JOHN RANKIN. The father of John Rankin, of Rostraver township, was Robert Rankin, who was born in 1802, in county Donegal, Ireland, where he was reared on a farm and became a road contractor. In 1839 he came to the United States, settling in Elizabeth township, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, on a farm which had been bequeathed to him by a cousin who had preceded him to this country and had acquired seven hundred acres of land. Mr. Rankin made this farm his home during the remainder of his life. He affiliated with the Whigs, and was a member of the Presbyterian church. He married Margaret Culbert, and of the ten children born to them only two are now living: John, mentioned hereafter; and Eliza, wife of John K. Graham, of Elizabeth township, Allegheny county. The death of Mr. Rankin occurred in 1854, and his widow survived him twenty-five years, passing away in 1879.
John Rankin, son of Robert and Margaret Rankin, was born October 21, 1821, in county Donegal, Ireland, and was in his eighteenth year when he accompanied his parents to the United States, his education having been acquired in the common and select schools of his native country. About eighteen months after coming to this country he left home and apprenticed himself to learn the tanner's trade in Elizabeth township. Two years later he went to Connellsville, where he worked at his trade about four months and then moved to Fayette county. He remained there but three months, being compelled at the end of that time to return home in consequence of an injury. Later he went to West Newton and worked for about fifteen months in the tanneries, and was then again forced to go home by reason of illness. His first employer, Major John Rankin, hearing of this went to him and persuaded him to re-enter his service, although in the then state of his health he was unable to do the usual amount of work. On the death of Major Rankin, about seven months later, one-third of the farm on which the tannery stood was bequeathed to Mr. Rankin, who purchased the remaining two-thirds and resided there until 1866, when he sold the property and bought his present farm in Rostraver township, where he has since lived. The high esteem in which Mr. Rankin is held by his neighbors is attested by the fact that he has on several occasions-no fewer than nine-been given power of attorney to act as executor and administrator of estates. He has served twelve years as township auditor, and for many years was treasurer of the school board. He belongs to the Republican party, and is a member of the Presbyterian church. Mr. Rankin married in 1847, Eliza J. Kelly, and eight of their nine children survive: Margaret C., wife of Elliott Cunningham, of Rostraver township; Mary E., married Albert Cunningham, of Missouri; Martha J., wife of Joseph Smith, of Rostraver township; Robert A., registrar of wills of Westmoreland county; Eliza A., at home; John C., at home; William J., lives in Rostraver township; and Sally B., wife of John Rader, of Allegheny county, Pennsylvania.
Source: History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Volume II, by John N. Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906, Page 297-8.
Transcribed by Carol C. Eddleman for the Westmoreland County History Project.
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)
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