David Rankin, died Iredell Co., NC, 1789

One of the many fun things about genealogy is meeting really nice people, including (in my case) some who are named Rankin. This includes a Rankin in Iredell County, NC, his wife, and his brother in Guilford County, NC. Unfortunately, we aren’t related. That’s a shame. We have adopted each other nonetheless.

David Rankin of Iredell County, their Rankin ancestor, was one of my early research targets when I was trying to find the family of origin of my last proved Rankin ancestor. I had high hopes for David, to no avail, as Y-DNA has conclusively proved.

Y-DNA from David’s line establishes a match, although not a close one, with the line of Joseph Rankin of New Castle County, DE. David was neither Joseph’s son nor his grandson, although David might be Joseph’s nephew. There is no evidence of any connection, however, so David and Joseph most likely share a common ancestor on the other side of the Atlantic. David’s line is also a match with descendants of Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford County, NC. David might be Robert and Rebecca’s son, or a nephew. I don’t know whether the Y-DNA evidence is sufficient to draw that conclusion. We can conclude that Robert Rankin of Guilford and David Rankin of Iredell are closely related. Moreover, David is more closely related to Robert of Guilford than he is to Joseph of Delaware.

Meanwhile, I want to share my research on David’s line, because some Rankin out there might find it useful. Here it is. I’ve included a great deal of documentation, as well as links to other sources, so this is verrrrry long. Please tell me if you spot problems.

1 David Rankin, b. unknown (circa 1725?), d. 1789, Iredell Co., NC. Will written 15 Mar 1781. Wife Margaret LNU.

Here is my abstract of the will of David Rankin made from the original located at the NC State Archives and Library. The will is dated 15 March 1782 and was proved Dec 1789. No recitation that he is sick or weak. Leaves to beloved wife Margret, one third of the “plantation on which I now live for life, choice of my horses … her own clothing,” etc. Beloved son Robert, “plantation where I live plus the third in which my wife has a life estate, livestock, plantation utentials, wagons, residue of household goods.” Beloved grandson David McCreary, £5 to be paid by my son Robert before he [David] comes of age. Also to my beloved grandson David Rankin, £5 to be paid him by my son Robert before he arrives at the age of 21. Also to my beloved grandson James Rankin, £20 to be paid him by his father my son Robert. And the above sums to be made as good as money was in the year 1763. Son Robert, executor. Signed 15 Mar 1782, David Rankin. Witnesses Wm Kerr, Isabella Falls?

As to his children, David’s will expressly names a son Robert who has a son James. It also implies (1) a daughter who married a McCreary and had a son David and (2) a son who is not named but was the father of “grandson David Rankin.”

In that regard, there was a James Rankin who died in 1780 at the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill who was almost certainly David’s son. See more below under 2 James Rankin m. Miss Alexander, probably Susannah. James and Miss Alexander definitely had a son named David Rankin, proved by Lincoln Co. court records.

2 Elizabeth Rankin  m. Samuel McCreary. Both left wills in Iredell County naming a son David, among other children.

3 David McCreary, b. bef. 15 Mar 1782.

2 Robert Rankin, b. circa 1745-1750 (based on proved birth dates of sons), probably b. 1748. Disappeared from Iredell/Lincoln County records by 1826. Probably went to Gibson Co., TN and died 1838-40. See my article about Robert Rankin of Gibson Co. at this link. Wife Jean LKU, possibly Jean Denny from Guilford Co.?, b. 1755 – d. 10 Dec. 1779, age 24. Some Robert Rankin married some Jean Denny on 28 Feb 1775 in Guilford. Most Rankin researchers think the groom was a Robert Rankin of Guilford who died in 1795, although that Robert Rankin was probably Jean’s uncle.  Jean Rankin is buried in Centre Presbyterian Church, Iredell Co. She and Robert definitely had a son named Denny Rankin.

3 James Rankin, b. 1777-78 – d. 22 Feb 1854, age 77. Wife Elizabeth McMin, b. abt. 1779. James’ Iredell Co. will names all eight daughters and a son James, who was apparently their only surviving son. I have found no extant marriage bond for James and Elizabeth, but they were probably married in Lincoln Co., NC because Elizabeth’s sister Sarah McMin and James’ brother Denny Rankin were married there. James’ Iredell will was witnessed by James D. Rankin, a nephew who lived adjacent James (James D. was a son of Denny and Sarah McMin Rankin). Note: a beneficiary of the will would not have been a witness, which establishes that James Rankin, son of James and Elizabeth, was not the man who called himself James D. Rankin. There is apparently no extant tombstone, but James was buried in the Centre Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Mooresville. The Historic Cemetery Directory shows his year of death as 1855. However, his will appears to have been recorded 6 Jan 1854. One of those two dates is obviously incorrect.

1820 Iredell census has a listing for James Rankin (2 listings apart from Denny Rankin), although the profile doesn’t appear to fit with James’ surviving children: 320010-2101. That profile includes a male and female 26 < 45, 3 young females, and 5 young males. I can’t explain this.

1840 Iredell census, James Rankin, 000000001-000230001. James is listed as 60 < 70, b. 1770-1780, as is his wife Elizabeth. Five daughters were still living at home, three of whom are listed as age 20 < 30 (b. 1810-1820), which would include Ann, Sarah, and one other daughter. Two are shown as age 15 < 20 (b. 1820-1825), which would include Nancy and one other.

1850 Iredell census, James Rankin, 72, b. NC abt 1778, Elizabeth Rankin, 71, b. NC abt 1779, Ann Rankin, 35, b. NC abt 1815, Sarah Rankin, 31, b. NC abt 1819, and Nancy M? Rankin, 28, b. NC abt 1822.

Here is my abstract of the will of James Rankin, made from the original located at the NC State Library and Archives, Raleigh, NC, file box C.R.054.801.11. The will is undated and there is no recitation of residence. It appears to have been recorded 6 Jan 1854.

To my dear wife Elizabeth, all real and personal property including land where I live, slave Henry, household and kitchen furniture, livestock, farming tools, grain fodder and other provisions. Also carriage, notes and money. All a life estate, remainder at her death to my three single daughters Ann, Sarah and Nancy [Rankin] to be theirs jointly and absolutely. If any of my daughters marries (either before or after death of her mother), then the married child “shall be allowed to take and hold” one bed and furniture, one cow and calf, one horse and saddle worth $85 and kitchen furniture “such as my other married daughter received.” After the death of their mother, no division of property between my 3 daughters Ann, Sarah and Nancy “so long as two of them remain unmarried for it is my will and desire that this should be a home to the single daughter both after the death of their mother as well as during her life time, but in the event that any two of them should marry then … the property sold and equally divided.” Son James, large dictionary and my rifle gun. I have already given and divided off to my other daughters Ruth, Rachel, Jane, Elizabeth and Lucinda “all the property I design to [be] given them as their portion.” Daughter Ann, my large Bible and the side saddle of my wife Elizabeth. Signed James (x) Rankin. Witnessed Robt J. McDowell, James D. Rankin.

4 Ruth Rankin

4 Rachel Rankin

4 Jane Rankin m. Alexander Williams

4 Elizabeth Rankin

4 Lucinda Rankin

4 James Rankin, b. abt 1807, d. 1890. Married #1 Frances (“Frankey Mayhew”), #2 Patsey Little, Lincoln Co., 17 Mar 1858.

1840 Iredell census, James Rankin, 200001-200001001. James is in the 30 < 40 age category, b. 1800-1810. Two sons < 5, b. 1835-1840. Female in the 60< 70 category may be his mother-in-law Susannah Mayhew, who was living with the family in 1850.

1850 Iredell census, James Rankin, 43, Frankey Rankin, 42, John D. Rankin, 19, George L. Rankin, 16, Nancy L. E. Rankin, 13, Rachel E. Rankin, 11, Franklin J. C.? Rankin (Frankie Caroline? See 1860 census), 8, James A. Rankin, 6, Hester A. Rankin, 5, and Susannah Mayhew, 74, b. MD. All others b. NC.

1860 census, James Rankin, 53, farmer, $1000/2000, b. NC, Iredell Sch Dist 60, Patsey Rankin, 54, Lee Rankin, 26, b NC abt 1834, (George Lee Rankin?), Eleanor Rankin, 23 (Nancy L. Eleanor Rankin), Rachel Rankin, 20, Caroline Rankin, 19, James Rankin, 16, Hester Rankin, 15, and Osborn Rankin, 8, all b. NC.

5 John Denny Rankin, b. 10 May 1831, Statesville, Iredell Co., d. 19 May 1912, Galveston, Galveston Co., TX. Buried Riddle Cemetry, Rockdale, Milam Co., TX. Preacher, doctor and schoolteacher. Wife Mary M. S. Sechler, Rowan Co., NC marriage bond dated 18 Feb 1862, daughter of Abraham Sechler and Mary M. Freeze.

1870 census, Washington Co., TX, John D. Rankin, 39, minister and carpenter, Mary M. S. Rankin, 35, McKenzie Rankin (male), 7, James Rankin, 6, Charles G.? Rankin, 5, and Agnes E. Rankin, 1, all b. NC.

1880 census, Milam Co., TX, John D. Rankin, 49, preacher, wife Mary M., 46, son Jackson M. (Jackson McKenzie) Rankin, 17, son James G. Rankin, 15, son Charlie L. Rankin, 14, daughter Agnes E. Rankin, 11, daughter Flora I. or J. Rankin, Rowan D. Rankin, 6, daughter, and Rosadalis Rankin, 5, daughter. All b. NC and parents b. NC except Flora, Rowan and Rosadalis were  b. TX.

1900 census, Milam Co., TX, D. Rankin, 69, b. May 1831, farmer, b. NC, parents b. NC, wife Emma Rankin, 55, b. Feb 1845, married 9 years, b. AL, parents b. NC, son J. G. Rankin, b. Apr 1864, b. NC, parents b. NC, daughter-in-law Thula Rankin, b. Jan? 1875, TX, parents b. GA, granddaughter Thula Rankin, b. Aug 1899, granddaughter Alice Noff, b. Dec 1885, b. TX, parents b. TX.

In 1910, James D. was living with his son Charles L. Rankin in Bell Co., TX.

TX death certificate in Galveston, Galveston Co., TX gives his dates of birth and death, lists his occupation as “preacher, doctor, schoolteacher;” born Statesville, NC, son of James Rankin, b. Iredell, and Susanna [sic] Mayhew, b. Statesville. Usual residence Florence, TX, buried Rockdale, TX.

6 Jackson McKenzie Rankin, b. 9 Jan 1863, NC, d. 9 Apr 1944, Abernathy, Hale Co., TX. Wife Sarah Alice Mayfield, married 16 Jun 1888 in Milam Co., TX. He was a Baptist preacher.

1900 census, Milam Co., TX, Jackson M. Rankin, Jan 1863, NC, parents b. NC, “preaching,” wife Sarah A. Rankin, b. Dec 1869, MO, son Dennie Rankin, b. Aug 1889, TX, daughter Maggie E. Rankin, b. Feb 1891 TX, son James E. Rankin, b. Oct 1892 TX, daughter Mary Rankin, b. Mar 1894 TX, son Harvey Rankin, b. Apr 1896 TX, daughter ______, b. Mar 1898, TX.

1910 census, Garza Co., TX, Jackson M. Rankin, 47, married 21 years, b. NC, parents b. NC, minister, Gospel Baptist Church, wife Sarah A. Rankin, 40, has had 10 children, all living, b. MO, parents b. MO, son Dennie Rankin, 20, b. TN, daughter Emma Rankin, 10, TX, son James Rankin, 17, TX, daughter Mary B. Rankin, 16, TX, son Harvey L. Rankin, 14, TX, son Willie H. Rankin, 12, TX, son McKenzie S.? Rankin, 9, TX, son Gambrell Rankin, 7, TX, son John Rankin, 4, TX, daughter Alice Rankin, 2, TX.

1920 census, Lubbock Co., TX, M. Rankin, 57, farmer, b. SC [sic], wife Sarah Alice Rankin, 50, MO, daughter Mary Rankin, 26, TX, son Kennedy (McKenzie?) Rankin, 19, TX, son Gambrell Rankin, 17, TX, son John Rankin, 15, TX, son [sic, the “sex” column has her identified as a female] Alice Rankin, 12, TX, daughter Rosa Lee Rankin, 6, TX.

1930 census, Crosby Co., TX, Jackson M. Rankin, 67, Baptist Minister, with wife Alice Rankin, 60 and daughter Mary Rankin, 36. Adjacent M. H. Rankin. In the 1840 census, Jackson M. and Sarah Alice are with their son McKenzie in Abernathy, Hale Co., TX.

TX death certificate gives dates of birth and death and identifies his parents as John D. Rankin, b. NC, and Mary Sechlar, b. PA. Informant was M. H. Rankin. Buried in the Abernathy Cemetery, Hale Co., TX.

7 Jackson Dennie Rankin, b. 16 Aug 1889, Rockdale, Milam Co., TX, d. 2 Aug 1939, Lubbock, Lubbock Co., TX. Occupation given as “teacher” on his son’s birth certificate, “bookkeeper” on his death certificate, and “singer” on his draft registration card. Wife Virgie Alice Dodson, b. Coryell Co., TX.

WW I draft registration card dated Jun 1917 for Jackson Dennie Rankin, 27, b. 16 Aug 1889, Rockdale, TX. Occupation “Evangelistic Singer, Baptist Church, San Augustine, TX.” Resides Petersburg, TX. Medium height and build, brown eyes, light brown hair, slightly bald. Single, no dependents.

1930 census, Lubbock, TX, Jackson Rankin, 40, married at age 31, b. TX, father NC, mother TX [sic], wife Argie Rankin, 36, b. TX, son Jackson Rankin Jr., 6, b. TX.

Death certificate identifies his parents as J. M. Rankin, b. NC, and Sarah Alice Mayfield, b. MO. Informant on death certificate was J. M. [sic] Rankin Jr. of Slaton, TX.

8 Jackson David Rankin, b. 25 Mar 1924, Brownfield, Terry Co., TX, d. 11 Dec 2005, Cambria, San Luis Obispo Co., CA. Corporal, US Army Air Corps, WW II. Went to Texas Tech in Lubbock. Buried in Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, CA.

7 Maggie Emma Rankin, b. 24 Feb 1891, TX, d. 17 May 1979. Resided in Lorenzo, Crosby Co., TX; died in Lubbock, Lubbock Co., TX.

TX death certificate identified her as Emma Rankin O’Rear, a widow. Names her parents, Jackson M. Rankin and Sarah Alice Mayfield. Informant was James O’Rear.

7 James Mathew Rankin, b. 19 Oct 1892, Milam Co., TX, d. 9 Mar 1974, Lubbock, Lubbock Co. Resided in rural Crosby Co., TX. Schoolteacher, school superintendent, and Crosby Co. judge. Wife Maude Benton (b. 17 Dec 1892 in Red River Co., TX, d. 21 Jan 1967 in Lubbock). They married on 12 May 1920. He was an army Private, WW II. Both are buried in the Ralls Cemetery, Ralls, Crosby Co., TX.

TX death certificate states he was married and identifies his parents as Jackson M. and Sarah Alice Mayfield. Informant was Joe Rankin. Maude’s obituary identified two surviving sons.

8 Joe David Rankin, 8 May 1929 – 24 Dec 2002. 2nd Lieutenant, USAF, Korea. Buried Ralls Cemetery, Crosby Co., TX.

8 Jean McKenzie Rankin, 8 May 1929 – 4 Aug 1995. Doctor. Wife Marianne Clark.

7 Mary Elmore Rankin, b. 13 Mar 1894, TX, d. 21 Dec 1971, Ralls, Crosby Co., TX. Never married. Schoolteacher. Buried Abernathy Cemetery, Hale Co., TX. Death certificate identified her parents as Jackson M. Rankin and Sarah Alice Mayfield. Informant J. M. Rankin.

7 Harvey Carroll Rankin, b. 4 Apr 1896, TX, d. 9 Feb 1982, Falls Church, Fairfax Co., VA. Resided in Springfield, VA. Baptist minister. Wife Irene Hettie Dleozier. Virginia death certificate identifies his parents as McKenzie Rankin, b. TX, and Alice Mayfield. Obituary identifies survivors.

8 Robert Carroll Rankin, b. 26 Aug 1930, Lubbock Co., TX, d. 25 Apr 2006.

8 Nelda I. Rankin, b. 2 Mar 1933, Clovis, Curry Co., NM, d. 1 Oct 1995, Clovis. Attended Bob Jones University. Married Donald Albert Cowette 26 Jun 1953, Pasquotank, NC. Buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Curry Co., NM beside her mother.

7 Willie H. Rankin, b. abt 1898, TX.

7 McKenzie Hix Rankin, b. 1 Nov 1901, TX, d. 28 Dec 1960, Abernathy, Hale Co. TX. Death certificate lists “postal clerk: as his occupation. Wife Marion B. Peston (1904-1991). Buried in the Abernathy Cemetery.

1940 census, Abernathy, Hale Co., TX, McKenzie Rankin, 39, b. TX, dairy manager, wife Marion Rankin, 35, b. VT, daughter Bernice Rankin, 13, TX, son Charles Rankin, 5, b. NM, father Jackson Rankin, 77, b NC, mother Sarah Rankin, 70, b. TX [sic].

7 Charles Gambrell Rankin, b. 19 Nov 1902, TX, d. 15 Feb 1991, last resided in LaPorte, Harris Co., TX. Wife Madie Agnes Walker (1904-1977).

7 John Stephen Rankin, b. 8 Aug 1905, TX, d. 14 May 1982, Lorenzo, Crosby Co., TX. Wife Martha Christine Holcomb (1909-1965). U.S. Army, WW II, enlisted 14 Oct 1942, released 14 Feb 1946. Minister. Buried in the Abernathy Cemetery, Hale Co., TX. TX death certificate identifies parents as Jackson M. Rankin and Sarah Alice Mayfield.

7 Alice Rankin, b. 20 Nov 1907, d. 16 Apr 1964. Husband James Francis Barron (1910-1994) on 24 Dec 1933. Buried Terrace Cemetery, Post, Garza Co., TX.

7 Rosa Lee Rankin, b. abt 1914, TX.

6 James G. Rankin, 24 Apr 1864 – 12 Sep 1922. Preacher. Had four daughters and a son who died at 13. TX death certificate for J. G. Rankin identifies father as J. D. Rankin, b. NC, mother Mary? Sechler. Buried New City Cemetery, Rockdale, Milam Co., TX.

6 Charles Lee Rankin, b. 8 Oct 1865, NC, d. 14 Jun 1935, Houston, Harris Co., TX. Wife Annie M. Dean. Texas death certificate identifies him as a son of John Denney Rankin and Mary M. Sechler. Buried Hollywood Cemetery in Houston, 3506 South Main.

1910 census, Belton, Bell Co., TX, Charles L. Rankin, 43, b. NC, parents b. NC, merchant, furniture, Annie M. Rankin, wife, 34, daughter Mary L. Rankin, 15, son Karnes M. Rankin, 14, son Charlie D. Rankin, 9, son John G. Rankin, 3, daughter Annie B. Rankin, 6 months, and father John D. Rankin, 78 (married 3 times), b. NC, parents b. NC.

7 Mary L. Rankin, b. 1895, TX.

7 Karnes McKenzie Rankin, 1896 – 1960s. 1940 census, Houston, 4802 Ave. I, Karnes Rankin, wife Ruth Pearl Hill, (she d. 1974, Madison Co. TX), daughter Ruth N. Rankin, 5, son Harold Rankin, 2.

Ruth N. Rankin, b. abt 1935.

 8 Harold Lee Rankin Sr., b. 31 Jul 1937.

7 Charlie Dean Rankin, 25 Oct 1899 – 11 Mar 1931. Worked for the Houston Chronicle. Father C. L. Rankin, mother M. Dean. 1900 census (Milam Co., TX), 1910 census (Belton, Bell Co., TX) and 1920 census (Harris Co., TX). Informant on death certificate: C. L. Rankin of Willis, TX. Buried Forest Park Cem., Houston, wife’s name was Chloe.

7 John G. or F. Rankin, b. 1907/08. Appeared in the 1910 census, Bell Co., no further record.

7 Annie B. Rankin, b. 1910.

7 George W. Rankin, b. 27 Jul 1912, d. 18 Nov 1997, buried Willis Cemetery, Montgomery Co., TX. Spouse Martha N. Rankin, 8 Mar 1912 – 2 Jan 2005, married 27 Sep 1931. 1940 census, Houston, Harris Co., TX, 4806 Ave. I., bookkeeper, bank.

6 Agnes E. Rankin, b. NC abt 1869.

6 Flora I. or J. Rankin, b. TX abt 1872.

6 Rowan D. Rankin (female), b. TX abt 1874.

6 Rosadalis Rankin, b. TX abt 1875.

5 George Lee (or Leroy) Rankin, b. NC 5 Nov 1833 or 34 – d. 23 Feb 1909. Married Margaret Ruth Mills (1840 – 1921). Company I, 7th Regiment, NC Troops, enlisted 26 Feb 1862.

1870 census, Davidson, Mount Mourne, Iredell Co. NC, George L. Rankin, 37, b. abt. 1833, farm hand, NC, Margaret R. Rankin, 29, NC, Aaron M., 8 months, NC and Mary V., 8 months (twins).

1880 census, Davidson, Iredell Co., NC, L. Rankin, 46, b. NC, parents b. NC, Mag. R. Rankin, wife, 40, A. M. Rankin, son, 10, M. V. Rankin, daughter, 10, J. L. Rankin, 7, son, Geo W. Rankin, 5, son, Martha A. Rankin, daughter, 3.

1900 census, Davidson, Iredell, George L. Rankin, b. NC Nov 1833, 66, m. 31 years, parents b. NC, Margaret R. Rankin, b. Apr 1840, NC, Mary V. Rankin, daughter, b. Dec 1869 (Mary Virginia), James L. Rankin, son, b. Jan 1873, Martha? Rankin, daughter, b. Dec 1876, Maggie E., daughter, b. Feb 1881.

Tombstone in the Rocky Mount United Methodist Church Cemetary, Iredell, George Lee Rankin, 5 Nov 1833 – 23 Feb. 1909. Margaret Ruth Rankin, same cemetery, 12 Apr 1840 – 1 Jan 1921.

See 1910 census, Davidson, Iredell Mooresville, Margaret R. Rankin, 59, widowed, has had 6 children, all still living, with James L. Rankin, son, 37, Mattie Rankin, daughter, 30, Elma Rankin, daughter, 27, all b. NC, parents b. NC. See also 1920 census, Davidson, Iredell, Margaret R. Rankin, dwl #17,  age 78, widowed, with M. Elma Rankin daughter, 37; James L. Rankin in adjacent household.

6 Aaron Marshall Rankin, b. 3 Dec 1868, d. 30 Jan 1935. Wife Lillian Emma Kerr, married 21 Apr 1897. NC death certificate for Aaron Marshall Rankin, Route 1, Troutman, Iredell, NC, has dates of birth and death and identifies him as a retired farmer, a son of Lee Rankin and Maggie Mills. Informant: Mr. E. R. Rankin.

7 Edgar Reid Rankin, b. 31 May 1898, d. 1962. Also buried New Perth Cemetery. Married Mary L. Windcoff (1899-1987) on 3 Jan 1920. 1930 census, Fallston, Iredell, dwl #39: Edgar R. Rankin, age 31, m. #1 at 21. Wife Mary E. L. Rankin, 30, daughter Vivian G. Rankin, 8, father Aaron M. Rankin, 60.

8 Vivian Geraldine Rankin, m. Harold Collins, 24 Dec 1939.

6 Mary Virginia Rankin, b. 3 Dec 1869, d. 1948. Married Thomas Jefferson Conger, 19 Mar 1902.

7 Margaret Conger, Duke University. Schoolteacher.

7 Luther Conger m. Amelia Watkins.

8 Luther Conger Jr. m. Louise McLendon.

8 Thomas Conger m. Frances Douglas.

8 James Conger m. Dottie Plyler.

8 George Conger m. Nancy Grau.

6 James Lee Rankin, 31 Jan 1873 – 6 May 1954, buried Rocky Mount Cemetery, Iredell. Wife Annie Freeze (26 Jun 1890 – 13 Sep 1924), married 17 Dec 1911. NC death certificate states his dates of birth and death and identifies his parents as George Rankin and Margaret Mills. Informant was Miss Elma Rankin (his sister).

1920 census adj. mother Margaret Rankin: James L. Rankin, dwl #18, age 47, married, but wife isn’t listed. Daughter Margie R. Rankin, 6, son Marion K. Rankin, 4?, and E. J. Rankin, son, 8 months, b. 1919.

1930 census, Davidson, Iredell, dwl #73, James L. Rankin, 54, widowed, Elma Rankin, sister, 48, single, Margaret Rankin, daughter, 16, Mary Rankin, daughter, 14? (should be son Marion K.), E. J. Rankin, son, 10.

1940 census, Davidson, Iredell, James L. Rankin, 67, M. K. Rankin, son, 24, Marjorie Rankin, daughter, 23, Emma Rankin, sister, 58.

7 Margie or Marjorie Rankin, b. 1914.

7 Marian Kermit Rankin, b. 9 Apr 1915, d. 9 July, 2002, Mooresville, Iredell, NC. Buried Glenwood Memorial Park, Mooresville, NC. Obit in Charlotte Observer 11 Jul 2002. First wife Thelma Overcase, 1915-1993. Second wife Rachel Owens, 1922-2001.

7 Edgar James Rankin, b. 22 Apr 1919, d. 9 May 1985. Wife Rosa Jane Freeze (1920-1977). Buried Rocky Mount United Methodist Church Cemetery, Mooresville, Iredell. WW II draft registration card IDs father as J. L. Rankin, Mooresville.

1940 census, Davidson, Iredell, J. Rankin, 20, Rosa F. Rankin, 19 and Jimme Rankin, 5 months (adj. father J. L. Rankin).

8 James John Rankin, b. 12 Oct 1939, Iredell, lived in Lincolnton.

8 JoAnn Rankin m. Tommy Fann.

8 Linda Rankin m. Joel Cook.

6 George Whitfield Rankin, b. 11 Sep 1874, Iredell, d. 17 Dec 1942, Troutman, Iredell Co., buried New Perth Cemetery. Wife Sara Jane Parker, married 16 Aug 1896.

1910 census, Fallstown, Iredell, Sherill’s Ford Road, George W. Rankin, 35, first marriage, married 13 years; wife Sarah Jane Rankin, 33, has had 6 children, all still living; daughter Mary Louise, 12, son William L. Rankin, 10, daughter Reitta May Rankin, 8, son Thomas F. Rankin, 6, daughter Ruby E. Rankin, 4, and son Charles A.? Rankin, 2.

1930 census, Fallstown, Iredell, NC, dwl #62, George W. Rankin, 55, 1st married at age 21, Sarah J. Rankin, wife, Edna Rankin, daughter, 23, Katherine Rankin, daughter, 12, Charles R. Rankin, son, 22, m. 2 years, and his wife Mildred Rankin, 20.

7 Mary Louise Rankin, b. abt 1898.

7 William Lee Rankin, 1899-1952. Married Edna Lawrence. 1940 census, Statesville, Iredell, age 40, with wife Willie E. Rankin, 39, and Jewel Rankin, 12. Will proved 21 May 1952.

7 Rita May or Mae Rankin, b 1902, m. Lathan Smith.

7 Thomas Fred Rankin, b. 7 Nov 1904, Iredell, d. 9 Dec 1972, resided Landis, Rowan Co., at 210 Rankin Road. Retired Barber. Spouse Elzora McCombs. Buried Carolina Memorial Park, Concord, Cabarrus Co., NC.

7 Ruby Edna Rankin, b. 1906-07, m. Mr. Gillian.

7 Charles Rnette (this is not a typo) Rankin, b. 2 Feb 1908, d. 23 Jul 1991. Wife Mildred Marie Hardline. WWII draft registration card calls him Charles Rneet Rankin, of Troutman, Iredell Co., NC. The NC birth index calls him Charles Rnette Rankin, son of George Whitfield Rankin and Sarah Jane Parker. NC death index also calls him Charles Anette Rankin. Buried New Perth Cemetery, Troutman, Iredell County.

8 Norman Dean Rankin, b. abt 1935, d. 11 Oct 2015, age 80, in Troutman, NC, Iredell. Husband Bobby Carroll Murdock.

8 Charles Allen Rankin, b. 24 Apr 1932, Troutman, Iredell, d. 10 Mar 2000. Wife #1 Peggy Stewart, wife #2 Sally Josey. Resided Iredell. Died in Surry Co., NC, work accident. Buried in Memorial Gardens, Statesville.

8 Peggy Joy Rankin m. Jim Templeton.

7 Katherine Rankin, b. abt. 1918, m. Mr. Hartsell.

6 Martha Ann Rankin, b. 21 Dec 1876 – d. 1963. Married Christopher Samuel Elihu Hart on 4 Dec 1913, he was b. 21 Dec 1876, d. 2 Apr 1963.

7 Spruce Rankin Hart, 17 Nov 1914 – 22 Feb 1967. First wife Mary Louise Brawley, second wife Mary Doris Keever, m. Sep 1953.

8 Charlotte Kay Hart, 3 Aug 1941. Schoolteacher.

8 Martha Bernice Hart, b. 28 Jan 1943. Married Lonnie Carroll Harmon 18 May 1969.

6 Maggie Elma Rankin, b. 25 Feb 1881, d. 1962?

 5 Nancy L. Eleanor Rankin, b. NC abt 1837. 

5 Rachel E. Rankin, b. NC abt 1839-40

5 Francis Isabella Caroline Rankin, b. NC abt 1841-42, d. 1897, m. James M. Rumple.

5 James Aaron Rankin, b. NC abt 1844. Company I, 7th Regiment, NC Troops. Enlisted 22 Jul 1861. Killed at Chancellorsville on 3 May 1863.

5 Hester A. Rankin, 1845-1920, m. William Marshall Mills.

5 Osborne Tatum Rankin, b. 20 Apr 1852, Iredell Co., d. 1918, Rowan Co., NC, m. Amanda Isabella Shuford.

1870 census, Davidson, Iredell Co., dwl 103: James Rankin, 63, farmer, b. NC, Louisa Rankin, 51, Osborne T. Rankin, 18, b. NC abt 1852.

1880 census, Atwell, Rowan Co., NC: James Rankin, 73, farmer, Louise Rankin, 63, wife; Osborne Rankin, 28, son, farmer, Amanda Rankin, 26, son’s wife (Amanda J. Shuford, b. 1853, m. 1873); James Rankin, 3, son Lee Rankin, 10 months (b. Aug-Sep 1879, son of Osborne and Amanda). In 1900 census, add son Charles W. Rankin, b. 1887.

NC death certificate for Osborne Tatum Rankin, barber, Unity Twp, Rowan Co., NC. Born 20 Apr 1852, d. 20 Aug 1918, age 66, wife Amanda. Father James Rankin, b. Beaties Ford, Iredell Co., NC; mother Franky Byrd Mayhew, b. Iredell.

6 James Daniel Rankin. b. 8 Jun 1875, d. 16 May 1966 in Boone, Watauga Co., NC. Wife Tula Roberta Abernathy of Boone, NC.

7 Ruth S. Rankin, 1904-2003, Denton Co., TX, m. Paris Milton Rutherford.

7 Charles Elmer Rankin, 1908-1996, m. Mildred McDade.

7 Winton Blair Rankin, b. 1916, Boone Co., d. 2015, Wake Co., NC, m. Edith Dora Griffin.

6 Robert Lee Rankin, b. 8 Aug 1879 – d. 31 Jan 1940. Wife Susie Mae Belk. NC death certificate identifies his father as O. T. Rankin, b. NC, mother Amanda Shuford. Informant Mrs. R. L. Rankin.

1930 census: Robert Lee Rankin, 50, Susie Mae Rankin, daughters Bessie, Lucille and Rosa Lee Rankin; sons Grey Rankin, 17, Flake Rankin, 23, and Billy Rankin, 7.

7 Bessie Rankin, b. 1907.

7 Lucille Rankin, b. 1909.

7 Robert Grey Rankin, b. 27 Oct 1912, Salisbury, Rowan Co., d. 21 Jan 1976, Winston-Salem, Forsyth Co., NC. Buried Rowan Memorial Park Cemetery. Wife Eileen Jones, 29 Aug 1914 – 17 Jul 2003.

Rosalie Rankin, 1915-1975, m. Thomas H. Jackson.

7 Osborne Flake Rankin, 10 Jan 1918 – 16 Jul 1978, buried Lebanon Lutheran Church Cemetery, Cleveland, Rowan Co., NC. Spouse Helen L. Miller.

7 William Benjamin (“Billy”) Rankin, 7 Sep 1922 – 2 Oct 1981. Wife Margaret Sharpe Linebarger, 1925 – 2001 buried Hollybrook Cemetary, Lincolnton, NC.

Etta Elmora Rankin, 1882-1970, m. James A. Peeler.

6 Charles Wesley Rankin, b. NC 11 Sep 1886, d. 14 Jun 1918. Buried Greenlawn Cemetery, China Grove, Rowan Co., NC. Wife Lurline Ray Graham.

7 Charles Wesley Rankin, Jr., 1913 – 1981, d. in Lynchburg, VA. Wife Alice Johnston, 1910-1986.

7 Edward Ray Rankin, 1917-1972.

Josephine Rankin, 1918-2003, m. Edwin Pionowski.

4 Ann Rankin, b. 1816, m. James Reid.

4 Sarah Rankin, b. 1820, m. J. F. Brawley.

4 Nancy M. Rankin, b. abt 1822, NC, m. James S. Beatty.

3 Denny Rankin, 1775 – 1823, Iredell Co., NC. Wife Sarah McMin, marriage bond dated 4 Jan 1803 in Lincoln Co., NC. Will proved 1823. Sarah’s petition to have dower set aside mentions 126 acres on the Catawba River. Estate papers identify John M. Rankin as the guardian of minor children Sarah Aseaneth Rankin, Rachel Elizabeth McMin Rankin, and James D. Rankin. Only James was still a minor as of 20 Aug 1838. Both Denny and his wife Sarah are buried in the Centre Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Mooresville, Iredell Co., NC. A total of eight children are proved by a 1837 deed from two of the heirs to their mother, see Iredell Deed Book T: 394.

1810 census, Iredell Co., NC, Denny Rankin, 1 male 26 < 45 (b. 1765-1784), 1 female same age range, 3 males and 1 female less than ten (b. 1800-1810) (John M. b. 1803, Samuel b. 1806, and possibly William; daughter uncertain).

1820 census, Iredell Co., NC, Denny Rankin, 220010-32110. One male 26 < 45 (b. 1775 -1794), female same age, 1 female 16 < 26, 2 females 10 < 16, 3 females < 10, 2 males 10 < 16 (John M. and Samuel) and 2 males < 10 (Robert A. and James Denny?)

Denny’s tombstone inscription reads as follows: “Dennie Rankin born 1775 died 1823/Farewell father who lies here/This stone erected by his loving son Samuel Rankin/Honor thy Father and Mother.” An abstract of Iredell Co. cemeteries notes that the stone was made in Memphis, TN.

Sarah McMin Rankin’s tombstone is inscribed “Sarah wife of D. Rankin born 1781 died 1843,” with the remainder of the inscription identical to her husband’s (except substituting “mother” for “father”).

4 John M. Rankin, 13 Oct 1803 – 7 Sep 1884. Wife #1 Dorcus LNU (1802-1858). Married wife #2 Catharine Nixon (16 Aug 1815-11 Aug 1866) in Lincoln Co., 5 Jan 1859. She appears in 1860 census with 5 children born before 1860, all apparently children of Dorcus. In 1870 census, wife #3 is Elizabeth LNU. Buried United Presbyterian Church, Lincoln Co., NC.

5 Catharine Rankin, 1833-1908, m. Mr. Nixon

5 Jane Rankin, 1835 – 1887

5 Dorcas Cherry Rankin, 1837 – 1922

5 Rachel Rankin

5 John N. Rankin, b. abt 1843. Enlisted 20 Aug 1862, age 18, Co. K, NC 23rd Inf. Mustered out 25 Oct 1862 at Winchester, VA.

5 Aseneth M. Rankin, 1844-1874

5 Robert R. Rankin, 1848-1855

4 Samuel Rankin, b. 22 Jun 1806, Iredell Co. – d. 27 Apr 1886, Shelby Co., TN. I believe (some Rankin researchers disagree) that he is the Samuel enumerated in the census during 1840-1880 in Shelby Co., TN. Denny and Sarah’s son Samuel bought stones for his parents’ Iredell County graves that were carved in Memphis, which is in Shelby Co. Wife Marcella LNU.

1840 census, Shelby Co., TN, Samuel Rankin, 200001-11001. Oldest male 30 < 40, b. 1800-1810. Two sons b. 1835-1840 (Marcus and George), a daughter b. 1835-1840 (Rachel), and a daughter b. 1830-1835 (Sarah).

1850 census, 2nd, Shelby Co., #615: Samuel Rankin, 44, carpenter, b. NC, Marcilla Rankin, 43, VA, Sarah Rankin, 16, TN, Rachel Rankin, 14, TN, Marcus Rankin, 11, TN, George Rankin, 7, TN, and William Rankin, 6, TN.

1860 census, 2nd, Shelby Co.: Samuel Rankin, 54, farmer, b. NC, Marcilla, 51, VA, Rachel, 23, TN, Marcus L. or S., 22, TN, George L. or S., 20, TN, Jamey?, 17, female, TN, Wm. D., 15, TN, and Samuel D., 7, TN.

1870 census, Shelby Co., #17: Samuel Rankin, 64, b. NC, Marcella Rankin, 63, VA, Rachel E. Rankin, 24, b. TN, George L. Rankin, 31, b. TN, James Rankin, 28, b. TN, Samuel D. Rankin, 18, TN.

1880 census, 2nd, Shelby Co., TN: Samuel Rankin, 74, b. NC, parents b. NC, Marsella Rankin, 73, b. VA, parents b. VA. West Union Cemetery, Shelby Co., TN: Samuel Rankin, b. 22 Jun 1806, d. 20 Jul 1890, and Marcella Rankin, 18 Oct 1806 – 27 Apr 1886.

5 Sarah Rankin, b. TN abt 1834, d. 19 Jul 1882, married Mr. Van Fleet.

5 Rachel E. Rankin, b. TN 26 Jan 1836 – 25 Jun 1910, husband M. L. McEncroe. Buried West Union Cemetery, Shelby Co., TN.

5 Marcus D. Rankin, b. TN abt 1838-39. Wife Carolyn Brazil?

1870 census Dist. 4, Shelby Co., TN, D. Rankin, 33, b. TN, H. C. Rankin, female, 28, b. TN, Mary T. Rankin, 9, b. TN, and Joseph C. Rankin, 2, b. TN.

6 Joseph C. Rankin, b. 7 Feb 1868 d. 29 Aug 1956, buried West Union Cemetery, Shelby Co. Death certificate identifies his parents as Mark Rankin and Carolyn Brazil Rankin and wife as Eva Corbitt Rankin (1872 – 1937).

1910 census, Dist. 2, Shelby Co., TN, Joe Rankin, 42, b. TN, parents b. TN, married 19 years, wife Eva, 39, has had 8 children, 4 living; son Terrell, 15, TN, son Louis, 9, TN, daughter Amanda, 6, TN, daughter Rachel, 1, TN, and brother-in-law Lawrence Corbit, 27.

7 Terrell Rankin, b. TN abt 1895

7 Louis Rankin, b. TN abt 1901

7 Amanda Rankin, b. TN abt 1904

7 Rachel Rankin, b. TN abt 1909

6 Luther E. Rankin, b. Oct 1880, d. 5 Jun 1929, buried West Union Cemetery, Shelby Co., single, according to death certificate. Parents identified as M. D. Rankin, Amie Bazoa.

5 Jamey (female) Rankin, b. TN abt 1842

5 George L. Rankin, b. TN abt 1843

5 William D. Rankin, b. TN abt 1844-45

5 Samuel D. Rankin, b. Shelby Co., TN abt 1853. Married Mary Jane McMurray, a widow. 1880 census, Dist. 2, Shelby Co., TN, D. Rankin, 27, b. TN, father b. NC, mother b. ?, wife M. Jane, TN, son Phelan M. Rankin, 5 months, and stepdaughter Othella McMurray, 7, TN.

Phelan M. Rankin, b. 1880.

4 William Rankin, probably b. 1800-1810.

4 Rachel Elizabeth McMin Rankin, b. abt 1818, Iredell Co., NC

4 Jane D. Rankin m. ______ Porter

4 Robert A. Rankin, d. 1844, Shelby Co., TN, m. Tabitha Leggett, Gibson Co., TN.

4 Sarah Aseaneth Rankin, b. abt 1816, Iredell Co., NC

4 James Denny Rankin, b. 1820, d. by 1857, wife Evaline or Emerline York.

1850 census, James D. Rankin, 30, b. NC, Evaline Rankin, William L. Rankin, 3, Sarah E. Rankin, 1, and Sarah A. Rankin, 34 and Rachel E. M. C. Rankin, his sisters Sarah Aseaneth and Rachel Elizabeth McMin Rankin.

1860 census, Evaline Rankin, 40, farmer, Leroy Rankin, 15, Bettie Rankin, 13, Harriet Rankin, 11, and Emma Rankin, 2.

5 William Leroy Rankin, b. NC abt 1846.

5 Sarah Elizabeth Rankin, b. NC abt 1847.

5 Harriet Rankin, b. NC abt 1849.

5 Emma Isabella Rankin, b. 10 Jul 1856, d. 26 Jan 1928, Mooresville. Born in Iredell County. Death certificate identifies her father as Denny Rankin, b. Iredell, and Emerline York?, also b. Iredell.

2 James Rankin, d. June 1780 at the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill, m. Miss (Susannah?) Alexander.

3 David Rankin b. by 1781, Lincoln Co., NC.

3 Margaret (“Peggy”) Rankin m. Thomas Witherspoon, 6 Jul 1801, Lincoln Co.

3 William Rankin m. Mary Lourance/Lawrence, 17 Jan 1810.

4 Jane/Jean Rankin m. William Crays.

 

 

Who Are the Scots-Irish, anyway?

© June 2016 Robin Rankin Willis

Introduction

This article is a non-academic description of Scots-Irish (or Scotch-Irish) history from about 1600 to roughly the mid-eighteenth century, with emphasis on the factors influencing Scots-Irish migration. I wrote it for family history researchers who want an overview regarding where their Scots-Irish ancestors came from, and when and why they migrated.

When I started doing family history research, I had no idea what “Scots-Irish” meant. I had a vague idea (I must blush) that it meant one had mixed Irish and Scottish ancestry. Turns out that I am an awful student of history. The Scots-Irish were Protestant Scots who settled in northernmost Ireland – specifically, in the province of Ulster – and later migrated from Ireland to the colonies.

Background

First, a bit of Irish political history and geography.

Ireland was traditionally divided into four provinces: Ulster, Connaught, Leinster, and Munster. Ulster, the focus of interest in this article, was located in the northernmost part of Ireland. Nine counties made up Ulster: (1) Antrim, (2) Down, (3) Armagh, (4) Derry, (5) Fermanagh and (6) Tyrone, plus (7) Cavan, (8) Monaghan, and (9) Donegal.

Here is a map showing the four traditional Irish provinces and the counties which comprise them.

The history of the relationship among Ireland, Scotland and England is way beyond my expertise. Suffice it to say that, in 1603, the Kingdom of England – which included England, Wales and those parts of Ireland controlled by the English – was united with the Kingdom of Scotland. King James VI of Scotland became James I of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

King James is a big star in this narrative.

Fast forward in time two centuries. In 1800, the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” came into being, composed of all of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. In 1922, the Republic of Ireland gained independence from the United Kingdom. Oversimplifying the matter considerably, a vocal Protestant minority concentrated in Ulster – whose existence can be traced back to James I (more on that shortly) – wanted no part of a predominantly Catholic Ireland. To prevent civil insurrection, the British allowed the nine Ulster counties to decide by vote whether they wanted to remain part of the United Kingdom. The very northeasternmost part of Ulster (the first six Ulster counties in the list above) voted to remain a part of the United Kingdom. The British partitioned those six counties to form Northern Ireland. The remaining three counties which had been part of the province of Ulster – Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal – became a part of the Republic of Ireland. After the partition and Ireland’s independence, the U.K. was composed of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Perhaps you have an ancestor with a classic Scots-Irish name – Alexander, Rankin, Gillespie, Ewing, Steele, Kerr, Caldwell, McQuiston, Denny, or Wallace – who was born, say, in Letterkenny, County Donegal in the 1600s. In light of Irish history, it would be correct to say he or she was born in Ulster (the province), or (more colorfully) the “Ulster Plantation,” or (geographically) the northern part of Ireland. It would not be correct to say he or she was born in Northern Ireland, a country that didn’t come into existence for another three centuries. I am still trying to correct all the instances in which I have made that error.

It would, however, almost certainly be correct to say that your ancestor was Presbyterian. Solid fact #1: it is redundant to describe someone as a Scots-Irish Presbyterian.

The factors that drove the migration of the Scots-Irish from Scotland to Ulster and then to the colonies are more complicated. What ultimately became known as the “Irish Troubles” is a cautionary tale, I suppose, about unintended consequences.

Original settlement of the Ulster Plantation

As noted above, James I of Great Britain, aka James VI of Scotland, became the first king of England, Scotland, and Ireland in 1603. James was a Protestant rather than a Catholic or an Anglican (the official church of England after Henry VIII’s dispute with the Pope over his divorce).

Also in 1603, the leading Irish Catholic families of Ulster surrendered to end the Nine Years War, which had been waged in an effort to stop the expansion of English power in Ireland. Large Irish landowners fled the country, leaving behind estates of roughly 500,000 acres. James appropriated those estates for the crown. In 1607, James claimed almost six counties of additional land. Not surprisingly, many of those who lost their land had been the leading opponents of English control of Ireland. They were native Irish and Catholic.

James also ordered thousands of remaining Irish Catholic tenants to move from Ulster to other parts of Ireland. This created the opportunity to repopulate land taken from rebellious Irish landowners with more reliably loyal Protestants from England and Scotland. The crown made liberal offers of land and other inducements to accomplish that end. People heard; they came.

James predicted, correctly, that more Scots than English would relocate to Ulster, a fairly barren place (then), too rough for what James perceived as the more delicate English temperament. A sizeable population – notable primarily for their Presbyterianism – made the short trip across the channel from Scotland into the northern part of Ireland. During 1610 through 1612, an estimated ten thousand Scots, mostly from the Scottish Lowlands, settled in Ulster. As many as 50,000 Lowland Scots had settled in Ulster by 1620.

Needless to say, the remaining native Irish Catholics thoroughly detested the Protestant Scots settlers, and vice versa.

The Irish Rebellion of 1641

It didn’t take long for the simmering Ulster caldron to boil over. Beginning in October 1641, a bloody episode called the “Irish Rebellion” began. It first erupted in Ulster, when native Catholic Irish surprised Protestant settlers and killed them in large numbers. The Irish were apparently afraid that the English Parliament was going to gin out some new repressive anti-Catholic legislation. The attacks may have been preemptive action to “disarm” the Ulster Protestants, who would have been charged with enforcing any such laws. Considering the “legacy of hatred built into the Ulster Plantation,” the violence – says The Oxford History of Britain, in a masterful case of British understatement – “inevitably got out of hand.” A Covenanter army arrived from Scotland to help protect the Ulster Scots, to little avail. “Massacre” is the appropriate term. Although estimates vary wildly, a BBC website suggests that thirty percent of the Protestant population in Ulster died.

The Irish Rebellion lasted for almost ten years, spreading to other areas of Ireland during the English Civil Wars. It ended when the armies of Oliver Cromwell landed in Ireland and slaughtered the inhabitants of Drogheda and Wexford, Irish Catholic towns on the east coast. Cromwell, apparently an Old Testament kind of guy, evidently still believed in the “eye for an eye” theory.

Not long thereafter, other religious persecution blossomed across the channel in Scotland. Following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II and James II set about trying to force Episcopacy down the throats of the Scottish, leading to conflicts between Presbyterians and the Bishops of the Anglican establishment. This culminated in an intense phase of persecution in the 1680s, a period appropriately referred to as “the killing times.” The victims were Presbyterian Scots.

The killing times gave rise to the second large migration of Protestants from their homeland in Scotland to the relatively safe Ulster. Imagine thinking of Ulster as safe, after that 1641 massacre! This second migratory wave took place from about 1663 to 1689, when William and Mary (Protestants) assumed the throne.

Economic troubles

It wasn’t just religious persecution that drove these migrations. Economic issues also played a major role, of course. Both the English and Irish parliaments played a role, as did Mother Nature.

The first legislative targets were beef and beef products. After the Cromwellian civil wars of the 1640s, the export of cattle from Ireland to England increased substantially, as did exports of beef, cheese and butter. This adversely impacted English cattle raisers, who persuaded the Parliament of Charles II (after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660) to pass an act prohibiting the shipping of cattle, beef, cheese and butter from Ireland to England or to any of the English colonies. I imagine that cut into the profitability of raising Irish cattle, although I haven’t found any relevant data.

The next legislative blow was to the Ulster wool industry, which had grown rapidly in northern Ireland in the late 1600s. Irish wool and wool product exports hurt sheep raisers in England, so government swung into action. In 1698, under pressure from the English, the Irish Parliament placed heavy duties on Irish export of manufactured wool. In 1699, the English Parliament passed an act forbidding the export from Ireland of all goods made or mixed with wool – except to England and Wales. This immediately crippled the wool industries in Ulster: woolen factories closed down virtually overnight. This started the first migration of the Scots-Irish to America, right at the turn of the century. Most of those early immigrants settled in New England.

Meanwhile, taxes on the Ulster Scots were going up, as were rents. “Rack renting” became the practice. This means that landlords raised rents on land, evicted tenants who couldn’t pay, then rented to the highest bidder. By the early 1700s, most of the leases granted to settlers in the 1680s migration from Scotland to Ulster were expiring, making this practice widespread. Annual “rack rents” were sometimes equal to the total value of the land.

1717: the “Great Migration” to the colonies begins

Religious persecution reared its ugly head again, with Anglicans back in charge in England. In 1704, the English Parliament passed the Test Act, which required all government officials, and all town, county and army officers, and all lawyers, to take communion according to the forms and rites of the Church of England. This effectively wiped out most of the civil service in northern Ireland. In 1714, the Schism Act required all school teachers to secure a license from a bishop of the Anglican Church. A bishop could grant a license only to those who conformed to the Test Act. Goodbye, teaching jobs.

Nature piled on. There was a serious drought in Ireland caused by six years of insufficient rainfall during 1714 through 1719. That was undoubtedly the final straw. The first wave of the “Great Migration” began in earnest during 1717-1718. During 1717, more than 5,000 Ulster residents left for the colonies. During the next three years, nearly a hundred ships sailed from ports in the north of Ireland, carrying in all as many as 25,000 passengers. They were virtually all Presbyterian.

Most of these original migrants settled in the Delaware River Valley, primarily in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Secretary of State expressly invited settlement by new immigrants. The process of elimination probably also played a role. Virginia, where the Anglican Church of England was established, was not attractive. Neither was Maryland, which had an established Roman Catholic church. Land in the Hudson River Valley of New York was owned in great estates.

By 1720, “go to America” from Ulster meant migrating to one of the Delaware River ports. For most of the Great Migration, the majority of Scots-Irish entered the colonies through Philadelphia, Chester, or New Castle, Delaware. Most of these immigrants settled in Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester and Lancaster counties, Pennsylvania.

During 1725 through 1729, the exodus from Ulster became so large that the English Parliament appointed a commission to investigate the cause, fearing a loss of the entire Protestant population in Ulster. The main problems were identified as rack rents and general poverty.

The largest wave of migration began in 1740-41, when an estimated 400,000 Irish died in the famine of those years. For the next decade, Scots-Irish arrived in the colonies in huge numbers. By then, the power elite in Pennsylvania had become alarmed at the prospect that the Scots-Irish would take over the government. Consequently, Pennsylvania landowners quit selling land to the immigrants. Lord Granville, however, was advertising cheap and abundant land for sale in North Carolina. The result was a huge migration from Pennsylvania to the Piedmont Plateau of North Carolina via the Great Wagon Road of the Shenandoah Valley. One landowner on the Great Wagon Road route estimated that 5,000 wagons crossed the James River in Virginia in 1755, mostly bound for the huge area that was then Rowan County, North Carolina. Some dropped out and settled along the way, especially in Augusta County, Virginia.

In 1771, a final large wave of immigration from Ulster began, again caused by rack rents. There was some violent and ultimately useless resistance to rent increases by Ulster residents, all Presbyterians, known as the “Hearts of Steel” or “Steelboys.” Landowners, with the law and the army on their side, prevailed. In the few years left before the Revolution, an additional 30,000 Ulster residents reportedly left for the colonies.

Estimated numbers of Scots-Irish in the colonies vary wildly, and I have no knowledgeable basis for discriminating among them. One source estimates that, by 1776, 300,000 people — one-sixth of the (white) population of all the colonies — was Scots-Irish. Yet another source puts the number of Scots-Irish in the colonies at the start of the Revolution at 230,000. In any event, with a total white and black population of about 2.5 million in the mid-1770s, even the smaller of those estimates is a significant percentage of the total.

Those Ulster immigrants had no love for the English. They became the heart of the American Revolution – not the intellectual heart, but the muscle. George Washington said that, if the Revolutionary cause was lost everywhere else, he would make a last stand among the Scots-Irish of Virginia. Captain Johann Henricks, a Hessian mercenary in the British army, wrote, “[c]all it not an American rebellion, it is nothing more than an Irish-Scotch Presbyterian Rebellion.”

Solid fact #2: “Scots-Irish” and “Tory” are mutually exclusive terms. If you have a male Scots-Irish ancestor who was in his twenties or thirties during roughly 1775-1785, you almost certainly have a Revolutionary War veteran on your family tree.

Rankins and Alexanders

My Alexander family was among those who left the Pennsylvania and Maryland area about 1740-ish, settled in Virginia during 1742-1749, and then arrived in Anson/Rowan County by 1752. See my article about them here.

My last known Rankin ancestor probably arrived in Rowan a bit later, but in any event by 1759. If you had Scots-Irish ancestors in south-central North Carolina, I would bet they also left Scotland for the Ulster Plantation in the 1600s, departed Northern Ireland for Pennsylvania between 1717 and 1750, and arrived in North Carolina about the middle of the eighteenth century. If you have a story along those lines, I would love to hear it.

Sources. As usual, I careened among websites looking for information, e.g., Googling “when was the Restoration,” without making good notes of my sources. This list undoubtedly omits dozens of other credible websites containing historical information which I used to help prepare this post, and I apologize for failing to list them.

  1. “Scotch-Irish.” Dictionary of American History. 2003. Retrieved June 19, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401803772.html
  2. “Henry the VIII and Ireland.” 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2016 from The History Learning Site.co.uk: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/tudor-england/henry-viii-and-ireland/
  3. Kenneth O. Morgan, The Oxford History of Britain (Oxford: The Oxford University Press, 1999, upated edition 2010). In 1707, the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland merged. I don’t know the difference between the 1707 “merger” and the 1603 “union,” described in a couple of the articles I read as a “personal union” under the crown.
  4. Online excerpts at various websites from James G. Leyburn, The Scotch-Irish, A Social History (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1962).
  5. “Wars and Conflict: the Plantation of Ulster.” Retrieved June 25, 2016: bbc.co.uk. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/plantation/planters/es10.shtml. This location has been archived and is no longer being maintained.
  6. “Covenanters” were Scots who were opposed to interference by British royalty in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. See Scottish Covenanters Memorial Association, retrieved June 24, 2016: http://www.covenanter.org.uk/WhoWere/
  7. Ulster Historical Foundation retrieved June 25, 2016: http://www.ancestryireland.com/history-of-the-irish-parliament/background-to-the-statutes/manufacturing-mining/

 

 

The Rankins of Guilford County, NC: the mistaken identity of the Robert Rankin who died there in 1795

© Robin Rankin Willis

The problem in general

Every genealogist knows that many family trees on the internet aren’t worth the paper it would take to print them. Perhaps the most serious rookie mistake a family history researcher can make is to import data from someone else’s family tree without confirming it with independent research.

Some of us learned that lesson the hard way. When I was just getting started in this hobby in the 1990s, I sent a chart for one of my lines (as requested) to the administrator of the Graves Family Association website.[1] The chart included information I had obtained from other researchers purporting to identify the forbears of my last proved Graves ancestor. Unfortunately, I had not confirmed those alleged ancestors with my own research.

I wish I had remembered that and deleted those names before I forwarded the chart. The website administrator replied with a blistering email excoriating me for perpetuating a fiction which all serious researchers had long since discarded. My screen and my red face were both too hot to touch when I read that email.

The fact is that all family history researchers make mistakes, even without naïvely adopting someone else’s data. It is the nature of the hobby. Original records are incomplete or the courthouse burned down entirely, handwriting is faded, blurry or just lousy, and our ancestors tended to recycle the same given names ad nauseam, producing an error called “same name confusion.” Other mistakes are perpetrated and then perpetuated by the aura of accuracy that accompanies information that makes it into print. If a printed history states, e.g., that Joseph Rankin of New Castle County, Delaware (1704-1764) had a son named Samuel Rankin who married Eleanor (“Ellen”) Alexander, that particular “fact” is thenceforth cast in concrete. That is so despite the lack of any supporting evidence whatsoever in actual records and y-DNA tests that disprove a genetic relationship. That is precisely the case with Joseph and Samuel.[2]

Some mistakes are just simple errors exacerbated by a dose of carelessness. Who can believe an ancestry chart asserting that a woman who was born between 1740 and 1743 was the mother of a man born in 1749? Or a chart saying that a man married Miss Smith months after he was already dead and his will probated? Happens all the time.

One Rankin problem in particular: the Robert Rankin who died in 1795 in Guilford Co., NC

There is just such an error in research concerning one of the Rankin families of Guilford County, North Carolina. The error appears in a number of Rankin family trees on the Family Search and Ancestry websites.[3] It is probably attributable to one published Rankin history which wrongly interpreted the 1795 will of Robert Rankin as being the will of the “patriarch” – the eldest immigrant – of his family line in Guilford.[4] Robert Rankin the patriarch (let’s call him “Old Robert” for short) had a wife named Rebecca, maiden name unknown.[5] Old Robert and Rebecca had a son named George.[6] The 1795 will identified the testator as “Robert Rankin Senior” of Guilford County, a designation occasionally used for Old Robert in the early days of the county.[7] Robert also devised land to a son named George. He did not name a wife, which proves nothing except that his wife most likely died before he wrote his will. In short, identifying the testator in the 1795 will as Old Robert seems reasonable at first glance.

The problem is that Old Robert and Rebecca’s son George died in 1760 – thirty-five years before Robert’s 1795 will.[8] I have heard of people being tardy about updating their wills, but … several decades? C’mon, y’all!

Admittedly, Guilford County is tough on Rankin researchers for several reasons. First, there are a dizzying number of country records referencing, e.g., Robert Rankin, Robert Rankin Sr., and/or Robert Rankin Jr. One state grant mentions all three of those names![9] Second, the line of Old Robert and Rebecca, as was common, used the same names every generation. They favored John, William, Robert, and George, sometimes distinguishing between them with “Jr.” or “Sr.” That didn’t always help, because a man identified as “Jr.” isn’t necessarily the son of “Sr.” Sometimes those designations were used to differentiate between an elder and a younger man who were from different nuclear families – for example, a man and his nephew. Worse, the designations changed: a man called “Robert Jr.” in 1760 became “Robert Sr.” after the elder Robert died. Keeping track of who was “Sr.” and who was “Jr.” isn’t always easy.

Finally, Guilford is rough sledding because there were three Rankin “patriarchs” in Guilford: (1) John Rankin (1736-1814) who married Hannah Carson and who is a proved son of Joseph Rankin of Delaware;[10] (2) John’s brother William Rankin (1744-1804), who married Jane Chambers; and (3) Old Robert Rankin and his wife Rebecca, who came to Pennsylvania from Letterkenny Parish, County Donegal, Ireland about 1750 and moved to Guilford County (then Rowan) a few years later. Fortunately, the lines of John Rankin and his brother William Rankin are well-documented, so it is relatively easy to distinguish them from the line of Old Robert and Rebecca.

The facts in brief

Two simple facts establish that the Robert Rankin who wrote a will and died in 1795 in Guilford County – call him “Robert d. 1795” – was not Old Robert. First, the dates for the records of Buffalo Presbyterian Church show that Old Robert died long before 1795. Second, records concerning the George Rankin who was named as a son in the will of Robert d. 1795 establish that George the devisee was alive and well after 1795. He was not the George who had died thirty-five years earlier.

When did Robert with wife Rebecca die? Answer: circa 1770, definitely by 1773

Rev. Samuel Meek Rankin provides information about Old Robert Rankin in his book History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People. Rev. Rankin identified Old Robert as having belonged to Nottingham Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania.[11] Old Robert and his family (or some of them) migrated to North Carolina in the 1750s.[12] The family acquired land in that part of Rowan County that became Guilford County.[13] Rev. Rankin identified Old Robert’s wife as Rebecca, which is confirmed in a gift deed of land by the couple to their son George.[14] According to Rev. Rankin, Old Robert and Rebecca had children “George, Robert, Rebecca, John and others.”[15]

For purposes of this article, however, we are only concerned with Old Robert and Rebecca, their sons George and Robert (who was sometimes called “Robert Jr.” in early Guilford records), and a grandson named – I’m sure you can guess this one – Robert. A few facts about that crew is in order. Rev. Rankin says that George died in 1761, although his will was actually written and proved in 1760.[16] George’s will named his widow Lydia and two minor sons, John and Robert – the grandson we have in mind.

George and Lydia’s son John inherited the 480-acre tract on Brushy Fork that Old Robert and Rebecca had given to George. John sold it and left Guilford before 1800.[17] George and Lydia’s other son Robert, grandson of Old Robert, fought in the Revolutionary War and applied for a pension in 1833.[18] Bless his heart, because the application provides useful information. Let’s call him “Rev. War Robert.” His application establishes that Rev. War Robert was born in Guilford County in May 1759 and that he moved to McNairy County, Tennessee in 1830. It is important for this narrative that Rev. War Robert lived into the nineteenth century.

That is sufficient predicate, I hope. The bottom line is that Rev. Rankin also has this to say about Old Robert, who was (according to oral tradition) one of the first elders in Buffalo Church:

“Robert Rankin is another whom Rev. J. C. Alexander said tradition listed as one of the first elders. He settled here in 1753 … he died before the first date in the minute book.”[19]

Reverend Rankin said there were no records for Buffalo Church “from the organization in 1756 to 1773.” Consequently, Old Robert Rankin, husband of Rebecca, must have died before 1773. Rev. Rankin states that Old Robert died about 1770, although there is no extant tombstone for him in the Buffalo Church cemetery.[20]

Old Robert cannot be the same man as the Robert Rankin who died in Guilford in 1795 because Old Robert had been dead for more than two decades by 1795.

What about the George named in the will of Robert Rankin d. 1795?

Let’s look closely at Robert Rankin’s 1795 will, which names the following devisees and beneficiaries:[21]

… his son George and his three grandsons William Rankin Wilson, Andrew Wilson and Maxwell Wilson, sons of his deceased daughter Mary Rankin and her husband Andrew Wilson. Robert devised his land on Buffalo Creek to George and the three Wilson grandsons.

… his daughter Isobel.

… two unnamed living daughters, each of whom was to receive one-fifth of Robert’s personal estate.

Robert’s will plainly demonstrates that he was capable of distinguishing between his children who had died and those who had not. He described his three Wilson grandsons as “sons of my deceased daughter Mary Willson alias Rankin.” Robert describes his son George as … simply George, without stating that George was deceased or that the devise of land was for George’s heirs. The straightforward language of the will makes clear that Robert the testator (even if Old Robert had still been alive in ’95, which he wasn’t) was not referring to a son who died in 1760.

Subsequent Guilford County records indicate that Robert the testator was correct: his son George Rankin was still alive in ‘95. About three years after Robert died, George surveyed the land he inherited from his father. Robert’s will included a detailed metes and bounds description of how his land on Buffalo Creek was to “be divided by my estate.” The document filed in the real property records expressly recites that the survey of the tract was required by the will of Robert Rankin, deceased, and by his executor. [22] Some two decades later, George Rankin made a gift of a portion of that tract to his own son – named Robert, of course.[23]

Here’s the best advice I could ever give to a rookie genealogist: follow the land.

So … who the heck was the Robert who died in 1795? Answer: Robert, son of Old Robert and Rebecca

Naturally, there was more than one Robert Rankin living in Guilford County in the late 18th century. We can eliminate anyone from the lines of John Rankin and Hannah Carson or William Rankin and Jean Chambers, because their sons named Robert (John and William both had a son named Robert) lived well past 1795.[24] The testator in 1795 was not Rev. War Robert, son of George and Lydia, because his pension file proves that he died in 1833. The only Robert Rankin in Guilford in 1795 who was old enough to have three grandsons, and who did not live into the nineteenth century, was Robert Rankin (Jr.), son of Old Robert and Rebecca.

And there you have it. In a perfect world, Old Robert would also have left an extant will. I suspect that he had already given away everything he owned, particularly his land, before he died.

* * * * * * * * * *

[1] See http://www.gravesfa.org.

[2] Rev. S. M. Rankin, The Rankin and Wharton Families and Their Genealogy (Salem, Massachusetts: Higginson Book Company, facsimile reprint of the original, copyrighted 1931), p. 52. Rev. Rankin is reliably accurate, so far as I can tell from my own research, with few exceptions. However, y-DNA testing conclusively establishes that the Samuel Rankin who married Eleanor Alexander was not a son of Joseph Rankin of Delaware.

[3] https://familysearch.org/search/ and http://home.ancestry.com. The former is free. The latter requires a paid membership.

[4] E.g., A. Gregg Moore and Forney A. Rankin, The Rankins of North Carolina (Marietta, GA: A. G. Moore, 1997).

[5] Rev. S. M. Rankin, History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People (Greensboro, NC: J. J. Stone & Co., Printers, 1934) at 27. See also the gift deed in the next footnote.

[6] Id. See also Jo White Linn, Rowan County North Carolina Deed Abstracts Vol. 1, 1753 – 1762, Abstracts of Books 1 – 4 (Salisbury, NC), abstract of Deed Book 2: 70, a gift deed dated 13 Apr 1755 from Robert and Rebecca Rankin to George Rankin, for 5 shillings (the usual gift deed “price”), 480 acres on the south side of Brushy Fork. Robert had paid 10 shillings for that tract, a Granville grant. Id., abstract of Deed Book 2: 102.

[7] Clayton Genealogical Library microfilm, “NC Guilford County Wills, Books A-B 1771-1838,” File #312, will of Robert Rankin Sr. dated 30 May 1795 proved Nov 1795, giving metes and bounds instructions on how to divide the land he owned on the south side of Buffalo Creek and devising that land to his son George Rankin and grandsons William Rankin Willson, Andrew Willson and Maxwell Willson. Robert also made bequests to his daughter Isobel and two other living daughters who weren’t identified by given name.

[8] Clayton Genealogical Library microfilm, “NC Rowan County Will Books A-B 1767-1793,” p. 141, will of George Rankin of Rowan County dated 23 May 1760, proved Oct 1760. Witnesses to the will included Robert Rankin (either George’s father or his brother) and William Denny (George’s brother-in-law, married to George’s sister Ann Rankin Denny).

[9] William D. Bennett, Guilford County Deed Book One (Raleigh, NC: Oaky Grove Press, 1990), abstract of Deed Book 1: 504, 16 Dec 1778 state grant to Moses McClain, 200 acres adjacent Jonas Touchstone, Robert McKnight, David Allison, Robert Rankin Jr.’s line, along Robert Rankin Sr.’s line, NC Grant Book No. 33: 83. There is one deed in my Lunenburg Co., VA Winn line in which the grantee and two witnesses to a deed were identified as John Winn, John Winn, and John Winn. No “Sr.” or “Jr.,” or “John Winn, carpenter,” or “John Winn of Amelia County.” Those three men obviously had a sense of whimsy. Lunenburg Deed Book 7: 231.

[10] FHL Film No. 6564, New Castle Co., DE Deed Book Y1: 499, deed dated Apr 1768 from grantors John Rankin of Orange Co., NC (a predecessor to Guilford County) and his wife Hannah, and William Rankin of New Castle Co., DE, to grantees Thomas Rankin and Joseph Rankin, both of New Castle, land devised to John and William by their father Joseph Rankin. Witnesses to the deed were neighbors of William and John Rankin in Guilford: Robert Breden, James Donnell and James Simpson. Robert and Rebecca’s immigration date and origin are established by the autobiography of their son, Rev. John Rankin, a Presbyterian minister who became a Shaker.

[11] Rankin, History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church, p. 22. See also Futhey and Cope, History of Chester Co., PA (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1881), reproduction facsimile by Chester County Historical Society (Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, Inc. 1996). The 1753 tax list for West Nottingham Township, Chester Co., PA included taxables George Rankin and Robert Rankin.

[12] Rankin, History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church, p. 22.

[13] E.g., Jo White Linn, Rowan County North Carolina Deed Abstracts Vol. 1, 1753 – 1762, Abstracts of Books 1 – 4 (Salisbury, NC), abstract of Deed Book 4: 100, Granville grant dated 24 Jun 1758 to Robert Rankin, 640 acres on both sides of North Buffalo Creek. That creek flows roughly from southwest to northeast into Buffalo Creek. The creek, and the grant, are located just south of Buffalo Presbyterian Church.

[14] See note 6.

[15] Rankin, History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church, p. 27. George and Robert are also proved as sons by deed records. There is only circumstantial evidence for a son John and no evidence that I can find for a daughter Rebecca. The deed and will records also prove a daughter Ann Rankin who married William Denny.

[16] Clayton Genealogical Library microfiln, “NC Rowan County Will Books A-B 1767-1793,” p. 141, will of George Rankin of Rowan County dated 23 May 1760, proved Oct 1760. The 1761 date for George’s death appears in every family tree I have seen for Robert and Rebecca. Someone read Rev. Rankin’s book and many people imported the information without checking it.

[17] Id. George devised to John the 480-acre tract on Brushy Fork or Brush Creek. John sold 200 acres in August 1784, Guilford Deed Book 3: 101, and the remaining 297 acres in Sep 1796, Deed Book 6: 182. John was listed in the 1790 census for Guilford County but not in 1800. He was a Revolutionary War Soldier and an ordained Presbyterian minister. He struggled with what he saw as the abstract and impersonal nature of Presbyterian doctrine and became a Shaker minister. He went to Tennessee in the late 1790s and wound up in Logan County, KY in a place called “Shakertown.” In one of many Guilford County marriages that makes researchers rip their hair out, he married Rebecca Rankin, a daughter of John Rankin and Hannah Carson.

[18] Virgil D. White, Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files, Vol. III: N-Z (Waynesboro, TN: National Historical Publishing Co., 1992), abstract of the pension application of Robert Rankin, W5664. Robert was born 29 May 1759. Wife Mary. NC line. Soldier was born in Guilford and enlisted there. In 1830, he moved to McNairy Co., TN where he applied 20 May 1833. He died there 21 Dec 1840. Soldier had married Mary Moody 22 Nov 1803 in Guilford. Widow applied 12 Jun 1853 from McNairy, age 75. Widow died 11 Jul 1854.

[19] Rankin, History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church, p. 122.

[20] Raymond Dufau Donnell, Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Cemetery Greensboro, North Carolina (Greensboro, NC: The Guilford County Genealogical Society (1994), second printing March 1996, p. ii, saying that the “earliest written records of the church date from 1773,” and stating that Robert Rankin Sr., “Pioneer … Ruling Elder” died ca. 1770.

[21] Clayton Genealogical Library microfilm, “NC Guilford County Wills Books A-B 1771-1838,” File #312, will of Robert Rankin Sr. dated 30 May 1795 proved Nov 1795.

[22] Guilford Co. Deed Book 6: 346, 16 Feb 1798.

[23] Guilford Co., Deed Book 14: 11, 23 Mar 1819.

[24] Rev. S. M. Rankin, The Rankin and Wharton Families and Their Genealogy (Salem, MS: Higginson Book Company facsimile reprint of the 1931 original), p. 55 (John Rankin and Hannah Carson’s son Robert lived from 1780-1866) and p. 149 (William Rankin and Jane Chambers’ son Robert C. Rankin lived 1791-1853).