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John William Rankin


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."


Vista at the summit of the mountains near Elliottsville


~ 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.


Dixmont's main entrance

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. 


This photo is captioned "Dorothy 
Rankin, Aunt Anna's daughter" 
-- is this our Dorothy? Or not?

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. Their children were Anna Vargo, Ruth Snyder, Arthur M. Rankin, Daunice W. Swift Teegarden Robinson, Evelyn Chalovich, Margaret George, Gerald Marvin Rankin and Eileen Sullenberger.

Arthur was a longtime coal miner. In 1925, he lived and worked at Ragtown, a location seemingly lost today. 

In about 1929, Arthur and Lottie settled in Clarksville, Greene County, PA, at House No. 39 on Chartiers Street. They remained there for 16 years. Arthur's brother Grant and his family were next-door neighbors. The federal census shows the Rankins living in Chartiers, Morgan Township, Greene County. Arthur earned a living that year as a cooper (barrel maker) in a local coal mine.

Tragedy struck on the afternoon of June 26, 1941 while at a family picnic in Ten Mile Creek in Morgan Township, Greene County, their  eight-year-old son Gerald Marvin Rankin waded into the creek at a depth of five feet. He slipped or fell and, unable to swim, was drowned. His remains were buried in Jefferson Cemetery in Greene County.

On June 25, 1944, with two of the children away in Fayette County visiting relatives, a tornado struck the Rankin home. All eight members of the family still in Chartiers were rushed to hospitals. Fortunately, none of brother Grant's family was hurt. 

Arthur died the following year, at age 53, when he was stricken with bacterial infection of the heart. He expired on May 23, 1945. Burial was in Jefferson Cemetery in Greene County.

The year after her husband's death, Lottie endured further heartache at the sudden death of her 22-year-old son Arthur. See below for details. 

Lottie survived as a widow for another four decades. She passed away on or about Sept. 30, 1984.

Daughter Anna Rankin married James Vargo.

Daughter Ruth Rankin (1923- ? ) was born in about 1923. She was wedded to (?) Snyder.

Daughter Evelyn Rankin ( ? - ? ) married Joseph Chalovich Jr. and lived in Chartiers in 1946.

Son Arthur M. Rankin (1924-1946) was born in about 1924 in Revere, Fayette County. He never married. Circa 1946, at the age of 22, he worked as a truck driver and lived in Chartiers, Greene County. Tragically, on July 5, 1946, he suffered an acute heart attack and was admitted to Greene County Memorial Hospital in Waynesburg. The damage was too severe, and he died three days later, on July 7, 1946. His remains were lowered into rest at the Jefferson Cemetery in Greene County. An obituary in the Waynesburg Democrat Messenger called the cause of his death simply "pneumonia."

Daughter Daunice W. Rankin (1926-2016) was born on Jan. 19, 1926 in Revere, Fayette County. She resided in Rices Landing, Greene County for a majority of her lifetime. She was thrice married. Her first husband was Charles Swift Jr. ( ? -1961), and they were united in marriage on Feb. 20, 1947 when she was age 21. They enjoyed 14 years of marriage until Charles' untimely passing on May 5, 1961. They are believed to have produced one daughter, Charlene W. Chulick. She spent 16 years as a widow and during that time attended the Modern School of Practical Nursing in Pittsburgh where she received a diploma in 1965. She also was a member of the Greene Valley Church of God. On Aug. 18, 1977 she was wedded to Oliver James Teegarden ( ? -1982). They were together for five years until he, too, passed away on Jan. 31, 1982. After four years as a widow, on March 17, 1986, she married James Robinson ( ? -2003). After 17 years of marriage, James died on Aug. 17, 2003. In her spare time, Daunice volunteered at her church, making meals for special events, and earned extra income as a seamstress. At the age of 90, Daunice died in WHS-Greene in Waynesburg on Aug. 9, 2016. Rev. Dayton D. Mix officiated at her funeral services at Jefferson Cemetery, and an obituary was published in the Washington Observer-Reporter.

  • Granddaughter Charlene W. Swift (?) married Barry Chulick. In 2016, their home was in Rices Landing.

Daughter Margaret Rankin (1931- ? ) was born in about 1931. She was wedded to (?) George.

Daughter Eileen Rankin (1937- ? ) was born in about 1937. She married Schuyler Sullenberger and resided in Clarksville.

~ 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 23-year-old Gladys (Miller) Daniels (1897-1969), a native of West Finley, Washington County. She was the daughter of cousins Jesse and Flora Belle (Farabee) Miller, and had been married once before, to Benjamin H. Daniels, divorcing on Feb. 3, 1920. The ceremony took place in Washington, Washington County, with justice of the peace John F. Carmichael officiating.

Their seven known children were Lester Rankin, Clarabelle Stollar, Alva James "Alvie" Rankin, Grace Giovannini, Agnes Hoffman, Glenn Rankin and Wayne Rankin.

They resided in West Finley, Washington County, PA, until 1941, when they moved to Washington. Their address was 449 Ewing Street. Thomas was employed as a coal miner by the Washington Mine of the Hillman Coal and Coke Co., until retirement in 1950. 

While at home on the morning of Feb. 25, 1952, Thomas suffered a heart attack and died soonafter, at the age of 58. Burial was in West Finley Cemetery.

Gladys outlived her husband by 17 years. She passed away on Jan. 28, 1969. 

Son Lester Rankin (1920- ? ) was born in about 1920.

Daughter Clarabelle Rankin ( ? - ? ) married Stollar ( ? - ? ).

Son Alva James "Alvie" Rankin (1922- ? ) was born in about 1922. As a young man, he obtained a job as a glass worker in Washington, PA. On New Year's Day 1948, at the age of 25, he married 18-year-old Mary Isabelle Hampe (1929- ? ), daughter of Christy and Blanche (Gough) Hampe of 99 Wayne Street, Washington, PA. The ceremony was performed by justice of the peace Richard Boardley in Canton Township, Washington County. Mary was eight years younger than her husband. 

Daughter  Grace Mae Rankin (1924- ? ) was born on Feb. 10, 1924. She was married twice. Her first husband was Edgar E. Long ( ? - ? ). They were divorced on Oct. 28, 1946, and she moved back in with her parents. On Aug. 21, 1948, when she was 24 years of age, she wed her second spouse, 27-year-old bricklayer Martin Giovannini (1921- ? ), son of Joseph and Mary (Paulina) Giovannini of the Meadowlands near Washington. Justice of the peace A.R. Cummins officiated. Martin's parents were European immigrants -- the father from Italy and the mother from Austria Hungary.

Daughter Agnes M. Rankin (1925- ? ) was born in about 1925. She was united in marriage with machinist Clifford Jeremiah Hoffman ( ? - ? ), son of Charles and Clara (Black) Hoffman. The nuptials were celebrated in Washington by alderman John F. Carmichael on April 5, 1945, when she was age 18 and he 28. Because she was underage, her father had to sign his consent in writing. Clifford had been married once before, to Adeline Elizabeth, and was divorced on Oct. 18, 1944. His home at the time of marriage with Agnes was at 122 West Wheeling Street in Washington.

Son Glenn Rankin (1930- ? ) was born in about 1930.

Son Wayne Rankin (1935- ? ) was born in about 1935.


John O.'s grave marker?

~ 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.


Harry and Henrietta

~ Son Harry R. Rankin Sr. ~

Son Harry R. Rankin Sr. (1897-1978) was born in 1897. He was a longtime coal miner. 

On Feb. 9, 1922, when he was age 25, Harry married Henrietta Ringer (1905-1997), who in turn was age 17. 

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. 

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, and then moved to Fayette County in about 1956. 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. 

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.



Harry Rankin Jr.

Son Harry Rankin Jr. (1923-2008) -- seen at right -- served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He wed Irene A. Casedy (1922-2010) on Dec. 14, 1946, and they were married for 61 years. They had seven children -- Judith Nichols, Gary 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 (1924-1983) in a ceremony in Prosperity. They 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. 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.

Son Thomas "Bob" Rankin (1927-2000) 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. Later, he was a Washington County, PA law enforcement officer, "serving as deputy constable, deputy sheriff and county detective," said the Washington Observer-Reporter. He died on Nov. 27, 2000.

Daughter Anna Virginia Rankin married (?) Philips. Their home has been in Washington, Washington County, PA.

Daughter Gladys Mae Rankin (1931-2003) wed (?) Bush. She passed away on Jan. 19, 2003, at the age of 72. 

Daughter Mary Jane Rankin married (?) Williams, residing in Washington and Claysville, Washington County.

Daughter Geraldine Rankin wed Gifford Fisher and made Uniontown and Fairchance, Fayette County as their residence.

Daughter Freda Pearl Rankin was married twice, first to (?) Bowland and second to (?) Ritz. She has lived in Hopwood.

Daughter Rosella Katherine "Dotty" Rankin wed Larry Campbell. They have made their home in Uniontown and Fairchance.

Son Donald Laverne Rankin (1943-2003) 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." Sadly, his son Paul F. Rankin passed away at the untimely age of 27 the day after Christmas 1993. Donald died on July 31, 2003 at the age of 60.

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 Rankins survived. He 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 ~


Uniontown Daily News Standard

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 was married but had no children. His wife's name is not yet known.

At the age of 26, Dewey was employed as a coal miner 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 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.

The name and fate of Dewey's widow are 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 and enduring 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.

Copyright 2000, 2003, 2008-2012, 2015 Mark A. Miner