Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (R) Rankin
Well, our story
has seven Rankin brothers leaving Scotland for America in the 1600-1700's.
There are Rankins listed all over the East Coast of America at that
time and we haven't yet placed our Nathaniel with them, however this we do
know: Nathaniel Rankin settled in Greencastle, Pennsylvania prior to 1790.
We are pretty sure that they came from Ulster, Ireland. I did
spot a Nathaniel Rankin on the Poll of Electors 1788 for Fintona in
Ulster, Ireland. I do not know if this is our man. There seem
to be seven Rankin men on the list. He was born in 1765. Greencastle
looks very much like Scotland with its rolling hills and great farm land.
He is listed in the first US census and had a post box in
Chamberburg PA as of June 19, 1793 (Chambersburg Gazette). He
married Ann Brown (Brown's Mill) who's family fought in the Revolutionary
War. Her father was cousin to Enoch Brown (The Enoch Brown
Incident-Enoch Brown Park. He was school master. He and ten children
were scalped by Indians. Andrew III as an adult, and justice of the
peace, lead a group with his son, Andrew IV, and found the bodies and
Ann had Andrew Brown Rankin lll (I do not know where I and II were) on
November 6, 1791. He was a saddler and married the granddaughter of
Archibald Acheson (born July 26, 1795). She was either Margaret, or
Elizabeth, and her mother was the other. Her mother had fled
Northern Ireland with her tutor, Mr. Ritchey. They had five
children, she being one. One year after Andrew's marriage (May 27,
1813), he signed up to fight the British in the War of 1812. Washington
had just been burned and they feared the loss of Baltimore. His unit
did not end up seeing action. He was Justice of the Peace in Antrim
and Greencastle, PA. He was also a major (later Colonel in the
Second Battalion, 6th Regiment of the Militia of the Commonwealth of PA in
the 2nd Brigade of the 11th Division of men from Cumberland, Perry and
Franklin counties during the period between the War of 1812 and the Civil
War. We have some of his papers. What made him really
interesting was what happened later in his life during the Civil War.
He was a spy for the Northern forces. Greencastle lays to the
North of the Mason-Dixon line and was part of the Underground railroad.
The Rankins helped slaves escape to the north. He also
reported on troop movements. Our family story has General Lee
burning Chambersburg looking for him.
Andrew IV was a
justice of the peace, editor and owner of the Chambersburg Repository and
Transcript (the building was later burned by Lee's forces as he searched
for Andrew III), holder of many patents (The Perpetual calendar-accepted
by act of Congress) and inventor. We have an old tin picture of him
with his long mustache. He was later commissioned by Thaddeus
Stevens of Philadelphia to go to New York to be the business manager of an
organization which sent teachers south to educate the newly freed slave.
His wife was Elizabeth Robinson McDowell whose family not only
fought in the Revolutionary War, but also fought Indians settling
Pennsylvania in the 1600-1700's. They are considered important
figures in Pennsylvania history.
Andrew V was
nick named "Jun" for Junior. He was a sports writer and
editor for the NY Herald and the New York World during the turning of the
other century. He loved team sports, world series, cigars, and
boxing. He traveled with all of the teams. My grandfather, his
son, could not go anywhere in New York without people asking him if he was
related to Jun. Jun's daughter followed in his steps by becoming
business manager of "Women's Day" Magazine from the
1930's-1950's. She had a Park Ave. apartment which was terrific!
Andrew VI was
my grandfather. He served in the National Guard during the Mexican
Border Dispute fighting Poncho Villa and then his unit was the first sent
to France to fight W.W.I in Battery F. 104th Field Artillery. He
told us stories of eating molded cheese and singing with his buddies.
He fought every major battle the entire length of the war. I
have photos of troop movements with horses and canons.
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