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Mini Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (R)
Rankin Brothers


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 inter them).

Nathaniel 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.

Thanks to Pam for this information

Andrew Brown Rankin
Andrew Brown Rankin V "June" b. 9/20/1851 Welsh Run, PA. d. 1930 Brooklyn, NY. Sports Ed & Writer

Andrew Brown Rankin V, Esq
Andrew Brown Rankin IV, Esq. or A. Nerva Rankin (He changed his name). b. 10/09/1821 Greencastle, PA. d. 10/03/1890 Long Island, NY. Inventor, Editor, Lawyer.

Andrew Brown Rankin VII.
Andrew Brown Rankin VII b. 6/28/1889 Brooklyn, NY. d. 11/29/1961 Rehobeth Beach, Del. WWI in France.

Andrew Brown Rankin VI
Andrew Brown Rankin V b. 9/20/1851 Welsh Run, PA d. 1930 Brooklyn, NY


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