The Robert Rankins of Guilford County, NC

This is a reissue to correct a problem with the original article. I posted it when the Rankin DNA Project website was hosted by WorldFamilies. net. The project’s website had a “Patriarch Chart” containing detailed family trees, names, email addresses, and kit numbers of YDNA participants. All of that was kosher under the website host’s rules.

The original post of this article didn’t have all that information, thank goodness, but it did contain the names of several project participants. That could violate the privacy standards of the current Rankin DNA Project website host. I revisited the article this afternoon to answer a question, and was upset to find those names. Here is a reissue to delete them.

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If you have searched for a Robert Rankin in the records of Guilford County, North Carolina during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, you hit the jackpot. There were at least six Robert Rankins in Guilford during that time. This article is about four of them. Some of what I propose is not mainstream Rankin thought. Here’s what may be controversial:

I have identified three “new” daughters of Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford. One of them may reasonably be deemed proved, one is probably a daughter, and one is unproved. The first one is included in a couple of online trees. The latter two have not been identified in any compiled family history or online sources, so far as I know.

The identity of the wife of the Robert Rankin who died in Guilford in 1795. I disagree about that with darn near every other person who has ever said anything about the Guilford County Rankins.

This article ignores two of the six Robert Rankins who lived in Rowan/Guilford during that time.[1]  Both were grandsons of Joseph Rankin of Delaware (1704-1764), whose sons John and William migrated to Rowan/Guilford.

Here are the nicknames I will use to distinguish among the four Robert Rankins covered in this article.

  1. R&R – Robert Rankin and wife Rebecca.
  2. Robert d. 1795 – a son of R&R.
  3. Rev (short for “Revolutionary,” not “Reverend”) War Robert – a grandson of R&R.
  4. Arkansas Robert – a great-grandson of R&R. 

And here we go, from the top …

R&R – Robert Rankin and wife Rebecca

R&R were the original immigrant ancestors in their Rowan/Guilford line. According to a grandson’s autobiography, they came to Pennsylvania from Letterkenny Parish, County Donegal, Ireland in 1750 along with some of their children, although the autobiography names only their son George.[2] R&R resided briefly in Chester County, Pennsylvania,[3] then settled in part of Rowan County that became Guilford by 1755.[4] According to Rev. Samuel M. Rankin, R&R are buried at Buffalo Church in Greensboro, although no markers for them survive.[5]

Robert died in 1770-1773.[6] He left no will. Other Rowan and Guilford records establish that R&R had proved children (1) George, (2) Robert, and (3) Ann who married William Denny (William Denny Senior, for purposes of this article).[7] Rev. Rankin also named a son John and a  daughter Rebecca who married James Denny. There is circumstantial evidence for a son John, although Rebecca (m. James Denny) is almost certainly wrong.[8] Rev. Rankin omitted Ann Rankin Denny from his list; see information on her at the discussion of her brother Robert d. 1795, below. Rev. Rankin thought that R&R had other children. That seems likely.

Tantalizing probate records in Rowan County suggest two other possible daughters of R&R in addition to Ann Rankin Denny. These two women – Margaret (Rankin?) Braly/Brawley and Rebecca (Rankin?) Boyd – should probably be deemed unproved. Keep reading and judge for yourself …

First, Robert Rankin was a security on the Rowan County bond of Margaret Braly/Brawley and John Braly, administrators of the estate of Thomas Braly. Even better, John Braly witnessed the 1760 will of George Rankin, along with Robert Rankin. Both George and Robert were proved sons of R&R.

The Braly administrator’s bond was dated 8 Jan 1765. Thomas’s noncupative will established that his wife was pregnant, and thus of childbearing age. She therefore belonged to the same generation as R&R’s proved children.[9] Margaret can reasonably be deemed a “probable” daughter of R&R because of her age and the two strong Rankin-Braly connections established by the administrator’s bond and will.

Second, Robert Rankin was also security on the Rowan County administrator’s bond of Rebecca Boyd, widow of John Boyd, in January 1767.[10] Robert’s signature on the original Boyd bond is identical to the signature on the Braly bond, so it was the same Robert Rankin. There is also circumstantial evidence of Boyd/Rankin connections in some Guilford deeds.[11] I think Rebecca Boyd was R&R’s daughter, but still consider her unproved.

On that note, here is a brief chart of R&R’s line, including the four Robert Rankin men covered in this article and adding Ann Denny, Margaret Braly, and Rebecca Boyd as daughters. R&R’s children are not necessarily in birth order; only George’s 1729 birth date is proved.[12] The men who are the subjects of this post are shown in boldface type.

Outline Chart #1

1 “R&R,” Robert Rankin, b. ca 1700, probably Ireland, d. Guilford, NC 1770-73, wife Rebecca LNU.

2 George Rankin, b. 1729, Letterkenney Parish, County Donegal, Ireland, d. 1760, Rowan, NC. Wife Lydia Steele Rankin m. Arthur Forbis after George died.[13]

3 “Shaker” Reverend John Rankin, b. 1757, Rowan, NC, d. 1850, Logan, KY.[14] Married Rebecca Rankin, a granddaughter of Joseph of Delaware, in Guilford in 1786.[15] None of their children married: Shakers practiced celibacy.[16]

3 Robert Rankin, Rev War Robert, more on him below.

2 Robert Rankin d. 1795, more on him below.

3 George Rankin (1767 – 1851), m. Nancy Gillespie, Guilford, NC, in Jan. 1791, d. in McNairy Co., TN.[17]

4 Arkansas Robert Rankin, 1792 – 1845,more on him below. George and Nancy had other children as well.

2 John Rankin, lived in Guilford Co., a possible son suggested by Rev. Samuel M. Rankin. I found limited circumstantial evidence. No children of whom I am aware.

2 Ann Rankin m. William Denny Sr., lived in Guilford Co., more on them below.

2 Rebecca Rankin (unproved) m. John Boyd who d. Rowan, NC in 1767.

2 Margaret Rankin (probable) m. Thomas Braly/Brawley who d. Rowan, NC, Dec. 1764.

Next up: R&R’s son Robert.

Robert Rankin d. 1795, son of Robert & Rebecca

Robert Rankin died in Guilford in 1795 and left a will.[18] I have written about him in another article, see it here. Robert’s 1795 will did not name a wife, indicating that she predeceased him. He identified only one son by name (George). Based on the express language of the will, Robert had four daughters. He identified only two of them by name: Mary Rankin Wilson, who died before Robert wrote his will, and Isabel Rankin, clearly unmarried in 1795. The other two daughters, whose given names Robert did not provide, were apparently already married. One daughter was Rebecca Rankin who married William Denny Jr. I have not identified the other daughter. Robert also named his three Wilson grandsons (William Rankin Wilson, Andrew Wilson, and Maxfield Wilson).

With the information from his will, we can expand Robert d. 1795’s section of Chart #1 as follows:

2 Robert Rankin d. 1795

3 George Rankin (1767 – 1851), m. Nancy Gillespie, Guilford Co., Jan. 1791, d. in McNairy Co., TN.

4 Arkansas Robert Rankin, 1792 – 1845, more on him below. George and Nancy had other children as well.

3 Mary Rankin, d. before 1795, married Andrew Wilson as his second wife.[19]

4 William Rankin Wilson, b. abt. 1788, moved to McNairy Co., TN.[20] Wife’s name was Lydia, reportedly Rev War Robert’s daughter.[21] Ancestry.com claims that W.R. married Lydia in 1807 in Guilford, although I can’t find a marriage record for that couple there.

4 Andrew Wilson, b. abt. 1790, m. Permelia/Pamela Denny in 1812, daughter of William Denny Jr. and Rebecca Rankin.[22] Moved to McNairy Co., TN, then Perry Co., AR to live with his son after his wife died.[23]

4 Maxfield Wilson, b. by 1795, m. Sarah Baily in Guilford Co., NC in 1829. Went to Orange Co., IN.[24]

3 Isabel Rankin, b. before 1795. Probably died single.[25]

3 Rebecca Rankin, b. before 1795, m. William Denny Jr.[26]

3 Daughter Rankin, given name unknown, probably married by 1795, husband unknown.

A number of online trees and at least one compiled Rankin history wrongly conflate Robert d. 1795 with his father, who died 1770-73. But there’s a tougher controversy about Robert d. 1795: the identity of his wife. Many Rankin researchers identify her as Jean (or Jane) Denny. They have good reason to do so. The Guilford County marriage records establish that some Robert Rankin married some Jean/Jane Denny in February 1775. William Denny Sr. (wife Ann Rankin) definitely had an unmarried daughter named Jean/Jane when he wrote his will in August 1766.[27]

A serious problem with the theory that the Robert who died in 1795 married Jean/Jane, daughter of William Denny, is this: Robert was almost certainly Jean’s uncle. We are all accustomed to seeing marriages between cousins, but … an uncle and a niece?

The evidence about Jean/Jane Denny’s parents, William Denny (Sr.) and Ann Rankin Denny, is a Rowan County deed. Here it is. On back-to-back days in April 1755, Robert Rankin Sr. (i.e., R&R) executed deeds to his son George (480 acres) and William Denny (640 acres).[28] The consideration recited in both deeds was 5 shillings, clearly marking them as deeds of gift. Consider this: Robert Sr. paid 10 shillings for the 640A tract he “sold” to William Denny Sr. for 5 shillings.[29]

That gift deed is extremely persuasive proof that William Denny Sr. was part of R&R’s family. There is more. William Denny witnessed the will of R&R’s son George Rankin along with Robert Rankin and John Braly.[30] Further, John Rankin, perhaps a son of R&R, witnessed William Denny’s 1766 will.[31] In my book, that is sufficient evidence to deem Ann Rankin Denny R&R’s proved daughter.

William & Ann Rankin Denny’s daughter Jean/Jane, unmarried in 1766, is the only Jean/Jane Denny I can find in Guilford who might have been the right age to marry some Robert Rankin in 1775. I just don’t believe that the Robert Rankin she married was her Uncle Robert d. 1795. She must have married a different Robert Rankin. Her husband might have been (and probably was) Robert Rankin of Iredell County.[32]

Let’s divert for a moment into the wonderful world of YDNA evidence.

Iredell Robert was a son of David Rankin who died in Iredell in 1789.[33] Two men who are David’s proved descendants are participants in the Rankin DNA project. Two other men in the Rankin project are descended from R&R. The four men are close matches. There is no doubt that Iredell Robert was a genetic relative of the Guilford County line of R&R Rankin.

One cannot state unequivocally that David of Iredell was a son of R&R – although the results don’t preclude a father-son relationship, either. In any event, Iredell Robert Rankin and Jean Denny were genetic cousins of some degree, and their families almost certainly knew each other

Perhaps not coincidentally, Robert Rankin of Iredell and his wife Jean (1755 – 1779, per her tombstone in Centre Presbyterian Church in Statesville) had a son named Denny Rankin.[34] I would be happy to wager that his mother Jean Rankin’s maiden name was Denny. I’ll also bet I won’t have any takers.

Whatever the identity of his wife, Robert d. 1795 has only one proved son. That was George, who married Nancy Gillespie (a daughter of Daniel Gillespie and Margaret Hall) in Guilford in 1791. Note also that George was born in 1767, so he was clearly not the child of a Jean Denny who allegedly married his father in 1775. George and Nancy went to McNairy Co., TN, where George died in 1851. The important thing here is that George and Nancy had a proved son (among other children) named … you can no doubt guess this … Robert. George and Nancy’s son was the man I call Robert of Arkansas, but we haven’t quite gotten to him yet.

Rev(olutionary) War Robert Rankin (1759 – 1840).

Rev War Robert, a grandson of R&R, was one of two sons of R&R’s son George and his wife Lydia Steele.[35] Robert was a Revolutionary War veteran who applied for a pension, which told us when and where he was born and when he moved to McNairy County.[36] Rev War Robert married first Mary (“Polly”) Cusick in Guilford in the early 1780s.[37] He married his second wife Mary Moody in Guilford County in 1803.[38]

Rev War Robert’s children by Polly Cusick – there were seven – are fairly easy to identify. His children by Mary Moody are a tougher nut to crack, and I have identified only two. Here’s how I would expand Rev War Robert’s part of Chart #1:

3 Robert Rankin, Rev. War Robert, b. Rowan, NC, 29 May 1759, d. McNairy, TN on 21 Dec 1840. Buried in Bethel Springs Cemetery in McNairy. Married #1 Mary (nickname “Polly”) Cusick in Guilford, probably in the early 1780s. Married #2 Mary Moody in Guilford in 1803.

Rev War Robert’s children by Mary (“Polly”) Cusick:

4 George Rankin, b. Guilford abt. 1783, d. bet. 1828-1830 in Arkansas Territory. Married Ann McMurray in Guilford, 1803. They were in Arkansas Territory by 1816 and eventually lived in Pulaski Co. May have had as many as six children, but I can only identify three possible sons: Robert, William D., and John J. Rankin.

4 Jedediah Rankin, b. 1785-86, m. Rebecca Rankin in Guilford, 1811. Rebecca was a daughter of George and Nancy Gillespie Rankin. Jed and Becky were both great-grandchildren of R&R and were therefore second cousins. They were in Arkansas by at least 1830, when he was listed in the 1830 Arkansas Territory census.

4 Lydia Rankin, b. Guilford abt. 1789, assuming that she was the Lydia who was the wife of William Rankin Wilson, b. abt 1788. They went to McNairy Co., TN. For some unaccountable reason, online trees ID her as “Lydia Lea Isabella.” I would love to see any evidence for that name, especially since Lydia had a proved sister named Isabel.

4 Isabel Rankin, b. 1791, Guilford, NC, d. 1861, Pope, AR. Married Arkansas Robert Rankin, her second cousin (he was a son of George and Nancy Gillespie Rankin) in Guilford in 1812. They went to McNairy Co., TN and then to Arkansas Territory, Conway and Pope Counties. See more about them, below.

4 John Rankin, b. 1797, Guilford, d. 1846, McNairy Co., TN. Wife Mary Kirby/Kerby.

4 William Rankin, b. 1799, Guilford, m. Isabel Woodburn in Guilford in 1823. They went to McNairy, TN and DeSoto Co., MS. Both are buried in Bethesda Cemetery, Tate Co., MS.

4 Thankful Rankin, b. bet. 1790-1800, Guilford, m. Hance McCain in Guilford, 1818. May have lived in McNairy Co., TN, where Hance appeared in some records. I haven’t found them enumerated there in a census, however.

Rev War Robert’s children by Mary Moody:

4 Thomas M. Rankin, b. 1813-16, Guilford, NC, died without issue, 1885, McNairy.[39]

4 Letha Rankin, b. abt 1820, m. Robert D. Wilson, undoubtedly a relative. Lived in McNairy, TN.[40]

On that note, let’s move on to the last Robert in the line of R&R.

Arkansas Robert Rankin

Here is another case in which YDNA provides compelling evidence. Back up for a moment to Isabel Rankin, a proved daughter of Rev War Robert and his first wife Polly Cusisk.[41] Isabel married some Robert Rankin in Guilford in 1812.[42] A descendant of Robert and Isabel (call him “Joe”) has  YDNA tested and participates in the Rankin DNA project. A problem is that “Joe” can prove that Isabel Rankin is descended from R&R. Of course, Isabel didn’t have a Y-chromosome to pass on. “Joe” inherited that from Isabel’s husband Robert Rankin. The problem is that “Joe” hasn’t been able to prove Robert’s parents via traditional paper genealogy.

Considering all the Robert Rankins floating around Guilford, it’s  understandable that Robert’s parentage is difficult. Don’t forget that there were also two sons of Joseph of Delaware in Guilford … so that Isabel’s husband Robert Rankin may have been from EITHER R&R’s line or Joseph’s line. Or he may have parachuted into Guilford from Mars.

Isabel’s husband Robert was almost certainly not from Joseph’s line, which has been well-documented by Rev. Samuel Meek Rankin. We can heavily discount the Mars theory. That leaves the line of R&R.

YDNA testing and land records to the rescue. George Rankin (son of Robert d. 1795) and his wife Nancy Gillespie Rankin had a son named Robert who is conclusively proved by a deed, although he is unaccountably missing from many lists of George and Nancy’s children.[43] Robert was the right age to be the Robert Rankin who married Isabel. Unfortunately, there is no evidence in the marriage bonds or elsewhere to prove that Isabel’s husband Robert was the same man as George and Nancy’s son Robert. However, that Robert, as far as I can find, was the only Robert Rankin in Guilford available to marry Isabel. Sort of a “last man standing” theory.

More YDNA: a proved descendant of R&R’s grandson George Rankin and his wife Nancy Gillespie is a close YDNA match with “Joe.”  The match establishes that Isabel and Robert’s line and George and Nancy’s line share a common Rankin ancestor fairly recently. The common ancestors, based on the paper evidence, are almost certainly R&R. That’s sufficient YDNA evidence (in my opinion) to establish that Isabel’s husband Arkansas Robert Rankin was the same man as Robert, proved son of George and Nancy Gillespie Rankin.

And that’s it for now. Someday, when it’s too hot to go fishing, too rainy to garden, and the Astros aren’t playing, I will combine the several charts in this table, add a bunch of names, and post a loooonnnnnggggg chart for the descendants of Robert and Rebecca under “Rankin Charts” – see the menu at this website.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] Robert C. Rankin, d. Guilford 1853, and Robert Rankin, d. Guilford 1866, were both grandsons of Joseph of Delaware through his sons William Rankin and John Rankin, respectively.

[2] The grandson was “Shaker Rev. John” Rankin (1757-1850), a preacher who wrote his autobiography at age 88 (cited hereafter as “Shaker John’s Autobiography”). He died in Shakertown, Logan Co., KY. See  John Rankin, “Auto-biography of John Rankin, Sen.” (South Union, Ky., 1845), transcribed in Harvey L. Eads, ed., History of the South Union Shaker Colony from 1804 to 1836 (South Union, Ky., 1870). You can obtain a copy of the typescript of Eads’s history from the Special Collections Library, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky (WKU), where is it designated “Shaker Record A.” The autobiography contains very little of genealogical significance, but what is has is good stuff. Mostly, it chronicles every thought he had about, and events concerning, religion through his long life from youth onward.

[3] George Rankin and Robert Rankin appeared on the 1753 tax list for West Nottingham Township in Chester Co., PA. Rev. Samuel M. Rankin (see note 5) says the family lived in Lancaster Co., but I didn’t find any record of them there. See 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).

[4] Shaker John’s Autobiography (see note 2); see also deeds dated April 1755 in which Robert Rankin Sr. gifted land to his son George Rankin and son-in-law William Denny Sr. in Rowan Co. Deed Book 2: 67, 70.

[5] Rev. S. M. Rankin, History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People (Greensboro, NC: Jos. J. Stone & Co., 1931), cited hereafter as “Buffalo Church History.”

[6] Rev. Rankin says in one place in Buffalo Church History that Robert with wife Rebecca died before the church started keeping minutes, which was in 1773. In another place, he says Robert died about 1770.

[7] Rev. Rankin names George, Robert and John as sons of R&R in his Buffalo Church History. George is proved by a gift deed and Robert is proved by circumstantial evidence in numerous Guilford records. The circumstantial evidence for a son John is thin.

[8] James and Rebecca Denny (née Rankin, according to Rev. Rankin) are buried in the Buffalo Church cemetery. Rebecca was born in 1760 and died in 1816. She was from a later generation that R&R’s proved children and was most likely born too late to be their daughter. Buffalo Church cemetery records are available online at this link.

[9] George Rankin, a proved son of R&R, had two sons born in 1757 and 1759. See Shaker John’s Autobiography and Rev War Robert’s pension application, abstracted in Virgil D. White, Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files, Vol. 3 (Waynesboro, TN: National Historical Publishing Co., 1992). Robert Rankin d. 1795, another proved son of R&R, had a son George born in 1767. See will of Robert Rankin dated and proved 1795, Guilford Will Books A-B, File #312.

[10] Rowan County Court Order Book 2: 667.

[11] E.g., deed of 1 Feb 1780 from James Boyd to William Boyd, both of Guilford, 20 shillings (a deed of gift), 630 acres on Little Troublesome Cr., Granville grant to John Boyd Sr. 15 Jul 1760. This land winds up in Rockingham County. John Boyd Sr., the original grant recipient, is probably the deceased in the 1767 administrator’s bond. Witnesses Robt. Bell, John Rankin, John Bell. Guilford Co. DB 2: 437. See also deed of 18 Oct 1803, James Boyd of Guilford to Henry Fryar, same, £100, 150 acres on waters of North Buffalo. Witnesses William Denney and Rebekah Denney. The witness Rebekah was a daughter of Robert Rankin d. 1795 and a granddaughter of R&R. Guilford Deed Book 8: 230.

[12] Shaker John’s Autobiography.

[13] Id. See will of Arthur Forbis dated 10 Apr 1789, proved 1794, naming as executors his “stepsons John Rankin and Robert Rankin” (Shaker John and Rev War Robert). Guilford Co., NC Will Book A: 119.

[14] Shaker John’s Autobiography.

[15] Frances T. Ingmire, Guilford County North Carolina Marriage Records 1771-1868 Volume III Names O-Z (Athens, GA: Iberian Publishing Co., 1984). Another source for Guilford marriage records is Ruth F. Thompson and Louise J. Hartgrove, Volume I Abstracts of Marriage Bonds and Additional Data, Guilford County, North Carolina 1771 – 1840 (Greensboro, NC: The Guilford County Genealogical Society, 1989).

[16] At least one Rankin researcher at Ancestry.com believes that one of Shaker John Rankin’s children did not convert to Shakerism and that he married and had children. The Logan County census and burial records, however, suggest that all ten children died single in Logan County. There is some information about Shaker John in this article.

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

[18] Guilford County, NC Wills Books A-B 1771-1838, File #312 (will of Robert Rankin d. 1795).

[19] See id., will of Robert Rankin d. 1795, naming as guardian of his Wilson grandsons Andrew Wilson, Robert’s “former son-in-law;” Buffalo Church History, listing the three wives of Andrew Wilson (Jr.).

[20] See 1850 federal census, McNairy Co., TN, William R. Wilson, 62, farmer, b. NC, Lydia Wilson, 61, b NC, Washington Wilson, 33, NC, Lucinda Wilson, 26, TN, Lydia Wilson, 8, TN, Adaline Wilson, 5, TN, Jesse Wilson, 3, TN, and Louisa Wilson, 1, TN.

[21] Rev War Robert did have a daughter Lydia, who would have been William Rankin Wilson’s second cousin. See Guilford, NC Will Book B: 435, will of William Cusick naming 3 daughters of Robert Rankin (Lydia, Isbel and Thankful) and his deceased daughter Polly Cusick Rankin. Both Lydia and William Rankin Wilson were great-grandchildren of R&R. I’ve found no evidence in the Guilford records that WRW married Lydia, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t marry. This crowd definitely had a penchant for marrying cousins.

[22] Will of William Denny dated 12 Dec 1824 proved Feb 1825 naming daughter Pamela Wilson; see also Ingmire, Guilford County North Carolina Marriage Records.

[23] See 1850 federal census, McNairy Co., TN, Andrew Wilson, farmer, 60, b. NC, dwelling #90, with Parmelia Wilson, 59, NC, Jane Wilson, 30, NC, Maxfield Wilson, 28, NC, Nancy Wilson, 25, NC, Parmelia Wilson, 21, NC, James Wilson, 19, NC, Eli Wilson, 16, NC, and Mary J. Black, 7, MO; 1860 federal census, Perry Co., AR, household of William Wilson, 45, farmer b. NC, with Andrew Wilson, 70, b. NC, also listed in his household.

[24] Thanks to my cousin-by-marriage Peggy Derryberry Gould for that information. See 1860 federal census, French Lick, Orange Co., IN, dwl #1131, Maxfield Wilson, 70, b. NC; Ingmire, Guilford County North Carolina Marriage Records.

[25] Isabel Rankin, daughter of Robert d. 1795, probably died single and without children. She was still single in 1795, when her father wrote his will, and she was probably about 30 at that time. Her father specifically bequeathed a slave to provide for her, which probably means he considered her unmarriageable. I found no marriage record for her in Guilford.

[26] Guilford County will of William Denny dated 12 Dec 1824 proved Feb 1825 naming as executor his “brother-in-law George Rankin” and children Rebecca Black, Pamela Wilson, William, Nancy, Isabel and Allen. 1803 deed from James Boyd to Henry Fryar witnessed by William Denny and Rebeckah Denny, Guilford Co. Deed Book 8: 230.

[27] Will of William Denny (Sr.), Rowan Co. Order Book 3: 200; Rowan Co. Will Book A: 31. An abstractor of this will, Jo White Linn, made (for her) a rare error about three of William Denny’s daughters. Ms. Linn read the will to say that all of William and Ann’s daughters were married, but three of them – Hannah, Agnes, and Jane/Jean Denny – were clearly identified as single in the 1766 will.

[28] Rowan Co. Deed Book 2: 67 and 70.

[29] Rowan Co., NC Deed Book 2: 86, Granville grant to Robert Rankin dated 3 Dec 1753, ten shillings, 640 acres adjacent “Irish Tracts” #14 and #15 (part of the Nottingham Colony grants).

[30] Rowan Co., NC Will Book A: 141.

[31] Rowan Co., NC Order Book 3: 200; Will Book A: 31.

[32] Jean Denny may have and probably did marry Robert Rankin of Iredell Co., son of David Rankin d. Iredell in 1789.

[33] Will of David Rankin of Iredell proved Dec. 1789, original will viewed at the NC Archives in Raleigh, C.R.054.801.11, recorded at WB A: 200

[34] Lois M. P. Schneider, Church and Family Cemeteries of Iredell County, N.C. (1992); Iredell County, NC Deed Book D: 650, deed dated 17 May 1802 from Robert Rankin to his son Denny Rankin.

[35] Rowan County, NC Will Book A: 141, will of George Rankin dated May 1760, proved Oct 1760, naming minor sons John and Robert.

[36] National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 4, December 1937, Revolutionary War Pension Applications.

[37] See Guilford, NC Will Book B: 435, will of William Cusick naming 3 daughters of Robert Rankin (Lydia, Isbel and Thankful) and William’s desceased daughter Polly Cusick Rankin.

[38] Ingmire, Guilford County North Carolina Marriage Records; National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 4, December 1937, Revolutionary War Pension Applications.

[39] See McNairy Co., TN Will Book 1: 53, will of T. M. Rankin of Bethel Springs dated 18 Jun 1885 naming two nieces and a nephew. One niece, M. E. Wilson, was the daughter of Letha Rankin and Robert D.Wilson, according to Melinda’s TN death certificate.

[40] Letha’s Daughter Malinda Wilson Lee was identified as a niece in the McNairy will of Thomas M. Rankin.

[41] Guilford, NC Will Book B: 435, will of William Cusick naming three daughters of Robert Rankin and his deceased daughter Polly Cusick Rankin (Lydia, Isbel and Thankful).

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

[43] Guilford Co., NC 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. George Sr. at that point is George, son of Robert d. 1795 (who devised that tract to George). George Jr. is probably the eldest son of Rev War Robert. Also, Robert Rankin Sr. was Rev War Robert.

Rankin DNA Project: “flange it up!”

If you ever worked in the natural gas pipeline business, you might be familiar with the notion that something needed to be “flanged up.” That originally meant the need to get pieces bolted together to complete a job. Over time, it acquired a more general meaning for those who did not deal with actual steel: the need to improve something in some fashion.

The Rankin DNA project needs to be “flanged up” a bit. The project began in 2006 with just two YDNA test participants. It has come a long way, and has 176 members as of July 2019. About seventy members are YDNA test participants who are either men named Rankin or whose YDNA establishes them as genetic Rankins.[1] YDNA testing has been helpful to many project members when traditional “paper trails” were inadequate or disputed.

Progress notwithstanding, there are still ancestry and relationship issues to be addressed. There are also a number of test participants who don’t yet have a Rankin match in the project. Obviously, a key need is to get more Rankin YDNA test participants. Please note, this is not a criticism of Rankin project administrators … I AM one. We just need to have more YDNA participants. Easier said than done.

In the meantime, here is a summary of Rankin YDNA results to date. The project has three lineages having four or more YDNA participants in each one. They are (no surprise here) designated Lineages 1, 2, and 3. All three lineages also have sub-lineages – distinct Rankin families that are genetically related, even though a Rankin common ancestor has not been identified. The families in these lineages include some that I have written about on this website. If you have read some Rankin articles, many of these names will be familiar.

On that note, let’s jump in …

Rankin Lineage 1

Lineage 1 (“L1”) has two sub-lineages: Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford Co., North Carolina (L1A) and Joseph Rankin of New Castle County, Delaware (L1B). Robert is definitely the original immigrant in his line; Joseph probably is. No common ancestor for the two lines has been found. YDNA results establish a low probability that there is one on this side of the Atlantic. He probably exists around 1400, plus or minus a century, and almost certainly in Scotland.

Robert and Rebecca Rankin came to the colonies in 1750 from County Donegal, Ireland, according to an autobiography of one of their grandsons.[2] See some articles about their family here, here, and here.  There is no known evidence of the origin of Joseph of Delaware.[3] Both Robert and Joseph first appeared in county records in the area around the Philadelphia ports, where most Scots-Irish immigrants landed during the “Great Migration” from Ulster.

Joseph of Delaware arrived in the colonies first, roughly two decades earlier than Robert and Rebecca. He may be the Joseph Rankin who appeared as a “freeman” (unmarried and not a landowner) on a 1729 tax list in London Britain Township in Chester County, Pennsylvania. By 1731, he had acquired a tract on White Clay Creek in New Castle County, Delaware. Joseph had four sons proved by deeds (Joseph Jr., Thomas, William and John), two sons proved by circumstantial evidence (Robert and James), and a daughter Ann reportedly proved by a will. Joseph is buried at Head of Christiana Presbyterian Church in Newark, New Castle County. His 1764 tombstone still exists.

Based on known birth dates, Joseph’s children were born in Delaware. Two of his proved sons – John and William – moved to Guilford County, North Carolina. A descendant of each has YDNA tested and they are a good match.[4] Joseph’s wife was named Rebecca, although there is no known evidence of her maiden name. Nor is there any evidence of Joseph’s family of origin.

Robert and Rebecca’s family first appeared in the records in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Robert and George Rankin (either father/son or brothers) were on the 1753 tax list for West Nottingham Township in Chester. Robert and George received so-called “Nottingham Company” land grants in Guilford (then Rowan) County, North Carolina, near Greensboro. According to a grandson’s autobiography, they migrated to North Carolina in July 1755.

Robert and Rebecca’s children were almost certainly all adults when they arrived in Pennsylvania in 1750. Two sons, Robert and George, are proved. There is good circumstantial evidence in the Rowan and Guilford records for other children, including a son John and daughters Ann Rankin Denny (wife of William Sr.), Margaret Rankin Braly or Brawley (Thomas), and Rebecca Rankin Boyd (John).

David Rankin of Iredell County, North Carolina (died there in 1789) may also be a son of Robert and Rebecca. YDNA results establish that David and Robert were close genetic relatives, although there is apparently no conclusive paper proof of the family connection. David was probably either a son or nephew of Robert and Rebecca. Here is an article about David and Margaret’s son Robert.

Rankin Lineage 2

L2 is the largest group in the project. As of July 2019, there were 22 project participants whose YDNA places them in L2. The family lines represented in the lineage are diverse, although the YDNA results are not. The group members are fairly close matches, suggesting a common ancestor no earlier than 400-500 years ago, probably in Scotland. The immigrant ancestor of many of the L2 members first appeared in Pennsylvania or Virginia during the “Great Migration” of Scots-Irish from Ulster. From there, the L2 Rankins spread west into the Ohio Valley or south and southwest into Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

There are three Rankin lines in L2 which have at least four participants each. There are also a number of L2 participants who are “one of a kind,” meaning that each man’s last known Rankin ancestor is not (so far as is known) shared with another L2 member. Some members of L2 are “one of a kind” simply because they have provided no information about their Rankin family trees to project administrators, although they may well belong in one of the three known L2 families.

The L2 family lines are (1) John Rankin who died in 1749 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Lineage 2A), (2) Samuel and Eleanor (“Ellen”) Alexander Rankin of Lincoln County, North Carolina (Lineage 2B), and (3)  two families – both David and Jenette McCormick Rankin of Frederick County, Virginia and William Rankin of Fayette County, Pennsylvania (Lineage 2C). Here is a little bit about each one …

Lineage 2A, John Rankin of Lancaster Co., PA (see articles here and  here).

This is the Rankin family memorialized on the famous tablet in the Mt. Horeb Cemetery in Jefferson County, Tennessee – descendants of John Rankin who died in 1749 in Lancaster Co., PA. His wife is traditionally identified as Mary McElwee, although John’s widow was named Margaret. John’s will named Margaret, two sons (Thomas and Richard), six daughters, and two sons-in-law.[5] All of the L2A members are descended from John’s son Thomas. He briefly appeared in the records of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, moved to Augusta County, Virginia for a time, then migrated to east Tennessee. No member of the Rankin project self-identifies as a descendant of John’s son Richard, who moved from Pennsylvania to Augusta County and died there.

According to family tradition, the John who died in Lancaster in 1749 was a son of William Rankin and grandson of Alexander Rankin of the Scotland “Killing Times” and the 1689 Siege of Londonderry. Apparently, no one has found (or has publicly shared) any proof that John was a son of William, or that William was a son of Alexander. Records in Ireland are limited, however.

There are two project participants who are probable descendants of Adam Rankin of Lancaster County, whose wife was Mary Steele. Family oral traditions for both Adam and John (the common ancestor of the L2A participants) say that Adam and John were brothers. However, Adam’s probable descendants are not a YDNA match with John’s descendants, indicating that John and Adam were not genetically related through the male Rankin line. There are four or five articles about Adam’s line on this website, see, e.g., two articles here and here.

Lineage 2B: Samuel Rankin of Lincoln Co., NC

L2B is the line of Samuel and Eleanor (“Ellen”) Alexander Rankin of Rowan, Tryon, Mecklenburg, and Lincoln Counties, North Carolina. Several misconceptions  about Samuel and Eleanor persist online. One myth is that Samuel was a son of Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford County (Lineage 1A). Another is that Samuel was a son of Joseph Rankin of Delaware (Lineage 1B). Both possibilities are disproved by YDNA. Some researchers also claim that Samuel and his wife were married in Pennsylvania, although Eleanor’s parents James and Ann Alexander  were in Anson/Rowan County by 1753 at the latest. Samuel and Eleanor were married about 1759, almost certainly in Rowan. There is no evidence of Samuel’s birthplace.

Samuel’s tombstone in the Goshen Presbyterian Cemetery in Belmont, NC no longer exists. A WPA cemetery survey taken in the 1930s transcribed his tombstone inscription to say that he was born in 1734 and died in 1816. His will was dated 1814, but wasn’t probated until 1826. His last appearance  in the Lincoln Co., NC records while he was still alive was in July 1816. He left most of his nine surviving children (his son Richard predeceased him) a token bequest, and devised the bulk of his estate to his son James.[6] Samuel and Eleanor’s children either remained in the Lincoln/Mecklenburg/Iredell area or moved to Arkansas, Tennessee, or Illinois. Here are articles about Samuel and Eleanor’s son Richard and their daughter Jean Rankin Hartgrove.

Lineage 2C

Based on descendant charts provided by participants, L2C has two family lines: (1) David Sr. and Jennett McCormick Rankin of Frederick County, Virginia and (2) William Rankin of Fayette County, Pennsylvania. There is no known common Rankin ancestor for the two lines.

David Sr.’s line is represented by three project participants. He left a Frederick County will naming his wife Jennett and children Hugh, William, David Jr. and Barbara.[7] Many online trees identify David Sr.’s wife as “Jennett Mildred,” although all of the Frederick County records identify Jennett without a middle name. Researchers asserting that Jennett had a middle name may have conflated David Sr.’s wife Jennett with an entirely different woman, a Mildred Rankin who was married to one of David Sr.’s grandsons — also named David.

David Jr. married Hannah Province or Provence, probably in Frederick County. They moved from Frederick to Washington County, Pennsylvania and then to Harrison County, Kentucky, where David Jr. died. His brother William and his wife Abigail also moved to Washington County. William died there in 1799. Both David Jr. and William left large families. Some of Hugh’s line probably moved to Kentucky and then to Ohio. Project administrators are looking for descendants of William and/or Hugh who might be willing to YDNA test.

The second family in L2C is the line of William Rankin of Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Many of his grandchildren moved “west,” some to Ohio. Many stayed in Fayette County for several generations. There is no evidence of his origin prior to the time that he began appearing in Fayette.

Rankin Lineage 3

The common ancestor of the four L3 participants is David Rankin Sr. who died in Greene County, Tennessee in 1802. His will identified seven children but not his wife, who evidently predeceased him. David Sr. was reportedly among the “Overmountain Men” who left what was then Washington County, Tennessee to fight in the Battle of King’s Mountain in South Carolina. That battle was a major defeat for the British in the Southern Campaign.

There is some disagreement among researchers about the identity of David Sr.’s wife or wives. His wife is usually identified as Margart Kerr, Anne Campbell, both, or neither, without a citation to any evidence. Another question is where David Sr. lived before coming to Greene County in 1783. It is possible that David Sr. of Greene is the same man as the David Rankin who received a 1771 land patent in Bedford County, Virginia, although that man was a Quaker. Other researchers believe that David Sr. was a son of the William Rankin who died in 1792 in Franklin County, Pennsylvania (wife Mary Huston). That possibility has been disproved by YDNA results.

Rankin researchers can take comfort in the fact that Flossie Cloyd, the premier Rankin researcher of the 20thcentury, was baffled by David Sr.’s ancestry. He may well be the immigrant ancestor in his line.

Whew! That’s more than enough for right now …

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] For example, the Rankin project includes men whose surname at birth was Rankin but were adopted by a stepfather after the Rankin parents divorced.

[2] Jonathan Jeffrey at  the Department of Library Special Collections at the University of Western Kentucky sent to me a 22-page transcription  of the autobiography of Rev. John Rankin, a grandson of Robert and Rebecca. For the most part, it is a recount of his faith history. It has very little helpful genealogy.

[3] One history says that Joseph came from “Clyde Scotland,” presumably somewhere near the River Clyde. It also claims that Joseph’s children were born in Scotland, which is demonstrably incorrect. See Bill and Martha Reamy, Genealogical Abstracts from Biographical and Genealogical History of the State of Delaware(Westminster, MD: Willow Bend Books, 2001). The Findagrave website claims that he was born in “Ulster Ireland,” which is undoubtedly a good guess but is unsubstantiated.

[4] Only one of Joseph’s proved descendants is a member of the Rankin DNA Project. He has provided information to project administrators about his YDNA match to another proved descendant of Joseph.

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

[6] Lincoln Co., NC Will Book 1: 37. Given the nature of Samuel’s will, there would have been no rush to submit it to probate.

[7] Frederick Co., VA Will Book 3: 443.

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 YDNA results (anonymously) online.[2] One member — let’s call him Joe — 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.” Joe 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 Joe 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 Joe or Mr. X. Based on the tests from Mr. A, Mr. B, Mr. X. and Joe Rankin, the Y-DNA evidence proves conclusively that Sam Sr. cannot be a son of Joseph of Delaware. Note: as of 16 April 2019, the Rankin Project has four members who descend from Samuel and Eleanor and who have YDNA tested. The conclusion of this paragraph is confirmed.

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. Note: as of 16 April 2019, there are three descendants of R&R in the Rankin DNA project. Again, the conclusion below is affirmed.

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? The circumstantial evidence convincingly 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 was deleted by WorldFamilies.net in May 2018.

The Robert Rankins of Guilford Co., NC

This is a reissue to correct a problem with the original article. I posted it back when the Rankin DNA Project website was hosted by WorldFamilies. net, and the project website had a “Patriarch Chart” containing detailed family trees, names, email addresses, and kit numbers of YDNA participants. All of that was kosher under the website host’s rules.

The original post of this article didn’t have all that information, thank goodness, but it did contain the names of several project participants. That could violate the standards of privacy of the current Rankin DNA project website host. I revisited the article this afternoon to answer a question, and was upset to find those names. Here is a reissue to fix it.

*   *   *   *   *   *  

If you have searched for a Robert Rankin in Guilford County, North Carolina during the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries, you hit the jackpot. There were at least six Robert Rankins in Guilford during that time. This article is about four of them. Some of what this article proposes is not mainstream Rankin thought. Here’s what may be controversial:

I have identified three “new” daughters of Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford. One of them may reasonably be deemed proved, one is probably a daughter, and one is unproved. The first one is included in a couple of online trees. The latter two have not been identified in any compiled family history or online sources, so far as I know.

The identity of the wife of the Robert Rankin who died in Guilford in 1795. I disagree about that with darn near every other person who has ever said anything about the Guilford County Rankins.

This article ignores two of the six Robert Rankins who lived in Rowan/Guilford during that time.[1]  Both were grandsons of Joseph Rankin of Delaware (1704-1764), whose sons John and William migrated to Rowan/Guilford.

Here are the nicknames I will use to distinguish among the four Robert Rankins covered in this article.

  1. R&R – Robert Rankin and wife Rebecca.
  2. Robert d. 1795 – a son of R&R.
  3. Rev (short for “Revolutionary,” not “Reverend”) War Robert – a grandson of R&R.
  4. Arkansas Robert – a great-grandson of R&R. 

And here we go, from the top …

R&R – Robert Rankin and wife Rebecca

R&R were the original immigrant ancestors in their Rowan/Guilford line. According to a grandson’s autobiography, they came to Pennsylvania from Letterkenny Parish, County Donegal, Ireland in 1750 along with some of their children, although the autobiography names only their son George.[2] R&R resided briefly in Chester County, Pennsylvania,[3] then settled in what was then Rowan County (the part that became Guilford) by 1755.[4] According to Rev. Samuel M. Rankin, R&R are buried at Buffalo Church in Greensboro, although no markers for them survive.[5]

Robert died in 1770-1773.[6] He left no will. Other Rowan and Guilford records establish that R&R had proved children (1) George, (2) Robert, and (3) Ann who married William Denny (William Denny Senior, for purposes of this article).[7] Rev. Rankin also named a son John and a  daughter Rebecca who married James Denny. There is circumstantial evidence for a son John, although Rebecca (m. James Denny) is almost certainly wrong.[8] Rev. Rankin omitted Ann Rankin Denny from his list; see information on her at the discussion of her brother Robert d. 1795, below. Rev. Rankin thought that R&R had other children. That seems likely.

Tantalizing probate records in Rowan County suggest two other possible daughters of R&R in addition to Ann Rankin Denny. These two women – Margaret (Rankin?) Braly/Brawley and Rebecca (Rankin?) Boyd – should probably be deemed unproved. Keep reading and judge for yourself …

First, Robert Rankin was a security on the Rowan County bond of Margaret Braly/Brawley and John Braly, administrators of the estate of Thomas Braly. Even better, John Braly witnessed the 1760 will of George Rankin, along with Robert Rankin. Both George and Robert were proved sons of R&R.

The Braly administrator’s bond was dated 8 Jan 1765. Thomas’s noncupative will established that his wife was pregnant, and thus of childbearing age. She therefore belonged to the same generation as R&R’s proved children.[9] Margaret can reasonably be deemed a “probable” daughter of R&R because of her age and those two strong Rankin-Braly connections established by the administrator’s bond and will.

Second, Robert Rankin was also security on the Rowan County administrator’s bond of Rebecca Boyd, widow of John Boyd, in January 1767.[10] Robert’s signature on the original Boyd bond is identical to the signature on the Braly bond, so it was the same Robert Rankin. There is also circumstantial evidence of Boyd/Rankin connections in some Guilford deeds.[11] I think Rebecca Boyd was R&R’s daughter, but still consider her unproved.

On that note, here is a brief chart of R&R’s line, including the four Robert Rankin men covered in this article and adding Ann Denny, Margaret Braly, and Rebecca Boyd as daughters. R&R’s children are not necessarily in birth order; only George’s 1729 birth date is proved.[12] The men who are the subjects of this post are shown in boldface type.

Outline Chart #1

1 “R&R,” Robert Rankin, b. ca 1700, probably Ireland, d. Guilford, NC 1770-73, wife Rebecca LNU.

2 George Rankin, b. 1729, Letterkenney Parish, County Donegal, Ireland, d. 1760, Rowan, NC. Wife Lydia Steele Rankin m. Arthur Forbis after George died.[13]

3 “Shaker” Reverend John Rankin, b. 1757, Rowan, NC, d. 1850, Logan, KY.[14] Married Rebecca Rankin, a granddaughter of Joseph of Delaware, in Guilford in 1786.[15] None of his children married: Shakers practiced celibacy.[16]

3 Robert Rankin, Rev War Robert, more on him below.

2 Robert Rankin d. 1795, more on him below.

3 George Rankin (1767 – 1851), m. Nancy Gillespie, Guilford, NC, in Jan. 1791, d. in McNairy Co., TN.[17]

4 Arkansas Robert Rankin, 1792 – 1845,more on him below. George and Nancy had other children as well.

2 John Rankin, lived in Guilford Co., suggested by Rev. Samuel M. Rankin. I found only thin circumstantial evidence. No children of whom I am aware.

2 Ann Rankin m. William Denny Sr., lived in Guilford Co., more on them below.

2 Rebecca Rankin (unproved) m. John Boyd who d. Rowan, NC in 1767.

2 Margaret Rankin (probable) m. Thomas Braly/Brawley who d. Rowan, NC, Dec. 1764.

Next up: R&R’s son Robert.

Robert Rankin d. 1795, son of Robert & Rebecca

Robert Rankin died in Guilford in 1795 and left a will.[18] I have written about him in other articles, see them here,  here, and  here. Robert’s 1795 will did not name a wife, indicating that she predeceased him. He identified only one son by name (George). Based on the express language of the will, Robert had four daughters. He identified only two of them by name: Mary Rankin Wilson, who died before Robert wrote his will, and Isabel Rankin, clearly unmarried in 1795. The other two daughters, whose given names Robert did not provide, were apparently already married. One daughter was Rebecca Rankin who married William Denny Jr. I have not identified the other daughter. Robert also named his three Wilson grandsons (William Rankin Wilson, Andrew Wilson, and Maxfield Wilson).

With the information from his will, we can expand Robert d. 1795’s section of Chart #1 as follows:

2 Robert Rankin d. 1795

3 George Rankin (1767 – 1851), m. Nancy Gillespie, Guilford Co., Jan. 1791, d. in McNairy Co., TN.

4 Arkansas Robert Rankin, 1792 – 1845, more on him below. George and Nancy had other children as well.

3 Mary Rankin, d. before 1795, married Andrew Wilson as his second wife.[19]

4 William Rankin Wilson, b. abt. 1788, moved to McNairy Co., TN.[20] Wife’s name was Lydia, reportedly Rev War Robert’s daughter.[21] Ancestry.com claims that W.R. married Lydia in 1807 in Guilford, although I can’t find a marriage record for that couple there.

4 Andrew Wilson, b. abt. 1790, m. Permelia/Pamela Denny in 1812, daughter of William Denny Jr. and Rebecca Rankin.[22] Moved to McNairy Co., TN, then Perry Co., AR to live with his son after his wife died.[23]

4 Maxfield Wilson, b. by 1795, m. Sarah Baily in Guilford Co., NC in 1829. Went to Orange Co., IN.[24]

3 Isabel Rankin, b. before 1795. Probably died single.[25]

3 Rebecca Rankin, b. before 1795, m. William Denny Jr.[26]

3 Daughter Rankin, given name unknown, probably married by 1795, husband unknown.

A number of online trees and at least one compiled Rankin history wrongly conflate Robert d. 1795 with his father, who died 1770-73. But there’s a tougher controversy about Robert d. 1795: the identity of his wife. Many Rankin researchers identify her as Jean (or Jane) Denny. They have good reason to do so. The Guilford County marriage records establish that some Robert Rankin married some Jean/Jane Denny in February 1775. William Denny Sr. (wife Ann Rankin) definitely had an unmarried daughter named Jean/Jane when he wrote his will in August 1766.[27]

A serious problem with the theory that the Robert who died in 1795 married Jean/Jane, daughter of William Denny, is this: Robert was almost certainly Jean’s uncle. We are all accustomed to seeing marriages between cousins, but … an uncle and a niece?

The evidence about Jean/Jane Denny’s parents, William Denny (Sr.) and Ann Rankin Denny, is a Rowan County deed. Here it is. On back-to-back days in April 1755, Robert Rankin Sr. (i.e., R&R) executed deeds to his son George (480 acres) and William Denny (640 acres).[28] The consideration recited in both deeds was 5 shillings, clearly marking them as deeds of gift. Consider this: Robert Sr. paid 10 shillings for the 640A tract he “sold” to William Denny Sr. for 5 shillings.[29]

That gift deed is extremely persuasive proof that William Denny Sr. was part of R&R’s family. There is more. William Denny witnessed the will of R&R’s son George Rankin along with Robert Rankin and John Braly.[30] Further, John Rankin, perhaps a son of R&R, witnessed William Denny’s 1766 will.[31] In my book, that is sufficient evidence to deem Ann Rankin Denny R&R’s proved daughter.

William & Ann Rankin Denny’s daughter Jean/Jane, unmarried in 1766, is the only Jean/Jane Denny I can find in Guilford who might have been the right age to marry some Robert Rankin in 1775. I just don’t believe that the Robert Rankin she married was her Uncle Robert d. 1795. She must have married a different Robert Rankin. Her husband might have been (and probably was) Robert Rankin of Iredell County.[32]

Let’s divert for a moment into the wonderful world of YDNA evidence.

Iredell Robert was a son of David Rankin who died in Iredell in 1789.[33] Two men who are David’s proved descendants are participants in the Rankin DNA project. Two other men in the Rankin project are descended from R&R. The four men are close matches. There is no doubt that Iredell Robert was a genetic relative of the Guilford County line of R&R Rankin.

One cannot state unequivocally that David of Iredell was a son of R&R – although the results don’t preclude a father-son relationship, either. In any event, Iredell Robert Rankin and Jean Denny were genetic cousins of some degree, and their families almost certainly knew each other

Perhaps not coincidentally, Robert Rankin of Iredell and his wife Jean (1755 – 1779, per her tombstone in Centre Presbyterian Church in Statesville) had a son named Denny Rankin.[34] I would be happy to wager that his mother Jean Rankin’s maiden name was Denny. I’ll also bet I won’t have any takers.

Whatever the identity of his wife, Robert d. 1795 has only one proved son. That was George, who married Nancy Gillespie (a daughter of Daniel Gillespie and Margaret Hall) in Guilford in 1791. Note also that George was born in 1767, so he was clearly not the child of a Jean Denny who allegedly married his father in 1775. George and Nancy went to McNairy Co., TN, where George died in 1851. The important thing here is that George and Nancy had a proved son (among other children) named … you can no doubt guess this … Robert. George and Nancy’s son was the man I call Robert of Arkansas, but we haven’t quite gotten to him yet.

Rev(olutionary) War Robert Rankin (1759 – 1840).

Rev War Robert, a grandson of R&R, was one of two sons of R&R’s son George and his wife Lydia Steele.[35] Robert was a Revolutionary War veteran who applied for a pension, which told us when and where he was born and when he moved to McNairy County.[36] Rev War Robert married first Mary (“Polly”) Cusick in Guilford in the early 1780s.[37] He married his second wife Mary Moody in Guilford County in 1803.[38]

Rev War Robert’s children by Polly Cusick – there were seven – are fairly easy to identify. His children by Mary Moody are a tougher nut to crack, and I have identified only two. Here’s how I would expand Rev War Robert’s part of Chart #1:

3 Robert Rankin, Rev. War Robert, b. Rowan, NC, 29 May 1759, d. McNairy, TN on 21 Dec 1840. Buried in Bethel Springs Cemetery in McNairy. Married #1 Mary (nickname “Polly”) Cusick in Guilford, probably in the early 1780s. Married #2 Mary Moody in Guilford in 1803.

Rev War Robert’s children by Mary (“Polly”) Cusick:

4 George Rankin, b. Guilford abt. 1783, d. bet. 1828-1830 in Arkansas Territory. Married Ann McMurray in Guilford, 1803. They were in Arkansas Territory by 1816 and eventually lived in Pulaski Co. May have had as many as six children, but I can only identify three possible sons: Robert, William D., and John J. Rankin.

4 Jedediah Rankin, b. 1785-86, m. Rebecca Rankin in Guilford, 1811. Rebecca was a daughter of George and Nancy Gillespie Rankin. Jed and Becky were both great-grandchildren of R&R and were therefore second cousins. They were in Arkansas by at least 1830, when he was listed in the 1830 Arkansas Territory census.

4 Lydia Rankin, b. Guilford abt. 1789, assuming that she was the Lydia who was the wife of William Rankin Wilson, b. abt 1788. They went to McNairy Co., TN. For some unaccountable reason, online trees ID her as “Lydia Lea Isabella.” I would love to see any evidence for that name, especially since Lydia had a proved sister named Isabel.

4 Isabel Rankin, b. 1791, Guilford, NC, d. 1861, Pope, AR. Married Arkansas Robert Rankin, her second cousin (he was a son of George and Nancy Gillespie Rankin) in Guilford in 1812. They went to McNairy Co., TN and then to Arkansas Territory, Conway and Pope Counties. See more about them, below.

4 John Rankin, b. 1797, Guilford, d. 1846, McNairy Co., TN. Wife Mary Kirby/Kerby.

4 William Rankin, b. 1799, Guilford, m. Isabel Woodburn in Guilford in 1823. They went to McNairy, TN and DeSoto Co., MS. Both are buried in Bethesda Cemetery, Tate Co., MS.

4 Thankful Rankin, b. bet. 1790-1800, Guilford, m. Hance McCain in Guilford, 1818. May have lived in McNairy Co., TN, where Hance appeared in some records. I haven’t found them enumerated there in a census, however.

Rev War Robert’s children by Mary Moody:

4 Thomas M. Rankin, b. 1813-16, Guilford, NC, died without issue, 1885, McNairy.[39]

4 Letha Rankin, b. abt 1820, m. Robert D. Wilson, undoubtedly a relative. Lived in McNairy, TN.[40]

On that note, let’s move on to the last Robert in the line of R&R.

Arkansas Robert Rankin

Here is another case in which YDNA provides compelling evidence. Back up for a moment to Isabel Rankin, a proved daughter of Rev War Robert and his first wife Polly Cusisk.[41] Isabel married some Robert Rankin in Guilford in 1812.[42] A descendant of Robert and Isabel (call him “Joe”) has  YDNA tested and participates in the Rankin DNA project. A problem is that “Joe” can prove that Isabel Rankin is descended from R&R. Of course, Isabel didn’t have a Y-chromosome to pass on. “Joe” inherited that from Isabel’s husband Robert Rankin. The problem is that “Joe” hasn’t been able to prove Robert’s parents via traditional paper genealogy.

Considering all the Robert Rankins floating around Guilford, it’s  understandable that Robert’s parentage is difficult. Don’t forget that there were also two sons of Joseph of Delaware in Guilford … so that Isabel’s husband Robert Rankin may have been from EITHER R&R’s line or Joseph’s line. Or he may have parachuted into Guilford from Mars.

Isabel’s husband Robert was almost certainly not from Joseph’s line, which has been well-documented by Rev. Samuel Meek Rankin. We can heavily discount the Mars theory. That leaves the line of R&R.

YDNA testing and land records to the rescue. George Rankin (son of Robert d. 1795) and his wife Nancy Gillespie Rankin had a son named Robert who is conclusively proved by a deed, although he is unaccountably missing from many lists of George and Nancy’s children.[43] Robert was the right age to be the Robert Rankin who married Isabel. Unfortunately, there is no evidence in the marriage bonds or elsewhere to prove that Isabel’s husband Robert was the same man as George and Nancy’s son Robert. However, that Robert, as far as I can find, was the only Robert Rankin in Guilford available to marry Isabel. Sort of a “last man standing” theory.

More YDNA: a proved descendant of R&R’s grandson George Rankin and his wife Nancy Gillespie is a close YDNA match with “Joe.”  The match establishes that Isabel and Robert’s line and George and Nancy’s line share a common Rankin ancestor fairly recently. The common ancestors, based on the paper evidence, are almost certainly R&R. That’s sufficient YDNA evidence (in my opinion) to establish that Isabel’s husband Arkansas Robert Rankin was the same man as Robert, proved son of George and Nancy Gillespie Rankin.

And that’s it for now. Someday, when it’s too hot to go fishing, too rainy to garden, and the Astros aren’t playing, I will combine the several charts in this table, add a bunch of names, and post a loooonnnnnggggg chart for the descendants of Robert and Rebecca under “Rankin Charts” – see the menu at this website.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] Robert C. Rankin, d. Guilford 1853, and Robert Rankin, d. Guilford 1866, were both grandsons of Joseph of Delaware through his sons William Rankin and John Rankin, respectively.

[2] The grandson was “Shaker Rev. John” Rankin (1757-1850), a preacher who wrote his autobiography at age 88 (cited hereafter as “Shaker John’s Autobiography”). He died in Shakertown, Logan Co., KY. See  John Rankin, “Auto-biography of John Rankin, Sen.” (South Union, Ky., 1845), transcribed in Harvey L. Eads, ed., History of the South Union Shaker Colony from 1804 to 1836 (South Union, Ky., 1870). You can obtain a copy of the typescript of Eads’s history from the Special Collections Library, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky (WKU), where is it designated “Shaker Record A.” The autobiography contains very little of genealogical significance, but what is has is good stuff. Mostly, it chronicles his every thought he had about and event concerning religion through his long life from his youth onward.

[3] George Rankin and Robert Rankin appeared on the 1753 tax list for West Nottingham Township in Chester Co., PA. Rev. Samuel M. Rankin (see note 5) says the family lived in Lancaster Co., but I didn’t find any record of them there. See 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).

[4] Shaker John’s Autobiography (see note 2); see also deeds dated April 1755 in which Robert Rankin Sr. gifted land to his son George Rankin and son-in-law William Denny Sr. in Rowan Co. Deed Book 2: 67, 70.

[5] Rev. S. M. Rankin, History of Buffalo Presbyterian Church and Her People (Greensboro, NC: Jos. J. Stone & Co., 1931), cited hereafter as “Buffalo Church History.”

[6] Rev. Rankin says in one place in Buffalo Church History that Robert with wife Rebecca died before the church started keeping minutes, which was in 1773. In another place, he says Robert died about 1770.

[7] Rev. Rankin names George, Robert and John as sons of R&R in his Buffalo Church History. George is proved by a gift deed and Robert is proved by circumstantial evidence in numerous Guilford records. The circumstantial evidence for a son John is thin.

[8] James and Rebecca Denny (née Rankin, according to Rev. Rankin) are buried in the Buffalo Church cemetery. Rebecca was born in 1760 and died in 1816. She was born too late to be a daughter of Robert and Rebecca, unless Rebecca was Robert’s second wife. Buffalo Church cemetery records are available online at this link.

[9] George Rankin, a proved son of R&R, had two sons born in 1757 and 1759. See Shaker John’s Autobiography and Rev War Robert’s pension application, abstracted in Virgil D. White, Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files, Vol. 3 (Waynesboro, TN: National Historical Publishing Co., 1992). Robert Rankin d. 1795, another proved son of R&R, had a son George born in 1767. See will of Robert Rankin dated and proved 1795, Guilford Will Books A-B, File #312.

[10] Rowan County Court Order Book 2: 667.

[11] E.g., deed of 1 Feb 1780 from James Boyd to William Boyd, both of Guilford, 20 shillings (a deed of gift), 630 acres on Little Troublesome Cr., Granville grant to John Boyd Sr. 15 Jul 1760. This land winds up in Rockingham County. John Boyd Sr., the original grant recipient, is probably the deceased in the 1767 administrator’s bond. Witnesses Robt. Bell, John Rankin, John Bell. Guilford Co. DB 2: 437. See also deed of 18 Oct 1803, James Boyd of Guilford to Henry Fryar, same, £100, 150 acres on waters of North Buffalo. Witnesses William Denney and Rebekah Denney. The witness Rebekah was a daughter of Robert Rankin d. 1795 and a granddaughter of R&R. Guilford Deed Book 8: 230.

[12] Shaker John’s Autobiography.

[13] Id. See will of Arthur Forbis dated 10 Apr 1789, proved 1794, naming as executors his “stepsons John Rankin and Robert Rankin” (Shaker John and Rev War Robert). Guilford Co., NC Will Book A: 119.

[14] Shaker John’s Autobiography.

[15] Frances T. Ingmire, Guilford County North Carolina Marriage Records 1771-1868 Volume III Names O-Z (Athens, GA: Iberian Publishing Co., 1984). Another source for Guilford marriage records is Ruth F. Thompson and Louise J. Hartgrove, Volume I Abstracts of Marriage Bonds and Additional Data, Guilford County, North Carolina 1771 – 1840 (Greensboro, NC: The Guilford County Genealogical Society, 1989).

[16] At least one Rankin researcher at Ancestry.com believes that one of Shaker John Rankin’s children did not convert to Shakerism and that he married and had children. The Logan County census and burial records, however, suggest that all ten children died single in Logan County. There is some information about Shaker John in this article.

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

[18] Guilford County, NC Wills Books A-B 1771-1838, File #312 (will of Robert Rankin d. 1795).

[19] See id., will of Robert Rankin d. 1795, naming as guardian of his Wilson grandsons Andrew Wilson, Robert’s “former son-in-law;” Buffalo Church History, listing the three wives of Andrew Wilson (Jr.).

[20] See 1850 federal census, McNairy Co., TN, William R. Wilson, 62, farmer, b. NC, Lydia Wilson, 61, b NC, Washington Wilson, 33, NC, Lucinda Wilson, 26, TN, Lydia Wilson, 8, TN, Adaline Wilson, 5, TN, Jesse Wilson, 3, TN, and Louisa Wilson, 1, TN.

[21] Rev War Robert did have a daughter Lydia, who would have been William Rankin Wilson’s second cousin. See Guilford, NC Will Book B: 435, will of William Cusick naming 3 daughters of Robert Rankin (Lydia, Isbel and Thankful) and his deceased daughter Polly Cusick Rankin. Both Lydia and William Rankin Wilson were great-grandchildren of R&R. I’ve found no evidence in the Guilford records that WRW married Lydia, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t marry. This crowd definitely had a penchant for marrying cousins.

[22] Will of William Denny dated 12 Dec 1824 proved Feb 1825 naming daughter Pamela Wilson; see also Ingmire, Guilford County North Carolina Marriage Records.

[23] See 1850 federal census, McNairy Co., TN, Andrew Wilson, farmer, 60, b. NC, dwelling #90, with Parmelia Wilson, 59, NC, Jane Wilson, 30, NC, Maxfield Wilson, 28, NC, Nancy Wilson, 25, NC, Parmelia Wilson, 21, NC, James Wilson, 19, NC, Eli Wilson, 16, NC, and Mary J. Black, 7, MO; 1860 federal census, Perry Co., AR, household of William Wilson, 45, farmer b. NC, with Andrew Wilson, 70, b. NC, also listed in his household.

[24] Thanks to my cousin-by-marriage Peggy Derryberry Gould for that information. See 1860 federal census, French Lick, Orange Co., IN, dwl #1131, Maxfield Wilson, 70, b. NC; Ingmire, Guilford County North Carolina Marriage Records.

[25] Isabel Rankin, daughter of Robert d. 1795, probably died single and without children. She was still single in 1795, when her father wrote his will, and she was probably about 30 at that time. Her father specifically bequeathed a slave to provide for her, which probably means he considered her unmarriageable. I found no marriage record for her in Guilford.

[26] Guilford County will of William Denny dated 12 Dec 1824 proved Feb 1825 naming as executor his “brother-in-law George Rankin” and children Rebecca Black, Pamela Wilson, William, Nancy, Isabel and Allen. 1803 deed from James Boyd to Henry Fryar witnessed by William Denny and Rebeckah Denny, Guilford Co. Deed Book 8: 230.

[27] Will of William Denny (Sr.), Rowan Co. Order Book 3: 200; Rowan Co. Will Book A: 31. An abstractor of this will, Jo White Linn, made (for her) a rare error about three of William Denny’s daughters. Ms. Linn read the will to say that all of William and Ann’s daughters were married, but three of them – Hannah, Agnes, and Jane/Jean Denny – were clearly identified as single in the 1766 will.

[28] Rowan Co. Deed Book 2: 67 and 70.

[29] Rowan Co., NC Deed Book 2: 86, Granville grant to Robert Rankin dated 3 Dec 1753, ten shillings, 640 acres adjacent “Irish Tracts” #14 and #15 (part of the Nottingham Colony grants).

[30] Rowan Co., NC Will Book A: 141.

[31] Rowan Co., NC Order Book 3: 200; Will Book A: 31.

[32] Jean Denny may have and probably did marry Robert Rankin of Iredell Co., son of David Rankin d. Iredell in 1789.

[33] Will of David Rankin of Iredell proved Dec. 1789, original will viewed at the NC Archives in Raleigh, C.R.054.801.11, recorded at WB A: 200

[34] Lois M. P. Schneider, Church and Family Cemeteries of Iredell County, N.C. (1992); Iredell County, NC Deed Book D: 650, deed dated 17 May 1802 from Robert Rankin to his son Denny Rankin.

[35] Rowan County, NC Will Book A: 141, will of George Rankin dated May 1760, proved Oct 1760, naming minor sons John and Robert.

[36] National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 4, December 1937, Revolutionary War Pension Applications.

[37] See Guilford, NC Will Book B: 435, will of William Cusick naming 3 daughters of Robert Rankin (Lydia, Isbel and Thankful) and William’s desceased daughter Polly Cusick Rankin.

[38] Ingmire, Guilford County North Carolina Marriage Records; National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 4, December 1937, Revolutionary War Pension Applications.

[39] See McNairy Co., TN Will Book 1: 53, will of T. M. Rankin of Bethel Springs dated 18 Jun 1885 naming two nieces and a nephew. One niece, M. E. Wilson, was the daughter of Letha Rankin and Robert D.Wilson, according to Melinda’s TN death certificate.

[40] Letha’s Daughter Malinda Wilson Lee was identified as a niece in the McNairy will of Thomas M. Rankin.

[41] Guilford, NC Will Book B: 435, will of William Cusick naming three daughters of Robert Rankin and his deceased daughter Polly Cusick Rankin (Lydia, Isbel and Thankful).

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

[43] Guilford Co., NC 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. George Sr. at that point is George, son of Robert d. 1795 (who devised that tract to George). George Jr. is probably the eldest son of Rev War Robert. Also, Robert Rankin Sr. was Rev War Robert.

Some Colonial Rankin Lines: a Primer

© Robin Rankin Willis

I recently spent some time in the Tennessee Archives researching Rankins who lived in Gibson County, Tennessee beginning about 1830. It was a good reminder about how easy it is to conflate various families having the same surname when they live in the same geographic area at roughly the same time. It occurred to me that I should have prefaced any Rankin posts on our website with some basic information about certain colonial Rankin lines, hoping to help distinguish among those families when you run across them or read the Rankin articles I post. I apologize for my lack of foresight. This article is my belated remedy.

First, a caveat. If you have read my article about Scots-Irish migration, you know that the earliest colonial immigrants from the Ulster plantation of Ireland (around 1700) settled mostly in New England. Among those were evidently some Rankins. I know absolutely nothing about New England Rankins. I am still getting up the learning curve about Rankins who settled initially in Pennsylvania or Virginia. Those Delaware River arrivals will be the subject of a second “primer.”

What I do know with a modicum of confidence is something about colonial Rankin families of North Carolina. That is my Rankin wheelhouse, and those families are the subject of this arcticle. When I started this hobby, I soon learned that my last conclusively proved Rankin ancestor was born in North Carolina around 1800. That was my only clue to his origin. Searching for his parents consequently involved mucking about in numerous North Carolina Rankin families. I acquired a ton of records in the process, because there weren’t any quick answers.

These are the Rankin families with which I became acquainted: (1) Joseph Rankin of Delaware (1704-1764), two of whose sons went to Guilford County, North Carolina; (2) Samuel and Eleanor (“Ellen”) Alexander Rankin of Lincoln County; (3) Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford County; (4) David and Margaret Rankin of Iredell County; and (5) Robert Rankin (wives Mary Withrow, Leah LNU) of Rutherford County. Here are brief descriptions of each family.

Joseph Rankin of Delaware (1704-1764) (“Joseph of Delaware”), wife unknown, two of whose sons moved to Rowan/Guilford County.

Joseph of Delaware had definitely arrived in the colonies by 1731, when he acquired a tract in New Castle County, Delaware. He is buried at Head of Christiana Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Newark, New Castle County, where his tombstone survives. Joseph’s wife Rebecca (MNU) and his son William were administrators of his estate. His place of birth is unproved, although a serious gambler would put a lot of money on Ulster. One local history claims he was born in Clyde, Scotland, which is also possible. He had at least seven children. Four sons are proved (Joseph Jr., Thomas, John, and William), two sons are established by circumstantial evidence (Robert and James), and a daughter Ann, d.s.n.p., is reportedly proved by a will I haven’t been able to find.

Joseph’s proved sons Joseph Jr. and Thomas remained in New Castle, where both died. Thomas, a Lieutenant in the Delaware militia, is buried in the same grave as his father. The DAR placed a “patriot” marker on the grave, probably giving rise to a claim by one researcher that Joseph (who died in 1764) was a Revolutionary War soldier. If so, he was a ghostly presence.

I have been unable to track Robert or James beyond brief appearances in the New Castle records.

Joseph’s other two sons, John and William Rankin, migrated to that part of Rowan Co., NC which later became Guilford County. John (born 1736, New Castle County, died 1814, Guilford) went to North Carolina first, about 1765-68. His wife was Hannah Carson. William Rankin (born 1744, New Castle, died 1804, Guilford) went to NC about 1768-70, where he married Jennet/Jean Chambers.

John and William are buried at the old Buffalo Presbyterian Church in Greensboro. They both had many children and grandchildren, and their lines were meticulously researched by Reverend Samuel Meek Rankin. His research is documented in his book, The Rankin and Wharton Families and Their Genealogy, originally published in 1931 and now available online in its entirety at at the UNC library website. For the record, Rev. Rankin’s book is dead wrong about the Joseph of Delaware being the father of Samuel Rankin, see below.

Two of Joseph of Delaware’s proved descendants have YDNA tested and are a 37-marker match with a genetic distance (“GD”) of 1, a close match. One of the men is a participant in the Rankin DNA Project. Joseph’s line is part of Lineage 1B of the Rankin project, see the chart  here. Joseph’s descendants also match the line of Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford County and David Rankin of Iredell County. More about them  below. Together, those two families and Joseph of Delaware’s line comprise Rankin DNA Project Lineage 1.

Samuel Rankin (1734 – 1816) of Lincoln Co., NC and wife Eleanor (“Ellen”) Alexander (1740 – 1802)

Thanks to a family legend and YDNA testing, I am reasonably confident that Samuel and Eleanor are my ancestors. I therefore tend to be a bit prissy with respect to misinformation about them. Some researchers claim Samuel and Eleanor were married in Pennsylvania, which is demonstrably incorrect. Eleanor appeared in North Carolina deed and court records with her Alexander family of origin as a child in 1753 and 1755. She married Samuel about 1759-60, almost certainly in North Carolina. Their eldest son, William, was born in North Carolina in January 1761.

Some researchers assert that Samuel was born in Paxtang, Pennsylvania, although there seems to be no evidence for that claim. I think it’s highly improbable. Samuel may be the same man as the Samuel Rankin who appeared on the 1753 tax list for Sadsbury Township in Chester County, Pennsylvania There were no other Rankins on that list.

Samuel and Eleanor lived on Dutchman’s Creek in the part of Lincoln County that later became Gaston County. His nickname, I was charmed to learn, was “Old One-Eyed Sam.” I don’t know how he lost an eye. He and Eleanor had seven sons (William, Samuel, Robert, David, Richard, Alexander, and James) and three daughters (Jane/Jean, Anne, and Eleanor). William, Alexander, James, Jane, and Anne stayed in Lincoln County, or nearby. Richard Rankin died in Mecklenburg County, just east of the Catawba River. You can see Richard’s headstone on Beatty’s Ford Road north of Charlotte in the left foreground in the banner photo on this website. Three of Samuel and Eleanor’s sons (Samuel Jr., Robert, and David) and a daughter (Eleanor Rankin Dickson) went to Rutherford County, Tennessee. David stayed in Murfreesboro, but his three siblings moved on to Shelby County, Illinois.

Two theories about the father/parents of Samuel Rankin (Sr.) still have proponents on the internet. Both of them have been conclusively disproved by Y-DNA testing, see the article at this link. I have found no evidence in colonial records regarding the identity of Samuel’s parents. He is probably the original Rankin immigrant in his line.

Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford Co., NC (“R&R”)

This family arrived in the colonies in 1750 from Letterkenny Parish, Donegal County, Ireland, where their children were probably born. [1] They were in Pennsylvania for only a short while. Robert Sr. and his son George Rankin (or perhaps Robert Jr. and his brother George) were included on the 1753 tax list for West Nottingham Township in Chester County. R&R then came to Guilford County in 1755 as part of the Nottingham Colony, a group of Scots-Irish members of Nottingham Presbyterian Church, now located in Maryland (it was then in Pennsylvania). Here is a map of Chester County in 1712 showing the Nottingham lots, located in disputed territory that wound up in Maryland.

R&R had at least two proved sons who died in Guilford County: George (died in 1760), whose wife was Lydia Steele, and Robert (died in 1795), whose wife’s identity is a matter of controversy among Rankin researchers. Some Rankin family trees and at least one compiled Rankin history conflate the Robert who died in 1795 with his father Robert (husband of Rebecca), who died about 1770-73. The article at this link addresses that issue.

According to Rev. S. M. Rankin, R&R also had a son John who proved to be a research dead end for me, although the Guilford records suggest that is possible. R&R also had a daughter Ann, whose husband was the William Denny who died in Guilford in 1770. R&R probably had other children as well, including two daughters who might be deemed only likely: Margaret (Rankin) Braly or Brawley, widow of Thomas Braly/Brawley,  and Rebecca (Rankin) Boyd, widow of John Boyd. Evidence concerning those daughters is discussed in this article.

All of the above is conventional wisdom so far as I know, except for (1) the identity of the wife of R&R’s son Robert Rankin who died in 1795 (see discussion under David Rankin of Iredell, below), (2) Ann as a daughter of R&R, (3) the two likely daughters Margaret and Rebecca, and (4) the death date of George Rankin, son of R&R. Rev. Rankin said George died in 1761, but that was probably a typo. George actually died in 1760, when his will was both written and probated.

David Rankin of Iredell Co., NC (d. 1789), wife Margaret LNU (“Iredell David”)

David Rankin’s 1789 Iredell will and other records establish a wife Margaret and three children: Robert, James (not explicitly named in the will), and Elizabeth (ditto). Both James and Elizabeth are established by the will, even though it doesn’t provide their given names, and other records.

Iredell David’s son Robert may be and probably is the same man as the “Mystery Robert” who applied for a Revolutionary War Pension from Gibson County, Tennessee in 1832. I made that argument in this article, although my opinion should be deemed somewhat speculative. The identity of Robert’s wife is also a matter of controversy. Some researchers believe his wife was a Jean Denny (1755-1779) from Guilford County. Some Jean Denny definitely married some Robert Rankin in Guilford County in 1775. Other researchers believe that Jean Denny of Guilford married Robert, the son of R&R who died in Guilford in 1795. I disagree, because I believe that Robert (son of R&R) of Guilford was Jean Denny’s uncle. This question requires a fairly lengthy argument which I will save for another day.

In any event, Robert and his wife Jean had two sons: (1) Denny, who married Sarah McMinn, and (2) James, who married Elizabeth McMinn, Sarah’s sister. Both families remained in Iredell. Two of Denny’s sons moved to Gibson County, TN (home of “Mystery Robert”) and then to Shelby Co., TN, where they both died. Many of James and Elizabeth’s descendants remained in Iredell; some are still there today. They are nice folks.

Iredell David’s son James died in the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill in Lincoln Co. in June 1780. His wife was a Miss Alexander (probably Susannah), and they had four children who are proved by Lincoln County guardian records: (1) David Rankin, born by 1781, Lincoln; (2) Margaret (“Peggy”) Rankin who married Thomas Witherspoon in Lincoln, 6 Jul 1801; (3) William Rankin who married. Mary Lourance/Lawrence, 17 Jan 1810; and (4) Jane/Jean Rankin m. William Crays.

Iredell deed records suggest that Iredell David’s daughter was probably  Elizabeth, wife of Samuel McCrary (or McCreary).

For a lengthy chart (including supporting records) on the line of David of Iredell, see the article at this link.

Robert Rankin of Rutherford County, NC (b. 1748-49, d. 1816, Caldwell County, KY), m#1 Mary Withrow, m#2 Leah LNU (“Rutherford Robert”)

Francis Gill did the definitive research on Rutherford Robert and published a book about him and others. I cannot find a copy of his book available for either purchase or loan, or I would buy it.

Rutherford Robert married Mary Withrow in Tryon County, North Carolina in 1769. He owned land on Second Broad River in what ultimately became Rutherford County. He and his future Withrow in-laws may have been listed on the tax list for Aston Township, Chester Co., PA in 1768, before going to NC. Rutherford Robert and Mary Withrow divorced, and he married as his second wife Leah LNU. They wound up in Caldwell County, Kentucky, where Robert applied for tax relief in a document establishing his birth year as 1748-49. He left a will naming his children Margaret, James, John, Rachel and David (children of Mary Withrow) and Elizabeth, Jennet, Jesse and Elias (children of his second wife Leah).  The children evidently scattered to the four winds. At least one of them, Jesse, wound up in Gibson County, Tennessee, see this article about him.

Whew! This article became longer than I expected. Hope this helps a bit in keeping these families straight. One final note: a couple of people who have read my articles say they never look at the footnotes, which just make them too long. I have started omitting them, for the most part. However, if anyone wants a citation to a source for anything in this or any other article, please let me know and I will be happy to provide it.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] John Rankin, a Shaker preacher and grandson of R&R, hand-wrote his autobiography at age 88. These details about the migration of R&R are from that autobiography. The only reference to a full transcription of the autobiography which I can find is as follows: John Rankin, “Auto-biography of John Rankin, Sen.” (South Union, Ky., 1845), transcribed in Harvey L. Eads, ed., History of the South Union Shaker Colony from 1804 to 1836 (South Union, Ky., 1870), Shaker Museum at South Union, Auburn, Kentucky (SMSU), 29-30. For a typescript of Eads’s history, see Shaker Record A at the Special Collections Library, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky (WKU). The above citation can be found at this link.

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

THIS ARTICLE IS OUTDATED AND NEEDS TO BE REVISED. MORE YDNA RESULTS ARE IN.

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).

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[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).