Schemes to quell the Revolution, buried treasure, horses in canoes, and more

Imagine a Pennsylvania Tory writing about his plan to kidnap the Continental Congress. The same man proposed several other schemes to “suppress the Rebellion,” some almost plausible. One of his Tory brothers reportedly buried gold coins and other loot before he fled the country, then made a royal pain of himself seeking restitution in London. And, of course, there were the horses in canoes.

But I’m getting ahead of their stories. Here’s the Cliff Notes version …

There were three brothers in York County, Pennsylvania in the late colonial period: William, James (1730-1803), and John (Jr.) Rankin.[1] They were sons of John Rankin (Sr.) and his wife Ann.[2] They owned a lot of Pennsylvania land and lived high-profile public lives. They were Quakers. Each man was married with children. They became Tories, i.e., Loyalists who supported Great Britain during the Revolution. All were “attainted of high treason” and fled to Canada and England to save their necks. One of them left his wife and eight children behind in Pennsylvania. Each man asked the Crown to compensate him for the loss of his estate, which had been confiscated by Pennsylvania.

The information I have about the Tory Rankins is primarily from their “Memorials” — requests for restitution to the British Commission handling Loyalists’ claims. Images of the original Memorials are available online.[3]

William (d. before 1816)

William was a Justice of the York County Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions by at least 1771.[4] He was the commander of the Second Battalion of York County militia, holding the rank of Colonel.[5] He was a representative to the Pennsylvania Assembly.[6] His wife was Jane Rhodes, a Quaker, with whom he had three sons and five daughters.[7] He claimed about 2,500 acres of his land in Pennsylvania were confiscated,[8] including a one-third interest owned with his brothers in the “Middletown Ferry.”[9]

William claimed he was originally a staunch supporter of redress for the Colonies against British oppression. He never resigned his commission in the militia. This required some artful tap-dancing when he made his request for restitution. He explained that he changed his mind about supporting the Colonies after what he considered a generous offer by the British to redress grievances, plus his growing perception that the colonists’ objective was complete independence. That was presumably plain by July 1776, even on the Pennsylvania frontier. He would immediately have resigned his commission, he said, except that he was persuaded he might help the British more if he retained command of the militia.

He concluded that was wise, because the militia was soon ordered to destroy the estates of certain Tories in York County. He claims to have carried out the order in some manner that protected the endangered estates.[10] Gary, the military expert in the family, is skeptical — how does one manage that? “Yeah, we burned ’em to the ground, but please don’t go look.”

By 1778, William was making regular proposals to Sir General Henry Clinton after the British captured Philadelphia. The Continental Congress fled Philadelphia, initially to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They then went to York, where they met in the York County courthouse, virtually under William’s nose. He proposed kidnapping the entire delegation and delivering them as prisoners of war to Philadelphia.[11] Rankin claimed the delegation was guarded by “not more than forty invalids.” The delegation itself was small: by the time it was meeting in York, a mere eighteen delegates were attending.[12]

His strategy was sound, says Gary. Washington’s army was then in camp at Valley Forge. The Susquehanna, rendered unfordable by the spring thaw, lay between Valley Forge and the York courthouse. William proposed taking the captured delegation south to the Chesapeake and delivering the prisoners to a British frigate, presumably a bit north of Baltimore (controlled by the Patriots). The British Navy controlled the Bay.

For reasons William couldn’t fathom, General Clinton did not endorse the plan. Could Clinton have smelled a trap? After all, Rankin was still a Colonel in the York County militia and a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly in the spring of 1778. Also, Clinton believed — probably correctly — that British efforts should concentrate on defeating General Washington’s army. But Gary would have given the kidnap scheme a thumbs up.

William said he was so demoralized by the rejection of his proposal that he thought about giving up on helping defeat the Revolution. He was persuaded otherwise by a message from Joey Galloway, who had been an influential member of the First Continental Congress but became an opponent of American independence.[13] Galloway, who was the Philadelphia Chief of Police after the British captured the city, encouraged William to continue expanding “the Associators,” a group of Loyalists who took oaths to the Crown and reported to William.

Another scheme of William’s was supported by some in the King’s army. The main supply magazine for Washington’s army was located about midway between York and Carlisle, within spitting distance of William’s residence. It contained substantial stores of beef, pork, gunpowder, guns, and the like. Here, however, Rankin’s tendency to exaggerate and his inevitable request for British help probably doomed the proposal. He claimed that the supply magazine was guarded by 600 people, of whom 400 were “Associators.” Further, he asked for a detachment under British Col. Butler, then in Detroit, to come to Pennsylvania to join up with the Associators, who would seize the depot. Gen. Clinton agreed to the proposal, said William, except he declined to order Butler from Detroit to Pennsylvania.[14] The plan never happened, although it’s hard to understand why the British did not try to capture the supply depot themselves.

The Patriots finally noticed William. In March 1781, he was put in the York Town jail. With the help of friends, he escaped and fled to New York. There, he gave Gen. Clinton a “full account” of the Associators. He claimed a force of the Associators could “put the three provinces of Maryland, Pennsylvania & the Delaware Counties into the peace of the Crown.” Rankin needed only a small detachment of British soldiers and supplies of arms and ammunition for the Associators. Like William’s other proposals, that never took place.

Nevertheless, William persisted. Ultimately, he claimed some 20,000 Associators under his command. By contrast, there were never more than 48,000 men in the Continental Army at any one time.[15] Surely, either William knowingly exaggerated or he was unrealistic.

Gen. Clinton privately expressed his opinion that Col. Rankin was “not much of an officer … but he appears to be a plain sensible man worth attending to.”[16] Perhaps weary of William’s proposals, Clinton sent him to Virginia in May 1781 to present his plans to Gen. Phillips. However, Phillips had died and been replaced by Cornwallis by the time William arrived. Cornwallis also declined to implement any of William’s proposals. One of them required sending a detachment of British troops up the Chesapeake to rescue “upward of 150” Associators who had been betrayed and imprisoned in Maryland.

However, William arrived when Cornwallis was fresh from his purported victory against General Nathaniel Greene’s band of mostly backwoods farmers at Guilford Courthouse in March 1781.[17] The British suffered heavy losses in that battle, prompting a member of Parliament to exclaim that they could not afford any more such victories. Cornwallis cannot have been inclined to use his exhausted forces to rescue some of Col. Rankin’s friends in Maryland.

Having no luck with Cornwallis, William returned to New York. When the British evacuated in November 1783, he went to England, where he lived on a pension of £120 a year and was awarded £2,320 to cover the loss of property confiscated by Pennsylvania.[18]

His mother Ann Noblet helped support William’s wife Jane and eight children during his exile, creating a trust for their use and funding it with land given her by her late husband Abraham Noblet.[19] There doesn’t seem to be a Find-a-Grave memorial for William in London, although he lived in Mill Hill, Hendon Parish, in the County of Middlesex. So did his brother James. His children all remained in America at least through 1816.[20]

James (1730 – 1803)

James was also a delegate in the Pennsylvania General Assembly back when his focus was apparently on acquiring land. When the revolutionary unpleasantness began, he said he “set his face like a Flint” and openly and actively opposed “every measure and step taken by the Seditious leaders.”[21] James claims he broke up “a public Election to constitute a new fangled rebel Provincial Assembly which the populace had conveined [sic] for the purpose … by appearing in person … pointing out to them the illegality of their proceedings and absolutely forbidding them to proceed on pain of having the Court House in which they were then assembled leveled about their Ears.”

Not surprisingly, he says he “soon became the object of Popular outrage and suffered not only every insult hurtful to the feelings of an honest Man and a Man of Spirit but real Injury of his Property and was moreover hourly exposed to emminent [sic] Danger of his person from being considered as the most mischievous Character to the Cause in the part of the Country where he resided.”

His brother John’s Memorial, however, says James “never took any part one side or other,” suggesting that James may not have been the most mischievous character in the area. Or perhaps John Jr. had an agenda: James expressed contempt for his brother in a submission to the Commission, saying John “was never worth £200 in his life.”

In addition to breaking up the election at the York court house, James helped some British soldiers who were imprisoned in York. One of them, a Lieut. Robert Chase, swore that James “always assisted us … for which he fell under the displeasure both of the Committee appointed to sit at York Town as well as the Committee of Safety at Philadelphia.” James was soon sent to jail. He escaped and fled with his family to the British lines in September 1777. From there, he went to Nova Scotia and then to England.

His real work began in earnest in England: convincing the Commission evaluating Loyalists’ claims to pay him more than £74,000 in Pennsylvania currency for his real and personal property. That was then equivalent to £44,000 British sterling. His estate included twenty-two farms and plantations, a fishery, two ferries, a mill, and “seven Negroes.” He was asking for roughly $105,000,000 in today’s U.S. dollars.

He stayed busy in his own behalf. He had (back in the Colonies) boarded a British ship in Chesapeake Bay to ask Lt. Chase to provide evidence of his help to the British prisoners in York. He sought witnesses and dug up old facts — e.g., an arbitration property valuation in 1768 — to bolster his case. He testified to the Commission in person, when (he said) they were “candid” about their view of his claims. One gathers they expressed some skepticism.

Mostly, he bombarded the Commission with letters about his claim. Frankly, he sounds arrogant and entitled. He asked for a speedy hearing because his “allowance is inadequate for support of his family and obliges him to incur debts.” He noted that other claims filed after his had already been considered. He wrote about “a small estate he wants to buy if assured he would participate in the £178,000 granted by Parliament.” He wanted to know if he would come in for payments of 30 or 40% of the last grant for the Loyalists, whatever that means. When the Commission complained that James lacked proper deeds, his reply asked for “Mr. Penn” to testify on his behalf. I can’t figure out who that was, but he sounds like he might be a member of William Penn’s family.

In December 1788, James complained that the amount he had received thus far — £10,772 in total — was “not one half of the real loss” he suffered. The amount received is equivalent to about  £1,889,515.03 in 2013.[22] In 2024 US dollars, that is roughly $2.4 million, which is probably close enough, give or take a million, to explain why James exhausted the Commissioners’ patience.[23] James’s actual award was a substantial multiple of what many others received.[24]

The final straw was apparently James’s letter of 15 March 1790, asking if the Commissioners “had any news” for him about his claim. The Commission responded with asperity a mere two days later: “The Claimant’s case has already undergone a full ______ [unreadable] & the Commissioners have done everything in it which they consider themselves at liberty to do.” With apologies to Peter O’Toole in Becket, one could easily picture a Commissioner saying, “Will no one rid us of this meddlesome claimant?”[25] The documents in James’s file indicate that was his last exchange with the Commissioners.

My friend Jess “Gams” Guyer found an image of James’s will in the prerogative court at Canterbury. James named his wife Ann and eight children, but he probably had another son who had remained in York County and predeceased him. So far as I have found, three children never left Pennsylvania, one died in the West Indies, one may have returned to Canada from England, and four remained in England.[26] His widow Ann, birth name unknown, was either his second or third wife.[27] And that is all I have found about James Rankin.

John Jr.

Of the three brothers, John Jr. was the least successful financially. He left little information in either his Memorial or York County records. He was a militia Captain, although he doesn’t mention that in his Memorial.[28] His brother William was his agent in John’s claim before the Commission. The information in his Memorial was short and sweet; John claimed two pieces of real property and very little personalty. John said he was living on one of James’s farms at one time. John’s Memorial, bless his heart, identified both James and William as his brothers. I don’t know how much he was awarded for his claim, if anything.

John said that he, too, assisted the British prisoners in York, and thereby “brought upon himself the hatred and Resentment of the Rebels, was obliged to fly for refuge to the Kings Army then at Philadelphia, had his property real and personal sold and his Person proscribed and attainted by High Treason, and is now for Refuge in the Province of Nova Scotia.”

Specifically, John said he “joined the British in March 1778, and remained with them until the evacuation of New York.[29] He came to Annapolis [Canada] in 1783 and settled in New Brunswick.” He went back to Pennsylvania at least once, about 1785, for trading; he was the only one of the three brothers to return, so far as I know.

John’s wife was Abigail Rhodes, sister of his brother William’s wife Jane Rhodes. John and Abigail had three children: two daughters (given names unknown) and a son Rhodes Rankin, a mariner. John also identified himself as a mariner, stating in an affirmation that he owned a schooner named Rebeckah.[30]

Finally, the horses and the canoes: John Rankin Sr., the family patriarch

One of those hoary old histories of Pennsylvania families says that a John Rankin emigrated to Pennsylvania from England before 1735, probably from Yorkshire, and probably by 1730.[31] He is almost certainly the John Rankin who obtained a 1733 grant in what was then Lancaster County on a memorable waterway: Yellow Breeches Creek. The creek location establishes that John’s grant wound up in York County.

Some of the English Quakers, including John Rankin (Sr.), reportedly crossed the Susquehanna from east to west about midway between Lancaster and Carlisle in what is now Middletown, at the mouth of Swatara Creek.[32] That location subsequently became the site of the so-called “Middletown Ferry,” jointly owned by the three Tory brothers. Here’s the canoe story …

“Some of the English Quakers crossed the Susquehanna [in Middletown] as early as 1730.  Five years later a temporary road was opened on the York County side.  Thomas Hall, John McFesson, Joseph Bennett, John Heald, John Rankin and Ellis Lewis from Chester County, crossed the Susquehanna from the mouth of the Swatara, and selected lands on the west side of the river in the year 1732.  It has often been related of them, that when they arrived at the eastern bank of the river, and there being no other kinds of crafts than canoes to cross, they fastened two together, and placed their horses’ front feet in one canoe and the hind feet in another, then piloted the frail crafts, with their precious burden, across the stream by means of poles.”

Glad I didn’t have to help load the horses.

I don’t know anything else about John Sr. except that he died in 1748.[33]  That was the perfect time to insure that his estate administration would fall between the cracks, since York was created from Lancaster in 1748. I didn’t find his estate in either county.

Epilog

 I will be happy to share mostly verbatim transcriptions of the three Memorials with anyone who asks. Will also share my start on an outline descendant tree for this family, just in case someone has a yen to find a living male Rankin who might Y-DNA test.

See you on down the road.

Robin

                  [1] Birth and death dates are proved only for James Rankin, per his tombstone. Online trees show James as the eldest and William as the youngest, with no evidence that I have seen.

                  [2] Ann Rankin’s birth surname is usually given as either Brown or Moore, although I have found no evidence for either. John Rankin Jr. is proved as a son of John Sr. by a Quaker marriage record; John Rankin Jr.’s Memorial (request to the Crown for restitution) proves that James and William were his brothers; and Ann Rankin Noblit/Noblet is proved as William Rankin’s mother by deeds. In short, there is a wealth of evidence establishing the members of this Rankin family.

            [3] If you are interested in the originals, John Rankin Jr.’s Memorial begins at image 65 of 235 in this link. James Rankin’s Memorial begins at image 115 of 482 here. William Rankin’s Memorial can be found in the same link as James’s, beginning at image 234.

                  [4] York Co., PA Deed Book D: 374, 400, 523, all three deeds dated May 1771, each one acknowledged by the grantor before William Rankin, Justice.

                  [5] Colonel William Rankin is listed as commander of the Second Battalion, York Co. Militia here.

                  [6] William Rankin was reportedly a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly from Sept. 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778, see info here.

                  [7] The children of William and Jane Rhodes Rankin were James, John, William, Ann (m. Nathan Potts), Abigail (m. William Webb), Catharine (m. Jesse Walker), Mary (m. Isaac Walker) and a daughter who m. a Mr. Branson. York Co., PA Deed Book 3B: 312.

                  [8] William Rankin’s Memorial lists confiscated properties of about 2700 acres, including his one-third interest along with his brothers in the 300 acres with the Middletown Ferry. He removed a 220-acre tract called “Noblett’s Old Planation” from his claim, noting that his mother had claimed and taken possession of it. A deed proves his mother was Ann (Rankin) Noblett. See York Co., PA Deed Book 2I: 305, 1790 deed from Ann Noblet conveying a tract in trust for the use of Jane Rankin, identified as the wife of Ann’s son William Rankin.

      [9] History of York County, Pennsylvania, John Gibson, Editor (Chicago: F. A. Battey Publishing Co., 1886) 630. The Middletown Ferry, located in Newberry Township, opened in 1738. It was originally called Hussey’s Ferry.  The ferry obtained its present name and was licensed in 1760.

                  [10] The story is repeated in an online article in Encyclopedia.com, citing Carl Van Doren, Secret History of the American Revolution (New York: Viking Press, 1941), at this link.

            [11] William “sent a confidential message to the General [Clinton] proposing that if he would send a Frigate or two (& more would not be necessary) to receive them in the Cheasapeak, he would deliver to him every member of the Congress then sitting & directing the affairs of the Rebellion at the Town of York … he was in his own Mind perfectly convinced that the Attempt would be crowned with Success: Washington’s Army, the whole force of the Rebellion was then at the Valley Forge sixty miles distant from York, a river unfordable at that season lay between his army and York. The place where the frigate was proposed to receive the Congress was about forty miles from the place of their Capture. The associated Loyalists under my command, being reputable farmers of the Country, had provided themselves with horses, arms, & ammunition, & could have delivered the Congress in a few hours to the Captain of the Frigate, which might have been ordered to receive them.”

                  [12] The number of delegates meeting at the York courthouse comes from the Mt. Vernon  website. The reduced delegation nevertheless accomplished some important work, including drafting the Articles of Confederation.

                  [13] Here is an article about Galloway, an impressive character.

                  [14] Christopher Sower, a Pennsylvania Loyalist, told Gen. Clinton that if he would direct that Butler make a raid on the principal rebel supply depot, Rankin and his supporters could not only assist in this operation but could also arm themselves for future action. See this article. Sower was Clinton’s link to the Loyalists in the frontier counties of Lancaster, Northumberland, and York.

            [15] For information on the Continental Army, see article here.

                  [16] Gen. Clinton expressed his opinion of William Rankin in a letter to Gen. Phillips quoted here.

                  [17] The Battle of Guilford Courthouse was a Pyhrric victory for the British and probably the turning point in the Southern Campaign, see this article.

                  [18] See this article for William’s award from the Commission.

                  [19] York Co., PA Deed Book 2I: 305.

            [20] York Co., PA Deed Book 3B: 312, deed dated 17 Jun 1816 from the heirs of Jane Walker (Jane Rhoads Rankin Walker, William Rankin’s wife) to Michael Stormington. The heirs: (1) James Rankin of Missouri Territory; (2) John Rankin of Newberry Twp.; (3) William Rankin of Philadelphia Co.; (4) Nathan Potts of Newberry Twp. and wife Ann (Rankin) Potts; (5) William Webb of Abington Twp., Montgomery Co., and wife Abigail (Rankin) Webb; (6) Jesse Walker of Wayne Co. and wife Catharine (Rankin) Walker; (7A and 7B), two grandchildren, children of Jane Rankin Walker’s daughter ________ Rankin Branson, Thomas Robinson and wife Anna and Charles Branson, all of Chester Co., and (8) Isaac Walker and wife Mary (Rankin) Walker of Washington Co.

                  [21] Here is a link to original images of James’s “Memorial,” available with a subscription on Ancestry. It is undoubtedly also available free at FamilySearch.org, although I have not looked there. James’s claim begins at Image 116 of 482.

            [22] £10,000 sterling in 1788 is equivalent in purchasing power to about  £1,889,515 in 2013.

            [23] £1,889,515 sterling in U.S. dollars = $2,403,211. Wow.

            [24] A mere £1,700 was more than many others received, according to historian Maya Jasanoff. See this article.

            [25] Peter O’Toole said,  as King Henry II, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?”  referring to Thomas Becket, played by Richard Burton in Becket.

                  [26] James’s likely eldest son John died in York in 1785; his son Abraham and daughter Ann Rankin Nebinger also probably remained in Pennsylvania. Son William died in Granada in 1820, see info here. Son James Jr. may have returned to Canada. I have no record of the remaining children — Richard, Rebecca, Mary, and a second son John — who may have remained in England.

                  [27] James’s first wife was Rebecca Bennett, named in a family history, see Mary Elizabeth Bennett Durand and Edward Durand, Bennett Family History: William Bennett and Grace Davis (married 1789), their ancestry and their descendants (apparently self-published at Hassell Street Press, 2021). Rebecca reportedly died in 1773. James’s Memorial says he had a wife with him in Nova Scotia after he left NYC in 1783, suggesting he remarried in either Pennsylvania or New York. His Find-a-Grave memorial identifies his widow as Ann, birth name unknown. The transcription of the tombstone says “his tomb is erected by his disconsolate widow as a tribute of respect to his memory and a token of affection to a most tender husband.” See Find-a-Grave memorial here.

                  [28]  Captain John Rankin, 2nd Company, Newberry Twp., 3d Battalion, York Co. militia.

                  [29] On November 25, 1783, Gen. Washington rode into New York City with nearly 800 American soldiers as the British forces evacuated.

                  [30] John Rankin’s statement about the schooner Susannah was erroneously included among the papers filed with James’s memorial.

            [31] Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania: Genealogical and Personal Memoirs (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1932, Vol. 4, editor Wilfred Jordan) 579. John Rankin Sr.’s son James was born in Pennsylvania according to James’s Memorial. James’s tombstone gives his birth date as 1730. Assuming that is correct, then John Sr. must have been in the Colonies at least by then.

                  [32] History of York County, Pennsylvania  (Chicago: F. A. Battey Publishing Co., 1886, John Gibson, editor) 630.

                  [33] John Rankin Sr.’s intestate estate in Newberry Township, Lancaster County was probated in 1748. There do not seem to be records of the estate in either Lancaster or York, except for an index to Lancaster County letters of administration. FHL Film No. 5534638, Image 117, John Rankin, 1748.

A Chart for Adam and Mary Steele Rankin: Part 2 of n, Children of James and Jean/Jane Campbell Rankin.

An outline descendant chart is an example of what some Texans call “Aggie counting:” one, and another one, and another one, and another one … etc.

Likewise, the charts themselves are name/dates/spouse, name/dates/spouse, name/dates/spouse … etc., perhaps leavened occasionally with another fact or two.  I dislike creating the dang things almost as much as I hate reading them. I’m just trying to be a good citizen by sharing what I know (or think I know) about this famous family. An incredible number of people claim to be their descendants. Maybe this will assist someone in locating an ancestor. Or perhaps it will be a dose of cold water. Who knows.

The prior post in this series (“Part 1 of n”) only included information for Adam and his four children – James Sr., William, Jeremiah, and Esther. Adam and Mary are obviously generation number 1 in that chart; their children are each number 2. We pick up in this post with the line of James Sr. and his wife Jean/Jane Campbell. I think James Sr. was a son of Mary Steele Alexander Rankin, although some researchers believe he was a son of a prior wife (for whom there is apparently no documentary evidence — please speak up if you have some!).

James Sr. and Jean/Jane had six children proved by his will: Esther, Ruth, William, Jeremiah, David, and James Jr.[1] I have not listed these children in birth order herein for obscure reasons of my own. The chart includes descendants of all of James Sr.’s children as far as I have tracked them toward the present, with the exception of their son James Jr. He is listed last and his descendants aren’t named (yet). That is because James Sr.’s son James Jr. is Spade’s line, and if I get it wrong, Spade will never let me hear the end of it. James Jr.’s descendants will appear in “Part 3 of n” when I gin up the nerve to publish it.

2 James Rankin Sr. and Jean/Jane Campbell, see Part 1 of n for more info on that couple.

   3 Esther Rankin, 1762 – 1826, Franklin Co. Husband Samuel Smith. [2]

      4 Mary Smith, b. by 1788.

   3 Ruth Rankin m. John Tool.

   3 William Rankin, b. ca 1748, d. ca 1800, Franklin Co., PA. Received half of his father’s 280-acre tract on Licking Cr. and devised that land to his only son James.[3] William married Anne Gillespie on 5 Nov 1771 in the Upper West Conococheague Presbyterian Church. Not surprisingly, he has been confused with other men having the same name, but the records about him are straightforward.

      4 James Rankin, b. abt 1772-1776, Cumberland Co., PA. He was single in 1797 when William wrote his will. The last record I found for James was in an 1809 deed when he sold his father’s Franklin Co. land.[4]

      4 Elizabeth Rankin m. Mr. Ritchie.

      4 Jean Rankin, b. after 1776.

      4 Ann Rankin, b. after 1776.

      4 Ruth Rankin, b. after 1776.

      4 Mary Gillespie Rankin, b. after 1776.

    3 Jeremiah Rankin, b. ca 1752-1756, d. 1803. Jeremiah’s line is subject to controversy. One credible source says that James and Jean Campbell Rankin’s son Jeremiah was the man who married Mary Clark and died in 1803.[5] Two county history books claim that the Jeremiah who died in 1803 was a grandson of James and Jean. I come down on the side of the first argument, see the article at this link.

 Jeremiah inherited half of his father’s 280-acre tract on Licking Cr. He was a revolutionary soldier. He built the allegedly haunted house in the area of Montgomery Township, Franklin County known as “the Corner.” His wife Mary Clark was a daughter of James Clark. Jeremiah’s 1803 will named his wife, only son James Clark Rankin, and daughters Nancy, Mariah, and Esther.[6]

      4 James Clark Rankin, b. 1800, d. 1 Jun 1866.[7] Married Elizabeth Watson (1800 – 1871 or 1875) on 27 Mar 1828. He inherited the house in the Corner built by his father Jeremiah. His will names four children.[8]

         5 Mary J. Rankin, b. abt 1831-32 d. 1860. Husband John C. McNary. Six children, all of whom died in infancy.[9]

         5 Rebecca Vance Rankin, 1831-1865. She predeceased her father and was not mentioned in his will.[10]

         5 Esther Rankin, 1838-1889.[11]

         5 Samuel Johnston Rankin, 1833 – 1891, Montgomery Twp., Franklin.[12] Married Elizabeth H. Knox on 17 Mar 1868.

            6 Elizabeth “Lizzie” Watson Rankin, 19 Nov 1868 – 22 Aug 1959. Lizzie apparently resided in the home which her great-grandfather Jeremiah had built. The house was allegedly haunted.[13] There is undoubtedly a good story out there if I can just persuade Gams, Spade, and Columbo to write it.

         5 John Watson Rankin, b. abt 1836, d. 1872. Wife Mary (“Molly”) Dilworth.[14]

           6 James Clark Rankin, 12 Jun 1868 – 8 Jan 1908. Attorney. [15] Attended the Upper West Conococheague Presbyterian Church. Wife Jenette Forster, 1866 – 1954.

                7 Margaret Elder Rankin, 10 Nov 1898 – 15 Mar 1962. Husband Duffield W. Varden.[16]

            6 Mary M. C. Knight Rankin, b. abt 1871.

          5 Jeremiah C. Rankin, b. abt 1844-45.[17] No further information.

       4 Nancy Rankin, b. 2 Feb 1796, Franklin Co., PA, d. 13 Jul 1883, Beaver Co., PA. Husband John Imbrie. Ten children.[18] Her tombstone identifies her as Nancy Clark Rankin Imbrie, wife of John.[19]

      4 Mariah or Maria Rankin (Nancy Rankin Imbrie’s twin), b. 2 Feb 1796, Franklin Co.. Husband Samuel Johnston.[20]

      4 Esther Rankin, 25 Jul 1802 – 19 Jun 1870. Married Alexander M. Johnston, lived in Mercersburg.[21]

   3 David Rankin, d. Montgomery Twp., Franklin Co. abt. 1833.[22] David inherited part of the land where his parents lived. His wife was Mary (“Molly”), birth surname unknown. The Pennsylvania Archives confused this David with his first cousin David Rankin, son of William and Mary Huston Rankin.[23]

      4 Molly Rankin m. Mr. Sellars.

          5 Mary Elizabeth Sellars, b. by Jun 1829.

       4 James Rankin, b. abt 1799-1800, d. 1879.[24] Wife Elizabeth, birth surname unknown.[25]

         5 Elizabeth Rankin, b. abt 1829, m. Mr. Rhodes.[26]

             6 Hannah E. Rhodes or Rhoades m. Mr. Zuck

             6 David C. Rhodes or Rhoades.

         5 Mary Rankin, b. July 1835.

         5 David Rankin, b. abt 1833-34, d. 1882. Apparently never married. Left everything he owned to his brother J. Hervey Rankin, including land in Montgomery Twp. conveyed to the two brothers by their parents.[27]

         5 Marion Rankin, b. abt 1836, d. bef. 1860.

         5 Sarah Bell Rankin, b. abt. 1840, m. Mr. Hoffeditz. See Find-a-Grave memorial here.

         5 James Henry or Harvey Rankin, 26 Dec. 1841 – 7 Jun 1915. Evidently never married.[28]

        4 Betsy Rankin, born about 1795. Living with her brother James in 1850. Apparently never married.

     3 James Rankin Jr. To be continued in Part 3 of n.

Whew! And that’s it for now. I will return to this chart after I publish one other article that has been running loose in my head.

See you on down the road.

Robin

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            [1] Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 345, will of James Rankin Senior of Montgomery Township, Franklin, dated 25 Mar 1788 and proved 20 Oct 1795. The will names his wife Jean, daughter Ruth Tool and SIL Samuel Smith (whose wife was James’s daughter Esther Rankin), and sons David, William, Jeremiah, and James.

[2] Esther Rankin Smith’s memorial is in the Shannon Farm graveyard in Mercersburg.  The Find-a-Grave memorial cites Franklin County Cemetery Records, Vol. 31, 5 for the information on the website. I cannot find a complete citation for this series, a location on the FHL website, or any other means of verifying the information. The only reference I can find to it is at Esther’s Find-a-Grave memorial.

[3] Franklin Co., PA Will Book B: 124, will of William Rankin of Montgomery Twp., Franklin Co., PA, dated 8 Feb 1797, proved 16 Feb 1802. Wife Ann. Son James, not married. Daughter Elizabeth Ritchie. Four daughters not of age: Jean, Ann, Ruth, and Mary Gillespie Rankin. Witnesses Jeremiah Rankin and David Rankin (who were the testator’s brothers). William’s 1797 will was not proved until 1802. However, an Ana Rankin — with the right census profile to be his widow and no adult male in the family — was listed as a head of household in 1800, perhaps indicating William was dead by then. See 1800 census, Montgomery Twp., Franklin Co., PA, Ana Rankin, 00100-02201.

[4] Franklin Co., PA Deed Book 8: 380, deed dated 29 Jun 1809 from James Rankin of Montgomery Twp. to James Buchanan. Deed recitals, in part: in 1771, James Rankin Sr. (s/o Adam) acquired 280 acres from Wm. Marshall. In his will, James Sr. left half to his son William. Then William, by will dated 8 Feb 1797, devised his realty to his son James Rankin, the grantor in the 1809 deed. James conveyed 125 acres plus 6% on Licking Creek.

            [5] Virginia Shannon Fendrick, American Revolutionary Soldiers of Franklin County, Pennsylvania (Chambersburg, PA: Historical Works Committee of the Franklin County Chapter of the D.A.R., 1969) (copyright 1944) 180:  “Jeremiah Rankin, Ranger on the Frontier, served in 1778, under Capt. John McConnell and as Ensign, 1780-81, with Captain Wm Huston; a son of pioneer James Rankin of Montgomery Township. He mar. Mary, dau. of James Clark. His will was dated June 1803 and prob. August 1803, only son James Clark Rankin and three daus.: Nancy; Mariah; Esther. The widow Mary later married Charles Kilgore. James, Jeremiah, David and William Rankin were pewholders in the “Lower Conococheague” or Welsh Run Church. Nancy Rankin mar. John Imbrie, Beaver Co., Penna., 10 children. Maria Rankin mar. Samuel Johnston, son of Thos. and Anne Houston Johnston. Esther Rankin mar. Alex. M. Johnston, son of Thos. and Anne Houston Johnston. Pennsylvania archives fifth series Vol 6 Pages 262, 269, 274, 282, 374.” RRW note: the pewholders James, Jeremiah, David, and William Rankin were the four sons of James Sr. and Jean Campbell Rankin.

[6] Franklin Co., PA Will Book B: 167, will of Jeremiah Rankin of Montgomery Twp. dated 13 Jun 1803, proved 1 Aug 1803. Wife Mary. Four minor children, all less than 18: son James Clark Rankin and daughters Nancy Rankin, Mariah Rankin and Esther Rankin. Mentions land in Ohio. Executors were his wife, brother James Rankin, brother-in-law James Clark, and brother-in-law David Humphreys. Witnesses John McFarland, David Rankin, John Rankin. Nancy and Mariah were twins, born in 1796. James Clark Rankin was b. 1800-01. Esther was b. 1802.

                  [7] 1850 census, Franklin Co., Montgomery Twp, James C. Rankin, 49, farmer, entire household b. PA, Elizabeth Rankin 49, Mary Rankin 19, Rebecca Rankin 17, Johnston Rankin 16, Watson Rankin 14, Jeremiah Rankin 5; 1860 census, Mercersburg, Montgomery Twp., entire household b. PA, James Rankin, 60, farmer, Eliz Rankin, 59, Mary Rankin, 28, Rebecca Rankin 26, S. J. Rankin (Samuel Johnston) 34 (sic), and Jeremiah Rankin, 16.

                  [8] Franklin Co., PA Will Book G: 162, will of James C. Rankin of Mercersburg dated 9 Jun 1865, proved 1 Jun 1866. Wife Elizabeth, sons S. J. (Samuel Johnston), J. W. (J. Watson), and Jeremiah C. Rankin. Daughter Mary Jane C. McNary of Washington Co., PA. Mentions the “Home Farm,” the Patterson Farm, the Shrader Farm, all in Montgomery Twp., plus a house in Mercersburg. He is buried in the Fairview Cemetery, Mercersburg, with the names of his wife and two of his daughters on the same monument.

            [9] North American Family Histories, image available with an Ancestry subscription at this link.

            [10] Rebecca Vance Rankin is buried in the Fairview Cemetery and shares a memorial with her parents and her sister Esther.

            [11] Esther Rankin is also buried in the Fairview Cemetery and shares a memorial with her parents and sister Rebecca, see prior footnote.

                  [12] 1870 census, Montgomery Twp., Samuel J. Rankin, 36, farmer, $18,000/$2,600, Elizabeth Rankin, 30, Elizabeth Rankin, 1. 1880 census, Johnson Rankin, 46, farmer, wife Lizzie Rankin, 36, daughter Lizzie Rankin, 12, and niece Elizabeth Rankin, 6. Samuel J. and Elizabeth Knox Rankin have a shared monument in the Fairview Cemetery in Mercersburg.

                  [13] See PA death certificate for Elizabeth Watson Rankin, File No. 74957. Resided Mercersburg, PA, Rt #1, Montgomery Twp. Identifies her as a daughter of Samuel J. Rankin and Elizabeth Knox. Born 11/19/1868 in Mercersburg. Died 22 Aug, 1959. Never married.

                  [14] 1870 census, Franklin, Montgomery Twp., J. Watson Rankin, 34, b. PA, Molly D. Rankin, 25, PA, James C. Rankin, 1. Franklin Will Book G: 549, will of J. Watson Rankin dated 27 Feb 1872 proved 1 Apr 1872. Wife Mary D. Rankin, children James Clark Rankin and Mary M. C. Knight, both children under 21.

                  [15] 1900 census, Montgomery Twp., Franklin Co., James Rankin, b. Jun 1868, PA, parents b. PA. Lawyer. Wife Jennette, b. Aug 1868. Married 3 years, one child living. Daughter Margaret Rankin, b. Nov. 1898. James C. and wife Jenette are buried in the Fairview Cemetery, see memorial here.

                  [16] Margaret E. Rankin was baptized 21 Apr 1899 in the Presbyterian Church of the Upper West Conococheague in Franklin Co. The church record identifies her parents as James C. Rankin and Janette Forster, image available here.  See also PA Death Certificate for Margaret E. Varden, which identifies her as a daughter of J. Clark Rankin and Jennette Forster. Born 10 Nov 1898, d. 15 Mar. 1962. Spouse identified as Duffield W. Varden. Image available at this link with an Ancestry subscription.

            [17] 1870 census, Mercersburg, Franklin Co., Elizabeth Rankin, 69, and Jeremiah C. Rankin, 24, reaping machine agent.

            [18] For the names of John and Nancy Rankin Embrie’s 10 children, see a compiled history of the Embrie family  at this link. Requires an Ancestry subscription.

            [19] 1850 census, Beaver Co., PA, household of John Imbrie, 54, Nancy Imbrie 52, DeLorma (m) 26, Mary 24, Nancy F. 22, Robert S. 21, John 14, Euphanus M. (f) 17, Jeremiah 11, and David 9, all b. PA. You can find Nancy’s Find-a-Grave memorial at this link.

            [20] 1850 census, Montgomery Twp., Franklin Co., PA, household of Samuel Johnston, 58, farmer, Maria Johnston, 54, Ann Johnston 23, and J. Rankin Johnston, 14. The same family is listed in the 1860 census for Montgomery Twp., Franklin. The younger child was Jeremiah Rankin Johnston, a minister. He moved to Washington Co., PA, where he can be found in the 1870 and 1880 census.

                  [21] Esther Rankin Johnston is buried in the Fairview Cemetery in Mercersburg, see memorial here.

[22] Franklin Co., PA Will Book D:250, will of David Rankin of Montgomery Twp. dated 6 Jun 1829 proved 22 Jan 1833. Wife Molly, children James and Betsy, granddaughter Mary Elizabeth Sellars, only child of daughter Molly. Executor Andrew B. Rankin. 1830 census, David Rankin in Montgomery Twp is listed adj Jacob Kline and James Rankin. Jacob Kline was mentioned in a deed recorded in Franklin Deed Book 16: 507 conveying land adjacent James Rankin.

            [23] See an article about the David Rankin confusion here.

                  [24] Franklin Co., PA Will Book H: 578, will of James Rankin of Montgomery Twp. dated 24 Jul 1872, proved 10 Apr 1879. Wife Elizabeth, life estate in land, remainder to daughter Mary in fee simple. Daughters Elizabeth Rhoads and Sarah Bell Hoffeditz, cash. Mentions deeds to sons David and James Henry for “mansion farm and a tract of Mountain land.” Witnessed by S. J. Rankin. The witness was probably Samuel Johnson Rankin, son of James Clark and Elizabeth Watson Rankin.

                  [25] 1830 census (00001-10001) lists James Rankin in Montgomery Twp. adj his father David. The 1840 census has a family that fits the profile of David’s son James adj. Mr. Cline. He is identified as James C. Rankin, although the middle initial may not be correct. See 1850 census, Montgomery Twp, James Rankin, 51, $3,000, b. PA, Elizabeth Rankin 39, Elizabeth Rankin 21, Mary Rankin 18, David Rankin 17, Marion Rankin (fem) 14, James Rankin 8, Elizabeth Rankin 55 (undoubtedly his sister because she has $1500), and John Watson. 1860 census, Montgomery Twp, James Rankin, 61, Elizabeth Rankin 48, Mary Rankin 25, David Rankin 23, Sarah Rankin 20, and Harvey Rankin, 18; 1880 census, Montgomery Twp., Elizabeth Rankin, 70, daughter Mary 48, son David 46, son Harvey, and John Watson, 49.

                  [26] Elizabeth Rankin Rhodes/Rhoades had two children identified in an acknowledgement by heirs in Franklin DB 69: 49.

                  [27] Franklin DB 52: 299. Franklin Will Book I: 434, will of David Rankin dated 13 May 1882 proved 16 Nov 1882, J. Harvey Rankin sole beneficiary and executor.

                  [28] 1900 census, Mercersburg, Franklin Co., Harvey J. Rankin, 53, b. Dec 1846, single. Landlord. With sister Mary W. Rankin, b. Jul 1835.

Enter Spade and Columbo: Autosomal Evidence

It pays to have friends who excel at family history research and know DNA stuff. In that category, I am lucky to know Spade and Columbo. Y’all have met Spade before at least twice.[1] He is a California guy, famous for slurping Cutty Sark and hanging up on people. I don’t know where Columbo lives or what he drinks, if at all. Like Spade, though, he usually gets his man.

The two genealogy detectives are distant cousins. Both are descended from Adam Rankin who died in 1747 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and his wife Mary Steele Alexander. Spade has a solid gold paper trail back to Adam and Mary. Columbo’s chart has one, um, interesting link, but it is still golden. Spade is descended from Adam and Mary through their son James and his wife Jean Campbell Rankin. Columbo descends through their son William and Mary Huston Rankin.

That brings us to an article published here on October 29, 2023 concerning Joshua and Mary Rankin Cox and her purported parents, John and Anna Craig Rankin.[2] That article wonders whether there was a relationship between those Rankins and Adam’s line. The article suggests some speculative possibilities — with no evidence as far as the eye could see.

It also pays to admit it when you don’t know nuthin’ and ask for help. Enter Spade and Columbo, both of whom have done autosomal tests, as have three of Columbo’s close relatives. Between them, they have numerous Cox matches. Spade sums up the autosomal evidence as follows:

“There’s zero chance that Mary Rankin Cox was not a very close relative of Adam Rankin d. 1747.”

Of course, we are still in the dark about how Adam and Mary Rankin Cox were related. DNA leaves that for us to figure out. Here are some possibilities:

…  Mary Rankin Cox and Adam Rankin were siblings.

…  Mary Rankin Cox was Adam’s niece; thus her alleged father John and Adam would have been brothers.

…  Mary Rankin Cox was Adam’s daughter.

Here is what Spade has to say:

“Lady, you ask so many questions I’m going to have to demand my usual retainer pretty soon. But this one’s on me: I go with siblings as the relationship between Adam Rankin and Mary Rankin Cox. Her oldest child would have been born about 1726, while Adam and Mary Steele Rankin were also having children in the 1720s. Joshua Cox, Mary Rankin Cox’s husband, died the same year as Adam, 1747, also in Lancaster County.  That looks like Mary and Adam were from the same generation. I think she would have been  Adam’s younger sister. Looks to me like there are too many matches at too many centimorgans to say that the connection extends back another generation.”

Columbo, on the other hand, opines that the John who was allegedly Mary Rankin Cox’s father was Adam’s brother, which puts Mary in the role of Adam’s niece. That theory gets support from the oral family legend that Adam of Lancaster County had a brother John.

The notion that Mary Rankin Cox may have been Adam’s daughter seems like forcing Cinderella’s shoe to fit. The argument in favor is that Mary had a proved brother William, while Adam had a proved son William. The glaring flaw here is that Adam’s will didn’t name a daughter Mary or a son-in-law Cox. Adam did give his married daughter Esther Rankin Dunwoody a cash bequest, so he wasn’t just omitting daughters. If there was ever a surefire way to stir up resentment, or even a will contest, failing to give a child at least a token bequest qualifies.

The other issue with the theory that Mary Cox was Adam’s daughter arises from the plethora of William Rankins in the area. Why pick on Adam’s son William to be Mary Cox’s brother out of all the William Rankin possibilities who appeared in Franklin County? Equally as reasonable — although just as speculative — Adam Rankin and Mary Rankin Cox could well have had a brother William, who would then have been the Rankin named in Joshua Cox’s will.

Spade’s argument sounds more persuasive. My only addition is the fact that Joshua Cox’s will, written in April 1747, provides that his children should be “put to trades” at age sixteen.[3] That suggests some of his children were born in the 1730s. His son John, named an executor, was probably indeed born by 1726. That seems to support Spade’s opinion that Mary Rankin Cox may have been Adam’s younger sister.

In short, there doesn’t seem to be any compelling logic dictating the type of family relationship between Mary Rankin Cox and Adam Rankin. Also, there is the niggling matter of evidence, which is entirely lacking in this matter. Does anyone reading this have any other ideas, evidence, or suggestions? If so, please share!

Meanwhile, I owe you the next installment in Adam and Mary’s descendant chart. Soon.

See you on down the road.

Robin

            [1] See articles written by or featuring Spade here and here.

            [2] See the article about Mary Rankin Cox and her possible parents at this link.. So far as I know, the only evidence of the existence of John and Anna Craig Rankin is a Cox researcher’s letter in a Franklin Co. historical society.

            [3] Lancaster Co., PA Will Book A: 131. The clerk’s transcription twice calls the testator Joshua and once John. In the margin where the deceased’s name is written, “Joshua” is struck through and “John” is written in. This may be the reason many people refer to this man as “John Joshua Cox” or “Joshua John Cox.” In any event, the will names as executors Joshua’s wife Mary and son John, with Joshua’s brother-in-law William Rankin to assist his wife. Joshua left two-thirds of his estate to his children, but identified by name only his sons John and Richard and a daughter Mary. The will also provided that his children should be “put to trades” when they reached age 16. That suggests at least some of the children were born after 1731, since the will is dated 22 April 1747. John, named an executor, was probably of age in 1747 and thus born by 1726.

Imagine that! A chart for Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin (Part 1 of n)

THIS JUST IN!!! A Big Y test and well-documented papyrus trail prove that Adam Rankin, who died in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1747 (wife Mary Steele Alexander), is descended from Adam Rankin of the Garden of Eden (wife Eve, birth surname unknown).

Just kidding. There were no surnames back then.

Enough fun. I’m attempting to construct an outline descendant chart for Adam’s and Mary’s family, including citations to evidence so that readers can evaluate issues for themselves. This will make for copious footnotes, although not for entertaining reading. My hope is that it will be useful reference material. The chart will expand to an unknown number of posts, thus the “Part 1 of n” in the title.[1]

We will begin with Adam, the original immigrant in his line, and the four children he named in his will.

1 Adam Rankin d. 1747, Lancaster Co., PA. Adam arrived in the colonies by at least 1722.[2] His only proved wife was Mary Steele Alexander, widow of James “the Carpenter” Alexander and daughter of John Steele of New Castle County, Delaware. Deeds establish that Adam and Mary married between August 1718 and 1724 in the Colonies.[3]

 The only evidence I have seen for Adam’s acquisition of land is a 1742 warrant.[4] Adam willed that land to his son James Sr., and a deed executed three-quarters of a century later by James Sr.’s son James recited the tract’s provenance.[5] The family probably lived on or near Conococheague Creek (also spelled Conogocheague) close to Greencastle, then in Lancaster County, now Franklin.

Adam’s 1747 will names three sons, a daughter, and a wife, although it doesn’t mention his wife’s given name.[6]  There is evidently no documentary evidence[7] for — take a deep breath here — Adam’s birth year, the birth years of his children, the identity of any wife prior to Mary, where he was born (although it was undoubtedly either Scotland or Ulster), his parents, or any siblings.[8] Anything to the contrary, no matter how “many online trees” claim otherwise, is unproved absent evidence. In that regard, the oral family history and “many online trees” identify a John Rankin who died in Lancaster in 1749 as Adam’s brother, although Big Y testing conclusively negates that claim.[9]

     2 James Rankin Sr. d. 1795, Franklin Co., PA.[10] Adam’s son James Rankin Sr. appeared on the 1751 tax list for Peters Township in Cumberland County, which would then have comprised the southwest part of modern Franklin County (including Peters and Montgomery Townships).[11] James appeared in the records of Peters or Montgomery Townships from 1751 until he died.[12]

Based on his first appearance in county records in 1751, James Sr. may have been born about 1726. Adam’s 1747 will, which states that James was already in possession of some land, suggests an earlier birth year, perhaps 1722.[13]

James Sr.’s wife was Jean/Jane Campbell, daughter of William Campbell.[14] James Sr.’s tract in Montgomery Township was on Licking Creek.[15] He died in 1795 in Franklin County, leaving a will identifying his wife and six children.[16] This family attended the Lower Conococheague  or “Welsh Run” Presbyterian Church.[17]

     2 William Rankin died in 1792 in Antrim Township, Franklin Co., PA. This William is well-known to Rankins, some of whom claim descent from him in error.[18] His wife was Mary Huston (died about 1824), daughter of Archibald and Agnes Huston.[19] Both William and Mary left wills. His named all his children and describes locations of the tracts devised to his sons. That makes it possible to find them thereafter with confidence. Mary’s will named inter alia four grandchildren for whom I have found no other documentary proof.[20] There is also a family Bible containing birth dates of their children and some grandchildren.[21] With those foundations, this is a fun and easy family to track.

William’s birth date is not proved. He began appearing in county records in 1751, when he was named on a tax list for Antrim Township.[22] As with his brother James, that suggests he was probably born by 1726. William lived in Antrim Township until he died.

His Revolutionary War service is deemed sufficiently proved to admit descendants into the S.A.R., although he was probably too old to have been in active military duty. His will proves seven sons and one daughter, as does the family Bible.[23] All of William and Mary’s children were born before Franklin was created in 1784, suggesting they were born in Cumberland Co., the predecessor county. Quite a few members of William and Mary’s family are mentioned in the records of the Upper West Conococheague Presbyterian Church.[24]

William appeared in a plethora of county records, but is never shown with a middle initial, much less a middle name. I have asked a number of people who assert he had one to share any evidence on that issue. So far, no takers. It is a solid gold bet that the middle name “Steele” frequently claimed for him is fiction.

     2 Jeremiah Rankin died in 1760 in what was then Cumberland County in an accident in his mill (or perhaps the family’s mill? I don’t know) on Conococheague Cr. near Greencastle.[25] He married Rhoda Craig about 1754. After Jeremiah died, Rhoda remarried to a Mr. English.

I have found no records for Jeremiah in Pennsylvania except for his mention in his father Adam’s 1747 will. There should be guardian’s records since he left four minor sons, and presumably probate records concerning his land, but I have found neither. Jeremiah and Rhoda’s sons went to Fayette and Woodford Counties, KY.[26]

Fortunately, there is secondary evidence concerning Jeremiah’s family. It includes (1) a letter written in 1854 by John Mason Rankin, a grandson of Jeremiah and Rhoda,[27] and (2) a history of Kentucky Presbyterianism, which includes information about Rev. Adam Rankin, a son of Jeremiah and Rhoda.[28] History is based in part on Rev. Adam’s autobiography, establishing its credibility. It identifies Rev. Adam as a son of a Miss Craig and confirms that his father died in 1760 in a mill accident.

     2 Esther Rankin, the only daughter named in Adam’s 1747 will, married a Mr. Dunwoody. I apologize for my failure to research daughters, including Esther. My focus is on the paternal line in an effort to identify potential Rankin Y-DNA test volunteers. The omission is likely shortsighted, since families frequently intermarried and/or migrated together. The Dunwoody family might provide helpful information. If you are a descendant of Esther’s, I would love to hear from you.

And that’s it for this installment. Next, assuming I don’t get diverted, will be the children of James Sr. and Jean/Jane Campbell Rankin.

See you on down the road.

Robin

            [1] Disclaimer: a friend and blog reader has pointed out my regrettable tendency to promise follow up articles but then fail to do so. My usual excuse is that some cool new puzzle became a distraction. Then life went on and I forgot about the follow up. I will try to do better. No guarantees.

                  [2] Some Adam Rankin, almost certainly the same man as the Adam who m. Mary Steele Alexander, was among the signatories to a 1722 petition to Lord Baltimore saying the petitioners believed they lived in MD, not PA. Calvert Papers, Maryland Historical Society Manuscript Division MS 174, Microfilm No. 6, Document No. 279. Family oral tradition says that Adam came to the Colonies in 1720, although I’m not aware of any records for him prior to 1722.

                  [3] For evidence of Adam and Mary’s marriage date and Mary’s parentage, see the article at this link.

            [4] 11 Nov 1742 warrant to Adam Rankin, 100 acres “situate at Conegocheage between the lands of Samuel Owen, James Swaster?, Samuel Brown and the Blue Mountains.” See the grant  here.

            [5] Franklin Co., PA Deed Book 12: 28, deed dated 27 March 1818 from James Rankin and wife Mary to Jacob Kline, all of Montgomery Twp., conveyance of land including a 107-acre part of a tract of 188 acres surveyed per a warrant to Adam Rankin dated 11 Nov 1742. Adam devised the tract to his son James Rankin Sr., dec’d at the time of the deed, who then devised it to his son James Rankin, the grantor, on March 25, 1788. That is the date of the will of James Sr., proving James the grantor in the deed was a son of James Sr.

            [6] Lancaster Co., PA Will Book J: 208, will of Adam Rankin dated 4 May 1747, and proved 21 Sep 1747. His wife was mentioned although her given name not stated. Sons James, William, and Jeremiah; daughter Esther Rankin Dunwoody. The deed establishes that James was already in possession of some of Adam’s land.  Adam devised the home tract to William and Jeremiah.

            [7] When I say, “there is evidently no documentary evidence,” it simply means I have not found any relevant records, nor have I found anyone who claims to have any.

[8] Family oral history claims Adam first married an Elizabeth May in Ireland. She allegedly died after arriving in the colonies and was reportedly the mother of Adam’s son James. While it is certainly possible that Adam had a marriage prior to Mary Steele Alexander, there is evidently no evidence for a prior wife other than oral family history. Adam’s alleged parents and Rankin grandfather are also identified in the oral history, also despite an apparent lack of evidence. Adam’s purported ancestry is nevertheless cast in bronze in a tablet located at the Mt. Horeb Presbyterian Church cemetery in Jefferson Co., TN. It is therefore cast in concrete in online trees. I don’t find the legend entirely credible, in part because there is evidence that it was a relatively recent creation, probably in the early twentieth century. Also, the fact that the legend is mistaken about Adam d. 1747 and John d. 1749 being brothers is significant. See an article about the legend here.

            [9] There was another John Rankin whose daughter and son-in-law reportedly went to Chester County (predecessor to Lancaster, Cumberland, and Franklin Counties) circa 1720, when Adam also allegedly arrived. That John’s wife was reportedly Anna Craig, or perhaps Mary Craig. Their daughter Mary Rankin m. Joshua Cox. It is possible that John Rankin was Adam’s brother. Alternatively, John and Miss Craig could conceivably have been Adam’s parents. I have found no evidence for either possibility, both of which qualify as rank speculation. Probably the only way to assess them is to find a male Rankin descendant of John and Anna and persuade him to Y-DNA test. See a brief article about John and Anna Craig Rankin at this link.

            [10] Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 345, will of James Rankin Sr. of Montgomery Twp., will dated 25 Mar 1788, proved 20 Oct 1795.

            [11] FamilySearch.Org Film No. 7856871, Image No. 29, 1751 tax list for Peters Twp., Cumberland Co., PA.

            [12] E.g., Cumberland Court of Quarter Sessions Docket 2: 115, James Rankin, constable in Peters Twp., March 1764; Id. at Docket 5: 270, James Rankin et al. appointed supervisors of roads in Peters Twp., 27 Mar 1778. His 1788 will states that he was “of Montgomery Township,” which had been created in 1781. Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 345.

            [13] My observation is that colonial men consistently began appearing in county records and/or marrying around age 25. I have no actual evidence for that estimate, just a quarter-century of looking at county and other records. If I were estimating James Sr.’s birth year, I would choose “about 1724” and deem him a son of Mary Steele Alexander Rankin. In that regard, there is an 1854 letter written by John Mason Rankin (son of Rev. Adam Rankin of KY, grandson of Jeremiah and Rhoda Rankin, and great-grandson of Adam and Mary) which asserts that James Sr. was Mary’s son.

                  [14] Cumberland Co., PA Will Book A: 108, will of William Campbell of Peters Twp. dated 16 Aug 1776, proved 16 Mar 1787. William Campbell named inter alia his daughter Jean (Campbell) Rankin and a son Dugal Campbell. Dugal was the father of Frances (“Fanny”) Campbell, who was thus Jean Campbell Rankin’s niece. Fanny married David Rankin, a son of William and Mary Huston Rankin. David was thus James Rankin’s nephew. If I have this straight, one of James and Jean Campbell Rankin’s nieces (her Çampbell niece) married one of James and Jean’s nephews (his Rankin nephew).

            [15] Franklin Co., PA Deed Book 1: 36, deed dated 10 Mar 1785 from James Rankin Sr. of Montgomery Twp., Franklin Co., to William Rankin, son of James Sr., one moiety (i.e., half) of  279 acres, where William now lives, containing 133.5 acres on Licking Cr. by the division line of the original 279-acre part to Jeremiah Rankin. James Rankin’s land was located in part of Montgomery Township now called “The Corner,” south of Mercersburg, at the foot of Two Top Mountain.

[16] Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 345, will of James Rankin Sr. of Montgomery Twp., will dated 25 Mar 1788 and proved 20 Oct 1795. Wife Jean to live with son David. Sons David, William, Jeremiah, and James; daughter Ruth Tool; SIL Samuel Smith and granddaughter Mary Smith. James Sr. had earlier deeded half of his 280-acre Licking Cr. tract to his son William. See id. In 1809, William’s son James, a grandson of James Sr., sold the tract on Licking Creek. Franklin Deed Book 8: 380.

            [17] Virginia Shannon Fendrick, American Revolutionary Soldiers of Franklin County, Pennsylvania (Chambersburg, PA: Historical Works Committee of the Franklin County Chapter of the D.A.R., copyright 1944) 180, “Jeremiah Rankin, Ranger on the Frontier, served in 1778, under Capt. John McConnell and as Ensign, 1780-81, with Captain Wm Huston; a son of pioneer James Rankin of Montgomery Township … James, Jeremiah, David and William Rankin were pewholders in the “Lower Conococheague” or Welsh Run Church.” James Sr.’s will proves sons James, Jeremiah, David, and William. Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 345.

            [18] See an article describing some of the confusion about this family at this link.

                  [19] Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 110, will of Agness Huston, widow of Archibald Huston, dated 15 Nov 1776, proved 14 Mar 1787. She named William Rankin executor and identified him as the husband of her daughter Mary.

            [20] See an article about Mary Huston Rankin’s will here.  I don’t have a citation for this will.

                  [21] A transcription of information in the family Bible can be found on Disk 4 of the so-called “Cloyd tapes,” available from the Tennessee State Library and Archives. I do not have references to the relevant disk page numbers. Wading through Flossie Cloyd’s materials is a daunting task guaranteed to induce glassy eyes. Rev. J. O. Reed, a former pastor of a Presbyterian Church in Opelousas, LA, was a descendant of William and Mary Huston Rankin and owned the family Bible. He sent a transcription of information in the Bible to Ms. Cloyd in a letter dated May 6, 1954.

            [22] FamilySearch.Org Film No. 7856871, Image No. 26.

                  [23] Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: -B: 256, will of William Rankin of Antrim Twp., Franklin, dated 20 Oct 1792, proved 28 Nov 1792. William named his wife Mary and children, in this order: Adam, Archibald, James, William, Betsy, David, John, and Jeremiah. He identified Betsy, John, and Jeremiah as being less than 21 years old.

            [24] E.g., Archibald Rankin died 24 Jun 1845, an entry in the records of the Upper West Conococheague Presbyterian Church. Several other family members also appear in entries, including some children of David Rankin, son of William and Mary Huston Rankin. The original records may be viewed at an LDS Family History Center or with an Ancestry subscription at this link.

                  [25] Here  is an article containing sources for information about Jeremiah.

            [26] Id.

            [27] See a transcription of John Mason Rankin’s letter online at this link.   It is somewhat controversial, not least because the location of the original is a mystery. I for one haven’t communicated with anyone who has seen it. I exchanged emails with a Rankin researcher who talked to someone who claims to have seen the letter. She was informed the letter is in a museum in San Augustine, Texas. However, there is no museum in that city, although there is an historical/genealogical society. Further, the letter has so much information in it that either (1) John Mason had an astonishing memory or a source such as a family Bible, or (2) the letter is an elaborate fraud based on recent research. To the extent I have researched this family, the information in the letter is mostly accurate. It is noteworthy that John Mason’s letter says the father of Adam d. 1747 was named Adam, although the oral family legend claims his name was William. Also, the letter makes no mention of the oral legend’s stories about martyred Rankin ancestors in Scotland and the Siege of Londonderry. Prepare for a broken record here: there is apparently no documentary evidence for those ancestry claims. I believe John Mason’s letter is genuine in part because it is clear the writer was not familiar with the fabulous oral legend. Someone perpetrating a 20th century fraud would surely have included its stories. Also, the letter includes extensive comments about the local economy which suggest a contemporaneous familiarity.

            [28] Rev. Robert Davidson, History of the Presbyterian Church in the State of Kentucky (New York: R. Carter, 1847) 95.

Dr. Seuss again: “Thing 4,” need help!

Sometimes one has to belly up to the bar and admit she hasn’t a clue. This is one of those times.

Also, how could I possibly have omitted Thing 4 from my last post? He is one of the William Rankins who gives some of us gray hair. Or, to be accurate, more gray hair. If you are mystified by the Dr. Seuss and “Thing 4” references, please read the previous article on this website.

There are at least two sources attesting to the existence of Thing 4:

  • The 1747 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania will of Joshua Cox naming as executors his wife (given name not provided) and his brother-in-law William Rankin.[1]
  • A letter dated April 13, 1995 from Lucille Cox Thompson to the Kittochtinny Historical Society in Chambersburg, Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Ms. Thompson identified a John Rankin and Anna Craig as the parents of (1) Mary Rankin who married Joshua Cox and (2) William Rankin. It also says that Joshua and Mary Rankin Cox’s daughter married John Craig.

The letter goes on to say that John and Anna Craig Rankin arrived in the Colonies circa 1720 and settled in “Upland, Pennsylvania.” That borough is now in Delaware County, which was created in 1789 from Chester County.

Here’s the scanty outline chart the above information defines:

1  John Rankin m. Anna Craig

    2 William Rankin

    2 Mary Rankin m. Joshua Cox

      3 Mary Cox m. John Craig

So … who was the William Rankin with a sister Mary Rankin Cox?

I don’t know. The Rankin DNA Project doesn’t have a member who claims descent from William, son of John and Anna Craig Rankin.[2] He could be the same man as the William who married Victory Alcorn in Cumberland County and went to North Carolina, AKA “Thing 1.” Or he could be the same man as the William who married Mary Stewart in Franklin County and went to Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, AKA “Thing 2.” He might even be the same man as “Thing 3,” William Rankin of Indiana County, Pennsylvania. If anyone out there has a theory, please say so.

Here is another question: who was the John Rankin whose wife was Anna Craig?

Again, I don’t know. He was almost certainly not the John Rankin who died in Lancaster County in 1749. That John Rankin’s will named his wife Margaret,[3] while his family’s oral history identifies his wife as Jane McIlwee.

However, the surname Craig – which appears twice in the above minimal chart –  caught my attention. If you are a Rankin researcher or follow this blog, you know that Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin of Lancaster County (created from Chester) had a son named Jeremiah. He died in a mill accident in Cumberland (created from Lancaster) in 1760. Jeremiah Rankin’s wife was Rhoda Craig.

As you undoubtedly know, colonial families frequently intermarried. If you find Rankins and Rankin descendants who married Craigs — e.g., John Rankin/Anna Craig, Jeremiah Rankin/Rhoda Craig, and Mary Cox/John Craig — a reasonable inference is that the Rankins were related. Alternatively or additionally, that the Craigs were related. But how? That, my friends, is the $64,000 question, to use an outdated metaphor.

Jeremiah’s father Adam Rankin allegedly had a brother John, according to an oral family legend that has become the conventional wisdom. Adam’s brother John, claims the legend, was the John Rankin who died in Lancaster County in 1749, two years after Adam died there. The problem with this part of the legend is that Y-DNA tests of both men’s descendants conclusively establish that the Adam who died in 1747 and the John who died in 1749 were not genetically related in the paternal line. They could not possibly have been brothers.

There are several possibilities here. Perhaps (1) the legend is just flat wrong about Adam having a brother John, or (2) the legend identified the wrong (albeit extremely convenient) John Rankin as Adam’s brother.[4] Enter a hoary genealogy maxim: family legends nearly always contain some element of truth, even if the details are frequently in error. What immediately sprang to mind was this: could the oral legend be right that the Adam who died in 1747 had a brother named John, but Adam’s brother was the John Rankin who married Anna Craig rather than the John who died in 1749?

Alternatively, might it be possible that John and Anna Craig Rankin were the parents of Adam died 1747, rather than John and Adam being brothers? The Cox family oral history, which is probably due as much deference as the Rankin family oral history, is that John and Anna’s daughter Mary Rankin Cox and her husband Joshua came to the colonies about 1720, which is supposedly when Adam arrived.

Those theories suggest two alternative speculative short charts for the line of Adam d. 1747:

Theory 1: John and Adam were brothers …

1  Unknown Rankin parents

2 John Rankin m. Anna Craig

2 Adam Rankin m. Mary Steele Alexander

OR Theory 2: John was Adam’s father …

1 John Rankin m. Anna Craig

2 Adam Rankin m. Mary Steele Alexander

2 Mary Craig m. Joshua Cox

2 William Rankin

I am not endorsing these theories, just throwing them out there as food for thought. I hope to find someone having relevant information and/or thoughts to offer on the subject.

See you on down the road.

Robin

            [1] Lancaster Co., PA Will Book A: 131.

                  [2] Not all members of the Rankin DNA Project provide a family tree. One of them could be descended from John and Anna Craig Rankin.

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

                  [4] The fact that Adam d. 1747 and John d. 1749 were not related in the Rankin line is one of several aspects of the legend that make me wonder whether it was created relatively recently — i.e., in the 20th century — rather than having been handed down from generation to generation since the 18th or 19th century. Some of Adam’s and John’s descendants appear never to have heard the legend. Rev. Adam Rankin (son of Jeremiah and Rhoda Craig Rankin and grandson of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin) was apparently not familiar with the legend. Nor was Richard Duffield Rankin, a great grandson of the John Rankin who died in Lancaster in 1749. See this article about the legend.

With apologies to Dr. Seuss: Thing 1 (William Rankin), Thing 2 (William Rankin) … etc.

If you have children and/or grandchildren, or were a child yourself by the 1950s, you are almost certainly familiar with The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. It features two characters named “Thing 1” and “Thing 2.” My friend Jess “Gams” Guyer, a talented Rankin researcher, suggested those would be appropriate names for any of the vast number of William Rankins who lived in southern Pennsylvania in the mid- to late 1700s. The only problem is that two “Things” aren’t enough.

With a large population of Williams to choose from, it was inevitable that some of the Things would be conflated with some of the other Things. “Same name confusion” is the easiest family history mistake in the world. Anyone who hasn’t made it yet just hasn’t been at this hobby long enough.

The clear winner in the “Thing Confusion Contest” is the William Rankin who married Mary Huston and died in Franklin County in 1792.[1] William d. 1792 was a son of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.[2]  Adam and Mary are the first proved generation of a famous Rankin line from which numerous people aspire to descend, many erroneously. That may be attributable to a fabulous legend associated with Adam’s and Mary’s line.[3] Also, William d. 1792 was a Revolutionary War soldier, which often attracts hopeful descendants.[4]

So far as I know, at least three Williams have been mistakenly identified as either William d. 1792 or his son William of Centre County, Pennsylvania. Let’s call them Thing 1, Thing 2, and Thing 3. There are undoubtedly others.

Thing 1: the William Rankin who married Victory Alcorn and moved from Franklin County, Pennsylvania to Orange County, North Carolina.

Thing 2: the William Rankin who married Mary (probably née Stewart) in Franklin County and moved to Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

Thing 3: the William Rankin with wife Jane who died in Armstrong Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

Despite giving it the old college try, I have not made a dent in slowing proliferation of the above errors. These Things are a great case of “Whack-a-Mole.” Wictionary gives the example of spam e-mails: as soon as you delete one, another appears.[5] More like ten more. This article is therefore an attempt to whack some of the moles — AKA Things — into submission.

Thing 1: William Rankin m. Victory Alcorn

 Thing 1 William is easy to distinguish from William d. 1792 thanks to their different locations, another example of the “follow the land” theory. The William who married Victory lived in Hamilton Township, Cumberland (later Franklin) County.[6] William d. 1792, on the other hand, lived and died in the same county but in Antrim Township, appearing there in tax, court, and deed records consistently from mid-century until he died.[7]

Here are records locating William m. Victory in Hamilton Township, Cumberland/Franklin, Pennsylvania …

  • In May 1751, William Rankin obtained two surveys on Conococheague Creek in Hamilton Township when it was still in Cumberland County. Adjacent landowners were George Galloway and Thomas Armstrong, who help us track him with confidence. Samuel Moorhead, who also helps ID him, filed a caveat against one survey, claiming prior entitlement.[8]
  • In 1752, William Rankin appeared on the tax list for Hamilton Township.[9] He was the only Rankin on the list for that township.
  • In 1760, the will of Joseph Armstrong of Hamilton Township devised to his son Thomas Armstrong “land between Robert Elliot’s and Willm Rankins.”[10]
  • By 1761, William was married to Victory Alcorn, daughter of James Alcorn. The Alcorns owned land in the Conococheague “settlements” adjacent to Samuel Moorehead, the man who caveated William Rankin’s survey in Hamilton Township.[11]
  • In October 1765, William Rankin executed a deed conveying warrants for 150 acres in Cumberland County. It said, “William Rankin of Orange Co., North Carolina, farmer, to James McFarlan of Cumberland Co., Pennsylvania, blacksmith, 2 warrants by Rankin for a total of 150 acres in Hamilton Twp., Cumberland, adjacent James Dickson, George Gallaway, Thomas Armstrong.”[12]

The last deed proves that William and Victory moved to Orange County, North Carolina by at least 1765. William died in Caswell County, a successor county to Orange. William’s 1788 estate distribution in Caswell establishes that his widow was named Victory, his only son was named James (the name of Victory’s father), and they had a daughter named Victory.There seems to be no reasonable doubt that the William Rankin whose estate was probated in Caswell County was the same man as Thing 1, William who married Victory Alcorn of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.

William and Victory’s son James married as his first wife Elizabeth Fuller in Caswell County.[13] He later moved to Logan County, Kentucky, where he married Hannah Forbush. He ultimately migrated to Sumner County, Tennessee, where his estate was probated.[14]

 The good news for Whack-a-Thing is that a male Rankin descendant of William and Victory has Y-DNA tested. He is not a match to descendants of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin. Thus, William m. Victory — Thing 1 — cannot possibly be the same man as William d. 1792, a son of Adam and Mary.

This article is already overlong. I will try to make short shrift of Thing 2 and say even less about Thing 3.

Thing 2: William Rankin and wife Mary (probably née Stewart) of Allegheny County

There are some major differences between Thing 2 and William d. 1792. They establish that Thing 2, the William Rankin buried in Allegheny County, cannot possibly be the same man as William d. 1792 of Antrim Township, Franklin County. Here are the big ones …

  • Thing 2 died in Allegheny County and was buried there in Round Hill Cemetery in 1813, while William, husband of Mary Huston, died in 1792 in Franklin County.
  • Thing 2’s wife Mary died in 1808, five years before her husband, and is buried in the Round Hill Cemetery in Allegheny. William d. 1792 named his wife Mary in his 1792 will. Mary survived him by more than three decades, leaving a will dated 1818 and proved in 1824.[15]
  • William d. 1792 lived in Antrim Township, Franklin County, as his will explicitly states. He appeared in the records there for roughly four decades. I’m betting his family didn’t wait until 1813, twenty-one years after his death, to bury his remains to a cemetery 150 miles away in a county where he most likely never set foot.
  • Thing 2 had two children named Andrew and Mary who died in 1794 and 1795, respectively. They have tombstone styles which are identical to their father William’s. The family Bible of William d. 1792 in Franklin names eight children. So does his 1792 will. None are named Andrew or Mary, both of whom died after William d. 1792 signed his will.[16]

Thing 2 and his wife Mary (and children Andrew and Mary) are buried in the Round Hill Cemetery in Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The Find-a-Grave entry for Thing 2 has more errors than I can count, so I’m not going to provide a link to it, hoping you won’t be exposed to all that misinformation.[17]

Incidentally, there were a number of other Rankin families in Allegheny County. The William who died there in 1813 may well be related to one of the others, although I haven’t established any credible connection. Or even a speculative connection, for that matter. If you find one, I hope you will let me know.

Thing 3: the William Rankin with wife Jane who died in Armstrong Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania in 1826.

Thing 3 has been wrongly identified as William and Mary Huston Rankin’s son William, who moved from Franklin to Centre County, Pennsylvania. A number of descendants of Thing 3 claim to be descended from Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin, no matter how many Williams in Adam’s line it took for them to get back to Adam.[18]

I will cut to the chase, courtesy of science. A descendant of William and Jane Rankin of Indiana County has Y-DNA tested. His result places him squarely in Rankin DNA Project Lineage 2. He does not match descendants of Rankin Lineage 3B, which is the line of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin. Thus, the William Rankin with wife Jane who died in Indiana County cannot possibly have been either the son of, or the same man as, Adam and Mary’s son William d. 1792.

For the evidence, here is a link to an article about William Rankin of Indiana County with wife Jane.

It is a gorgeous day here, mild temps with a high, cloudless blue sky that makes you squint. It is time to bid adieu to the laptop and go outside.

See you on down the road.

Robin

            [1] Franklin Co., PA Will Book A: 256, will of William Rankin of Antrim Twp., Franklin Co., dated and proved in 1792. William named his wife Mary, sons Adam, Archibald, James, William, David, John, and Jeremiah, and daughter Betsy. William’s wife Mary is proved as a daughter of Agnes Huston (widow of Archibald) by Agnes’s will. Franklin Co. Will Book A: 110, will of Agness Huston dated 1776 and proved 1787. Agnes bequeathed a gift to her daughter Mary Huston, “alias Rankin.” One of her executors was her son-in-law William Rankin, “husband of my daughter Mary.” Also, you can find articles about William d. 1792 and Mary Huston Rankin’s line here  , and  here , and here , with still another here.

                  [2] Lancaster Co., PA Will Book J: 208, will of Adam Rankin dated and proved in 1747. Adam named his wife (although he did not mention her given name), sons James, William, and Jeremiah, and daughter Ester Rankin Dunwoody. His wife is proved as Mary Steele Alexander, widow of James “the Carpenter” Alexander, by a series of deeds that are a great example of the “follow the land” theory of family history research. Here is a link to an article containing the evidence.

                  [3] The oral family traditions of Adam and John who died in Lancaster Co. in 1747 and 1749, respectively, are memorialized in a bronze tablet in the Mt. Horeb Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Jefferson Co., TN. The legend has several problems, not least of which is that it identifies Adam d. 1747 and John d. 1749 as brothers. Y-DNA testing has conclusively disproved that possibility, leaving this interesting question: does the oral family history “belong” to Adam d. 1747 or to John d. 1749? The only part of the legend related to Scotland and/or Ireland that has been substantiated is that an Alexander Rankin was present at the Siege of Londonderry in 1689. There is no evidence SFAIK that Alexander was an ancestor of either Adam d. 1747 or John d. 1749. Here is a link to an article about the legend.

            [4] Virginia Shannon Fendrick, American Revolutionary Soldiers of Franklin County, Pennsylvania (Chambersburg, PA: Historical Works Committee of the Franklin County Chapter of the D.A.R., 1969, copyright 1944), citing PA Archives 5th Series, Vol. 6, 576, 583: “WILLIAM RANKIN of Antrim Twp., appears as a private under Capt. James Poe, 1782, on an undated roll. He married Mary Huston, daughter of Archibald, as shown by the will of Agnes Huston, widow of Archibald. The will of William Rankin of Antrim Twp., was dated Oct. and prob. Nov. of 1792.” See also PA Archives, 3d Series, Vol. 20: 254 for additional evidence of William d. 1792’s Rev. War service.

                  [5] Here is a link to a definition of Whack-a-Mole.

            [6] Here is a link to a Franklin Co. map showing Hamilton and Antrim townships, which are adjacent. Hamilton Township was founded in 1752; Franklin County was formed in 1784, so Hamilton was originally in Cumberland County, from which Franklin was created. Antrim Township is adjacent to and south of Hamilton. This was a crowded area for Rankins.

                  [7] See Note 1. I’m not going to cite records for William d.  1792 proving that he lived in Antrim Township because there are so many of them. See tax lists at Family Search for an easy start.

                  [8] William Henry Egle, Pennsylvania Archives Third Series Vol. II (Harrisburg: Clarence M. Busch, State Printer, 1894) 264, Samuel Moorhead entered a caveat against the acceptance of a survey made by William Rankin on a tract on the west side on Conecocheague Cr., in Hamilton Township, Cumberland Co. Moorehead alleged a prior warrant for part of the tract.

                  [9] FamilySearch.org film 7856871, image 30, 1752 tax list for Hamilton Township, Cumberland Co., PA.

            [10] Cumberland Co., PA Will Book A: 79, will of Joseph Armstrong.

                  [11] Cumberland Co., PA Will Book A: 88, will of James Alcorn. See Note 8.

                  [12] Franklin Co., PA Deed Book 6: 124, FamilySearch.org Film # 8,035,192, Image 361. The deed was executed in 1765 when the warrants were located in Cumberland, but recorded in the Franklin County deed records in 1803, when the warrants were for land then located in Franklin.

                  [13] Caswell Co., NC Will Book B: 341, LDS Film #004754650, image 333, will of Henry Fuller dated 1788, proved 1790, names his daughter Elizabeth Rankin.

                  [14] James Rankin’s widow Hannah was party to a deed in which the male devisees of James’s land (all named as parties to the deed) divided his land, see Sumner Co., TN Deed Book 12:43.

                  [15] See an article about Mary’s will here.

                  [16] See Note 1 for information about the will of William d. 1792.

                  [17] Instead, read this article for an explanation of what Find-a-Grave got wrong, plus citations to information about Allegheny County William AKA Thing 2 and his wife Mary.

                  [18] An erroneous S.A.R. application is probably to blame for many of the faulty claims by Thing 3 descendants to be descended from Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin, see this article.

Don’t Trust, Just Verify: The Perils of SAR[1] Applications

I called my friend Spade yesterday evening. He picked up on the first ring.

“Hey, doll, what’s cooking? Have you found one of my cousins who will Y-DNA test?” I could hear ice clinking in a glass. He was no doubt having some Cutty Sark to celebrate yet another successful case in which he dug up someone’s long-dead relative.

Spade has a Rankin line with a solid paper trail back to Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin. But we all want Y-DNA confirmation. He supplied the names of a half-dozen Rankin men in his line — his distant cousins. My job was to recruit just one to Y-DNA test. I failed miserably.

“No. Your cousins are a frustrating lot. I wrote to four or five of them but received no replies. But never mind them. My beef is with you, Spade.”

He sighed, and I clearly detected the sound of a generous splash into a glass. “Now what have I done?” Spade is definitely not the long-suffering type, but he can play that role on occasion.

“I was looking at your otherwise excellent online tree and found a SAR application you included as evidence for one Rankin family. It has a terrible error which is a zombie that won’t die. I’m holding you partly responsible for its survival because you are publishing that thing.”

There was a momentary silence. I knew it wouldn’t take him long to demur, so I wasn’t holding my breath.

“I know the one you mean. Yep, it does contain an egregious error. But I like to attach all relevant evidence, even if it’s partly wrong.”

Now the momentary silence was on my end of the line. “Well,” I finally said, “that’s an interesting notion. But how are people supposed to know which parts of the evidence are correct and which parts are error?”

“Because I file an explanatory comment explaining what’s what,” he quickly rejoined.

I thought I detected slurping. I didn’t know anyone slurped Cutty. This conversation was clearly heading downhill quickly.

“That’s helpful, but what if people don’t read your comment? I, for one, missed it altogether.”

Another slurp. He ignored my first question. “You missed it because I haven’t written a comment yet. Why don’t you post an exposé on your blog?”

With that, he hung up. Spade is famous for hanging up on people.[2]

* * * * * * * *

Spade left me no choice. As it turns out, there is no way for him to comment on that accursed SAR application. So here is my exposé. Don Quixote would be proud.

I am going to quote the SAR application, putting the crummy information in boldface with a comment clearly indicating error.

The SAR application in question was by WILLIAM STEWART RENKIN,[3] whose great-great-great grandfather was, according to the application, a member of the Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania militia during the Sandusky Expedition in 1782. That was an engagement on the western front and one of the last operations in the Revolutionary War.[4]

William Stewart died in 1967, but I communicated with his daughter[5] for several years. She has since died as well. Her father did the initial family history research for their Renkins and prepared the SAR application. She diligently supplemented his work with excellent, thorough research of her own. I enjoyed arguing with her.

Unfortunately, the information on her father’s SAR application has one flaw — and the flaw is not even relevant to his claim to SAR membership! Put another way, the error wasn’t needed to establish whether William Stewart was eligible. He could have omitted two generations and his application would have been perfectly fine.

The bad information in that SAR application has, of course, multiplied like Tribbles on the starship “Enterprise” in the original Star Trek. The error is included in countless online trees.

We have ALL made research errors, so I am not being critical of William Stewart’s work. I do confess to an occasional eye-roll when people accept assertions on Find-a-Grave, SAR applications, and online trees despite lack of evidence. Or, worse yet, without verifying the assertions for themselves.

Here is what the application says. My comments are in either italics or boldface.

William Stewart Renkin, born on June 16, 1913, was:

(1) the son of William Oran Renkin, 1875-1943, and Jane Fulton Stewart.

(2) the grandson of William Wilson Renkin, 1842-1922, and Sarah Hefron Hunter.

(3) the great-grandson of William Johnson Rankin, 1813-after 1870, and Nancy Johnson Anthony.

(4) the great-great-grandson of William Jackson Rankin, 1788-1870, and his first wife Margaret McHargus Ramsey.

(5) the great-great-great-grandson of William Rankin Jr, 1743-1823, and his wife Jane Taylor. “Jr.” is handwritten on the application, although William never used that designation SFAIK. His most likely death date is 1826 rather than 1823. This is the man whose service was the basis of the SAR application. He died in Indiana County and left a will dated 1822, proved 1826.[6]

(6) the great-great-great-great-grandson of William Rankin, died 1798, and Mary Huston. THIS IS WRONG: the William Rankin who died in Indiana County in 1826 was NOT a son of William and Mary Huston Rankin. That couple did have a son named William, but records (see discussion below) conclusively prove he moved to Centre County, Pennsylvania, and died there in 1847. He cannot possibly have been the same man as the William Rankin who died two decades earlier in Indiana County. Also, the William Rankin who married Mary Huston died in 1792 rather than 1798.

(7) the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of Adam Rankin died 1750  and his “2d wife Mrs. Mary Steele.” Adam died in 1747 rather than 1750. There is apparently no evidence in the records for a first wife. That is an assertion in the oral history of two genetically unrelated families, one of whom claims descent from the Adam who died in 1747 in Lancaster County. The other claims descent from John Rankin who died in Lancaster in 1749. Y-DNA testing proves those families are not related through the paternal Rankin line. Given the error in item (6), it follows that William Stewart Renkin was not descended from Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin. Big Y testing confirms that.

Below is the evidence concerning William, son of William and Mary Huston Rankin. It is yet another example of what I call the “follow the land theory.” That is a solid form of genealogical proof if you want to be certain, for example, that the William you are following around was the same man as William, son of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin.

Let’s start with a will. Specifically, the will of William Rankin of Franklin County whose wife was Mary Huston.[7] We are concerned with two provisions, those dealing with land devised to four of their sons:

  • Sons James and William jointly received 900 acres in Penns Valley, Mifflin County.
  • Sons John and Jeremiah jointly received 408 acres on Spring Creek in Penns Valley, Mifflin County.

Now let’s check out Mifflin County, Penns Valley, and Spring Creek to make sure we know where these two inherited tracts wound up.

… “Penns Valley” is located in southeastern Centre County and includes Potter Township, which appears often in the records for these men.

… A “Spring Creek” runs through the middle of Bellefonte, the county seat of Centre County.[8]

… Centre County was created in 1800 from parts of four counties, including Mifflin.

We therefore know that the two tracts William devised to four of his sons were located in what is now Centre County. John and Jeremiah should be located close to each other, since they jointly inherited one tract. James and William should also be located near each other for the same reason.

Voila! There they are, all four brothers in Centre County, paired off geographically just as one would expect. In the 1800 Pennsylvania Septicentennial Census for Potter Township, James and William are entries #150 and #151, respectively, indicating they were surveyed sequentially and thus lived adjacent to each other. John and Jeremiah did not appear in that census, and may have still been home in Franklin County.

In the 1810 census for Potter Township, James Rankin is listed two households down from William Rankin.[9] The prior page for Potter Township has listings for Jeremiah and John, a dozen households apart.[10] All four men were enumerated in the age 26 < 45 category, so they were born during 1765–1784. The family Bible establishes the birth dates of the four men as follows: William, 1770, James, 1776, John, 1779, and Jeremiah, 1783.[11] Fits like a glove! Finally, Centre County cemetery records show John Rankin’s birth year as 1778 (off by one year, a common error since the deceased wasn’t there to provide a correction, or possibly a typo or misread by the abstractor) and Jeremiah’s as 1783 (correct).[12]

There is just no reasonable doubt that the four Rankins in Centre County were sons of William and Mary Huston Rankin and grandsons of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin. There is also no reasonable doubt that William Rankin of Centre County, who died there in 1847, was a different man than the William Rankin who died in Indiana County in 1826 and who was William Stewart Renkin’s ancestor. As one would expect, a Y-DNA test by one of William Stewart’s grandsons confirms that, since his results don’t match those for descendants of Adam and Mary.

At the risk of piling on, here are excerpts from a county history published in 1883. It identifies James, John, Jeremiah and William as brothers who came to Centre County from Franklin County, home of William and Mary Huston Rankin.

First, the following from History of Centre and Clinton Counties:[13]

“Rankin, William, was born in Franklin County, Nov. 5, 1770. He removed to Centre County and settled upon a farm two miles west of Potter’s Mills.”

A footnote to the above adds that “James, John, and Jeremiah Rankin, brothers of William, came to Penn’s Valley” from Franklin County.

History continues about William’s brother John, with the correct birth date:

“Rankin, John, Esq., died at the residence of his son-in-law, John Irvin, in Penn’s valley, April 22, 1848, aged sixty-nine. He was born in Franklin County, May 1, 1779, and was an early settler in Penn’s valley …”

And that is all.

I am fairly sure I haven’t heard the last on this subject from Spade, though.

See you on down the road.

Robin

[1] “Sons of the American Revolution.” That organization is obviously the male equivalent of the DAR, although their due diligence was deficient in this case.

[2] For proof of Spade’s propensity to hang up, please see a fun post at https://digupdeadrelatives.com/2023/01/01/john-mcginley-rankin-too-many-have-lived/

[3] “Renkin” and “Rankin” are genetically equivalent. My Rankin cousin’s closest match at 37 markers is a man named Renkin.

[4] See, e.g., https://emergingrevolutionarywar.org/2018/09/04/the-crawford-campaign-1782-battle-on-the-sandusky/

[5] I hope I spelled Jeanne’s name correctly but am not certain.

[6] Indiana Co., PA Will Book 1: 140.

[7] Franklin Co., PA Will Book A-B: 256, will of William Rankin of Antrim Twp. dated 20 Oct 1792, proved 28 Nov 1792. Wife Mary. Sons Adam, Archibald, James, William, David, John, and Jeremiah. Daughter Betsy.

[8] See, e.g., https://bellefontechamber.org/attractions/fly-fishing#:~:text=Anglers%20enjoy%20the%20world%2Dclass,the%20historic%20borough%20its%20name.

[9] 1810 census for Potter Township, Centre Co., PA.  https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/430206:7613

[10] Id.

[11] Birth dates are from the family Bible, a transcription of which (along with the cover letter from the Bible owner) are contained in electronic storage of Flossie Cloyd’s materials at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. She was the premier Rankin historian of the 20th century, although she did very little research herself except on her own line. For the most part, she assembled materials from a number of other Rankin researchers.

[12] Mary Belle Lontz, Tombstone Inscriptions of Centre County, Pennsylvania (1984).

[13] John Blair Linn, History of Centre and Clinton Counties, Pennsylvania (Louis H. Everts, 1883, reprinted Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1975) 222-23 and footnote at 222.

Allegheny County Rankin Families (Part 1 of ?)

We are back to “normal” writing style. This article has no alleged first-person account by someone who has been dead for more than a century. Nor does it have a whimsical story of research by a private eye named Spade. The purpose of this article, rather than entertainment, is simply to provide information about several Rankin families in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania beginning in the late 1700s. I hope someone finds it helpful. I fully expect a couple of emails featuring “yawning” emojis. 😉

Fortunately, the five Rankin families in this county are easy to distinguish by township location. I don’t know whether any of them are genetically related, because only one of the lines has a descendant who has Y-DNA tested. The Rankins here include: a family in Allegheny City, who are descendants of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin; a family in Mifflin Township which may have had three Revolutionary War soldiers; a Baldwin Township family who came to Maryland from Ireland, then lived in both Westmoreland and Allegheny Counties; a Robinson Township family which is a total mystery to me; and a family in Elizabeth Township which arrived from Ireland in two migrations decades apart. There is so much information in the records about these families that more than one article is surely in the works.

Allegheny City Rankins

 Dr. David Nevin Rankin jumps out of the records in Allegheny City, which was a separate city until it was annexed by Pittsburgh in 1907.  He was a great-great grandson of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin of Lancaster County.[1] Dr. David graduated from Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia in 1854, then practiced with his father in Shippensburg until the Civil War.[2] He was in Company A of the 20th Pennsylvania Artillery, became an Assistant Surgeon, and helped open many of the largest Union Army hospitals during the war. He worked for many years as a prison doctor. He and several members of his family are buried in the Allegheny Cemetery in Pittsburgh.[3]

Here is an outline chart showing how Dr. David fits in Adam and Mary’s line:

1  Adam Rankin d. 1747, Lancaster Co., PA, wife Mary Steele Alexander.

  2 William Rankin d. 1792, Franklin Co., PA, wife Mary Huston.

    3 William Rankin, 1770 – 1847, moved to Centre Co., PA. Married first Abigail McGinley, second Susannah Huston.

      4 Dr. William Rankin, b. 1795, Centre Co., PA, d. 1872, Shippensburg, Cumberland Co. Wife Caroline O. Nevin. Dr. William was a son of Abigail McGinley Rankin, his father’s first wife.

       5 Dr. David Nevin Rankin, b. 1835, Shippensburg, d. 1901, Allegheny Co. Wife Ann Catharine Irwin.[4]

         6 Lilly J. Rankin, b. abt 1864.

         6 Dr. Henry Irwin Rankin, 1869 – 1914.[5] Married Hester McCaughey, both of Philadelphia, license issued 5 May 1908. No children found.

         6 Edith N. Rankin, 1873 – 1926, Allegheny County. Husband Henry A. Plumer. Buried in the Allegheny Cemetery.[6]

So far as I have found, Dr. Henry H. Rankin was the last male Rankin in the Allegheny City line. That’s a shame, because Y-DNA results for Adam and Mary Steele Rankin’s line are scarce as hen’s teeth.[7] If you are a male having the Rankin surname and think you are descended from them, please go take a “Big Y” test ASAP!

Mifflin Township Rankins

Hugh Rankin was the apparent patriarch of the Mifflin Township Rankin family. His tombstone says that he was a Revolutionary War soldier who served in the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment of Infantry as of 1777. That unit completed an epic winter march across the mountains from western Pennsylvania to New Jersey, leaving many men sick or dead. It was engaged at Bound Brook, Brandywine, the massacre at Paoli, and Germantown in 1777. It was also at Valley Forge. Wow.

The military records at Fold.3 have limited information, although they provide a possible clue about Hugh’s family. Two other men named Rankin(s) served in the same company as Hugh: Isaac and Solomon Rankin. It would be unusual if they were not kin. Based on no evidence other than names, it is possible (but rank speculation) that the three men were from the line of David and Jeanette McCormick Rankin of Frederick County, VA.[8] That couple definitely had a son Hugh and a grandson Solomon.

If I were a descendant of Hugh and Mary, I would head straight to the muster and payroll records available at the National Archives and Records Administration to see what is there for Hugh, Isaac, and Solomon. NARA is without question the best source for relatively complete Revolutionary War military records.

Hugh first appeared in the Allegheny records in the 1790 census. The county was organized in 1788, so he may have been from one of the Rankin families of Westmoreland or Washington County. Two of David and Jeanette Rankin’s children appeared in the latter county. Although Hugh’s family of origin is unproved, one thing is certain: they were Presbyterian through-and-through. That means that he (or his family of origin) were almost certainly Scots-Irish who immigrated from Ulster or, although it is less likely, Presbyterians who came to the colonies straight from Scotland.

Hugh’s tombstone is also inscribed with his wife’s name: Mary Stewart, 1769-1851. It is clearly a fairly new stone, so it could be either a replacement or a first-time marker installed well after the couple died. It gives Hugh’s dates of birth and death as 1764 – 1844-45. The uncertainty about his death date is a pretty solid clue that the stone wasn’t installed at the time Hugh died.

Neither Hugh nor Mary left a will. Census records suggest one son and three daughters. Deed records confirm a son, but only two daughters:

  • Archibald Rankin, 1802 – 1853.[9]
  • Mary Rankin Livingston, probably born 1790 – 1794.[10]
  • Another daughter, also born 1790-1794, who likely married a Mr. Torrence.[11]

Hugh and Mary’s son Archibald kindly left a will identifying his children. There is an outline chart for Hugh’s line below, along with a plethora of footnotes. There are a sufficient number of male Rankins in this line that there is surely a surviving Rankin male descendant who could Y-DNA test!

And that’s all the room available in this article for the first two Allegheny County Rankin families. Next up: William and Ursula Rankin of Bedford Township.

1 Hugh Rankin, 1764 – 1844-45?, wife Mary Stewart, 1769 – 1851, b. PA.[12] Their fairly new tombstone in the Mifflin United Presbyterian Cemetery is inscribed 8th PA Regiment, 1776 – 1779. NASA records could undoubtedly provide evidence for anyone in this line interested in a DAR or SAR membership.

  2 Mary Rankin, married a Mr. Livingston. Possibly William R. Livingston, who was an executor of her brother Archibald’s will.

  2 Miss Rankin m. Mr. Torrence.

  2 Archibald Rankin,  1802 – 1853, probably born and died in Allegheny Co. Wife Jane Brewster or Bruster, 1814 – 1876. Arch still had minor children when he died.[13] Both Arch and Jane are buried in the Miffllin United Presbyterian Church Cemetery.[14]

   3 Sarah Rankin, 24 Apr 1832 – 10 Sep 1914, b. Jefferson Twp., Allegheny Co. Sarah married Samuel J. Chamberlain.[15] Her Allegheny County death certificate identifies her parents as Archy Rankin and Jane Bruster.[16]

   3 Mary Rankin, 14 Jan 1834 – 19 Dec 1910. Her death certificate identifies her parents as Archibald Rankin and Jane Brewster, a minor spelling difference. She married a John Rankin, relationship unknown.[17] If you can figure it out, I would love to know.

   3 William Rankin, b. abt 1836. Wife Mary Ann McClure, daughter of Francis McClure.[18]

    4 Howard M. Rankin, 7 May 1860 – 24 Feb 1914.[19]

    4 William A. Rankin, 1861 – 1902.[20]

    4 Frank Rankin, 1867 – 1892.

    4 Rebecca C. Rankin, 1864 – 1868. The find-a-grave memorial for this family in the McKeesport and Versailles Cemetery indicates that Rebecca’s birth date is unknown and that she lived into the twentieth century, both of which are incorrect based on the family memorial, see Note 20.

    4 Fannie F. Rankin, 1868-1870.

   3 John Rankin, 1839 – 1892. Wife Alice Giles, 1836 – 1906. John sold his 1/3rd interest in his father’s land to his brother William.[21] John had moved to Oakalla, Iroquois Co., IL by 1870 and then to Pottawatomie Co., IA.[22]He is buried with his wife and two of their children in the Carson Cemetery in Pottawatomie.

    4 Archie Rankin, b. abt 1865, WV.

    4 Laura J. Rankin, 1867 – 1883, b. IL. Carson Cemetery.

    4 John P. Rankin, b. IL 1870 – 1883. Carson Cemetery.

    4 William S. Rankin, b. IL abt 1872. Married Winnie or Minnie Gertrude Pace. Their marriage record identifies his parents as John Rankin and Alice Giles.

    4 Son, b. abt 1874.

    4 Alice Rankin, b. IA abt 1877.

   3 Eliza Rankin, b. abt 1841-42

   3 Jane Rankin, b. abt 1844, m.  Dr. William D. Riggs. Lived in Pittsburgh.[23]

   3 Evaline Rankin Martin, 15 Jul 1846 – 7 May 1923. Buried in the Mifflin United Presbyterian Church Cemetery.[24]

   3 Samuel L. Rankin, 27 Feb 1849 – 11 Apr 1912. Wife Sarah Downay, 1848 – 1934. Samuel went to Iroquois Co., IL and then Pottawatomie Co., IA.[25]  The couple is buried in the Carson Cemetery in Pottawatomie along with two of their children.[26]

    4 Ella Rankin, 1874 – 1877. Carson Cemetery.

    4 Sammy Rankin, 1876 – 1877. Carson Cemetery.

    4 Warren Rankin

    4 Edna J. Rankin

    4 Lula M. Rankin

    4 Edith Belle Rankin m. Mr. Breneman.[27]

And that’s all for now on some Allegheny Rankins. See you on down the road.

Robin

                  [1] There are several articles about the line of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin on this website.

                  [2] Appletons’ Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1600-1889, Vol. V: Pickering – Sumter 180. There is a great picture of Dr. David and his wife Caroline Nevin at this link.

                  [3] Dr. Rankin’s find-a-grave memorial can be found here.

            [4] See 1870, 1880, and 1900 census entries for Dr. David Rankin; Allegheny County death certificates for son Dr. Henry and daughter Edith N. Plumer. Here  is Catherine’s find-a-grave memorial.

            [5] See cemetery memorial here. There is also an Allegheny County death certificate for Henry.

                  [6] See cemetery memorial at this link.. There is also an Allegheny County death certificate for Edith Rankin Plumer.

                  [7] Ironically, more Rankins claim descent from Adam and Mary than you can throw a stick at. If you think you might be from that line, please go to the Rankin DNA Project website and send me an email. I will answer questions and do whatever I can to help.

            [8] See Frederick Co., VA Deed Book 12: 46, lease and release from Hugh Rankin to William Rankin, proved sons of David and Jeanette McCormick Rankin, witnessed by Solomon and David Rankin. Solomon was a fairly unusual name. I have not tried to track Hugh’s family.

            [9] Allegheny Co., PA Deed Book 21: 250, FHL #8091674, image #432, deed dated 1815 from William and Tabitha Reed to Hugh Rankin, all of Allegheny Co., 401.5 acres called “Tabermore” to Hugh Rankin for his life or the life of his wife Mary, at the death of the survivor to their son Archibald in fee simple. See also Deed Book 55: 183, FHL #8036728, image #110, Hugh Rankin and wife Mary of Allegheny to their son Archibald “all … land … now in their occupation.” Hugh Rankin and his family were listed in the federal census for 1790 through 1820 in Mifflin Township. In the 1830 census, Hugh was probably living with his son Archibald.

                  [10] Allegheny Co., PA Deed Book 118: 181, FHL film #8091702, image #109, deed dated 1853 from Mary Livingston of Jefferson Twp, Allegheny Co., daughter of Hugh Rankin, dec’d, and one of his heirs at law, to my brother Archibald Rankin of Mifflin Twp., for $200, all my claim to Hugh Rankin’s property.

            [11] Allegheny Co., PA Deed Book 70: 163, FHL Film #8091683, image #532, deed dated 1845 from Mary Torrence and Jane Torrence of Mifflin Twp., heirs at law of Hugh Rankin, all our claim to Hugh’s real and personal property to Hugh’s son Archibald.

                  [12] Hugh and Mary’s shared tombstone can be found here.

            [13] 1850 Allegheny Co., PA census, household of Archibald Rankin 48, Jane 36, Sarah 18, Mary 16, William 14, John 11, Eliza 9, Jane 6, Emiline 4, and Mary Rankin 81; 1860 census, Mifflin Twp, Allegheny Co., household of Jane Rankin, 46, widow, $7,550/560, b. PA, John Rankin 21, Eliza Rankin 18, Jane Rankin 16, Emeline Rankin 13, and Samuel Rankin 11. They are enumerated adjacent the household of William Rankin, 24. For proof of their five daughters, see Allegheny Co., PA Will Book 26: 36, FHL film #5538, image #396, will of Jane Rankin of Mifflin Township dated 11 Jul 1871 proved 13 Mar 1876. To be buried in Mifflin graveyard, Presbyterian rites. Divide all property into 5 parts, 1/5th each to daughter (1) Sarah Chamberlin, (2) Mary Rankin, (3) dec’d daughter Eliza Forsythe’s children, (4) Jane Riggs, and (5) Emiline Martin. Executor Samuel J. Chamberlin. Witnesses Harvey Sheplar, C. D. Phillips.

                  [14] Archibald and Jane’s find-a-grave memorials can be found at here  and here, respectively.

                  [15] Allegheny Deed Book 290: 682, 1866 deed from Samuel J. Chamberlain and wife Sarah to John Rankin, tract in Jefferson Twp.; Deed Book 381: 99, FHL film # 8092431, image #285, 1877 quitclaim deed from Samuel J. Chamberlin (or Chamberlain) and wife Sarah, formerly Sarah Rankin, of Jefferson Twp., Allegheny Co., to William Rankin of Mifflin Twp. for $300. All claim by Sarah to tract “bequeathed to her by her father Archibald Rankin.”

                  [16] Sarah Rankin Chamberlain’s memorial in Mifflin United Presbyterian Church Cemetery can be found at this link.

            [17] Allegheny Co., Deed Book 396: 684, quitclaim deed dated 1878 from John Rankin and Mary Rankin (daughter of Archibald Rankin, dec’d) of Jefferson Twp., to William Rankin of Mifflin Twp. The grantors John and Mary were married, as is proved by her separate examination re: dower release. The deed conveys all of Mary’s claims to the legacy willed her by Archibald, including a 150-acre tract on the headwaters of Lewis Run, Mifflin Twp. Who the heck is John? I don’t know.

            [18] See Allegheny Co., PA Deed Book 243: 475, FHL Film # 8092177, image #413, 1869 deed from Mrs. Jane Rankin, widow of Archibald Rankin late of Mifflin Township, Allegheny, to William Rankin, son of Archibald, all of her right, title, interest to a tract in Mifflin Township containing 100A, part of the real estate which Arch devised to his wife for life known as the Adersen (sic, Anderson) farm. See also Allegheny Co., PA Deed Book 352: 670, film #8092385, image #18, 1875 quitclaim deed from Robert Day and wife Catharine J. of Allegheny City, Francis N. McClure and Margaret his wife of Allegheny Co., Sarah Rhodes, widow of David Rhodes of McKeesport, and William Rankin and wife Mary A. Rankin of Mifflin Twp., grantors, to Richard McClure of Mifflin, $3,500, 275A. Signatures reveal Wm. Rankin was married to Mary Ann McClure, daughter of Francis McClure. See 1860 census, Mifflin Twp, Allegheny Co., household of William Rankin, 24, farmer, $400, b. PA, Mary Anne Rankin, 23, PA, and Howard M. Rankin, b. May 1860, listed adjacent William’s widowed mother Jane and her children still at home; 1870 census, Mifflin Township, household of William Rankin, 34, farmer, $15,200/$15,000, b. PA, Mary Ann Rankin, 23 (sic, should be 33), $800, PA, Howard Rankin, 10, William Rankin, 8, Francis Rankin, 3 (male, Frank), and Fanny Rankin (female), 1.

            [19] Howard M. Rankin’s Allegheny Co. death certificate states his birth and date dates and identifies his parents as William Rankin and Mary McCure (sic, McClure).

                  [20] William A. Rankin, three of his siblings, and his parents William and Mary Ann are buried in the McKeesport and Versailles Cemetery in McKeesport, Allegheny Co. There is an impressive monument  inscribed with the names and birth/death dates of Mary Ann Rankin (1836 – 1896), William Rankin (1834-1904), William A. Rankin (1861-1902), Frank Rankin (1867 – 1892), Rebecca C. Rankin (1864 – 1868), and Fannie F. Rankin (1868 – 1870). I don’t know who erected the monument, but Howard M. Rankin, who survived all six of them, is a good bet.

                  [21] Allegheny Co., PA Deed Book 177: 299, FHL film #8092152, image #490, deed dated 1864 from John Rankin and his wife Mary Alice to William, undivided interest per the will of Archibald Rankin, father of the parties; Allegheny Co., PA Deed Book 301, FHL film #8092388, image #3421872 deed from John Rankin and wife Alice of Iroquois Co., Illinois to William Rankin of Allegheny for $5. Quitclaim to tract in Mifflin Township adj James and Robert Rath, et al. Archibald Rankin died owning tract and by his will devised it to his three sons John, Samuel, and William. Both Samuel and John are listed in the 1870 census in Iroquois Co.

            [22] 1870 census, Iroquois Co., Illinois, Oakalla PO, household of John Rankin, 31, farmer, $5,100/700, b. PA, Olive? Rankin, 33, England, presumably Alice Giles. Jennie Rankin, 7, PA, Archie Rankin, 5, VA, Laura Rankin, 3, IL, and John Rankin, 6 months, b. Jan 1870, IL; 1880 census, Grove Twp., Pottawattamie Co., IA, household of J. Rankin, 41, farming, b. PA, parents b. PA, wife Alice, 43, b. England, son Archie, 15, b. WV, daughter Laurie, 13, b. ILL, son John, 11, IL, son William, 8, IL, unidentified son, 6, IA, and daughter Alice, 3, IA.

            [23] Allegheny Co., PA Deed Book 369: 94, FHL film #8092392, image #108, 1877 deed from William Riggs, M.D., and wife Jane, formerly Jane Rankin, of the 28th ward of Pittsburgh, acknowledging receipt from William Rankin of Mifflin Twp payment of the $300 legacy bequeathed to Jane Riggs by her father Archibald Rankin in his LW&T dated 5 Sep 1853. Also, grantees quitclaim tract devised by Archibald to William and his brothers John and Samuel Rankin.

                  [24] See memorial here.

            [25] Allegheny Co., PA Deed Book 301: 477, FHL film #8092388, image #342, 1872 deed from Samuel Rankin of Iroquois Co., Illinois to William Rankin of Allegheny Co., Samuel’s undivided 1/3rd of tract in Mifflin Twp., Allegheny, adjacent James Rath, Robert Rath, Hays, McElhenny, Livingstons, Hope et al. Devised by Archibald Rankin’s will to the parties.

                  [26] Samuel L. Rankin’s find-a-grave memorial is at this link. His wife Sarah Downay Rankin’s memorial is here. Their daughter Ella and son Sammy Jr. are also buried in the Carson cemetery and have similar tombstones.

            [27] Edith Rankin’s delayed birth record says she was b. 9 Apr 1886, in Grove Twp., Pottawatamie Co., IA, and identifies her parents as Samuel Rankin, b. Pittsburg, and Sarah Downay, b. Oneida Co., NY. She signed the birth certificate as Edith Belle Breneman.

 

Outline chart for William Galloway Rankin’s family (part 4)

The last three articles on this blog have been about William G. Rankin,  nicknamed “Willie G” by the two of us. He was apparently displeased with the nickname, see the most recent post about him here.

This post is almost, but not quite, a traditional outline chart. It has some commentary and includes minimal evidence. Three important legal documents — a probate court petition to sell the land of Robert C. Rankin as well as two wills — are abstracted at the end of the chart.

The probate court petition illustrates an important research point: one of the best things that can happen to a family history researcher is to have an ancestral family member die intestate, without children, and leaving an estate. The decedent’s property will pass to his or her heirs under the jurisdiction’s law of intestate descent and distribution. ALL of the heirs will be named in the inevitable petition to sell land or other request of the court. Any such request involving the decedent’s estate must, as a matter of law, name all heirs and make them parties to the proceeding. Thus, a petition to sell land (for example) of a childless decedent will name his or her parents if living, surviving siblings, children of deceased siblings, and –here’s a real bonus! — identify their locations. I conclusively proved a great-great grandmother when I found such a petition on microfilm, and did several twirls of my swivel chair with my arms in the air in the Family History Library in SLC. Everyone on the row grinned, knowing what had just happened.

When we found a petition to sell the land of R. C. Rankin among the probate papers of Mercer County, Pennsylvania, we had found the equivalent of the Rosetta Stone for this family.

I tracked this family trying to find a living Rankin male who might be willing to Y-DNA test. No luck. Ah, well, maybe next time. Meanwhile, here’s the chart,  along with abstracts of the relevant legal documents following the chart.

See you on down the road.

Robin

1 William S. Rankin, b. abt. 1786, d. 1857, Mercer, Mercer Co., PA. The 1850 census says he was b. PA, although an abstract of his son William’s death certificate says he was born in Scotland. What makes the latter somewhat plausible is that his son William has the middle name “Galloway.” On the other hand, typical immigration and migration patterns make PA seem more likely than Scotland. His will left everything to his wife in fee simple except for a small gift to their housekeeper.[1] His wife was Martha Jane Cook, b. abt. 1790, Washington Co., PA, died in Mercer in 1873.[2] She is buried in the Mercer Citizens Cemetery along with her husband, one daughter and SIL, and three sons.[3] Six of her eight children predeceased her. She was a daughter of Robert Cook and his wife Mary (probably Mary Ann, see the first Rankin daughter) of Cecil Township, Washington County. Her father left her $250 when he died in 1826.[4] William S. most likely also lived in Cecil Township when they married, but I cannot identify him among the legion of Rankins there.

    2 Mary Ann Rankin, b. abt. 1814, died 1850-55. Husband Benoni Ewing, b. abt 1807. At least one census called him Benjamin, but three legal documents are clear that his name was Benoni. The Ewings lived in Crawford Co., PA.[5]All of their children are named in several documents except for Samuel, who died young and who only appeared in the 1850 census.[6]

      3 William R. Ewing, b. abt 1837.

      3 James M. Ewing, b. abt 1839.

      3 Elizabeth Ewing, b. 16 Nov 1842, Hartstown, Crawford Co., PA, d. 6 Jan, 1901, Mercer, Mercer Co. Husband James Alexander Stranahan, b. Philadelphia, 1839, d. 1922, Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., PA. They were married in 1874.[7]He was a Civil War veteran. Both are buried in the Mercer Citizens Cemetery.

      3 Martha Jane Ewing, b. abt 1846.

      3 Robert Rankin Ewing, b. 18 Oct 1847, Hartstown, PA, d. 19 Jan 1939. His Mercer Borough, Mercer Co. death certificate identifies his middle name and his parents as Benoni Ewing and Mary Ann Rankin.

     3 Samuel Ewing, b. abt 1849, d. by 1856.

     3 Margaret E. (probably Emma) Ewing, b. abt 1861.

   2 Robert C. Rankin, b. abt 1816, d. 22 Jan 1855. His middle name was almost certainly Cook. He was an attorney. Lived at home with his parents and accumulated a fair amount of land, including mineral rights in some coal seams. Never married. He died intestate and without issue, which is conclusively proved by a petition to sell his land after he died. Buried in the Mercer Citizens Cemetery in the borough of Mercer, PA.[8] Claims on Find-a-Grave that he fought in the War of 1812 and that he had a wife and son are readily disproved, see the abstract of the petition, below.

   2 James L. Rankin, b. 1820 – 1825, d. by 1855. Wife Madeline Williamson.

      3 James Lee Rankin Jr., 14 Apr 1846 – 30 Sep 1933. His death certificate gives his parents’ names as James Lee Rankin and Madeline Williamson.[9]

         4 James Rankin (possibly James Lee III?), b. abt 1876.

         4 William Scott Rankin, b. Nov 1882, d. May 1931.

             5 William Scott Rankin Jr., b. 2 Sep 1928, d. 8 Jul 1954. He was a pilot training instructor and died in a plane crash. Buried in the Laurel Grove Cemetery North, Savannah, GA.

   2 John H. Rankin, b. abt 1820, d. 1872. Will dated 30 Nov 1870, proved 28 Aug 1872. Mercer Co. Will Book 6: 31. His mother was living with John in the 1870 Mercer Co. census, in which he valued his realty as $38,000.  He had purchased several tracts from his brother Robert’s estate. John’s estate is recorded in File No. 3428, Mercer Co. He is buried in the Mercer Citizens Cemetery with his brothers Robert C. and William G., sister Mary Ann Rankin and her husband Benoni Ewing, and his parents Martha Cook and William S. Rankin.[10]

  2 William Galloway Rankin, 1822 – 1891, Manhattan. Captain, U. S. Army with a checkered career. Married at least once, no known children. See three blog articles about him at the links in the footnote.[11] Find-a-Grave information about him is mostly incorrect.[12]

   2 Samuel H. L. Rankin, b. about 1823. Probably died in the Civil War. Was in New York City in 1855 and 1860. He was listed in the household of the William Snell family in the 1860 census along with his 5-month old son. His occupation was listed as “shoe store.” His wife was probably Caroline Snell.

      3 William S. Rankin, b. 7 Feb 1860, New York City, d. 21 Oct 1902, White Plains, NY. He was listed with Samuel in the 1860 census. They were living in the household of William Snell, whose family included a probable daughter Caroline Snell. In 1870, William S. Rankin and Caroline Snell Rankin were again listed in NYC in the household of William Snell, but without Samuel Rankin. Caroline and William are both buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. William was confirmed in the Anglican church, which would undoubtedly have horrified his dyed-in-the-wool Presbyterian forbears.

   2 Martha Jane Rankin, b. March 1829, d. 1906. Husband Rev. William A. Mehard, 29 Oct 1825 – 24 Jun 1878. Both are buried in the Oak Park Cemetery in Lawrence Co., PA.[13] Their children are proved by the wills of her mother and her brother John.

   2 Clark D. Rankin, b. abt. 1831, d. 1864-1869. Medical degree from Western Reserve College, Ohio, in 1848. Moved to Peoria, Peoria Co., Illinois.[14] Appeared in the Peoria City Directory in 1861, occupation: physician, practicing at 12 S. Adams St., residence at 138 Fulton. Commissioned in the Union Army 28 Oct 1861 as a surgeon, 7th Cavalry, Company S. Resigned his commission on 1 Jun 1862. 1863 Civil War Draft Registration indicates he was age 32 and single.  His mother bequeathed  $500 to her granddaughter “Martha Jane Mehard … at the request of my son Clark D. Rankin, dec’d, contained in the last letter I received from him immediately before his death.”

*   *   *   *   *   *

 Petition of William S. Rankin, administrator of the estate of R. C. Rankin, to sell decedent’s real estate. Mercer Co., PA Orphans Court Vol. E: 307 et seq.

Presented at the Orphans Court held at Mercer on 26 Apr 1856. Petition asserts that Robert C. Rankin, Esq., late of Mercer Borough, dec’d, died on 22 Jan 1855 in Mercer intestate and without issue. Never married. His father, William S. Rankin (petitioner), and his mother, petitioner’s wife Martha, are both now living.

Collateral heirs are his siblings and children of deceased siblings:

  1. Children of his deceased sister, Mary Ann Rankin, who married Benoni Ewing. Their children are William R. Ewing, James Ewing, Elizabeth Ewing, Martha Ewing, Robert Ewing, and Emma Ewing, all minors not yet having anyone legally authorized to take charge of their estate. They reside in Hartstown, Crawford Co., PA.
  2. James L. Rankin, a minor child of deceased brother James L. Rankin. He has no guardian and resides with his mother Madaline Julia Rankin in Reading, Cumberland Co., PA.
  3. John H. Rankin, a brother, of West Salem Township, Mercer Co.
  4. William G. Rankin, a brother, who is a deputy quartermaster in the U. S. Army. When last heard from, he was at Ft. Reading, California, and was about to remove to Fort Vancouver, Washington, Territory.
  5. Clark D. Rankin, a brother, who resides in Peoria, Illinois.
  6. Samuel H. L. Rankin, a brother, who lives in the City of New York.
  7. Martha J. Rankin, a sister, who is married to Rev. William Mehard. They live in New Wilmington, Laurence Co., PA.

Robert owned land and ” equitable interests” in real estate in Mercer.[15] Debts when decedent died were about $4,757; he had personal property worth $1,500. Petitioner asks to sell land, repay debts, and distribute the balance pursuant to the PA intestate distribution law. Petitioner says that a better price can be obtained at a private sale rather than a public sale. Petitioner also prays for notice to heirs and legal representatives.

On August 31st, the heirs and legal representatives accepted notice of the petition and joined in the prayer to sell decedent’s real property at private sale. The signatories were Sam H. L. Rankin, John H. Rankin, William G. Rankin, Martha Rankin, Madeline J. Rankin for James L. Rankin, William R. Ewing, A. Cook (probably Absalom) as attorney for the Ewing children, William A. Mehard, and Martha J. Rankin Mehard. Sale was ordered.[16]

The Orphans Court entries continue with the petition of J. H. Robinson, administrator de bonis non of R. C. Rankin. The petition say that William S. Rankin, Esq., late of Mercer, was administrator of Robert R. Rankin but is now deceased. The decedent’s real estate was sold at private sale on 4 May 1857 to John H. Rankin, 4 tracts. Other tracts were sold to James A. Hunla, William Struthers, and Chauncey W. Hummason. There was additional information having no apparent genealogical value.

*   *   *   *   *   *

Will of John H. Rankin of Mercer Borough, Mercer County, PA. Dated 30 Nov 1870, proved 28 August 1872. Mercer Co., PA Will Book 6: 31.

To my mother Martha Rankin, the proceeds of my farm in Findley Township until sold and the use and occupation for her life of the house where she resides in Mercer Borough. The latter is already arranged for by agreement.

To my brother William G. Rankin $16,000.

To my sister Martha J. Mehard, $6,000. To her children, my niece and nephews, Emma Mehard, William Mehard, Joseph Mehard, and Charles E. Mehard, $10,000 to be equally divided when each reaches age twenty-one. Interest on those legacies while unpaid to my sister Martha for their education and support.

To brother-in-law Benoni Ewing, $1,000, and to my nieces and nephews, the children of my sister Mary Ann Ewing, $15,000: William R. Ewing, James M. Ewing,  Elizabeth Ewing, Martha Jane Ewing, Robert Ewing, and Emma Ewing. Emma’s share to be paid when she reaches age 21. To the daughters, all my sheep.

To my sister-in-law Madeline J. Rankin, widow of my brother James L. Rankin, $1,000. To my nephew James L. Rankin, his son, $2,500.

Cousin Sarah Henry, wife of James Henry, $200.

Caroline Fritz, $500 and her choice of my cows.

To the Second United Presbyterian Church of Mercer, “in ecclesiastical connection with the United Presbyterian Church of the United States,” $500.

All bequests except as otherwise directed within a year of my death.

Residue to my brother and sister and nephews and nieces. Provides for the contingency that “his brother shall die without lawful issue,” telling us that Willie G (William Galloway Rankin) had no children when John H. wrote his will in 1870.

*   *   *   *   *   *

Will and codicil of Martha Rankin of Mercer Borough, Mercer County, PA. Dated 6 Jan 1872, proved 26 May, 1873. Mercer Co., PA Will Book 6: 84.

Directs executors to convert government bonds, notes, and other securities into cash, and sell all personal property not disposed of herein, as soon as practicable.

To son-in-law Benoni Ewing and to my grandchildren William Ewing, James Ewing, Elizabeth Ewing, Martha Jane Ewing, Emma Ewing, and Robert Ewing, children of Benoni and my deceased daughter Mary Ann Ewing, $1,200 to be divided equally among them.

To my daughter Martha Jane Mehard, wife of Rev. W. A. Mehard, $1,000.

To my son William G. Rankin, $600.

To my grandson James L. Rankin, son of my deceased son James L. Rankin, $600.

Grandson William Rankin, son of my deceased son Samuel H. L. Rankin, $600.

To my son John H. Rankin, $125 for purchasing a gold watch for his use.

To my granddaughter Emma Mehard, daughter of my daughter Martha Jane Mehard, $500. “I make this bequest to her at the request of my son Clark D. Rankin, decd. contained in the last letter I received from him immediately before his death … to be expended upon her education.” If she dies a minor, then spend the bequest on the education of her brothers William, Joseph, and Charles Mehard.

To the above three brothers, $150 to be divided equally.

To Caroline Fritz, $500 and a good, new feather bed and bedding.

To the Second United Presbyterian Church of Mercer, $50 to be applied to its debts. And to the church’s Board of Foreign Mission, $100.

Granddaughter Martha Jane Ewing, my silver tea spoons. Granddaughter Emma Ewing, a large silver tablespoon and one feather bed and bedding. Granddaughter Emma Mehard, a large silver table spoon. Granddaughter Elizabeth Ewin, a large parlor looking glass.

Friend William J. McKean, executor. Witnesses A. J. Greer and J. W. Robinson.

Codicil dated 23 May 1873, also proved 26 May.

To daughter Martha J. Mehard, one bed and bedding, one cherry wardrobe, a large chair given me by my son John, dec’d. Also my knitted shawl, best dress, and breast pin.

To Caroline Fritz, one bed and bedding, one set of knives and forks, one rocking chair, the dishes in the cupboard and ornaments on the mantle, and one spring mattress and $100.

To Martha J. Ewing, one bed and bedding and one set of German silver tea spoons.

To Martha and Emma Ewing, one set of large table spoons.

Granddaughter Emma Mehard, $100.

Witnessses John Pew, A. J. Greer.

*   *   *   *   *   

                  [1] Mercer Co., PA Will Book 4: 188, will of William S. Rankin of Mercer Borough, Mercer Co., PA dated 13 May 1857, proved 26 Jun 1857. $100 to Caroline Fritz, the Rankin housekeeper. Entire residue to wife Martha. Son John H. Rankin, executor. His Find-a-Grave memorial has no image of his tombstone.

                  [2] Mercer Co., PA Will Book 6: 84, will of Martha Rankin dated 6 Jan 1872, proved 26 May 1873. When she wrote her will, only three of her eight children were still alive: John H., William G., and Martha R. Mehard. Her son John H. died before she did, but she did not revise her will. An abstract of her will can be found above.

                  [3] Martha Rankin’s Find-a-Grave memorial can be found at this link. There is no tombstone image.

            [4] Washington Co., PA Will Book 4: 282, will of Robert Cook of Cecil Township dated and proved on 8 May 1826. Wife Mary. Sons John and Archibald. Daughters Jane Long, Martha Rankin, and Margaret Clark.

                  [5] 1850 census, Crawford Co., PA, household of Benjamin Ewing, 42, Mary A., 36, William R., 13, James M., 11, Elizabeth, 7, Martha J., 4, Robert, 2, and Samuel, 1, all b. PA. 1860 census, Crawford Co., Benoin [sic] Ewing, 54, merchant, $5,000/$10,000, William Ewing, 23, clerk, James Ewing, 21, clerk, Robert R. Ewing, 12, Elizabeth Ewing, 17, Martha J. Ewing, 14. 1870 census, Hartstown, Crawford Co., PA, Benoni Ewing, 63, $11,500-$700, Elizabeth Ewing 23, Martha J. Ewing 23, Robert R. Ewing 22, and Margaret E.  (presumably Emma) Ewing 19, all b. PA.

                  [6] See Mercer Co., PA Orphans Court Vol. E: 307 et seq., petition to sell the land of Robert C. Rankin, dec’d, names the children of his deceased sister Mary Ann Benoni: William R., James, Elizabeth, Martha, Robert, and Emma, all minors in 1856.

                  [7] Elizabeth Stranahan’s Find-a-Grave memorial has an image of her death certificate.

                  [8] The Find-a-Grave memorial for Robert C. Rankin claims that he was in the War of 1812, which cannot be correct. He was born about 1816, according to the 1850 census when he was living with his parents in Mercer County. It also claims that he had a wife and son, which is disproved by the petition to sell his land after he died. Robert’s Find-a-Grave memorial can be found at this link.

            [9] 1880 census for Savannah, GA, James L. Rankin, 34, b. GA, mother b. GA, father b. PA, with wife Susie S. Rankin and son James, 4.

                  [10] Here is John H. Rankin’s Find-a-Grave memorial.

                  [11] The first two articles about Willie G. can be accessed here (part 1), and here (part 2). A link to the most recent article, part 3, is provided in the first paragraph of the main article text.

            [12] William G. Rankin’s Find-a-Grave memorial is at this link. The posted attempted to put an unwarranted gloss on his military career.

                  [13] 1860 census, Lawrence Co., PA, W. A. Mehard, 35, Martha Mehard 30, Emma Mehard 4, William Mehard 1. 1880 census, William Mehard 54, Martha Mehard 49, Emma Mehard 23, William Rankin Mehard 20, Joseph H. Mehard, 18 and Charles E. Mehard, 12.

                  [14] See 1855 Illinois State Census, Clark D. Rankin, age 20 < 30, b. 1825 – 1835.

                  [15] The Mercer Co. real property owned by Robert C. were: (1) a 133-acre tract in Findley Township known as the “Tait Farm;” (2) an 85-acre tract in Findley Township; (3) a 76-acre tract in East Lackawannick Township; (4) 9 acres and (5) 4 acres in the same township; (6) 25 acres in Sandy Lake Township; (7) an undivided 1/2 interest in 3.5 acres of the Common Coal Bank in West Salem Township underlying a 190-acre tract of which decedent owned 12 acres. The petition has information about adjacent landowners for each tract. Mercer Co., PA Orphans Court Vol. E: 307 et seq.

                  [16] Mercer Co., PA Orphans Court Vol. E: 307 at 308-309.

Willie G. Rankin’s Story, in His Own Words (Part 3)

by Gary and Robin Willis

Willie G is waiting his turn, tapping his foot, while we say just one thing. Namely, when you search and search and search but turn up nothing, your assumptions may be bad. We should have realized that with William G. Rankin. We were searching for him with a bad estimate of his birth year and apparently delusional logic regarding his whereabouts. Lesson learned the hard way. We needed to share that in case one of you makes the same mistake.

OK, Willie, the mic is all yours.[1]

*   *   *   *   *   *

“First, I want to say I resent Gary and Robin for calling me “Willie G.” My name is (or was) William Galloway Rankin, a perfectly respectable moniker. I may not have lived up to it, but that’s another matter.

I knew at an early age farming wasn’t for me, so I kept my eyes and ears open for something better. And preferably easier. When gold was discovered in California, word was going around that a man could make six years’ wages in a matter of months. That was all I needed to hear. As soon as I had a grubstake, I got the hell out of Mercer County, Pennsylvania. I headed west, looking for easy money, fast women, and hard liquor. I went overland via the California Trail when I was in my twenties.[2]

Unfortunately, so did thousands of other people, almost all men. There were hardly any women in California, fast or otherwise.[3] Worse, searching for gold was hard work. You moved rock, dug dirt, and waded into freezing streams. Equipment and food were expensive.[4] It didn’t take long for me to size up who was really getting rich — the people who were supplying equipment and provisions.[5]

Turned out the ones who were doing a lot of that were people in the good ol’ United States Army. It was also clear to a sharp-eyed hustler like me that some of those soldiers were running their own business ventures on the side. Many of them worked in the Quartermaster Department. I could talk a pretty good game when I was sober, so I threw away my shovel and went to work for those guys. I was clean, warm, and fed. Whiskey was available.

In about 1852 — my memory isn’t so good now that I’ve been dead for more than 130 years — I became a Deputy Quartermaster at Fort Reading, California.[6] That is less than 200 miles north of Sutter’s Mill, California, where the Gold Rush began.[7] It was a safe distance from hard  physical labor. I was still a civilian at the time. Each Army detachment had an officer or two designated as Quartermaster, but the real work was done by us civilians or a handful of enlisted men from the unit.[8]

After Fort Reading, I went to Fort Vancouver in Washington Territory. I made a couple of lifelong buddies there, both West Point graduates. One young captain had a fondness for spirits. Ulysses S. Grant. The other fellow was also a captain. Rufus Ingalls. He and Grant had graduated in 1843 and had both been in the Mexican War. I settled in to work and live with them at the Quartermaster Depot at Fort Vancouver.

The two men moved on after a while.[9] As the country headed toward civil war, I wrote them seeking advice (and any help they could provide).[10] They both said that experienced officers would soon be promoted to higher ranks, leaving room for new Captains and Lieutenants. They suggested I seek an appointment in the regular Army. Grant was encouraging, although he was temporarily out of the service. However, Ingalls was now a Major and on the way up. He may have recommended me to some of his associates. Or Grant may have put in a good word for me with friends still in the Army. Someone definitely greased the skids for me, because I obtained a commission as a Captain in the 13thRegiment of Infantry, headquartered near St. Louis, Missouri.[11] I was probably the only person who was commissioned in the 13th from Washington Territory.

Being commissioned as a Captain was unusual. Ordinarily, the only way to achieve that rank right off the bat was to raise a company of soldiers. As I like to say, it is nice to have powerful friends.

In any event, the Army transported me, now Captain William G. Rankin, from Fort Vancouver to my assignment. The 13th Infantry was headquartered at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, just outside St. Louie. I soon figured that my quality of life as a staff officer would improve if I were assigned to a larger unit than a regiment, so I wangled a post with the headquarters of the Department of the  Missouri.[12]

I actually worked in St. Louis, helping the Department with administrative tasks and quartermaster functions. Fortunately, sweat, cold, and other discomforts weren’t involved. I also had time to enjoy the many pleasures of the big city. It was there I met my future wife, a beautiful woman. She was not, however, the type to take home to Mama. In fact, I am not sure any of my family would have approved of her – or of me, for that matter. She was, it turned out, “mostly faithful.”[13] You can refresh your memory by looking at what Gary had to say about that in Part 2.

The end of the Civil War brought some big changes. Most people wanted to go home. Most of them did, but not me. As higher ranking officers left the service, someone had to take over their jobs, at least temporarily. In 1865, I got two brevet promotions out of the organizational vacuum, to Major and Lt. Colonel. Both promotions were to fill vacancies left by departing officers. My selection to fill those jobs accorded with the old military rule that awards and promotions accrue to those nearest the typewriters, and I was nearly always in a headquarters job. Grant and/or Ingalls may have provided an assist. The temporary ranks were nice while they lasted. My pay went from $115 a month to $181.

Later changes didn’t turn out so well. A lot of cushy staff jobs were eliminated as the Army consolidated its command structure. Someone decided if I wanted to hang around, I would have to do something I’d  not done before – command troops in the field. It could be that I had gotten on the wrong side of a higher-up by flirting with his wife. Or drinking too much, and the objective was just to get my arse out of town.

Whatever the reason, in mid-1866, I was put in charge of a company of infantry and sent up the Missouri River. My orders were to establish Fort Buford at the junction of the Yellowstone River with the Missouri. The plan was to provide an outpost to protect settlers coming into or through the Dakota Territory. Since it was peacetime, and I was to be the commander of the prospective fort, I was allowed to take my wife along with me.

It was immediately obvious this remote outpost did not compare favorably to a staff job in St. Louie. The local Sioux attacked us the second night and again the next day. We drove them off and proceeded with construction. As winter approached, it became apparent they intended to surround and lay siege to our small fort. When the Missouri froze and cut off communications with headquarters, a rumor circulated in the eastern press that we had been annihilated. Not true, although it was a tough winter for all of us. With the spring thaw, reinforcements arrived and our situation improved. With the fort now manned by four and a half companies, we were a far more imposing force. I can’t remember for sure, but I may have qualified again for brevet Lt. Colonel status with that many men under my command.

The summer of 1867 brought more changes. You may have read about the charges lodged against me for drunkenness and misappropriation of government property. Here is my side of the story. First of all, everyone in the Army drank – or at least I never met anyone who didn’t. Don’t forget my friend Grant. It was an accepted part of military life. Still is, says Gary. As to the government property issues, I would frankly rather not talk about it. But any opportunities there may have been for selling whiskey and government supplies to a friendly local tribe soon evaporated because the Army reorganized. It transferred me and my troops out of the 13th Regiment into the 31st, and gave us a new boss – a Frenchman named Colonel Phillipe Regis de Tobriand.[14]

Things went from bad to worse. Col. Tobrian ginned up a court-martial for my various alleged sins: misappropriation of government property, conduct unbecoming an officer — brawling with a subordinate officer — blah blah blah. You know, fights sometime break out when you’ve had a snootful. My wife caught a steamboat back to civilization. You may have noticed I’ve not mentioned her name. Maybe Spade can dig it up.[15]

Lucky for me, I was able to swing a transfer back to the 13th Regiment and out from under the pending court-martial. I can’t remember how that happened, but it almost certainly had something to do with my high-ranking friends.

I ultimately resigned my commission in 1873, after receiving not-so-subtle hints to do so from senior officers. Some people claim I resigned in 1870 and that I was a Major or Lt. Colonel. I should know my own service dates and rank, don’t you think? Read them for yourself in the 1890 Census Schedule for Veterans and Widows. I served 13 years from 1861 to 1873 as a Captain in the U.S. 13th Infantry Regiment.[16] And also check my 1889 Pension Application. It clearly states I was a Captain. As much as I would have liked to claim the pay and status associated with the higher ranks, those were just temporary.

Gifts from my family allowed me to kiss the Army goodbye without financial pain. Back in Mercer, Pennsylvania, my brother John was filthy rich. When he died in 1872, he bequeathed me $16,000 in cash, an unexpected windfall. That’s right: sixteen large. My mother, who died the next year, left me another $600. Captain’s pay was chicken feed by comparison.

After resigning, I headed east. I stopped by Mercer to see my mother in 1873 not long before she passed away. But there was still nothing to make me tarry in Mercer. By then, my family was mostly dead. St. Louis had turned me into a confirmed city boy, and the lights of the big city called: New York.

By September 1873, I had talked my way into a job in a New York customs house.[17] The work was easy and — much to my surprise — it paid as much as a Lt. Colonel made. With the inheritances from John and my mother, life was almost a bed of roses. But all good things come to an end. In 1889, I applied for an Invalid Pension for my service during the War.[18] I switched to part time with Customs and my pay was cut in half, although I can’t recall whether that was because of my disability or my drinking. I’m not sure where the inherited money went, although I did have a taste I had acquired from Grant for fine whiskey and cigars. I lived out my time in an apartment on West 38th Street and shuffled off this mortal coil on 30 May 1891.[19] My last years weren’t easy. Some might say my problems were self-inflicted, but I never chose to be an alcoholic.

I suppose I ought to say something about the family I left in the 1840s. Since they are all long dead, I figure I can say pretty much anything I like without fearing any pushback.[20]

My father was born in Pennsylvania about 1786.[21] He wasn’t much for small talk, meaning anything except whose turn it was to milk the cow or clean the stable. He was a bit of a tyrant, prompting most of his children to leave home at an early date. In all fairness, he was a fairly well-to-do man and took care of his sons. My sisters, of course, were expected to marry well, which they did. As for the boys in the family, our father paid for my brother Robert to go to law school. Likewise, my little brother Clark went to medical school. Our father helped my brother John acquire land and run a farm. He also provided a grubstake for me so that I could indulge my wanderlust and go west.

My mother’s name was Martha Cook Rankin. She came from Washington County, which is where she married my father.[22]  Her father, Robert Cook, left her a nice legacy in his will — $250, which was a lot in 1826 when he died. Her mother’s name was Mary.

My father’s will left everything to my mother. She died a wealthy woman. Her will divided her estate among me and her grandchildren, with token gifts to my brother John (who was still alive when she wrote the will, and who was more wealthy than our mother) and the housekeeper who lived with the family for years. I never did anything to deserve that money, but was sure grateful to have it.

My sister Mary Ann was the eldest child, born about 1814. She married a man named Benoni Ewing who was a postmaster in Mercer County but became quite rich. Mary Ann died young after having a half-dozen or so children.[23]

Robert Cook Rankin, born in 1816, was my oldest brother and my father’s favorite. Probably everyone’s favorite. He remained at home, practiced law, was a model citizen, and accumulated a fair amount of land. He never married or had children. He is buried in the Rankin plot in the Mercer Citizens Cemetery, along with our parents, our brother John H., and me. I never did figure out who paid for my nice headstone, which matches those for the rest of the family.[24]

The next son was my brother James Lee Rankin, who left home early. He also died young.[25] His widow Madeline and only son, James Lee Jr., lived with my parents for a while after James Sr. died.[26] Some people think Madeline was Robert’s wife and James Lee his child, but that is just flat wrong. James Lee Jr. wound up in Savannah, Georgia, where his mother Madeline Williamson Rankin was born.

James Lee was followed in short order by John H., born in 1820. He was the only one besides Robert who stayed in Mercer. Also like Robert, he didn’t marry or have children. John bought a good bit of Robert’s land after Robert died. John and my mother lived together in the borough of Mercer when she got old, although John H. died first. In fact, all of my siblings except me and my sister Martha Jane died before our mother. John H. died rich in 1872.

I came after John H. I was born in 1822, as my tombstone says. I was evidently the black sheep in the family, as you may have surmised by now.

My brother Samuel H. L. Rankin, born about 1823, also wound up in New York City. He had one son named William S. Rankin who was mentioned in my mother’s will. Sam married Caroline Snell in New York. She and William are both buried in a cemetery in the Bronx. William was confirmed in the Anglican church, which would have horrified the Presbyterian forebears in our family. I heard Sam died in the Civil War, so he didn’t have a say in his son’s religious upbringing.

My sister Martha Jane, the youngest child, married William Mehard and went to Lawrence County.[27] He was a minister — Presbyterian, of course — but he was rich as sin.[28] He must have had a side hustle, because I’ve never known a preacher who had two pennies to rub together. Not that I hung around many men of the cloth.

That’s about it. Frankly, I’m sick of talking about all of us. If you want to know anything else, ask Gary and Robin.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Thanks, William Galloway Rankin. Perhaps we will create an outline descendant chart for your family. Mßaybe not. Depends on whether another interesting character crosses our path.

See you on down the road.

Gary and Robin

                  [1] Willie G’s first person account is partly proved and partly plausible literary license based on available evidence.

                  [2] We have no documentary evidence that William G. Rankin was drawn west by the Gold Rush. We only know that he was in California in the 1850s, and are confident that a get-rich-quick scheme would have appealed to him. He was apparently still living with his family of origin in 1840, when he was eighteen, but was no longer with them by 1850. Gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in 1848.

                  [3] Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to California in the Gold Rush, but almost none of them were women. In 1852, 92 percent of the people prospecting for gold were men. https://www.history.com/news/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-california-gold-rush

                  [4] There are many good internet sources on the Gold Rush. Here is one. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/goldrush-california/

                  [5] E.g., Levi Strauss saw the need for tough, durable work pants and hired men to make pants out of tents. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Levi-Strauss-and-Co#ref38503. See also John Studebaker (brother of the car makers), who made a fortune producing wheelbarrows for miners in Hangtown, CA during the Gold Rush. https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/2015/11/23/john-studebaker/23790679007/

                  [6] The Mercer County probate record shows Robert C. Rankin died intestate without children  in 1855. His heirs — his siblings — were necessary parties to a petition for the sale of Robert’s real estate. Each of their locations were recited in the petition. Robert’s brother William G. Rankin was noted as having last been heard of in California, where he was Deputy Quartermaster at Fort Reading. Further, recited the petition, he was soon to move to Fort Vancouver in Washington Territory. SeeMercer Co., PA Orphans Court, 26 April 1856, Book E: 307 et seq.

                  [7] Fort Reading was built in 1852 and abandoned in 1856. https://noehill.com/shasta/cal0379.asp

                  [8] In 1912, Congressional legislation created the Quartermaster Corps, consolidating the Army’s Quartermaster Department (in charge of supplies and equipment), Subsistence Department (food), and Pay Department. It authorized 6,000 enlisted personnel. Up until that, time field operations had been performed largely by civilians or by temporary use of enlisted men from the unit. https://www.quartermasterfoundation.org/quartermaster-history-timeline-1775-to-present/

[9] Grant resigned his commission in 1854. Ingalls was selected to accompany a cross country expedition that same year. Everyone knows Grant went on to greatness. Ingalls became Quarter-master for the Army of the Potomac and later Quartermaster General of the Army.

                  [10] This is poetic license. We have no proof of any communication between Rankin and the two officers. It is merely plausible, given the proximity of the three men. Also, there must be some explanation for him obtaining a commission as a Captain, and that is the only thing we can imagine.

                  [11] Army Register, 1865, Thirteenth Regiment of Infantry, Captain William G Rankin, Date of Rank 14 May 1861, Entered as a Captain, Born in PA., Enrolled at W.T. [ Washington Territory].  https://www.fold3.com/image/312142148?rec=303817662&terms=war,us,g,civil,william,union,united,america,rankin,states.

                  [12] 13th Regiment officer roster notes that Captain Willian G. Rankin was “At Headquarters Department of the Missouri, Order Number and Date unknown”

[13] See John R. Sibbald, “Frontier Inebriates with Epaulets,” Montana: The Magazine of Western History, vol. 19, no. 3, 1969, pp. 50–57. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/4517383. Accessed 29 Jan. 2023.

[14] Sibbald.

                  [15] There is some ambiguity about his marital status. An abstract of his death certificate (we have been unable to obtain the original) says that he was married when he died. We found no other evidence. It may just be that he never obtained a divorce from the lovely Mrs. Rankin of Ft. Buford fame. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949″, database, FamilySearch(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W17-B6Z : 3 June 2020), William G. Rankin, 1891.

[16] 1890 Census, Special Schedule of Surviving Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines, and Widows

[17] 1873 Register of Federal Employees shows W. Gallaway Rankin, Entry Clerk, Employed at New York, Born in Pa., Appointed at New York, $2,200 annual pay. https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/2822640:2525

[18] Pension Index, Capt William G. Rankin, Invalids Pension application  731 201, filed 28 Sep 1889. https://www.fold3.com/image/25290874?terms=war,us,g,civil,william,union,united,

america,rankin,states.

[19] “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W17-B6Z : 3 June 2020), William G. Rankin, 1891.

                  [20] Willie G’s parents and siblings, plus some nephews and nieces, are conclusively proved by an April 1856 petition to sell land owned by the estate of his brother Robert C. Rankin. Mercer Co., PA Orphans’ Court Book E: 307 et seq. Any petition regarding an intestate decedent’s estate required that all the heirs at law (i.e., heirs under the state law of intestate distribution) be joined. See also the wills of Martha Rankin (Mercer Co., PA Will Book 6: 84, will dated 6 Jan 1872, proved 26 May 1873)  and John H. Rankin (Mercer Co., PA Will Book 6: 31, dated 30 Nov 1870, proved August 1872).

                  [21] See 1850 federal census, Mercer Co., PA, household of William S. Rankin. It is hard to tell whether his age was 69 or 64, but we read it as 64. The census definitely says William was born in PA. But that confounding abstract of Willie G’s NY death certificate (see Note 15) says he was born in Scotland. That’s possible but not probable. The timing was all wrong for immigration from Scotland to the United States. The overwhelming majority of Presbyterian immigrants in the 18th century came to the Colonies from Ulster. LINK.

                  [22] Willie G’s mother was Martha Jane Cook. She married William Scott Rankin in Washington Co., PA. Washington Co. according to a Washington County marriage abstract. See also Will Book 4: 282, will of Robert Cook leaving his daughter Martha Rankin $250. By the time the bequest was distributed, it had become $300, either via accumulation of interest or addition from the residual estate.

                  [23] The petition to sell Robert’s land identifies six children of Mary Ann Rankin and Benjamin (or “Benoni,” as he is called in the petition and two Rankin wills) Ewing. The children were all minors in 1856 and lived in Hartstown, Crawford Co., PA. The family is listed in the 1850 census in Crawford County, all born in PA: Benjamin (or Benoni) Ewing, 42, Mary A. Ewing, 36 (born about 1814), William R., 13, James M. 11, Elizabeth 7, Martha J. 4, Robert 2, and Samuel 1.

                  [24] Willie G’s Find-a-Grave memorial correctly states that he was born in 1822 and died in 1891. It also has a “bio” provided by a Find-a-Gave poster. It is partially incorrect. It says this: “Union soldier. On December 31, 1870, he was honorably discharged at his own request, with the rank of brevet major and brevet lieutenant colonel for his faithful service during the war. He spent his last years as a clerk in the New York customhouse.” He was definitely a Union soldier, he was honorably discharged, and he worked as a clerk in the New York customhouse. His discharge rank, however, was Captain. He received the two brevet promotion in 1865, but those promotions were never made permanent by Congress. His last rank as Captain was also his first, established by his application for a pension and a census of army veterans. The bit about “honorably discharged at his own request” puts an unwarranted gloss on the facts. An officer either resigns his commission or is discharged. Willie G served 13 year as a Captain, then resigned his commission, almost certainly with the Army’s encouragement. His record was spotty, see Note 13.Further, if a Captain isn’t promoted after 13 years in rank, he is politely ushered out the door. Here is Willie G’s Find-a-Grave memorial: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/43145798/william-galloway-rankin

                  [25] James Lee died between 1845 and 1850; his birth year is uncertain. The Georgia death certificate for his son James Lee Rankin Jr. identifies his mother as Madeline Williamson and his father as James Lee Rankin. https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/60821601:2562

                  [26] 1850 census, Mercer Co., PA, household of William S. Rankin, age 64 or 69?, b. PA, farmer, $9,000. With Martha Rankin 58, R. C. Rankin Esquire, 34, and Martha J. Rankin, 20. Also in the household: Madeline Rankin, 28, widow of James L. Rankin, and their son James L. Rankin Jr., 4.

                  [27] The death certificate for Martha Rankin Mehard (often shown as McHard, apparently incorrectly) can be found at https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/5164/images/41381_2421406274_0776-03038?treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true&_gl=1*weqbpx*_ga*MjAxMjYwMzc3NS4xNjc0MDg4MDM2*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY3NTk3NTU5NC4yNi4xLjE2NzU5NzY5ODkuNTQuMC4w&_ga=2.228206238.2089896928.1675909799-2012603775.1674088036&pId=1823217. It gives her dates of birth and death as 26 Mar 1829 and 29 Mar 1906, respectively. It also identifies her parents: William S. Rankin, born in PA, and Martha J. Cook, born in Washington Co., PA. Her memorial at Find-a-Grave is at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/162733405/martha-jane-mehard?_gl=1*h8kj8r*_ga*MjAxMjYwMzc3NS4xNjc0MDg4MDM2*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY3NTk3OTU5OS4yNy4xLjE2NzU5Nzk2MDUuNTQuMC4w*_ga_B2YGR3SSMB*M2JhODZjOWMtNDY4Mi00ZTdjLTg1YmItNDI3OWQzYjA1YjgwLjM0LjEuMTY3NTk3OTYwNi4zNC4wLjA.

                  [28] Martha Rankin Mehard’s son Charles E. was Executor of her estate. The inventory and appraisal reflected total assets in 1907-1908 of almost $26,000. See image here: https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/1496975:8802. See also 1860 census, Wilmington, Lawrence Co., PA, W. A. Mehard, 35, U.P. minister, Martha 30, Emma 4, and William 1. And see 1880 census, Wilmington, Lawrence, William Mehard 54, U. P. preacher, Martha 49, Emma 23, William R. 20, Joseph H. 18, and Charles E. 12.