John William Rankin was born on Sept. 22, 1861 in Wharton Township, Fayette County, PA, the eldest son of Robert and Hester Ann (Minerd) Rankin.
John married Phoebe Ann Maust (1861-1934).
They had 10 children – Charles Franklin "Frank" Rankin, Grant Rankin, Arthur J. Rankin, Thomas Henry Rankin, John Oliver Rankin, Harry Richard Rankin, Robert "Dewey" Rankin, Sarah Jane Rankin and Jacob K. Rankin.
Little is known of their lives. John's property of about 56 acres was on Cave Road, also known as Mud Pike, near Laurel Caverns at the peak of Summit Mountain near Uniontown. The tract was located between the fire tower and the radio tower. Their nephew Ray E. Addis later would become fire warden and forest ranger with responsibility for these areas.
Afflicted with a severe case of pneumonia, John died on April 6, 1918 at age 67 at their home near Elliottsville. At the time, one of their sons was serving in World War I and stationed in camp at San Antonio, TX. Son Thomas, of Fairchance, was the informant on the official Pennsylvania death certificate.
Phoebe outlived her husband by 16 years. The federal census of 1920 shows her living with her sons John (age 23) and Jacob (18) in Wharton Township. Her nearby neighbors were in-laws -- widow Sarah (Rankin) Addis; Alfred and Fannie (Burkholder) Rankin; and George W. and Pearl Lillie (Fields) Rankin.
She passed away at home in Elliottsville on Feb. 12, 1934. She is buried with her husband at Brown Cemetery near Elliottsville. An obituary in the Uniontown Morning Herald said the cause of death was "complications."
~ Son Charles Franklin "Frank" Rankin Sr. ~
Son Charles Franklin "Frank" Rankin Sr. (1883-1961) was born in 1883 or on Sept. 9, 1886, at Elliottsville, Fayette County.
Frank was a coal miner in Oliphant, near Uniontown, working for the H.C. Frick Coke Company. He was of medium height and stout build, with light brown eyes and dark hair. He was a member of the United Mine Workers of America, Chartiers Local 8330.
On Dec. 2, 1908, at age 25, Frank wed 17-year-old Anna B. "Annie" Robinson (1890- ? ), uniting themselves in marriage. She could not write and signed her name with an "X" on the Fayette County marriage license. She was the daughter of George and Emma Robinson of Springhill Township, and received her father's consent to the union because she was underage.
They had six children -- George Rankin, Earl Rankin, Charles Rankin, Harold Rankin, Helen Johnson and Edna Krause. Later, they lived in Smithfield, Fayette County.
When he registered for the military draft during World War I, he stated that he was married and had three children, and that he continued to be employed by the Frick company at Oliphant. The federal census of 1920 shows the Rankin family living in Fairchance, Georges Township, Fayette County, with Charles performing work as a coal miner. In 1925, when his brother Dewey dropped dead at the Revere coal mine near Uniontown, Frank and their brother Harry also lived and worked there at the time.
By 1930, when the census again was enumerated, the family had relocated to a coal mining town in Morgan Township, Greene County, PA. With the nation in the grip of the Great Depression in the 1930s, local coal mines shut down, forcing miners to look for other types of work. Frank was able to secure a paying job as a road laborer with the Works Progress Administration. The WPA was created under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "New Deal" to keep millions of Americans at work to build public works projects such as roads, bridges and buildings.
Sadly, Annie suffered during the 1930s from some sort of malady, apparently emotional or mental in nature. By 1940, she had been admitted to Dixmont Asylum for the Insane north of Pittsburgh in Kilbuck Township, Allegheny County.
The 1940 census shows Frank (marked "married") residing with his "partner," 49-year-old divorcee Jean. J. Gearhart (1891- ? ) and son Harold in another coal mine patch town, this time in Luzerne Township, Fayette County. The census taker wrote: "No street names. No house numbers."
Frank died from the effect of congestive heart disease and hardening of the arteries in Uniontown Hospital at the age of 75 on Nov. 22, 1961. After a viewing in the Wagner-Cooley Funeral Home, and services led by Rev. Earl F. Confer, he was laid to rest in the Smithfield Baptist Cemetery. At his death, said the Uniontown Morning Herald, he was survived by 18 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, as well as his brother Harry in Fairchance.
Annie apparently was alive at the time of her husband's passing. Nothing more is known.
Daughter Helen Rankin (1910- ? ) was born in about 1910. She wed (?) Johnson. They lived in Clarksville, Greene County, PA.
Son George Rankin (1914- ? ) was born in about 1914. At the age of 17, he lived at home and worked as a coal miner, presumably with his father in Morgan Township, Greene County, PA. He made his home in Frenchville, Clearfield County, PA in 1961.
Son Henry " Earl" Rankin (1917- ? ) was born in about 1917. He resided in 1961 in Seattle.
Son Charles Frank Rankin Jr. (1919- ? ) was born in about 1919. He lived in Allison, Fayette County.
Daughter Edna Rankin (1922- ? ) was born in about 1922. She married (?) Krause. Their home was in Cleveland.
Son Harold W. Rankin (1924- ? ) was born in about 1924. He made his home in Cleveland circa 1961.
~ Son Grant Rankin Sr. ~
Son Grant Rankin Sr. (1889-1954) was born on July 20, 1889 in or near Mill Run, Fayette County. He was of medium height and stout build, with brown eyes and dark brown hair.
His first wife was Mary Anne Miller (1895-1916). She may have gone by the name "Anna."
They had one daughter, Kathryn Sutton.
Tragically, Mary Anne died on Feb. 16, 1916, at the untimely age of 21, "from a severe attack of laryngitis," reported a local newspaper. She was buried at Smithfield Cemetery.
Seven years later, Grant married Hilda Margaret Burkholder (1891-1956), a native of McKeesport, near Pittsburgh. She was the daughter of William and Sarah Ann (Clare) Burkholder of Fairchance, Fayette County.
They had two children of their own -- Grant Rankin Jr. and Dorothy Allen.
As American involvement in World War I loomed closer, Grant registered for the military draft in June 1917. At the time he was age 27, lived in Uledi near Uniontown, Fayette County, and was employed as a coal miner by the W.J. Rainey Coal and Coke Company.
In 1925, tragedy struck when Grant's brother Dewey dropped dead at the Revere coal mine near Uniontown. At the time, Grant lived and worked at the Dearth mine on the Uniontown outskirts. Three years later, in 1928, the Rankins moved to Chartiers, Greene County, PA. They were next-door neighbors to Grant's brother Arthur and family. Grant was a deacon in the Church of God at Brownsville and also in East Millsboro.
On June 25, 1944, a tornado struck the Rankin home while they were away in church. The house was destroyed. Grant, Hilda and teenage daughter Dorothy were not hurt, but eight members of brother Arthur's family were rushed to hospitals. Grant told a Uniontown Morning Herald reporter that he had just made an $800 mortgage payment on the house, having lived at Chartiers for the past 16 years.
They moved in 1945 to Royal, Fayette County, also known as "Chestnut Ridge," with Hilda retaining her membership in the Full Gospel Church of Brownsville.
Grant Sr. died on July 2, 1954, at the age of 64.
Hilda survived him by two years. She suffered a heart attack and passed away on June 3, 1956, at the age of 64, in Brownsville General Hospital. She was interred in Lafayette Memorial Park, following a funeral service led by Rev. Earl C. Blystone. At her death, said the Uniontown Morning Herald, she was survived by 10 grandchildren. Her son Grant, living at P.O. Box 117 in Chest Nut Ridge, Redstone Township, near Brownsville, signed her certificate of death.
Daughter Kathryn Rankin (1914-1962) was born on May 16, 1914. She married Robert Sutton ( ? - ? ). Their home was at 8 Ash Street in Fairchance in the mid-1960s. Heartache rocked the family in late March 1962 when Kathryn suffered a cerebral hemorrhage when she was only 47 years of age. She lived for another five days and died in Uniontown Hospital on March 31, 1962. Her remains were placed into the Smithfield Baptist Church Cemetery.
Son Grant Rankin Jr. ( ? - ? ) lived in Royal (Chestnut Ridge) circa 1956. He was married and had at least one daughter.
Daughter Dorothy Rankin ( ? - ? ) married Richard Allen ( ? - ? ). They established a residence in Belleville, MI.
~ Son Arthur J. Rankin ~
Son Arthur J. Rankin (1891-1945) was born on June 24, 1891 in Elliottsville, Fayette County.
He married Lottie Miller (1898-1984), a native of West Finley, Washington County, PA, and a distant cousin who was the daughter of Jesse and Flora Belle (Farabee) Miller. See the Miller biography for more.
~ Son Thomas Henry Rankin ~
Son Thomas Henry Rankin (1893-1952) was born on April 8, 1893 in Elliottsville. As a young man, he labored as a coal miner in Uniontown, Fayette County.
On March 3, 1920, at the age of 26, Thomas married a 23-year-old distant cousin and divorcee Gladys (Miller) Daniels (1897-1969), a native of West Finley, Washington County. She was the daughter of Jesse and Flora Belle (Farabee) Miller. See the Miller biography for more.
~ Son John Oliver Rankin ~
Son John Oliver Rankin (1896-1951) was born in 1896.
When the federal census was taken in 1920, John lived with his widowed mother and 18-year-old brother Jacob Rankin in Wharton Township. Age 23 at that time, he had no occupation.
Circa 1930, he was an "inmate" at the Torrance State Hospital for the Insane in 1930 in rural Derry Township, Westmoreland County, PA. Reasons for his admission here are not yet known. In about 1933, he was again placed in Torrance and stayed for the remaining 18 years of his life.
At his mother's death in 1934, the Uniontown Morning Herald obituary noted that he lived with his mother. This may have been a bit of deception to obscure the fact that he had been institutionalized.
John died from effects of a heart attack at the Torrance facility at the age of 51 on Jan. 30, 1951. His remains were returned to Elliottsville for burial at Brown Cemetery. A shaft of unmarked stone stands at this grave, along with a small metallic plaque bearing his names and years of birth and death. The photograph shown here was taken by the founder of this website during the summer of 1995.
~ Son Harry Richard Rankin Sr. ~
Son Harry Richard Rankin Sr. (1897-1978) was born in 1897 in Elliotsville, Fayette County.
On Feb. 9, 1922, when he was age 25, Harry married 17-year-old Henrietta Ringer (Jan. 27, 1905-1997). She was a native of Connellsville, Fayette County.
The Rankins had a dozen children -- Harry Rankin Jr, Alice Irene Crupe, Thomas Robert Rankin, Anna Virginia Philips, Gladys Mae Bush, Mary Jane Williams, Geraldine Fisher, Freda Pearl Bowland Ritz, Rosella Katherine Campbell, Donald Laverne Rankin, Ronald Lee Rankin and James Richard Rankin.
Harry was a longtime coal miner and belonged to the United Mine Workers of America District 4. In 1925, when brother Dewey dropped dead at the Revere coal mine near Uniontown, Harry and their brother Frank also lived and worked there at the time.
The family lived in Prosperity, Washington County. The 1940 federal census enumeration shows them in East Finley, Washington County, with Harry laboring for the Works Progress Administration. The WPA was a program of the federal government during the Great Depression to put to good usemillions of out-of-work individuals to build public works projects, such as roads, bridges, retaining walls and buildings.
They moved to Fayette County in about 1956. They resided in Little Brownfield near Uniontown in the 1970s and were members of the United Pentecostal Church of Fairchance.
Some of the children made their home with Harry's aunt Margaret (Rankin) Fike near the Tent Church alone Route 119 in Georges Township.
Harry, Henrietta and their family enjoyed attending the annual Rankin reunions held at Lick Hollow Park. In July 1965, they went with sons Jim and Ronald, and were mentioned in a related article in the Uniontown Morning Herald.
On June 15, 1978, when he was 81, Harry left home telling his wife he would tell her all about where he had gone after he returned, but unfortunately he did not come back alive. Having gone missing, search parties found his body two weeks later, on June 29, 1978, in a wooded mountain area near Albright, Preston County, WV, about 1.5 miles from his automobile. Burial was in Mountain View Cemetery in Brownfield, with Rev. Richard Price preaching the service.
Henrietta outlived her husband by almost two decades. She resided with her son James in Brownfield, Fayette County. She became blind in March 1996 and spent the remaining 10.5 months in that condition, until her death at the age of 92 on Feb. 12, 1997.
Son Harry Rankin Jr. (1923-2008) was born in 1923. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war's end, at the age of 23, on Dec. 14, 1946, he wed 24-year-old Irene Alberta Casedy (1922-2010). Their marriage endured for 61 years. The couple produced seven children -- Judith Nichols, Gary Wayne Rankin, Paul Rankin, twins Martin Rankin and Martha L. Moldovan, Delinda McCarrier and Donna Thompson. The family made its home for many years in Hermitage on Cassady Road, followed by a decade at Treasure Lake in DuBois, Clearfield County, PA. Said the Sharon (PA) Herald, Harry was "an Army veteran of World War II" and "retired as a member of Local 268 of the Carpenters Brotherhood of Sharon and was a retired member of Mercer County Fireman's and Police Auxiliary." Irene was employed as a bookkeeper at Barris Company in West Middlesex and at Flowers Lumber Company in Sharon, PA. In retirement, they relocated to San Antonio, TX. Sadly, daughter Martha passed away just a few months before her father, at the age of 59, on Feb. 10, 2008. Having battled Alzheimer's Disease, Harry died on April 20, 2008, in the Edgewater Care Center of Kerrville, TX, at the age of 85. At the time, he was survived by 15 grandchildren, 14 great- grandchildren and many step-grandchildren. His remains were returned to Sharon for burial at Hillcrest Memorial Park in Hermitage. Irene outlived her husband by two-plus years. She suffered a heart attack and died in St. Luke's Hospital in San Antonio, TX on Nov. 15, 2010, at the age of 88.
Daughter Alice "Irene" Rankin (1925-2012) was born on Jan. 11, 1925 in Prosperity, Washington County. At the age of 21, on July 6, 1946, she wed Delmar Crupe (Feb. 4, 1924-1983), a native of Elm Grove, Ohio County, WV. Their wedding was held in Prosperity. The Crupes resided in Washington, Washington County, PA, where Alice was employed in the cafeteria of Trinity Middle and High Schools, attended Living Waters Church and enjoyed raising flowers. The Crupes had three children -- William E. Crupe, Diane Lee and Linda Morris. Sadly, Delmar died on Aug. 16, 1983, at the age of 59. Irene survived her spouse by almost three decades, remaining in Washington. She died at the age of 87, in Southmont of Presbyterian SeniorCare in Washington, on Aug. 5, 2012. She was laid to rest in Washington Cemetery, with Rev. Paul Thomas and Rev. Michael Roach officiating at the funeral service. In an obituary, the family asked that any memorial donations be made to the American Heart Association or Alzheimer's Association.
Son Thomas "Bob" Rankin (1927-2000) was born on Jan. 20, 1927 in Republic, Fayette County. He grew up in Prosperity, East Finley Township, Washington County. He was a World War II veteran, serving in the U.S. Navy. He enlisted even though he was underage. After his discharge, he joined the Army and served for about 13 more years in the military. Later, after leaving the Armed Forces, he returned home and was employed as a Washington County, PA law enforcement officer, "serving as deputy constable, deputy sheriff and county detective," said the Washington Observer-Reporter. He also earned income as a security guard for Glosser Brothers and driving trucks for Gacon Construction. In his free time, he liked to fish and hunt and was a member of the Houston American Legion Post 902 and the Carmichaels Veterans of Foreign Wars post 3419. At the age of 43, on Aug. 15, 1970, he married 27-year-old Myra (Merchant) Barnhouse (Dec. 27, 1943-2019), daughter of Leroy and Carrie Merchant. She had been married before and brought three children to the marriage -- Patrick Barnhouse, Teri Worthington and Theresa Cooper. Mary was employed as a secetary with the Washington County Courts for 43 years. When not working, she liked to read and tend her flower gardens. The couple dwelled in South Franklin Township. Thomas' health began to fail in mid-2000. He died five months later at the age of 73, in Washington Hospital, on Nov. 27, 2000. Interment was in Prosperity Cemetery, with Rev. David R. Martin leading the funeral service. An obituary appeared in the Uniontown Herald Standard. Myra outlived her spouse by more than 18 years. She contracted cancer and lived with the illness for some time. At the age of 75, on Feb. 6, 2019, she succumbed. An obituary was printed in the Washington Observer-Reporter, and burial was in Prosperity.
Daughter Anna Virginia Rankin (1929- ? ) was born in about 1929. She grew up in Prosperity/East Finley Township, Washington County, PA. Anna Virginia married (?) Philips ( ? - ? ). Their home has been in Washington, Washington County.
Daughter Gladys Mae Rankin (1931-2003) was born on Jan. 17, 1931. She wed Thomas E. Bush Jr. (1933-1998). They produced four daughters -- Deborah J. McClay, Pamela J. Fisher, Rhonda J. Bush and Darlene J. Wood. They were members of New Life Free Methodist Church of Smock. Sadly, Thomas died in his mid-60s in 1998. Gladys survived him by about four years. Her home in 2000 was in Perryopolis, Fayette County. Later, she relocated to Washington, Washington County, PA. She passed into eternity on Jan. 19, 2003, at the age of 72. Burial was with her husband in Mountain View Memorial Park in Brownfield, Fayette County.
Daughter Mary Jane "Hurricane Jane" Rankin (1933-2017) was born on Feb. 25, 1933. She was united in matrimony with David L. Williams Sr. ( ? -living). The couple resided in Washington and Claysville, Washington County. Their six children were Ruth Anne Williams, Barbie Mitchell, David Williams, Richard Williams, Donald Williams and Daniel Williams. Said a newspaper, Mary Jane "was a very strong woman. She loved to bowl, do crossword puzzles, cook and bake. She owned and operated the Williams' Coffee Shop." She acquired the nickname "Hurricane Jane." At the age of 84, on May 29, 2017, as a resident at the Donnell House in Washington, Mary Jane passed away.
Daughter Geraldine Rankin (1936- ? ) was born in about 1936. She grew up in East Finley, Washington County, PA. She wed Gifford Fisher ( ? - ? ) and made Uniontown and Fairchance, Fayette County as their residence.
Daughter Freda Pearl Rankin (1938- ? ) was born in 1938. She was married twice, first to (?) Bowland ( ? - ? ) and second to (?) Ritz ( ? - ? ). She has lived in Hopwood.
Daughter Rosella Katherine "Dotty" Rankin ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She wed Larry Campbell ( ? - ? ). They have made their home in Uniontown and Fairchance.
Son Donald Laverne Rankin Sr. (1943-2003) was born on Jan. 23, 1943 in Prosperity, East Finley Township, Washington County. In about 1967, when he would have been 23 or 24 years of age, Donald was united in wedlock with 20-or-21-year-old Bonnie Shaffer (1946- ? ). Their marriage lasted for 36 years until the separation of death. The couple produced three sons -- Donald Laverne Rankin Jr., Christopher Rankin and Paul Frank Rankin. Donald Sr. served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era. Residing in Hopwood, Fayette County, he "was a truck driver for D.M. Bowman of Williamsport, Md.," said the Observer-Reporter. "He was awarded Driver of the Year and was a member of the Million Miles Club." He also belonged to the Hutchinson Sportsman's Club. Sadly, they endured the untimely death of son Paul the day after Christmas 1993. As a patient in Uniontown Hospital, Donald died on July 31, 2003 at the age of 60. Rev. Kenneth Walls officiated the funeral service, with interment in Mountain View Memorial Park. Bonnie surved her husband by a number of years.
Son Ronald Lee Rankin ( ? - ? ) joined the U.S. Navy in 1966 and spent four tours of duty in Vietnam until his discharge in 1970. He joined the Army Reserves and went to the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm as a member of the famed 14th Quarter Master Detachment, a water purification unit based in Greensburg, PA. The night that he and nephew Robert "Bobby" Rankin arrived in Dhahran, Saudia Arabia, on Feb. 25, 1991, their barracks were struck by an Iraqi Scud missile, killing 13, but fortunately the two survived. He married Tully ( ? - ? ) and has made his home in Uniontown, Fayette County.
Son James Richard Rankin ( ? - ? ) is a Vietnam War veteran. He has resided in Hopwood, near Uniontown.
~ Son Robert "Dewey" Rankin ~
Son Robert "Dewey" Rankin (1899-1925) was born in 1899. He is one of many cousins to lose his life at work in the coal, coke and steel industries.
He married Anna ( ? - ? ). They did not reproduce.
At the age of 26, despite having heart disease, Dewey was employed as a coal digger at the Revere Mine near Uniontown. Tragedy struck on April 2, 1925, when he suffered a heart attack and died suddenly "while awaiting the cage to go to work in the mine," reported the Uniontown Daily News Standard. "He is survived by his wife, his mother and seven brothers."
The funeral was conducted at the Rankin home in Revere at 10 a.m. on a Sunday, followed by a procession to Brown Cemetery at Elliottsville for burial. His grave is not believed to be marked.
Anna's fate is lost to history for now.
~ Son Jacob K. Rankin ~
Son Jacob K. Rankin (1903-1958) was born on March 25, 1903. He lived at home with his parents for many years and never married.
In 1925, Jacob lived and worked in Washington County, PA.
After his mother died in 1934, Jacob was ill and unable to care for himself. He roomed on Church Street in Fairchance, Fayette County, working as a local saw mill operator.
Suffering from congenital heart disease, he passed away on Christmas Eve 1958. Interment was in Brown Cemetery in Elliottsville. His married niece Kathryn (Rankin) Sutton was the informant for his Pennsylvania death certificate.