children reportedly also “went west.”[5] The only child who remained in Fayette County, a son Thomas born about 1802, had quite a few children. I tracked his line looking for a male descendant who might be willing to YDNA test, but found none. In the memorable phrase of my most longstanding Rankin researcher friend, the line may have “daughtered out.” Or I may have made a research error, which would not be a first.

Elizabeth Rankin m. William Gillespie.

2 William Rankin Jr., died intestate in Fayette in 1807, wife Jane. This is the line of interest in this post.

At this point, I had to leave the deed and probate records to find William Jr.’s family because I have limited local access to Fayette records. The best evidence I have found so far for William Jr.’s family is a family Bible posted online.  Nobody seems to know (or say) who currently owns the Bible, or its provenance, or when the Bible was published – all standard authentication evidence generally required for a family Bible to be deemed good evidence. In this case, the images of the Bible pages provide evidence of its authenticity.

Here’s what that family Bible adds to William Jr. and Jane’s family.

1 William Rankin Sr., will dated 1794, proved 1799, Fayette Co., PA.

2 James Rankin, left Fayette about 1800 and headed “west.”

2 Hugh Rankin, 1750 – 1826, died in Fayette Co., wife Esther MNU.

2 William Rankin Jr., married Jane MNU on 29 Apr 1785. He d. 13 Dec 1807; she d. 15 Dec 1835.

3 Thomas Rankin, b. 5 Mar 1786 d. 2 Jun 1841

3 Esther Rankin, b. 16 Apr 1788

3 James Rankin, b. 13 Oct 1789

3 Ann Rankin, b. 10 Oct 1791, m. Mr. McCormick, d. 25 Jan 1867?

3 Hugh Rankin, b. 7 May 1793

3 Samuel Rankin, b. 14 Jul 1795, d. 2 Apr 1870

3 Mary Rankin, b. 17 Jul 1797

3 James Rankin, b. 3 May 1799

3 William Rankin, b. 25 Sep 1800

3 John Rankin, 10 Oct 1802 – 18 Feb 1865.

3 Joseph Rankin, b. 17 Nov 1804

Many of these Rankins remained in Fayette County, mostly in Union Township or Uniontown, for generations. Fayette County cemeteries are swamped with Rankins and their progeny. Since William Jr. and Jane’s children were born around the turn of the century, the federal census, cemetery records, and Pennsylvania death certificates make it relatively easy to trace most of them. I will avoid piling on details.

However, if you want to see the best Ancestry.com family tree ever – and I don’t usually recommend online trees, which are mostly unsourced – check out the Jackson/Rankin family tree. That tree covers the Rankins who remained in Fayette County better than I could. You can find it at this link, provided you have a subscription to Ancestry.com. The photographs alone are worth their weight in gold if you are connected to this line. There are also images of pages from the family Bible quoted above, all thanks to F. T. Jackson (another Rankin researcher I’m glad I met).

Back to my dilemma, and I shall put his name in boldface: Thomas Rankin b. 5 Mar 1786 d. 2 Jun 1841.

Thomas last appeared in Pennsylvania a 1814 deed for land in Washington County in which he sold some land, reciting facts sufficient to establish that he had a brother and father named William and a mother Jane.[6] After that deed, he disappeared from the Fayette and Washington County records. Presumably, he also went “west.”

To wit: there is a tombstone in Londonderry Township, Guernsey County, Ohio for a Thomas Rankin which has a date of death of June 2, 1841.[7] The man buried there is either Thomas, son of William and Jane of Fayette County, or that name and date of death is a coincidence that defies probability. The tombstone and Bible birth dates don’t quite match up, however. The tombstone says that Thomas died “in the 50th year of his age,” which would put his date of birth at 1790-ish. Census records for 1820-40 agree. The Bible says that William and Jane’s son Thomas was born in 1786. You could call that quibbling.

Thomas Rankin married Elizabeth Stevens in Guernsey Co., OH in April 1818. After Thomas died, Elizabeth and her family were listed in the 1850 through 1870 censuses. From the census listings, one can infer three children with a fair amount of confidence: (1) a son John, b. abt. 1832-33, (2) a son George, b. abt. 1835-36, and (3) daughter Louisa, b. abt. 1839. Elizabeth was still alive in 1870, living adjacent to John Rankin. Her tombstone, also in the McCoy Cemetery in Londonderry Township, Guernsey Co., says that she died 22 Feb. 1878.

Here, at last, is my question: what is the proof, if any, of the identity of any of Thomas’s OTHER children? Inquiring minds want to know. Thomas left no will in Guernsey County. I’m hoping somebody has other evidence. Specifically, I’m looking for a son William. What is the evidence?

??????????????????

More on Pennsylvania Rankins later. I seem to run across them faster than I can write about them. See you on down the road.

RRW

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   

[1]Westmoreland Co., PA Deed Book A1: 149, 1776 deed from George Dawson of Tyron Township, Westmoreland, to William Rankin, same, 29.24 acres adj Wm Rankin, George Dawson, John Hall.

[2]Fayette Co., PA Will Book 1: 46. See also Deed Book D: 192, deed dated 11 Jan 1800 from William Rankin Jr., son of William Rankin Sr., and wife Jane to Andrew Bryson reciting some terms of the will.

[3]Franklin Ellis, Ed., History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, Vol. 1 (Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & Co., 1882) at 672.

[4]See Fayette Co., PA Deed Book C3 at 1241 and 1387 for two remarkable deeds illustrating James’ financial irresponsibility.

[5]Id.

[6]Washington Co., PA Deed Book 1Y: 597.

[7]Findagrave link to Thomas’s tombstone image: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/47828906/thomas-rankin

Adam Rankin d. 1747, Lancaster PA, & Mary Steele Rankin’s son William: “Follow the Land”

Every genealogist has used the “Follow The Land” approach to family history research, even if she/he doesn’t call it by that name. The idea is that an identifiable tract of land can prove family connections via deed, probate, and other records.[1] This post is a good example. FTL establishes the identity of a colonial Rankin’s wife and helps track a son’s family with evidence that qualifies as conclusive.

This post deals with some of the “Londonderry Siege” Rankins, rather than the North Carolina Rankin families often discussed in this blog.[2] You can read the Londonderry Siege Rankins’ interesting oral history here. It mentions two immigrants identified as brothers who came to Pennsylvania in the 1720s. Both men died in Lancaster Co., PA in the 1740s:

  • John Rankin died in 1749. His will named his wife Margaret, sons Richard and Thomas, six daughters, and 2 sons-in-law.[3] Here is a post about him, including a not-quite-successful attempt to reproduce images of the original.
  • Adam Rankin died in 1747. This post is about Adam’s line, particularly his son William.

Adam’s earliest appearance in the colonies was about 1722, when an Adam Rankin signed a petition to Lord Baltimore from landowners in the so-called “New Munster” tract. The petition said the signatories believed that they resided in Maryland rather than Pennsylvania.[4] One particular New Munster tract conclusively proves the identity of Adam’s wife. Here is the evidentiary trail …

  • The 1717 will of James Alexander of New Munster, Cecil Co., MD devised a 316-acre tract.[5] His will says he had bargained for the land, but hadn’t paid for it or obtained a deed. He instructed his executors to sell as much of his moveable estate as necessary to pay for the tract. James also instructed that three “honest men … of the neighborhood” divide the land into three equal parts for his family. James named as executors his wife Mary Alexander and his father-in-law John Steele, establishing that his wife was née Mary Steele.
  • Next, a Cecil County deed dated August 1718 completed the purchase of the tract as James had instructed. Thomas Stevenson conveyed 316 acres to Mary Alexander, “widow and relict of James Alexander of New Munster” and sons Joseph, John and Francis Alexander. Echoing James Alexander’s will, the deed recites that James had bargained with grantor for the land but didn’t pay for it before he died, but had left money to pay it, and instructed that it should be divided into three equal parts.[6]
  • Finally, the tract was divided into three parts by survey of September 29, 1724. The survey identifies the tract as 316 acres in New Munster and states that James Alexander’s widow Mary married Adam Rankin.[7]

Thank you, 316-acre tract … the will, deed and survey leave no reasonable doubt that Mary Steele, daughter of John Steele of New Castle Co., DE, married James Alexander first, and then Adam Rankin. Also, her marriage to Adam must have taken place between August 1718 (the conveyance from Thomas Stevenson) and September 1724 (the survey).

Adam’s will, dated 4 May 1747, was proved 21 Sep 1747 in Lancaster County, PA.[8] Here is an abstract:

To son James Rankin, £ 5 “pencelvaney currancy,” plus the “place he is now in possession of being fully given over to him.” Daughter Esther Rankin Dunwoody, £ 5. Wife (name omitted), two-thirds “of all my worldly substance.” To sons William and Jeremiah, the residue of my estate, including the plantation to be equally divided between them. Witnesses James Pettigrew, John McMath?

So far as I know, there is only one record concerning Adam’s land aside from the New Munster tract petition. Adam obtained a 1742 warrant (thank you, Floyd Owsley) to survey 100 acres “at Conegocheague.”[9 ] Conococheague Creek is near Greencastle, PA, less than 5 miles north of the current PA/MD line. I don’t know whether the warrant ripened into a grant. I haven’t seen anything in the PA Patent Book records for Adam. However, it seems to be the best evidence available about his location.

Three years after Adam died, that Conococheague acreage would fall in Cumberland County, created in 1750 from Lancaster. Beginning in 1784, it would be located in Antrim Township, Franklin County, created from Cumberland in 1784.[10]

Adam’s land warrant thus tells us exactly where to begin looking for his family after he died.

Adam and Mary’s sons James and William fairly leap out of the records of Antrim Township in Franklin County. Both men were listed on the Antrim tax lists (along with some of their sons) in 1785, 1786 and 1787. Beginning in 1789, Wiliam was taxed in Antrim Township; James was taxed in Montgomery Township.

So far as I have found, their brother Jeremiah never appeared in any county records other than his father’s will. There is no primary source (deeds, wills, or other county records) for the identity of his children. The best evidence I have found about Jeremiah’s family is contained in an old book by Rev. Robert Davidson titled The History of the Presbyterian Church in the State of Kentucky. Rev. Davidson wrote about a Presbyterian minister named Adam Rankin of Lexington, KY. Adam was probably a son of Jeremiah and his wife Miss Craig, probably Rachel Craig. Here is an article about Rev. Adam and his mother’s identity. 

William and James were more cooperative than Jeremiah. Not only did they appear in the exact geographic location Adam’s 1742 grant led us to expect, they both left wills. The will of James Rankin Sr. of Montgomery Township, Franklin County, was dated 25 March 1788 and proved 20 October 1795. It names his wife Jean; sons William, Jeremiah, James (Jr.) and David; daughter Ruth Rankin Tool; son-in-law Samuel Smith; and granddaughter Mary Smith. James named his son Jeremiah Rankin and friend David Huston/Houston as executors.[11]

We will leave James Sr. for another day. We’re now on the track of Adam and Mary Steele Rankin’s son William because there are more contradictory views of that line than one can count. Some claims are relevant to “Lineage 2” of the Rankin DNA Project, which is near and dear to my heart — because that’s where my Rankin cousin’s YDNA places my Rankin family.

William’s wife was Mary Huston, daughter of Archibald and Agnes Huston.[12] William’s will, dated 20 Oct 1792 and proved 28 Nov 1792, suggests he amassed a good bit of land.[13] William described himself as “of Antrim Township” in Franklin County and “advanced in age” in 1792.

Here are his devises and bequests:

  • Wife Mary received one-third of profits from “the mansion place.”
  • Son Adam Rankin inherited 200 acres on the waters of the Kiskimetatas River in Westmoreland County and an enslaved person.
  • Son Archibald Rankin received 200 acres off “the mansion place.”
  • Sons James and William inherited 990 acres in Penns Valley, Mifflin County, “150 acres of which is sold for taxes if it can be purchased nearly at what it was sold for,” purchase money to be equally “taken off” sons Archibald, James, William, David, John and Jeremiah. I take that to mean that a portion of the Penn’s Valley tract had been sold for taxes, but William wanted his estate to buy it back. There is a Mifflin County deed which may prove that repurchase, although I don’t have access to either film or an abstract of it.[14]
  • Daughter Betsy, £ 400 and an enslaved person. She was less than 21.
  • Son David, old mansion place, 300 acres.
  • Sons John and Jeremiah, 408 acres on Spring Creek in Penns Valley in Mifflin County, plus £ 400 from son David starting when they reach 21.
  • Sons Archibald Rankin, James Rankin, and William Rankin, executors. Witnesses William Beaty, John Woods, John McLanahan.

“Follow the land” is pretty straightforward for some of William and Mary’s children, thanks to that will. Here is a little bit about his sons. I don’t know who his daughter Betsy married, if she married at all.

Adam Rankin (b. ca 1760 – ?) was a doctor, probably born in the early 1760s. In 1792, he granted his brother Archibald a power of attorney for “as long as I am absent” to “transact all my business.” In 1796, Archibald sold Adam’s inherited Westmoreland tract pursuant to the power of attorney. The deed recites the date the tract was originally granted to William Rankin of Antrim Township and that it was devised to Doctor Adam Rankin by his father’s 1792 will.[15] In 1798, Dr. Adam Rankin was listed on a Franklin County tax list in the “6thDivision, 4thAssessment Dist.” He was most likely the first physician in his family, which is positively awash with doctors in the next two generations. He turned up in Henderson, KY, where he married three times and had a host of children. Here is an article about his grandson, Confederate Brigadier General Adam Rankin “Stovepipe” Johnson.

Archibald Rankin (1764 – 1845) inherited part of the “old mansion place” in Antrim Township, and he apparently stayed right there until he died. His first appearance in the records was on the 1785 Antrim tax list as a “freeman.”[16] He was a head of household in the federal census of Franklin County from 1790 through 1840 (I could not find him in 1830, although he was still alive).[17] I haven’t tried to trace his line, although he had a number of children. He belonged to the Presbyterian Church of the Upper West Conococheague. Church records show that he married Agnes Long on 9 Mar 1790 and that their daughter Fanny died in 1827. Church records also say Archibald died 24 Jun 1845 at age 81, indicating he was born about 1764. He and Agnes are reportedly buried in the Church Hill Graveyard AKA White Church Cemetery in Mercersburg, Franklin County. Findagrave is losing its credibility with lots of unsourced stuff being posted on its sites, making it hard to know what to trust absent a tombstone photo.

David Rankin inherited the rest of the “old mansion place.” His wife was Frances “Fanny” Campbell, daughter of Dongal/Dugald Campbell. David left Franklin County in the 1820s and moved to Des Moines Co., Iowa. He died there in 1853. Here is an article about David.

The remaining four sons are FTL exemplars. That is because William d. 1792 left land in Penn’s Valley, Mifflin County, some of it on Spring Creek, to his sons James, William, John and Jeremiah. The will suggests that John and Jeremiah would be located close to each other, since they shared a tract; likewise, James and William shared a tract, and should be located near each other.

An old book titled History of Centre and Clinton Counties by John Blair Linn (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1883) has a section titled “Discovery of Penns Valley.” It also has a map of the original survey of Bellefonte, the county seat of Centre County, with “Spring Creek” running right through the middle of it. I have tried to post an image of that lovely map here, with no luck. Techno-idiocy. Sorry.

Centre County, by the way, was created in 1803 from Mifflin County, so the two tracts devised by William were located in Mifflin County when he wrote his will in 1792, and in Centre County after 1803.

Jackpot. There they are, all four of them in Centre County, paired off geographically just as one would expect. The 1810 census for Potter Township in Centre County has on one page James Rankin enumerated two households down from William Rankin. Another page has listings for Jeremiah Rankin and John Rankin. All four men are in the age 26 < 45 category, born during 1765 – 1784. We know that Jeremiah and John were underage in 1792 when their father wrote his will, so they would have been born after 1771. We know that Archibald, an elder brother, was born in 1764. Those birth ranges fit like a glove, with further confirmation in later census records.

These men are undoubtedly sons of William Rankin (Sr.) d. 1792, Franklin, and Mary Huston Rankin, and grandsons of Adam d. 1747 and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin. A conventional descendant chart for the Centre County Rankins is under construction. It grows every time I search the census records. The number of physicians on this family’s tree is incredible. If you are descended from a Dr. Rankin who lived in Pennsylvania in the mid 1800’s, you might want to look at this line. If you are interested in joining the D.A.R., this is an admission ticket, because the D.A.R. has admitted at least two women based on the service of William Rankin d. 1792, Franklin Co. I will post the descendant chart soon, God willing and the creek don’t rise. It would help if the heat index here would drop below three digits (Houston, July 2018).

Meanwhile, here is a skeletal ancestor chart for William’s line:

1 Adam Rankin d. 1747 Lancaster Co., PA. Wife Mary Steele Alexander, widow of James “the Carpenter” Alexander, daughter of John Steele of New Castle Co., DE.

2 Jeremiah Rankin, whose only known appearance in primary records was Adam’s 1747 will. Died in a mill accident about 1760 according to a son’s autobiography as excerpted in History of the Presbyterian Church in the State of Kentucky. Wife was a Miss Craig, traditionally identified as Rachel. Jeremiah’s four sons (none of them proved by county records) went to Fayette and Woodford counties, KY.

2 James Rankin Sr., d. 1795, Franklin Co., PA, see will abstracted above. More on his line later.

2 William Rankin (Sr.), d. 1792, Franklin Co., PA, wife Mary Huston, daughter of Archibald and Agnes Huston. See above will devising land in Penns Valley, Mifflin County, including a tract on Spring Creek.

3 William Rankin (Jr.), b. 1770 Cumberland Co, PA, d. 1847, Centre Co., PA. Two wives, Abigail McGinley and Susanna (reportedly Huston). See Centre County Will Book B: 254, naming eight children, including Adam, Archibald, James, John, and …

4 Dr. William McGinley Rankin (III) (1795-1872), who moved to Shippensburg in Cumberland Co.[18] He had 11 children, at least one of whom was a physician, and a Presbyterian minister …

5 Rev. William Alexander Rankin.[19]

On that note, I will close. If you want to get into a good knock-down, drag-out fight, go do some searches for family trees that include William Jackson Rankin and William Johnson Rankin. You will find S.A.R. charts in support. You will find a totally different line than that outlined above, except that both the S.A.R. version and my outline above have at least four William Rankins in a row. I hereby proffer my version.

*   *  *   *   *  *   *  

[1]For example, a series of deeds concerning land in Tishomingo Co, MS conclusively proved almost all of the children of Lyddal Bacon Estes and “Nancy” Ann Allen Winn,  see article here. Only two deeds in colonial Halifax Co., NC identified the common ancestor of several different family lines belonging to Lindsey/Lindsay DNA Group 3.

[2]For a brief primer on some of the NC Rankins, see this article.

[3]Lancaster Co. Will Book J: 208, image available at this post or online at Familysearch.org.

[4]Henry C. Peden, “Inhabitants of Cecil County, Maryland 1649-1774 (Westminster, MD: Family Line Publications, 1993) at 33. Actual hostilities (called “Cresap’s War”) broke out between Maryland and Pennsylvania during the 1730s over competing land claims by the two states; check out this link, which has a great map. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cresap%27s_War.

[5]Will of James Alexander of New Munster, Cecil Co., MD dated 12 Jul 1717, probate date unknown but before August 1718 when a deed recites some provisions of the will. It is recorded in New Castle Co., DE (where John Steele, an executor, resided), but no copy apparently remains in the Cecil County records. I don’t know whether the will is preserved in the PA Archives. Floyd Owsley, an administrator of the Alexander Family DNA Project, provided a transcription of the will to me.

[6]Cecil Co., MD Deed Book 3: 212.

[7]Cecil County Circuit Court Certificates, No. 514, survey of 316 acres for the heirs of James Alexander dated 28 Sep 1724. Floyd Owsley provided a copy of the original and a transcription. The copy is too poor to post online, although I will be happy to share it with anyone who wants to see it.

[8]Lancaster Co. Will Book J: 208. Image available online at FamilySearch.org.

[9]Floyd Owsley, a descendant of the New Munster tract Alexanders, emailed an image of the original document to me. It is labeled “No. 111” and is dated 11 Nov. 1742. It appears to be a warrant to survey 100 acres “situate at Conegocheage between the lands of Samuel Owen, James Swaffer, Samuel Brown, and the Blue Mountains.”

[10]Here is a link to an interactive county formation map for PA: https://www.mapofus.org/pennsylvania/

[11]Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 345 (estate #354).

[12]Virginia Shannon Fendrick, American Revolutionary Soldiers of Franklin County, Pennsylvania(Chambersburg, PA: Historical Works Committee of the Franklin County Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1944), citing Pennsylvania Archives 5thSeries, Vol. 6, at 576 and 583. “WILLIAM RANKIN of Antrim Twp., appears as a private under Capt. James Poe, 1782, and [on] an undated roll. He married Mary Huston, daughter of Archibald, as shown by the will of Agnes Huston, widow of Archibald.”

[13]Franklin Co. Will Book A-B: 256.

[14]William Rankin’s execs from James Potters’ execs, 1797, Mifflin Co., PA Deed Book D: 15.

[15]Westmoreland Deed Book 7: 392. The deed recites that Archibald Rankin was of Antrim Township, Franklin Co., that the 274-acre tract in Westmoreland was originally granted to William Rankin of Antrim on 27 July 1773; it was devised to Dr. Adam Rankin by his father’s will dated 20 October 1792. The deed also recites that Dr. Adam Rankin granted his brother Archibald Rankin power of attorney dated 29 Jun 1792. The POA is also recorded at DB 7: 392.

[16]That means Archibald was age 21 or over, not married, and not a landowner.

[17]1790 census, Franklin Co., Archybald Rankin, 1-0-2-1-0; 1800 census, Burough of Greencastle (Antrim Twp.), Archd Rankin, 20110-20010; 1810 census, Montgomery Twp., Franklin Co., Archibald Rankin, 01101-12110; 1820 census, Montgomery Twp., Franklin Co., Archibald Rankin, 000101-02300; 1840 census, Peters Township, Franklin Co,. Archibald Rankin, age 70 < 80, the sole member of the household.

[18]John Blair Linn, History of Centre and Clinton Counties (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1883), at 222. Identifies some of the children of William Jr., including a Dr. William Rankin who moved to Shippensburg in Cumberland Co. and died before the book was published.

[19] Even I will trust Findagrave when it cites to the Minutes of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/146523201/william-alexander-rankin