Coming attractions …

I told my husband today I must live at least another 20 years in order to complete my to-do list. A significant part of the list has to do with fun family history. Some of it, considerably less appealing, has to do with ridding our closets of a half-century of accumulated stuff. Since we are about to go on vacation – a time when to-do lists and closets are happily forgotten – I thought I might leave some promises in our wake. Perhaps someone will hold me to them.

So here is a list of coming attractions, i.e., posts I have already largely written in my head.

Burkes: it is high time for me to publish an article about Esom Logan Burke of Wilson County, Tennessee and his son William Logan Burke I, the McLennan County, Texas sheriff of the 1880s. William Logan Burke II, the Sheriff’s son, was a polo player, hunter, and well-known teller of tall tales like his great-grandfather John Burke, who died in 1842 in Jackson County, Tennessee. I also have articles about John Burke’s children which are already drafted but which are so boring I haven’t been able to convince myself to post them.

Rankins: in the “famous Rankins” category, an article about James Lee Rankin (1907 – 1996). He argued the amicus curiae brief as Assistant Attorney General in the so-called “segregation cases,” six cases consolidated before the Supreme Court in 1953. The Court rendered its decision in the familiar 1954 case styled Brown v. Board of Education. Atty. Gen. Rankin “argued forcefully for desegregation of the nation’s public schools.” He also represented the American Civil Liberties Union in advancing the landmark case Gideon v. Wainwright, which established the right of an indigent person accused of a crime to have legal counsel at public expense. He was a moderate Republican who managed the Eisenhower for President campaign in Nebraska. Wow. He descends from David and Jeanette (not Mildred) McCormick Rankin of Frederick Co., VA. There is one hinky spot in his lineage that I haven’t quite worked out, but there is no doubt of his immigrant ancestors. That family is Lineage 3 on the Rankin Family DNA Project. I really wish we were related.

… more famous Rankins: Jeanette Rankin and her sister Edna Rankin McKinnon. The Rankin sisters had a habit of being “first” at this and that, as well as being reformers in feminist causes such as suffrage and birth control. Jeanette was the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Montana, in 1916 – before she was even eligible to vote for herself: women didn’t get the vote until 1920, when the 19th Amendment was ratified. Her sister Edna, an attorney, was the first native-born woman to be admitted to the Montana Bar, and was a birth control pioneer. Their Rankin grandfather was born in Scotland, and (so far as I know), no member of that Rankin family has Y-DNA tested and joined the Rankin DNA Project.

… Rev. John Rankin, the famous abolitionist of Ohio, who provided a major stop on the Underground Railroad. He belongs to what is called Rankin “Lineage 2A” in the Rankin family DNA project – namely, the Rankins of Jefferson County, Tennessee and the famous Mt. Horeb Presbyterian Church Cemetery bronze tablet. I am happy to claim Rev. John as a genetic relative. I disclaim the unproved parts of his lineage, which is anyone prior to John Rankin who died in 1749 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. <grin>

Charts: I am working on charts of several families. First, Adam Rankin who died in 1747 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, wife Mary Steele Alexander. I have posted articles about that line here, and  here, and  here, and also here.

Second, a chart for the line of David and Jeanette McCormick Rankin of Frederick County, Virginia. I have posted two articles about them, but both are subject to correction so I will eschew links.

Third, a chart for John and Elizabeth Graves Burke of Jackson County, Tennessee. All of the three Burke articles I have posted have been about that family. First, here, then here, and then here.

And that’s enough from me for now. I must go find my Astros t-shirt, because one stop on vacation is Yankee Stadium on Saturday, June 22, when the dreaded Yankees will take on the Houston Astros.

See you on down the road.


7 thoughts on “Coming attractions …”

  1. I agree with your thought that you must live another 20 years to complete everything you want to accomplish, me too! I would love to be able to write a family history book (or two)! At least complete my family trees! On vacation now too!

  2. Robin,

    It sounds like we have a lot of good stuff to look forward to!

    Speaking of famous Rankins, do you know anything about Col. William Rankin, who was a traitor during the Revolutionary War? I stumbled upon some newspaper articles about him when searching for “my” William Rankin (the son of Adam Rankin, brother of James, Jeremiah, and Esther)–thank goodness it wasn’t him!

    I found some links talking about him, and I will just add them here:

    The newspaper articles I found list all his properties and their locations because they are being sold after being seized by the government of Pennsylvania after his treason. The lands of James Rankin, John Rankin, and Martin Blankford (his sons and … son-in-law?) were seized and sold along with his.

    From the first link:

    …By August of 1777 William Rankin was a colonel in the York Co. PA militia commanding the 2nd battalion. In April of 1778 he still had that position and rank.

    In December 1778, Col. Rankin sent a secret messenger to Sir Henry Clinton in an attempt to be held harmless from all penalties set upon the “rebels” and offering to bring a complete battalion of men into the king’s service. Clinton replied that they would be held harmless and for them to continue in their present positions and furnish him with “important intellligence that might come to their knowledge”…

    So far I have found that William seems to have had a brother John Rankin, also a Colonel in the militia, but I haven’t found anything about his parentage or background. Have you ever heard of this blackguard?

      1. AMEN! Fun game. BTW, Yankee Stadium is fabulous, and the fans are, too. We couldn’t believe how into the game they were! Also, how nice they were to us, despite the Astros t-shirts … the NY stereotype is unwarranted. Meanwhile, go Stros!

        1. Oh yes, I lived in NYC for a year back in the ’80’s, and the New Yorkers were friendly and helpful to this newcomer with a Southern accent.

      1. Definitely! If you think you might write about him some day, I’ll email you the newspaper clippings I found.

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