Samuel Rankin (abt. 1734 – abt. 1816) m. Eleanor Alexander — new post to replace two old ones

In August and September 2016, I posted a two-part article about the possible family of origin of Samuel Rankin (“Sam Sr.”) of Rowan, Mecklenburg and Lincoln counties, North Carolina whose wife was Eleanor (“Ellen”) Alexander. Having just reread the two posts, I found them tedious, overlong, and packed with trivial information that is unlikely to be of any interest whatsoever to anyone. I apparently have an unattractive propensity to beat dead horses from time to time. Moreover, new Y-DNA information on the issue has come to light which moots a substantial part of the argument in one of the posts.

I am going to delete both posts from this website as soon as I figure out how to do that. Here is their replacement, which just cuts to the chase re: old theories of Sam Sr.’s possible parents. It also provides a brief description of the Y-DNA evidence to date.

Rankin researchers have had two main theories about the identity of Sam Sr.’s father:

Theory #1 — Sam Sr.’s father was Joseph Rankin of White Clay Creek Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware (1704-1764). Let’s call him “Joseph of Delaware.” Two of Joseph’s proved sons who belonged to the same generation as Sam Jr. moved to Guilford County, NC. The primary source of Theory #1 is Rev. S. M. Rankin’s 1931 book, The Rankin and Wharton Families and Their Genealogy.[1]

Theory #2 — Sam Sr.’s parents were Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford County, NC. Call them “R&R.” Before migrating to North Carolina in the mid-1750s, Robert appeared on the 1753 tax list for West Nottingham Township, Chester County, PA.

Here’s the bottom line. First, there is no evidence whatsoever that I can find in the actual records of Delaware, Pennsylvania, North Carolina or any other colony to support either Theory #1 or Theory #2. Second, Y-DNA tests conclusively prove that both theories are dead wrong.

Here is a bit about the DNA evidence.

The Y-DNA evidence re: Theory #1

There is a Rankin DNA Project which provides (anonymously, if desired) Y-DNA results online.[2] One member, Doug Rankin, has a solid paper genealogical trail proving he is descended from Joseph of Delaware. I located another proved descendant of Joseph of Delaware by conventional paper research – let’s call him “Mr. X.” Doug convinced Mr. X to test. Turns out that the two men are 37-marker matches with one mismatching marker, which genetic genealogists call a “37-marker match with a genetic distance of one” (or “GD=1”). That is a darn good match. Furthermore, the two men descend from different sons of Joseph of Delaware (John and William, both of Guilford Co., NC), so their close DNA match isn’t a function of a recent common ancestor: Joseph of Delaware is their common Rankin ancestor.

With two closely matching Y-DNA samples and two very solid paper trails, there is a high degree of confidence that Doug and Mr. X provide a good picture of the Y-DNA of descendants of Joseph of Delaware – as well as those who aren’t his descendants.

The Rankin DNA project has two other members (call them Mr. A and Mr. B) whose paper trails prove them to be descendants of Samuel and Eleanor Alexander Rankin. Neither of them is a match – not even remotely close – to Doug Rankin and Mr. X. Based on the tests from Mr. A, Mr. B, Mr. X. and Doug Rankin, the Y-DNA evidence proves conclusively that Sam Sr. cannot be a son of Joseph of Delaware.

The Y-DNA Evidence re: Theory #2

The Rankin DNA Project now has two participants whose genealogical paper trail shows they are descended from R&R – Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford.

The first is Mr. R, whose paper trail conclusively proves that he is descended from R&R’s great-granddaughter Isabel Rankin (her maiden name) and her husband Robert Rankin. Robert’s parents are not conclusively proved. The obvious problem is that Mr. R inherited his Y-DNA from Robert, not Isabel. So the question is: who are Robert’s parents? I believe the circumstantial evidence overwhelmingly establishes that Isabel’s husband Robert was her second cousin, a proved son of George (1767 Guilford, NC -1851 McNairy, TN) and Nancy Gillespie Rankin. George, in turn, is a proved son of Robert Rankin of Guilford County, who is, in turn, a proved son of R&R. Consequently, Mr. R. is almost certainly (at least in my opinion) a descendant of R&R.

The second relevant Rankin DNA Project participant is Mr. M, whose paper trail leaves no doubt that he is descended from R&R through their great-grandson John D. Rankin, a son of George and Nancy Gillespie Rankin.

Mr. R and Mr. M are a 37-marker match with a GD = 2, a darn good match. For those of you who actually know something about the science of genealogical DNA, the two mismatched markers are at DYS 458 and CDY. My cousins Roger Alexander or Roberta Estes could undoubtedly appraise the quality of the match better than I can. I think it’s a good one.

Whatever. Neither Mr. R nor Mr. M – descendants of R&R – is a match with Mr. A or Mr. B, descendants of Sam Sr. and Eleanor Alexander Rankin. Their Y-DNA profiles are not even close. Sam Sr. is not, therefore, a son of Robert and Rebecca of Guilford.

Case closed. I’m guessing we are going to have to find a Rankin on the other side of the Atlantic to have a clue about Sam Sr.’s family of origin.

[1] Rev. S. M. Rankin, The Rankin and Wharton Families and Their Genealogy (Greensboro, NC: J. J. Stone & Co., printers and binders, 1931, reprint by Higginson Book Co., Salem, MA).

[2] http://www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/rankin/. This website has links to Y-DNA results (incomprehensible if you aren’t both a Rankin and Y-DNA expert) and to a “patriarch page” with lots of Rankin descendancy charts. For the most part, all participants provide their own ancestry and get to say from whom they are descended. Occasionally, they seem a bit farfetched. When two different people whose Y-DNA does NOT match claim descent from the same Rankin ancestor, the editors of the patriarch chart intervene to either make corrections or at least file disclaimers.

Line of Robert & Rebecca Rankin of Guilford Co., NC

This is a descendant chart for yet another line of Rankins: Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford Co., NC. I cannot say anything positive about Y-DNA results concerning this line … yet. Y-DNA test results for one of their descendants should be available by the end of March 2017. More then. Meanwhile, I hope this chart has something of value for someone with a Rankin ancestor in North Carolina in the last half of the 18th century.

1 Robert Rankin and wife Rebecca (last name unknown) of Guilford County emigrated from Letterkenny Parish, Donegal County, Ireland to Pennsylvania about 1750.[1] Robert was part of the Nottingham Company, which acquired Granville grants in that part of North Carolina that became Guilford County. Robert and his son George were listed in the 1753 West Nottingham Township tax list for Chester County, PA.[2] Robert and Rebecca and some of their children migrated to NC in 1755. Because the family used the same men’s given names repeatedly – particularly Robert, George and John – I have adopted some shorthand designations or nicknames to distinguish among them. Here are the main ones:

  • Robert Rankin with wife Rebecca: “R&R” or “Robert Sr.’”
  • R&R’s son Robert: “Robert d. 1795.”
  • George d. 1851” was the only proved son of Robert d. 1795, although there may have been others. George d. 1851 married Nancy Gillespie and went to McNairy Co., TN. A gift deed proves that they had a son named Robert:
  • “Robert (1792? – 1845?).” As the question marks indicate, it is not certain where this Robert went and my opinion is speculative.
  • R&R’s son George who married Lydia Steele: “George d. 1760.” Proved sons of George d. 1760 and Lydia:
  • Shaker Rev. John, born in Guilford in 1757, was an ordained Presbyterian minister who became a “Shaker” and died in Logan Co., Kentucky.
  • Rev War Robert, born in Guilford in 1759, was a Revolutionary War veteran who moved to McNairy Co., TN and died there in 1840.

Robert Sr. left no will, despite bad information to the contrary in Gregg Moore’s compiled Rankin history. Moore claims that Robert Sr. died testate in 1795.[3] That is demonstrably incorrect, see my article on the subject here.

According to Rev. S. M. Rankin, Robert Sr. died in Guilford County about 1770.[4] Rev. Rankin also asserted in another part of his book that Robert died before the church started keeping minutes, which was in 1773. Rev. Rankin says that Robert and Rebecca’s children were George, Robert, Rebecca, John and others. I would add a daughter Ann Rankin Denny, who is established by strong circumstantial evidence. I would discount Rebecca because I didn’t find any evidence of her, although a daughter by that name would obviously be likely.

There are several family trees on Ancestry.com that identify R&R as the parents of both (1) David Rankin who died in Iredell Co., NC in 1789 and (2) Samuel Rankin (1734 – 1816) who married Eleanor (“Ellen”) Alexander Rankin and lived in Lincoln Co., NC. So far, I have not found anyone who cites any evidence for that information except for other Ancestry family trees. I have found no evidence in county or other records that either David or Samuel was a son of R&R. Two descendants of David of Iredell have tested, and neither matches Samuel Rankin. At minimum, this proves that David of Iredell and Samuel of Lincoln cannot possibly have been brothers.

R&R’s children appear in this chart with a “2” preceding their names. R&R’s grandchildren are numbered “3,” their great-grandchildren are “4,” and so on, in standard outline genealogy format, except that I have included more information than is usual in the outline format. Citations are contained in footnotes.

2 John Rankin was a son of R&R, according to Rev. Rankin. There was a John Rankin in some early Rowan/Guilford records involving other people in the line of R&R. That John was too old to be Shaker Rev. John, born in 1757, the elder son of George d. 1760 and Lydia Steele Rankin.[5] Based on such records, Rev. Rankin is probably right about R&R having a son John. I found no evidence of land ownership or identities of any of John’s children except in Rev. Rankin’s book, which says that John had a son John. I have been unable positively to identify this line after Guilford County.

3 John Rankin

2 Rebecca Rankin was a daughter of R&R according to Rev. Rankin. She reportedly married James Denny. I found no evidence of a James and Rebecca Denny in Guilford, and I haven’t tried to find them elsewhere.

2 Ann Rankin married William Denny. R&R gifted land to their son George Rankin and to William Denny on subsequent days in April 1755. Both transactions were for five shillings, the traditional gift deed price.[6] Rev. Rankin’s book asserts that Robert & Rebecca “sold” William Denny his land, although the price clearly marks it as a gift. That virtually guarantees that William Denny was a son-in-law. William and Ann Rankin Denny’s children are proved by his 1766 will, which names his wife Ann and the following children:[7]

3 James Denny, of age by 1766

3 William Denny, of age by 1766

3 Hannah Denny, unmarried in 1766

3 Agnes Denny, unmarried in 1766

3 Jane Denny, unmarried in 1766. Many Rankin researchers believe this is the Jean Denny who married, in 1775, Robert d. 1795 — a son of R&R. However, R&R’s son Robert would have been Jane/Jean Denny’s uncle, if I am correct that Ann and Robert were siblings. It is definitely correct that some Jane/Jean Denny married some Robert Rankin in Guilford County in 1775. Who was the Robert in question? Not (1) Robert Sr. (who died by 1773 and was married to Rebecca LNU), (2) probably not Robert d. 1795, who was most likely Jane Denny’s uncle, and (3) not George and Lydia’s son Rev. War Robert, who was only 16 in 1775. Perhaps there was more than one Jane/Jean Denny in Guilford, which is quite possible. Or perhaps Jane/Jean Denny’s husband was the Robert Rankin of Iredell Co., son of David, who had a son named Denny Rankin. I suspect that is correct.

2 Robert RankinRobert d. 1795 — left a will proving five children. He may have had others, of course. He had three daughters and one son still living when he wrote his will.[8] The will identified by name a son George (George d. 1851), deceased daughter Mary Rankin Wilson’s three sons, and a daughter Isobel. Further, the will gave a 1/5th share of his estate to “each of my daughters now living,” implying two more living daughters in addition to Isabel. Thus, the will left 1/5th of the estate each to (1) George d. 1851, (2) the Wilson grandchildren (divided among the three of them), (3) Isobel, (4) an unnamed daughter, and (5) another unnamed daughter. One of the two unnamed daughters was the Rankin woman who married yet another William Denny, because the second William Denny died in 1825 and named his brother-in-law (identified as such) George d. 1851 as executor of his will.[9]

Rev. S. M. Rankin identified John, Robert and William Rankin as “sons of Robert [Robert d. 1795] and grandsons of Robert Sr.,” citing Caruther’s “Life of Caldwell” — but inexplicably omitting George d. 1851, proved in his father’s will. Elsewhere in the book, Rev. Rankin identifies John, Robert and William Rankin as sons of Rev. War Robert (making those three men great-grandsons of Robert Sr.). Rev. Rankin probably confused his Roberts, a very easy mistake to make in Guilford, and the latter is most likely correct. I am not including those three here as sons of Robert d. 1795, because I found no evidence for them in the Guilford records. Instead, this chart includes only the children proved by the will of Robert d. 1795: George d. 1851, Mary Rankin Wilson, Isabel, and two unnamed daughters, one of whom was the wife of William Denny who died in 1825.

3 George Rankin (George d. 1851) was born in Guilford Co., NC, 22 Mar 1767 and died in McNairy Co., TN, 15 Sep 1851.[10] George d. 1851 married Nancy Gillespie on 28 Jan 1791 in Guilford.[11] He sold 443 acres on the south side of Buffalo Creek in Guilford on 22 Aug 1832, and then moved to McNairy.[12] He and his wife Nancy (1773 – 30 Jul 1843) are buried at Bethel Springs Cemetery in McNairy. The census records for George in Guilford and McNairy support the possibility of 11 possible, but I haven’t been able to prove that many. This chart shows only seven children, and I’m not entirely sure about a couple of those.

4 Some Robert Rankin was a son of George’s, which is proved by a gift deed.[13] George d. 1851’s son was (if I have the right man) born in 1792 and died 1845 – the man whom I call Robert (1792? – 1845?).[14] It is possible — ** and this is speculative ** — that George d. 1851 and Nancy’s proved son Robert was the same man as the Robert Rankin who married Isabel Rankin, daughter of Rev. War Robert and Mary (“Polly”) Cusick Rankin. Isabel was b. 1791 – d. 1861, per her tombstone; she and her husband Robert Rankin would have been great-grandchildren of R&R and therefore second cousins. Their pedigrees, in short (if my speculation is correct: (1) Isabel’s pedigree would be R&R > George d. 1760 & Lydia > Rev. War Robert & Polly Cusick > Isabel Rankin, while (2) her husband’s would be R&R > Robert d. 1795 > George d. 1851 m. Nancy Gillespie > Robert (1792? – 1845?). Some Robert and Isabel definitely married in Guilford in December 1812.[15] See their line under Isabel. I have put their line under Isabel because her identity as a daughter of Rev. War Robert and Mary Cusick is reasonably certain, while the identity of her spouse Robert is speculative.

4 Rebecca Rankin, who was almost certainly the Rebecca who m. Jedediah Rankin in 1811. He was a son of Rev. War Robert and Polly Cusick. They went to Perry Co., AR, see their line under Jedediah.

4 Margaret (Peggy) Rankin, b. 1796, Guilford, d. 1875, Lincoln Co., TN, m. Joseph H Wallace, Guilford, 6 Jan 1818.

4 Daniel G. Rankin? m. Elizabeth Hanner 1823.

4 Thankful Rankin Wharton? 1803-1885.

4 David Caldwell Rankin, b. 1808, Guilford Co., NC, married #1 Mary M. C. F. _______ (d. 1847, McNairy Co., TN), married #2 Nancy Wilson. David was almost certainly still in his parents’ household in the 1830 Guilford Co., NC census. He was listed in his own household in the 1840 and 1850 census for McNairy Co., TN, with his father George enumerated in his household.

5 William Rankin, b. abt 1834

5 Nancy Rankin, b. abt 1838

5 George Washington Rankin, b. abt 1840

5 Angelina Rankin, b. abt 1842, may have married A. J. Minton, 23 Jun 1863, McNairy

5 Marion Rankin, b. abt 1847

4 John D. Rankin, b. Guilford 1816-17, d. McNairy 1870, m. Mary (“Polly”) Kerby (1820-1883). Buried Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Finger, McNairy Co., TN.[16]

5 Francis Marion Rankin, b. 1836, d. 25 Jun 1890, buried Mt. Carmel Cemetery, Finger, McNairy Co. Wife Louisa Elizabeth James, 19 Aug 1834 – 25 Oct 1926.[17]

6 Julia Ann Rankin, 1858 – 1906.

6 Robert W. Rankin, b. 12 Mar 1860 TN, d. 15 Nov 1919. Wife Margaret J. ______ (1868-1958).[18]

7 Perry P. Rankin, b. Feb 1889, d. _____

7 Letta V. Rankin, b. abt. 1893

7 Robert L. Rankin, b. Mar 1895

7 Franklin Rankin, b. 13 Sep 1899, d. 24 Apr 1979. Per his TN death certificate, Franklin was a son of R. W. Rankin & Margaret J. Rankin. Franklin’s wife was Winnie Essie Patterson. Per marriage certificate, they were m. 18 Dec 1921 in Chester Co., TN. Both are buried in the Cave Springs Cemetery, Henderson, Chester Co., TN. Winnie’s obituary (she died November 28, 2001) identified her husband as Frank, d. 1979, and identifies her children as follows …

8 Herman Rankin, predeceased his mother. Death certificate says he was b. 20 Jul 1923, d. 9 Aug 1998, son of Frank Rankin and Winnie Essie Patterson, buried Shelby Co., TN.

8 Daughter Bernice Rankin McDaniel of Memphis.

8 Son Glenn Rankin of Selmer, TN.

8 Son Aaron Rankin of Gallatin, TN.

6 William Sherman Rankin, 1866 – 1937

6 Mary F. Rankin, 1868 – 1937, m. Mr. Maness

6 F. M. Rankin, Jr., 1871 – 1894

6 Louisa Rankin, 1873 – 1949

6 John B. Rankin, b. 1877, d. ____

5 Nancy Rankin, b. 1838-39, d. 1923?

5 Sarah E. Rankin, b. 1842, d. 1915?

5 Lucy E. Rankin, 1843-44, d. ____

5 Mary J. Rankin, b. 1845, d. 1934?

5 Robert Neal Rankin, b. 1847, d. 1922?

5 Thankful Caroline Rankin, b. 1850, d. ?

5 Margaret S. Rankin, b. 1852, d. 1927?

5 Julia A. Rankin, b. 1854, d. ?

5 Elizabeth E. Rankin, b. 1857, d. 1943?

5 George D. Rankin, b. 1860, d. ? May have gone to Oklahoma.

5 Hugh Kerby Rankin, b. 1865, d. 1946? Ditto. McNairy estate records mentions Elizabeth, George and Hugh Rankin, heirs and minors, by their guardian ad litem. So the estate was administered prior to 1876.

3 Mary Rankin m. Andrew Wilson, d. by 1795. Some of these Wilsons went to McNairy Co., TN, but I have not attempted to track them or sort them out.

4 William Rankin Wilson, b. 1787, Guilford Co., NC, d. 1855, reportedly m. Lydia Rankin — the Lydia who was a daughter of Rev. War Robert and Polly Cusick. I haven’t seen proof.

4 Andrew Wilson

4 Maxwell Wilson

3 Isobel Rankin

3 Daughter Rankin, possibly Rebecca? Not identified by name in her father’s 1795 will, but see will of William Denny dated 12 Dec 1824 proved Feb 1825. Will mentions brother-in-law George Rankin. See also Guilford DB 8: 230, 1803 deed witnessed by William Denny and Rebeckah Denny.

4 Rebeckah Denny m. Mr. Black

4 Pamela Denny m. Mr. Wilson

4 Nancy Denny

4 Isabel Denny

4 James Denny

4 William Denny

4 Allen Denny

3 Unnamed daughter Rankin.

2 George Rankin, b. 1729, Letterkenny Parish, County Donegal, Ireland. Emigrated to Pennsylvania about 1750 with father Robert.[19] Died 1760, Guilford Co., NC, m. Lydia Steele, from County Derry. George’s will, dated and proved 1760, names their sons John (“Rev. Shaker John”) and Robert (“Rev War Robert”).

3 Rev. Shaker John Rankin, b. 27 Nov 1757, Guilford Co., NC, d. 1850, Logan Co., KY. Married Rebeccah Rankin, 5 Dec 1786, a daughter of John Rankin and Hannah Carson (per Old Buffalo Church and Rev. John’s autobiography). He was ordained by Rev. Caldwell. He left NC in October 1796 and arrived in Gallatin, Sumner Co., TN, in Nov. 1796. In Dec. 1798, he moved to Gasper River, Logan Co., KY.

See http://digitalcommons.wku.edu.theses/1243. My listing of his children is entirely from the census records in Logan Co., KY.

4 George Rankin, 1787-1880. If birth date correct, he was b. NC.

 4 Hannah Rankin, 1789-1826. Ditto.

4 Robert Rankin, date unknown, reportedly second eldest son, if so … b. 1790.

4 James Rankin, 1791-1884

4 Solomon Rankin, 1796-1882

4 John N. Rankin, 1798-1870

4 Jesse Rankin, 1799-1882.

4 William Rankin, 1803-1880

3 Robert Rankin (“Rev War Robert”), b. 1759 in Guilford (per pension application), m. #1 Polly Cusick (date unknown), m. #2 Mary Moody in 1803, both marriages in Guilford. Polly Cusick evidently died about 1801. Robert and Mary Moody moved from Guilford to McNairy, TN about 1832. He died there in 1840.[20] She died after 1850, when she appeared in the census in a son’s household.

Children of Rev War Robert and Polly Cusick. Three daughters (Lydia, Isabel and Thankful) are proved by the Guilford Co. 1816 will of their grandfather, William Cusick, who identified his granddaughters as children of Robert Rankin and his deceased daughter Polly. [21]

4 Lydia Rankin, b. before 1803. Reportedly married her cousin William Rankin Wilson (a grandson of Robert Rankin d. 1795 in Guilford) and d. 1862 in Arkansas. I haven’t found proof. I (blush) haven’t seriously looked yet.

4 Isbel/Isabel Rankin, b. 1791, m. Robert Rankin 9 Dec 1812 in Guilford. I ** speculate ** he was her second cousin Robert, a proved son of George (1767-1851) and Nancy Gillespie Rankin.  Isabel and her husband Robert went to Arkansas, d. Pope Co. They are buried in the Old Kinslow Cemetery (about 1 mile west of Appleton, AR, now abandoned). Tombstones are inscribed “Robert Rankin d. 1845 aged 53” (which puts his birth year at 1792), “Isabelle Rankin died 1861 aged 70 years” (so born abt 1791), and “George W. Rankin died 1843 aged 22 yrs. 9 mo.” George was their son.

5 Margaret D. Rankin, 1813 –

5 Susan Rankin, 1814 –

5 George W. Rankin, 1821 – 1843

5 Malinda Rankin, 1823-1880, or possibly Salenda

5 Isabell Jane Rankin, b. 1825–26, d. 1899, married Joseph Poe

5 Robert M. Rankin, 1827 – 1894

5 Anthony Lambert Rankin, 1830-1892, m. Patience Ann Jones

6 Evert Rankin

7 Alta Rankin m. Ed Wilson

5 William Rankin?

5 Jasper N. Rankin, 1832-1862

5 Julia Ann Rankin

5 Carolina Rankin

5 Reuben Burr Rankin, b. 4 May 1834, d. 17 Aug 1909, Ozark, Franklin Co., AR. Married Nancy Elizabeth Nash, b. 1836, on 8 Dec 1853, marriage recorded in the minutes of the Glass Village Presby Congregation in Appleton, AR.[22]

6 John James Rankin, b. AR 8 Oct 1854, d. 22 Jan 1931, Perryville, Perry Co., AR. Married Margaret Ann Lemley, 7 Apr 1862 – 20 Oct 1948, Perryville.

7 Mollie Rankin, d. bef. 1961

7 Lee Lester Rankin m. May Hamilton, d. bef. 1961

8 Ruby Rankin

8 Lowell Rankin

7 Sibley Arthur Rankin, b. 1882, Appleton, AR, m. #1 Mayme Bunn, m. #2 Mary Estella Rankin, Morrilton, AR.

8 L. D. Rankin, Nachez, MS m. ????

9 Michael Rankin, b. abt. 1939, wife Carolyn, lived in Natchez on Rankin St.

9 John Patrick Rankin, b. abt 1943, Ole Miss, geological engineering

9 Lee Dennis Rankin, b. abt 1946.

7 Reuben Anderson Rankin, m. #1 Mae Bowie, m#2 Dollie Gentry, d. bef. 1961

7 Rulen? Nulen? Ephriam Rankin m. LaVada McGehee

8 John Edward Rankin of Tulsa, OK as of 1961

7 Jesse Parke Rankin m. Pearl Thedford, d. bef. 1961

8 Cleburne Rankin, lived in Perryville, AR as of 1961

8 Ida Rae Rankin m. Mr. Henry, lived in Little Rock as of 1961

7 Maudie Ethel Rankin, m. R. E. Richey, lived in Tulsa as of 1961

7 Odie Ella Rankin, m. #1 Ed Bland, m. #2 Jake Tulp, lived Little Rock

7 John Leland Rankin m. Maudie Luella Rankin, twin sister of the Mary Estella who m. Sibley Arthur Rankin, lived in Cutler, CA

7 Cecil Farrar Rankin, Perryville, AR, never married.

6 Mary M. Rankin, 1856-1871

6 Rosetta A. Rankin, 1857-1947, “Zett,” married Henry Templeton

6 Nancy Isobel Rankin, 1858-1947, m. Anderson Bartlett

6 Sarah Fina? Fine? Rankin, 1859-1934, m. Henry Bartlett

6 Laura Alice Rankin, 1865-1948

6 George Alver Rankin, 1868 – 1938, b. Mulberry AR, d. Lone Elm, Franklin, AR, m. Ollie Delana Francis, b. 1869

7 William Edgar Rankin, 1890-1946

7 Thomas Fay Rankin, 1892-1920

7 Phoebe Lois Rankin, 1895-1970

7 Jasper Francis Rankin, 1897-1988

7 George Argus Rankin, 1900-1993 m. Grace L.

7 Rollie Burr Rankin, b. 1905, AR, d. 1955, San Pablo, Contra Costa, CA, m. Hazel Melissa Mackey, 1904-1995. Kit #207504 in the Rankin DNA project.

4 Thankful Rankin, b. before 1803, m. Hance McCain in Guilford, 4 Feb 1818.

4 John Rankin, b. 17 Feb 1797 d. 24 Mar 1846, buried Bethel Springs Cem., McNairy Co., TN.

4 Jedediah Rankin is proved as a son of Rev. War Robert by an 1815 Guilford gift deed.[23] Born abt 1783-84, Guilford Co., NC, d. 1862. Appeared in the Guilford census in 1820.[24] Went to Perry Co., AR about 1832, says one source; another says he was there by 1830. Appears in the Perry Co. census in 1850 and 1860 in the household of his son George M. Rankin.[25] Jedediah was married twice. He married wife #1, Rebecca Rankin, 4 Dec 1811, Guilford Co., NC, Robert Rankin Jr., bondsman. [Note: Robert JUNIOR in 1811 was Robert, a proved son of George and Nancy Gillespie. Rebecca was almost certainly also a daughter of George and Nancy.] Rebecca died in 1827. Jedediah m. wife #2 was Elizabeth _______.

5 Catherine Rankin, b. 1812, married Mr. Kidd, to Texas.

5 Polly Ann Rankin, m. Capt. Wilson of Arkansas, she died in 1863.

5 George M. Rankin, b. abt 1822, Guilford Co., NC, m. Elizabeth Jane Alexander, 28 Dec 1841. See 1880 census.[26] Died 1896, Perry Co., AR. They had 14 children, per Goodspeed’s.

6 Robert N. Rankin, b. AR 10 Jun 1844, d. Corinth, MS, 1863

6 George W. Rankin, b. AR 15 Sep 1846, lived in Perryville

6 Rebecca Rankin, b. 1848, d. infant

6 William H. C. (or H. R.,?) Rankin, b. AR 4 Mar 1850, Perryville merchant, m. Mollie E. Swaggerty 7 Feb 1875 (she was b. GA)

6 Polly Ann Rankin, b. Apr 1851, d. 1863

6 Lucinda C. Rankin, b. AR abt 1854, might be the Lucinda Catherine b. Apr 1853, m. John Bland.

6 John J. Rankin, b. AR Apr 1855, d. Dec 1880

6 Isbel or Isabella C. Rankin, b. AR 1857, d. Jan 1877

6 Henry M. Rankin, b. AR 1859

6 Lousetta Rankin, b. AR 25 Dec 1861, m. George Bland, to California

6 Edmund (“Eddie”) Rankin, b. AR 26 Dec 1864, d. TX 1886

6 Elizabeth (“Betsey”) J. Rankin, b. AR Mar 1867, m. E. B. Rorer of Perry Co.

6 Monroe Madison Rankin, b. 3 Mar 1869, AR. See 1910, 1920 and 1930 census. Married Maggie Edwards 14 Jul 1895, Moab, Perry Co., AR. He was 26, she was 16. A SSI claim identifies spouse as Margaret M. Edwards, a child as Faye Edith Filkins. Children from census:

7 Lyle Rankin, b. abt 1898

7 Fay Rankin, b. abt 1905, married Mr. Filkins.

7 Roy Rankin, b. abt 1907-08 (seems to be “Ray” in the 1930 census)

7 Ruben N. Rankin, b. 1909. See 1930 census, living with parents Madison & Maggie. Married Eunice Bell Lane, 13 Jan 1929, Saline Co. AR. They have one child in that census: Ruben C. Rankin.

8 Reubin Cecil Rankin, 1930-1992. Tombstone in Smith-Rosemont Cemetery, Saline, Benton Co., AR. Wife Frances Louise Samples. SS death index mentions Reuben N. Rankin and Eunice J. Lane, his parents.

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=RAN&GSpartial=1&GSbyrel=all&GSst=4&GScntry=4&GSsr=1601&GRid=44304504&

 7 Sybil Rankin, b. abt 1915

4 George Rankin, b. Guilford Co., NC (reportedly 1782), d. 1828, went to Pulaski Co., AR. Married Ann McMurray, 22 Nov 1803. See Pulaski County census, 1840 … Ann Rankin, 0001-00000001. She is 50<60, b. 1780-1790, fits with likely birthdate of George, son of Rev War Robert and Polly Cusick. She is listed on the same page as Wiliam D. Rankin in the 1840 census, suggesting he is her son. See also 1830 tax list, Pulaski Co., Ann Rankin (also listed 1836, 1839). Jedediah Rankin is listed on the 1830 tax list along with Robert Rankin. In the 1835 tax list, there is Robert Rankin, William Rankin (1835 and 36) and William D. Rankin (1839).

5 Probable son: John J. Rankin, b. abt 1822. In the 1850 census, Pulaski Co., AR, he is listed in the dwelling next to Ann Rankin, probably his mother.[27]

6 Dores, probably Doris, Rankin, b. AR abt 1845

6 Frances Rankin, b. AR abt. 1846

6 George Rankin, b. AR abt. 1849-50.

5 William D. Rankin, b. 1800-1810, AR. Married Minerva Payne, 12 Jul 1832, Pulaski Co., AR. Land grant, 1838, 160A, Section 29, T3-N, R15-W. 1840 census suggests two sons born 1835-40, one son born 1833-1840, plus two daughters. [28] His wife is 20 < 30 in 1840, born 1810-1820.[29] Children from 1850 census.[30]

6 Thomas Rankin, b. AR abt 1831

6 Julia Ann Rankin, b. AR abt 1834

6 James W. Rankin, b. AR abt 1836, married Sarah LNU.[31]

 7 William D. Rankin, b. AR 1859-60

7 Franklin Rankin, b. AR abt 1861

7 Texas? Rankin, female, b AR abt 1862

7 Elmira Rankin, b. AR abt 1867

7 Julia Rankin, b. AR abt 1869

6 Sarah Rankin, b. AR abt 1841

6 William? Henry Rankin, b. abt 1843 per 1850 census, abt. 1842 per 1870 census. Rankin descendant says he was b. 1839, d. 1906.[32]

 7 George Emory Rankin, 1866-1931, m. Sophronia Evelena Coley, 29 Mar 1894, Faulkner Co., AR. She died 1926 in Ouachita Parish, LA. Obit said her husband was “of Caldwell Parish.”[33]

8 Chester Clyde Rankin of Ceres, CA, b. 27 Dec 1894, Conway Co., AR per draft registration card, d. 11 Jul 1977, Ceres, CA.

8 William Henry Rankin, b. 1898, Howard Co., AR, d. 1981, Columbia, Caldwell Par., LA.

8 Rollie R. Rankin, b. 1902, Howard Co., AR, d. 1984, Caldwell Parish, LA

8 Alberta Rankin, b. abt 1905, Howard Co., AR

8 Bertie L. Rankin, b. abt 1907, Howard Co., AR

8 Laura Dee Rankin, b. abt 1909, Howard Co., AR

8 Harry B. Rankin, b. abt 1909, Howard Co., AR

8 Fred D. Rankin, b. 10 Feb 1913, Howard Co., AR, d. 11 Feb 1975, Winnsboro, Franklin Parish, LA. His obituary names his surviving sons and a couple of his brothers.

9 George E. Rankin of Bossier City.

9 Fred Allen Rankin, b. 1944, lives in Benton, Bossier Parish, LA.

6 Enneline? Rankin, b. AR abt 1845

6 George Rankin, b. AR abt 1847

5 Robert Rankin, b. 1805, NC, d. 1863, Perry Co., AR, m. Frances Hogan.[34] Buried in Antioch Cemetery, Perryville, AR. Double headstone with Frances. His tombstone says “Killed by Jayhawkers.” http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Rankin&GSiman=1&GScid=52846&GRid=28734817&

6 W. G. Rankin, b. 2 Mar 1830, m. #1 Parmelia Ellsberry Mar 1852, two subsequent wives.

6 Martha A. Rankin, b. abt 1832, AR

6 Edmund Hogan Rankin, 5th child of 12, b. 31 Mar 1837 – d. 25 Jun 1917, m. #1 Nancy Jane Spears Jan 1863 (she d. 1883); m #2 Sarah Elizabeth Camp. Buried Antioch Cemetery, Perryville, Perry Co., AR.[35]

7 George W. Rankin, b. abt 1863, probably d. abt. 1881, age 18, buried Antioch Cem.

7 John A. J. Rankin, b. abt. 1864

7 Henry C. Rankin, b. abt. 1865

7 Elizabeth J. Rankin, b. abt. 1869

7 Charles C. Rankin, b. 11 Feb 1872, d. 15 Apr. 1901, buried Antioch Cemetery.

7 Edmond Filmore Rankin, b. 25 Jun 1873, d. 10 Aug 1947, wife Nancy Annie Rankin, 1872 – 1944. Buried Antioch Cemetery, Perryville.

7 Alice L. Rankin, b. abt 1874

7 Julie E. Rankin, b. abt 1878

7 William Alexander Rankin, b. 21 Sept. 1879, d. 1965, m. Zora Mae _____.[36] See also WWII Draft Registration card giving birth date, Zora’s name, and middle name.

8 Otto Harris Rankin, b. 5 May 1904, Perry Co., AR, d. 5 Dec 1977, AR. Married Novie Brown, Morrilton, Conway Co., AR, 14 Oct 1923, both age 19. Both buried Ada Valley Cemetery in Conway Co., AR.[37]

9 Marie Rankin, b. abt 1925

9 Paul Rankin, b. abt 1927

9 Juanita Rankin, b. abt 1929

9 Harold Leon Rankin, b. 2 Oct 1931, d. 20 Aug 2013, buried in Ada Valley Cemetery. Obituary names his survivors, including two sons. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Rankin&GSiman=1&GScid=2162879&GRid=115842083&

8 Edward C. Rankin, b. abt 1906

8 Pearl E. Rankin, b. abt 1908-09

8 Lloyd M. Rankin, b. 22 Jun 1910, d. 18 May 1963. Buried Antioch Cemetery. Married #1, Conway Co., Lorene Paul, 12 May 1935. Married #2 Pearl McClain, 29 Mar 1941.

8 Violet Rankin, b. abt 1912

8 Dollie Rankin, b. abt 1916

8 Rayburn Rankin, b. abt 1920

Grandsons of William A. and Zora, not sure of father, positive about grandfather:

9 Don Rankin, b. abt 1933

9 Ronnie Rankin, b. abt 1936

6 Harriet J. Rankin, b. abt 1840, AR

6 Julia E. Rankin, b. abt 1842, AR

6 Luzetta E. Rankin, b. abt 1844, AR

6 John S. Rankin, b. abt 1847, AR

6 Charles C. Rankin, b. AR abt. 1849

6 Frances J. Rankin, b. abt. 1851

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Some more info, from one of those old “Heritage” books for Perry County, Page 689-690. *** Which George? (1) not George, son of R&R, died 1760; (2) not George d. 1851, because he stayed in TN and died there;

W.G. Rankin, a prominent stock dealer residing in Perryville, is a son of Robert Rankin and Frances Hogan of Tennessee and Georgia, respectively, the former a son of George Rankin of Guilford County, North CarolinaGeorge Rankin*** and his son Robert, in company with several others, traveled up the Arkansas River as far as Cane Hill, Washington, looking for a suitable location, but finally returned to Little Rock and shortly afterward settled on the Maumelle River, about fourteen miles southeast of Perryville, where he resided until his death. His wife died in 1858, a few years after his decease. … Robert Rankin moved with his father to the settlement on Maumelle River, where he entered eighty acres of land … Robert was married when quite young, being only twenty two years old on that occasion. He sold forty acres of land which he had previously entered and entered 120 acres more in the neighborhood of his eighty acres upon which he made his home and resided until his death in the fall of 1863, being murdered by a bushwhacker. His wife lived five years afterward and followed him to the grave. W.G. Rankin was born March 2, 1830, in what is now Faulkner County, and received all the advantages to be derived from the schools of that period. He remained at home and worked on the farm with his father until March 1852, when he married to Miss Parmelia Ellsberry, by whom he has had three children: C.C. (who resides in Perryville), Edmund H. (also of Perryville), and Margaret (wife of Robert Long, who resides eight miles from that town). Mr Rankin lost his wife on November 7, 1868 and in November 1871 he was again married, his second wife being Miss Julia Bagly, by whom he had one child: Mary Josephine. This wife died in 1878 and about one year and nine months later Mr Rankin married #3 Mrs Missouri Brazeale, by whom he has had two children: Egbert and Quinlen. After his first marriage he bought forty acres of land and entered 160 acres more eight miles east of Perryville where he resided from 1853 to 1876, and then moved to Perryville where he has lived ever since. During the war he enlisted in the army, but after three months’ service, the long marches, exposure and hard life of a soldier affected his health and he was forced to return home and hire a substitute to fill his place for the remainder of the war. Mr Rankin has made industry and good management accumulate a comfortable amount of property. He owns land east of block 14 in the town of Perryville, also forty acres just across the river with twenty acres under cultivation, besides having a half interest in 215 acres ten miles down the Fourche, of which twenty five acres are under cultivation. He is a member of the Masonic order and belongs to the Perryville Lodge. In politics he is a Democrat and has always voted that ticket. He is one of the old landmarks of the county and any history of the State of Arkansas would be incomplete without his name. Besides himself, Mr Rankin has two brothers and one sister still living: Edmund H. (residing in Perry County on the old homestead), Charles (residing 3 miles south of Perryville), and Martha (now the wife of Willis Y. Russell, living in Effingham County, Ill.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Source for the following: The Goodspeed Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Central Arkansas (Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press reprint, 1978; original publisher The Goodspeed Publishing Co. of Chicago, Nashville and St. Louis, 1889).

Goodspeed says that Jedediah Rankin came to Perry Co., AR in 1832. Jed was the father of G. M. Rankin, “who was born within one-half mile of the famous Guilford Court House … August 1, 1821.” “The grandfather, Robert Rankin, was a Revolutionary Soldier, and took part in the battle of Guilford Court House.”

                …. “Jedediah Rankin and his wife were the parents of five children, of whom 2 died when very young. The oldest, Catherine, was born in 1812 and married a man named Kidd, now residing in Texas. The next was Polly Ann, who married a Capt. Wilson, of Arkansas, [where] she died in 1863; and G. M. Rankin, who, after his mother’s death, in 1827, lived with an uncle named Robert Rankin, until 1837, when he moved to Arkansas, and joined his father … the elder Rankin [died] in 1862 at the age of 79 [thus born 1783, that would be Jedediah]… his wife [died in 1882, age 81].

                  … G. M. Rankin m. Elizabeth Jane Alexander 28 Dec 1841. They had 14 children, 7 still living (as of 1889, I suppose)…(1) Robert N. Rankin (b. 10 Jun 1844, killed at Corinth, 1863); (2) Wash. (b. 15 Sep 1846, lives in Perrybille); (3) Rebeca (b. 1848, d. infant); (4) W. H. R. Rankin (b. 4 Mar 1850, a merchant in Perryville, m. Mollie E. Swaggerty 7 Feb 1875, she from GA); (5) Polly Ann (b. Apr 1851, d. 1863); (6) Catherine (b. Apr 1853, m. John Bland of Perryville); (7) John Rankin (b. Apr 1855 d. Dec 1880); (8) Isabella (b. 1857, d. Jan 1877); (9) Henry (b. 1859); (10) Lousetta (b. 25 Dec 1861, m. George Bland, to CA); (11) Edmund (b 26 Dec 1864, d. TX 1886); (12) Betsey J. (b. Mar 1857, m. E. B. Rorer of Perry Co.); (13) Madison M. (b. 3 Mar 1869).

                  (Note on #4, William H. R. Rankin m. Mollie Swaggerty: they had 4 kids, (1) Hallie (Feb 1876), (2) Sibyl (Dec 1879), (3) Fay (Nov 1883) and (4) Joe (Jan 1886).

Another Rankin family, but I’m on a roll here … same source…

                  “W. G. Rankin …[of] Perryville is a son of Robert Rankin and Frances (Hogan) Rankin … Robert being a son of George Rankin of Guilford Co., NC… George Rankin and his son Robert …settled on the Maumelle River about 14 miles SW of Perryville … Robert … married … when only 22, d. fall of 1863, “being murdered by a bushwhacker” … W. G. Rankin was b. 2 Mar 1830 in what is now Faulkner county…m. Parmelia Elsberry in March 1852. W. G. and Parmelia had 3 children: (1) C. C. Rankin (Perryville); (2) Edmund H. (ditto); (3) Margaret m. Robert Long. Parmelia d. 7 Nov 1868 and W. G. married w#2 Julia Bagly, one dau (4) Mary Josephine. Julia d. in 1878 and W. G. married Mrs. Missouri Brazeale, two children: (5) Egbert and (6) Quinlen.

 …W. G. Rankin has 2 brothers and one sister still living: Edmund H. Rankin (Perry Co. on old homestead), Charles (3 miles south of Perryville) and Martha m. Willis Y. Russell, Effingham Co., IL.

 …about Edmund H. Rankin (b. 1 Mar 1837, Perry Co., the 5th of 12 children), son of Robert and Frances (Hogan) Rankin, m. Nancy Jane Spears, and they had 10 children, 9 still living: (1) George W., (2) Andrew J., (3) Henry Clay, (4) Frances Jane, (5) Charles C., (6) Edmond F., (7) Laura Alice, (8) Julian E. and (9) William A. … “the paternal grandfather” fought in the Battle of Guilford Court House…” I think Goodspeed’s may have omitted a generation … “the paternal great-grandfather came to America before the Rev War.” (ditto).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[1] The source for the migration information is the autobiography of one of Robert and Rebecca’s grandsons, “Shaker Reverend John Rankin” who went to Union Co., KY. Excerpts from it are available in some family trees at ancestry.com. I would love to have a complete copy if anyone has one or can send a link.

[2] J. Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope, History of Chester County, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1881), reproduction facsimile by Chester County Historical Society (Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, Inc., 1996).

[3] A. Gregg Moore & Forney A. Rankin (as added author), The Rankins of North Carolina : A Genealogy and History of Those Who Can Trace Their Ancestry to One of the Several Rankin Families Native to the Tar Heel State (Marietta, GA: A. G. Moore, 1997) (two volumes). Moore confused Robert d. 1795 with his father Robert Sr. m. Rebecca.

[4] Rev. S. M. Rankin, History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People (Greensboro, NC: Jos. J. Stone & Co., 1931).

[5] See, e.g., Rowan County, NC Order Book 3: 200 and Will Book A: 31, will of William Denny dated 1766, witnessed in 1766 and proved in 1770 by John Rankin.

[6] Rowan Deed Book 2: 67, 14 Apr 1755 deed from Robert Rankin to William Denny, 5 shillings, 640 acres adjacent the corners of Nottingham Company tracts No. 14 and 15; Rowan Deed Book 2: 70, 13 Apr 1775 deed from Robert and Rebecca Rankin to George Rankin, 480 acres on the south side of Brushy Fork.

[7] Guilford or Rowan County Will Book A: 31, Order Book 3: 200, will of Wm Denny naming wife Ann, dated 10 Aug 1766 proved May 1770.

[8] Will of Robert Rankin Sr. (who was then called “Sr.” since Robert m. Rebecca had died earlier) dated May 1795, proved Nov 1795. Guilford Co., NC, WB A: file #312.

[9] Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 (database online).

[10] Albert Brown, Cemeteries, 1824 – 1986 McNairy County, TN (1993).

[11] Frances T. Ingmire, Guilford County North Carolina Marriage Records 1771-1868 Volume III Names O-Z (Athens, GA: Iberian Publishing Co., 1984).

[12] A. B. Pruitt, Abstracts of Deeds Guilford Co, NC Books 19, 20, & 21 (1825-1836) (2007), abstract of Deed Book 19: 688.

[13] A. B. Pruitt, Abstracts of Deeds Guilford Co, NC Books 14, 15, & 16 (1819-1826) (2005), abstract of Deed Book 14: 11, deed of 23 Mar 1819 from “George Rankin Sr. to his son Robert Rankin Jr.,” both of Guilford, 110.5 acres on the south side of North Buffalo Creek. By 1819, the man designated as Robert Rankin Senior would be Rev. War Robert, son of George and Lydia Steele Rankin.

[14] See the 1820 federal census for Guilford Co., 1830 census for McNairy, and the 1840 census for Pope Co., AR.

[15] Ingmire, Guilford County North Carolina Marriage Records.

[16] 7 Mar 1870, McNairy Co., TN, administrator’s bond on estate of J. D. Rankin, administrator F. M. Rankin, bond Francis Kirby. Book B: 88.

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Rankin&GSiman=1&GScid=15910&GRid=99472727&

[17] 1860 census, Purdy P.O., McNairy Co., TN, Frank Rankin, age 23, b. TN, Elizabeth Rankin, 24, July A. Rankin (sic, Julie or Julia), 2, and Robert W. Rankin, 3 months. Two households down from Frank Kerby. 1870 census, McNairy Co., Frances Ranken, 34, Sarah (?) E. Rankin, 35, Julia A. Rankin, 12, Robert W. Rankin, 10, William S. Rankin, 4, Mary F. Rankin, 1. The adjacent household is Mary F. Rankin, his mother (widow of J. D. Rankin). In 1870, he was the administrator on the estate of J. D. Rankin, with Francis Kirby, bondsman. 1880 census, McNairy Co., TN, F. M. Rankin, b. TN, parents b. NC, wife Louisa E. Rankin, son R. W. Rankin, 20, daughter Mary F. Rankin, 11, son F. M. Rankin, Jr., daughter Louisa Rankin, 7, and son John B. Rankin, 3. Headstone application for military veterans says that he was a Chief Master Sgt., 6th Tennessee Cavalry. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6039779

[18] 1900 census, Chester Co., TN, Robert W. Rankins, 40, b. TN Mar 1860, wife Margaret J. Rankins, 32, b. TN Feb 1868, son Perry P. Rankin, 10, b. TN Feb 1889, dau Letta V. Rankins, 7, b. TN _____, son Robert L. Rankins, 5, b. TN Mar.1895, son Franklin Rankins, 8 months, b TN Sep 1899. Plus Louisa E. Rankin, 65, b. TN Aug 1835. Buried in Cave Springs Cemetery, Henderson, Chester Co., TN: Robert W. Rankin, 12 Mar 1860 – 15 Nov 1919, and Margaret J. Rankin, 13 Feb 1868 – 16 Mar 1958.

[19] William R. Black, “Went off to the Shakers: The First Converts of South Union” (2013), Masters Theses and Special Projects. Paper 1243. http://digitalcommons.wku.edu.theses/1243. Cites the autobiography of Shaker Rev. John Rankin, son of George and Lydia, for the immigration facts.

[20] Tombstone in Bethel Springs Cem., McNairy Co., TN: “Private Robert Rankin, 29 May 1759 – 21 Dec 1840.”

[21] Will of William Cusick dated 4 May 1816 proved May 1817 naming children of Robert Rankin “Sr.” and deceased daughter Polly: Lydia, Isbel and Thankful. Guilford Co. WB B: 435.

[22] From Jackie Gillie’s 1961 letter, the organizational minutes of the Sulphur Springs Congregation (now the Appleton Presbyterian Church, Appleton, AR): church was organized 23 Mar 1856, “Bros. Jno. M. Poe and Reuben B. Rankin were duly elected and ordained to the office of Ruling Elders. List of charter members included R. B. (Reuben Burr) Rankin, his wife Elizabeth Rankin, R. M. Rankin (Robert, Reuben’s brother), A. L. Rankin (Anthony Lambert), Isabel J. Poe (Reuben’s sister Isabel who m. Jo. S. Poe) and their mother Isabel Rankin, who was #1 on the list.

[23] Guilford Co., NC Deed Book 12: 312, deed dated 24 Oct 1815 from Robert Rankin to his son Jeddediah Rankin, both of Guilford, for natural love & affection, 150A on the waters of North Buffalo Cr. adjacent the northeast corner of Robert Rankin’s old tract. Acknowledged by grantor August 1816.

[24] Federal census, 1820, Guilford Co., NC, Jedediah Rankin, p. 96, 000110-20010. Eldest male (Jedediah) is 26<45.

[25] 1850 census, Perry Co., AR, household of George M. Rankin, 28, b. NC abt 1822, farmer, Elizabeth Rankin, 22, b. AR, Robert Rankin, 6, b. AR, George W. Rankin, 4, b. AR, and Jedediah Rankin, 65, b. NC abt 1785 and with Elizabeth Rankin, 54, NC; 1860 census, Fource LaFave Twp., Perryville PO, Perry Co., AR: household of George M. Rankin, 38, farmer, b. NC abt 1822, Elizabeth Rankin, 32, b. AR, Robert N.? Rankin, 16, AR, George W. Rankin, 14, AR, William H. C. Rankin, 10, AR, Lucinda C. Rankin, 6, AR, John J. Rankin, 4, AR, Isbel C. Rankin, 2, AR, Henry M. Rankin, 3 months?, AR, Jeddiah S. Rankin, 74, b. NC, and Elizabeth Rankin, 63, NC.

[26] 1880 census, Fourch LaFave Twp., Perry Co., AR, household of George M. Rankin, 58, farmer, b. NC about 1822, parents b. NC, wife Elizabeth J. Rankin, 54, b. AR, parents b. VA, son John J. Rankin, 24, b. AR, son Henry Rankin, 20, AR, son Eddie? Rankin, 15, b. AR, daughter Elizabeth J. Rankin, 13, AR, son Monroe Rankin, 11, b. AR.

[27] 1850 census, Big Rock Pulaski Co., p. 340, dwl. 369: John J. Rankin, 28, Elizabeth, 26, Dores, 5, fem., Frances, 4, fem., and George 6 mos, all b. AR. Next dwelling Ann Rankin, 70, b NC, 1780.

[28] 1840 census, Pulaski Co., AR, 210001-11001, he is 30 < 40, born 1800-1810. One Rankin researcher says Wm. D. Rankin, s/o George, lived 1806-1846.

[29] Minerva Rankin m. George Abbott, 13 Oct 1855, Conway Co., AR, age 42 (b. abt. 1813). She appeared in the 1860 census in Conway Co., dwelling #257, in the household of Chas Adams, 38, as a cook, name of Minerva Abbott, 46, b. TN abt 1814, with Nancy Sexton, 15, b TN, George Rankin, 12, b. AR (Minerva’s son). In the adj. dwelling is J. W. Rankin (James), also Minerva’s son, 25, farmer, b. AR, Sarah Rankin, 22, b. TN, and Wm. D. Rankin, 6 mos., b AR.

[30] 1850 census, Conway Co., AR, #390, Minerva Rankin, 36 (b. abt. 1814), farmer, b TN, with Thomas Rankin, 19, b. AR, Julia Ann Rankin, 16, b. AR, James Rankin, 14, b. AR, Sarah Rankin, 9, b. AR, Henry Rankin, 7, b. AR (abt. 1843, is this William Henry???), Enneline? Rankin, 5, b. AR, and George Rankin, 3, b. AR (abt 1847).

[31] See 1850, 1860 and 1870 census. In 1870, he is listed in Conway Co., AR, dwl #89: J. W. Rankin, 35, b. AR abt 1835, with Susan, 30, MS, William, 11, AR, Franklin, 9, AR, Texas?, female, 8, b AR, Elmira, 4, b AR, and Julia, 1, b AR.

[32] 1870 census, Clark, Pope Co., AR, #342: Henry W. H. Rankin, 28, b AR abt 1842, Elizabeth H. Rankin, 20, b. AR abt 1850, and George E. Rankin, 4, b AR abt 1866.

[33] 1900 census, Suplhur Springs, Howard Co., AR, George E. Rankin, b. May 1866, m. 7 years, b AR/AR/AR, with wife Fromia E., b. July 1891, age 28, m. 7 years, AL/AL/AL, with sons Chester C., b. Dec 1894 and William H., b. Oct 1898. 1910 census, Duckett, Howard Co., AR, George Rankin, 44, AR/AR/AR, Saphronia Rankin, AL/TN/TN, Chester Rankin, son, 14, Wm. H. Rankin, 11, son, Rolly Rankin, 7, son, Elberta Rankin, 5, daughter, Bertie L. Rankin, 3, daughter, Laura Dee Rankin, 2, daughter, Harry Bee, 2, son.

[34] 1850 census, Perry Co., AR, household of Robert Rankin, 47, farmer, b. TN about 1803, so TN is wrong, Frances J. Rankin, 37, b. AR, William G. Rankin, 20, b. AR, Martha A. Rankin, 18, b. AR, Edward H. Rankin, 13, b. AR, Harriet J. Rankin, 10, b. AR, Julia E. Rankin, 8, b. AR, Luzette E. Rankin, 6, b. AR, John S. Rankin, 3, b. AR, Charles C. Rankin, 1, b. AR 1849.

[35] 1880 census, Fourche Lafave Twp., Perry Co., AR: Edmond H. Rankin, 43, farmer, b. AR, father b. NC; wife Nancy J. Rankin, 39; son George W. Rankin, 17; son John A. J. Rankin, 16; son Henry C. Rankin, 15; daughter Elizabeth J. Rankin, 11; son Charles C. Rankin, 9; son Edmond F. Rankin, 6; daughter Alice L. Rankin, 6; daughter Julie E. Rankin, 2; son William A. Rankin, 8 months.

[36] 1910 census, Rankin, Perry Co., AR: William A. Rankin, b. AR/AR/AR, farmer; wife Zora M. Rankin; son Otto H. Rankin, 6; son Edward C. Rankin, 4; daughter Pearl E. Rankin, 2. See also 1920 census, Maumelle, Rankin Twp., Perry, AR: Will A. Rankin, 40, b. AR, parents b. AR; wife Zora Rankin, 35; son Otto Rankin, 16; son Eddie Rankin, 14; daughter 1910 Pearl Rankin, 11; son Loyd Rankin, 10; daughter Violet Rankin, 8; daughter Dollie Rankin, 4; son Rayburn Rankin, 9 months. See also 1940 census, Rankin, Perry Co., AR: William A. Rankin, 60, b. AR; Zara Rankin, wife, 53, has had 8 children, all living; son Loyd Rankin, 29; daughter Violet Rankin, 27; grandsons Don Rankin, 7, and Ronnie Rankin, 4.

[37] 1940 census, Higgins Twp., Conway, AR: Otto Rankin, 35, farmer; wife Novie Rankin, 34; daughter Marie Rankin, 15; son Paul Rankin, 13; daughter Juanita Rankin, 11; son Harold Rankin, 8; daughter Thelma Rankin, 4; daughter Evaline Rankin, 7 months.

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).