Andrew Jackson Rankin

By Danella Dickson

Andrew Jackson Rankin was born January 19, 1829 in Virginia. He was the son of John Bell Rankin Sr. and his wife Elizabeth Sheets. Andrew grew up in Augusta County, Virginia where his family farmed and operated a mill.

About 1853 Andrew contracted to build a mill for the James Johnson family, to be located on the Buck Horn Creek in Pendleton County, which was adjacent to Augusta County. Andrew and his men were invited to take meals with the family. Andrew was described as a handsome young man with dark hair and rosy cheeks, a young man of splendid physique, tall and straight. The first day at dinner when Mary Ann Johnson met him she decided he would be her husband. (Mary Ann was the youngest daughter of James Johnson and his wife Mary Ann Fisher originally of Hardy County, Virginia.)

Andrew Jackson Rankin and Mary Ann Harness Johnson were married February 14, 1854 in Augusta County, Virginia. After their marriage they settled in the vicinity of Franklin, Pendleton County, Viginia where Andrew operated the McCoy Mill on the Thorn River.
Following the secession of Virginia from the Union Andrew Jackson Rankin tried to enlist in the Confederate Army but local officials convinced him to stay home and continue to operate the mill during the war to supply the countryside with flour.

Andrew’s daughter Lucie told her children about the day Colonel Moumaw’s company prepared to march out of town. Andrew Jackson Rankin was dressed in his black suit wearing a cocked hat with a plume and sat astride his beautiful horse watching the men as they left. He was ask to “stand by” and he did although his father and younger brother went in the service and lost their lives.
Pendleton County, Virginia was split between Northern and Southern sympathies during the Civil War. In June 1863 the county was included by the federal government in the new state of West Virginia against many of the inhabitant’s wishes. (Wikipedia – Pendleton County, West Virginia)

The historic McCoy Mill survived the war and it is assumed Andrew Jackson Rankin continued to operate it until he left Pendleton County in 1867. Andrew took his family to Missouri where an aunt of Mary Ann’s had moved prior to 1861. In 1870 Andrew and his family were in Calloway County, Missouri where Andrew’s occupation was listed as farmer. Andrew and Mary Ann’s two youngest children were born in Missouri; they were the last of seven children born to the couple.
Mary Ann and her daughter Lucie yearned for their Virginia home throughout their lives. That yearning prompted first mother and then daughter to keep the memory green in the hearts of their children. Lucy committed to memory all the songs she knew from childhood, old Southern folk songs and religious songs.

In the 1870’s Andrew moved his family to Texas to escape the rigorous Missouri climate. They settled first at Pilot Point where Lucie met her future husband Henry James Cloyd. The young couple met at the Methodist Church the family attended. The Rankin’s later moved to Sherman, Grayson County Texas where Andrew continued his milling business as a partner in the firm Stinnett and Rankin.
Mary Ann Harness Johnson Rankin died November 28, 1886; she is buried in West Hill Cemetery, Sherman, Texas. About 1893 Andrew married Betty Kittrell, possibly in Tennessee. When the 1900 census was taken the couple was living in LaJunta, Otero County, Colorado where Andrew’s occupation was listed as Millwright. Andrew died in Colorado in June 1901 and was returned to West Hill Cemetery, Sherman, Grayson County, Texas to be buried beside Mary Ann.

Note: Andrew and Mary Ann’s daughter Lucie Dayer Rankin married Henry James Cloyd November 28, 1876 in Graryson County, Texas. They were the parents of seven children; Lelia E. born 1877 Texas, Flossie born 1879 Texas, Marvin K. born 1882 Kentucky, Otis M. born 1886, Georgia P. born 1888 Tennessee, Dick born 1891 Tennessee and Ruth born 1895 Tennessee.
For many years Flossie Cloyd devoted her free time to expanding her knowledge of the Rankin family genealogy for the purpose of writing a family history. She contacted many cousins including Ramona Roberts with whom she exchanged information during the 1970’s. Time ran out for Flossie before she was able to complete her planned book but her stories about her grandfather, Andrew Jackson Rankin, have survived and are being shared by Ramona Roberts. Thank you Flossie Cloyd for being so generous with your research, may your stories live on.

Andrew Jackson Rankin is an approved ancestor of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The UDC originally accepted only military service as a qualification for ancestors but about 2007 the service requirement was expanded to include civil service which could be county official or some other occupation considered necessary for the civilian population.

Courtesy of J.B. and Ramona Roberts