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Rankin Family History Project


Thomas McCabe
Irish Immigrant:  1808-1877


From Ireland to Louisiana Marriage to Elizabeth Richardson Rankin The Move to Missouri The 1850's The 1860's The 1870's Children of Thomas McCabe and Julia Fitzsimmons Children of Thomas McCabe and Elizabeth Richardson McCabe Family Links Contact us

From Ireland to Louisiana

Thomas McCabe was born in County Westmeath, Ireland in 1808. About 1826 he married Julia Fitzsimmons and within the next three years they celebrated the arrival of three sons: James, Michael, and Bernard. Sometime between 1830 and 1836 Thomas and his sons emigrated to the US. No immigration records have been found yet, so it is not known whether Julia came with them. If she did, she probably died within a few years of her arrival.

It would have been quite an adventure for the young boys, probably between the ages of 4-8, traveling across the ocean and eventually settling St. Helena Parish in Louisiana, north of New Orleans. The part of St. Helena Parish where they lived became Livingston Parish in 1832.

Thomas McCabe worked hard to become a successful farmer. Within a few years he had established himself as a member of the community near Springfield, just southwest of Ponchatoula, Louisiana. The earliest records found for Thomas McCabe in Louisiana are two land sales, one to Moses Vinyard and another to Arnold Denker. In 1845, Thomas McCabe sold more land to Denker, then bought the land back from him a year later.

Marriage to Elizabeth Richardson Rankin

The only record documenting the second marriage of Thomas McCabe is the Vinyard land sale of 06 April 1837, where it states,

"This sale was made previous to the Mariage [sic] of said vendor with Mistress Elizabeth Richardson his present wife, But this act was not passed until after the Mariage [sic]; the above sale was made on the first day of September last."

One of the witnesses to this transaction was Elizabeth's father, Samuel Richardson. It's rather curious that there are no records of Thomas McCabe ever buying the land he sold. One wonders if it could have been a wedding gift from his new father-in-law. Between 01 September 1836 and 06 April 1837, Thomas McCabe married Elizabeth Richardson, the widow of Samuel Rankin. At the time, they each had three young sons. In 1838 their first daughter was born, Mary Elizabeth McCabe. Thomas McCabe appears in the 1840 US Census for Louisiana. In 1840, only the heads of households were named.


1840 US Census
Louisiana, Livingston Parish, pg. 297, no. 4
Thomas McCabe
males 05-09 = 1 (Bernard McCabe?)
males 10-14 = 2 (James McCabe?, Michael McCabe?)
males 30-39 = 2 (Thomas McCabe, relative or farmhand?)
females 05-09 = 1 (Mary Elizabeth McCabe)
females 30-39 = 1 (Elizabeth Richardson Rankin McCabe)
empl in agri=2
in school=1
Total=8

It is not known why all six boys were not enumerated in the census. Possibly it was an omission by the census taker. In 1841 there was a second daughter, Martha Ellen, and in 1843 a third daughter, Minerva Ann McCabe was born.

The Move to Missouri

About 1847, Thomas and Elizabeth and the children left Louisiana and moved to Perry County, Missouri. They probably traveled by steamboat up the Mississippi. Perhaps Thomas and Elizabeth had been unsure if they'd like living in Missouri. They still owned property in Louisiana, and may have held onto it thinking that they might want to return there someday.

In January 1849, their tenth and last child, Thomas McCabe, Jr. was born in Perry County, and about that time they must have made the decision to remain in Missouri. In March that same year, Thomas McCabe made a short trip back to Livingston Parish. A document filed there shows that he sold over 300 acres of land to his step-son, George Rankin, for $200, which was well below market value. George remained in Louisiana for a few more years, then joined his family in Missouri.

The 1850's

The 1850 Census provides the first detailed look at the Thomas McCabe family.


1850 Census Data
17-AUG-1850: Missouri, Perry co., Bois Brule twp.; Pg. 36,112,112
Name Age Sex Race Occupation Cash Birthplace Status
Thomas McCabe 42 m w FARMER $ 800 Ireland married
Elizabeth McCabe 43 f w Louisiana married
Mary McCabe 12 f w Louisiana school
Martha McCabe 9 f w Louisiana school
Minerva McCabe 7 f w Louisiana school
Thomas McCabe 1 m w Missouri
Samuel Rankin 17 m w LABORER Louisiana school
James McCabe 24 m w FARMER Ireland
Bernard McCabe 21 m w FARMER Ireland

The McCabe family was living on a farm in Bois Brule, the fertile farmland located in northeast Perry County. The farm consisted of 140 acres, 95 of which were unimproved. They had three horses, four milk cows, two oxen and two other cattle. In the fields they grew wheat, rye, indian corn, irish potatoes, and sweet potatoes. They made butter and sold it for a profit.

The 1850 census was the first record that we found when researching Samuel Rankin, and at that time we did not know his relationship to the other members of the household. Census takers would typically list families with the husband or head of household first, followed by the wife, then any children that they had together. Stepchildren and non-relatives were listed last.

Samuel Rankin is listed as a laborer, but the fact that he was also from Louisiana indicated that he could be a stepson. James and Bernard McCabe, in addition to sharing a surname with the head of household, were also born in Ireland. Most likely they were sons of Thomas McCabe by a previous marriage. Further research proved all these assumptions to be true.

On 22 April 1852, the four younger McCabe children were all baptized into the Catholic Church at St. Mary's Church of the Assumption by Father A. Verrina in Perryville. Thomas McCabe and his sons were probably already members of the Catholic Church when they came to America. Elizabeth Richardson's family was probably Baptist. Perry County had been settled 30 years earlier by a group of Catholics who left Maryland in the late 1700s to escape religious persecution, and the Catholic community there was still strong.

Each of the children had different sponsors, and one interesting note is that Thomas McCabe, Jr.'s sponsor was William Riney. William Riney would later marry Thomas' sister, Martha Ellen McCabe.

On 5 Nov 1854, Thomas McCabe purchased 74.32 acres of land in Perry County, Missouri. Two years later, on 03 Jan 1856, he purchased 39.62 acresof land in Perry County, Missouri. His name appears on the October 1857 Tax List for Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri as being delinquent for $2.39 State Tax and $4.30 County Tax, and a subsequent handwritten note reads "no taxes due".

Thomas McCabe also appears in the Ste. Genevieve County marriage records as a Justice of the Peace performing just three marriage ceremonies. One which took place at his home in Beavais Township, had his daughter Mary Elizabeth serving as a witness. By the end of the decade Thomas and Elizabeth had become grandparents many times over. The older children had married and were living on their own.

James McCabe married Sarah Ann Smith in 1852 and they had 4 children. Brother Michael, who was not found in the 1850 census of either Missouri or Louisiana, is living with them. Bernard McCabe married his sister-in-law Mary Ann Smith in 1857 and they had 2 children by 1860. Martha Ellen McCabe and her husband William Simon Riney had been married since 1856, had one daughter, and are living two doors away from her parents. Thomas "Brewster" and Mary Elizabeth McCabe had been married a few weeks when the 1860 census was taken.

Elizabeth's sons had also married and started families. Sanford Rankin had married in 1854 to a woman named Mary and by 1860 they had three children. Her oldest son George left Louisiana, married Mary Elizabeth Dean in 1856, and also had three children. Samuel Rankin married in 1859 to Ellen Kline and their first child was born in January 1860.

The 1860's

By 1860, Thomas and Elizabeth McCabe, had moved to a new farm in Beauvais Township, Ste. Genevieve County, just over the border from Perry County.


1860 US Census data
11 Sep 1860, Missouri, Ste. Genevieve County, Beauvais Township, St. Mary's Post Office, pg. 340, dwelling 1186, family 1186
Name Age Sex Occupation Worth Cash Birthplace Literate
Thomas McCabe 50 m farmer $2000 $700 Ire no R/W/W
Elizabeth McCabe 50 f La noR/W
Mary McCabe 22 f La
Minerva McCabe 16 f La
Thomas McCabe 11 m Mo
Thomas Brooster 22 m farm laborer Eng
John Crosby 14 m Ire

This farm was larger with 290 acres, 225 of which were unimproved. The farm was similar to that of 1850, except that sheep and hogs had been added to the livestock inventory. They grew wheat, oats, indian corn and sold wool for a profit. Thomas and Elizabeth McCabe sold 20 acres of land in Ste. Genevieve County to Dennis McDonald in January 1860 for $100.80.

The Civil War began in 1861, but this part of Missouri was largely unaffected by it. More serious were the personal losses suffered by this family. Elizabeth's son Sanford Rankin died in 1863, around the time that his last child was born. He was a member of the Enrolled Missouri Militia and was arrested in March 1863 for being absent from his company stationed in Ironton. He made an attempt to escape and was shot in the hip. The newspaper account of this incident said that his wound did not appear to be mortal, however he died within a week. His place of burial is unknown.

The autumn of 1863 must have been a very sad time for the McCabe-Rankin clan. On 12 September 1863, Martha Ellen McCabe Riney gave birth to her second child, son Elias. He died three weeks later on 06 October, and Martha Ellen died on 08 October. They were laid to rest in Mt. Hope Catholic Cemetery in Perryville.

Bernard McCabe died in 1869, just two weeks before his youngest daughter was born. Thomas and Elizabeth McCabe appear for the last time in the 1870 Census.

The 1870's

In 1870, Thomas and Elizabeth were in their 60s and living on their farm in southern Ste. Genevieve County, not far from St. Mary's.


1870 US Census data
09 Jul 1870, Missouri, Ste. Genevieve County, Beauvais Township, St. Mary's Landing Post Office pg. 499, dwelling 111, family 112
Name Age Sex Race Occupation Birthplace Father Mother Citizen?
Thomas McCabe 60 m w farmer Ire foreign born foreign born Y
Elizabeth McCabe 63 f w housekeeper La
Mary Ann McCabe 25 f w La
Thomas McCabe 21 m w Mo

"Mary Ann" McCabe is daughter Minerva.


Their family was still growing with the addition of lots of new grandchildren, but it was a time of loss too, as more of their children passed on. In November 1870, Elizabeth's son George Rankin died at the age of 41, less than two months after his youngest daughter was born. In June, 1872, Thomas' son Michael McCabe died at the age of 44.

On 07 Apr 1876 the following notice appeared in the Weekly Perryville Union newspaper:


"DIED, on Monday, March 27th, 1876, at his residence near St. Mary's in this county, Mr. Thomas McKabe aged about 70 years. The deceased was born in West Meath, Ireland, in the year 1805, and emigrated to the United States when quite a young man, and pitched his tent in Louisiana, where he remained for several years. About the year 1850 he came to this county and settled ten miles northwest of Perryville, where he resided up to his death."


Thomas died without a will and William F. Cox was appointed administrator of his estate and his property was sold at a public sale. Although she is not mentioned in his obituary, a reference to his "widow" in the probate records suggests that Elizabeth survived Thomas. They had lived together for 40 years and raised 10 children. Elizabeth probably passed away a within a year or two of Thomas' death, as she has not been found in the 1880 census.

James McCabe and many of his descendants are buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Ste. Genevieve County. As the only living McCabe son, it is likely that he assumed responsibility for the arrangements after his father's death. It may be that both Thomas and Elizabeth McCabe are buried in St. Mary's Cemetery without markers.

Children of Thomas McCabe & Julia Fitzsimmons

Thomas McCabe, born 1808 in County Westmeath, Ireland; died March 27, 1876 in Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri. He married (1) Julia FitzsimmonsAbt. 1826 in Ireland. She probably died before 1837 in Louisiana.

Children of Thomas McCabe and Julia Fitzsimmons are:

i. James McCabe, born March 28, 1827 in Ireland; died January 23, 1901 in Bois Brule Township, Perry County, Missouri; married Sarah Ann Smith in Perryville, Perry County, Missouri.

"23 February 1852, James McCabe, age 23, son of Thomas McCabe and Julia ----- married Sarah Ann Smith, daughter of John Smith and Mary Ann Smith. Witnesses were William Simon Riney (a future brother-in-law) and Mary Ann Smith (the bride's sister). Fr. T. B. Escoffier."
Marriage Records, St. Mary's Church of the Assumption, Perryville, Missouri

They were the parents of eight children. James and Sarah Ann Smith McCabe are buried at St. Mary's Cemetery. James McCabe's will specified that his property was to be divided evenly between four of his children. Son Vincent, who was the executor, also received one red cow. Son James' inheritance carried the stipulation that he must repay some money owed to his brother, Vincent. Otherwise, his share would be reduced to just five dollars.


ii. Michael McCabe, born 1828 in Ireland; died June 20, 1872 in Perry County, Missouri; he was a Civil War Veteran, according to the 1890 Special Census, serving between 1862 and 1865. Michael McCabe was the second husband of Clotilda Johnson, they married in Perryville, Perry County, Missouri.

"25 November 1866, Michael McCabe, son of James [sic] McCabe and Julia Fitzsimmons, married Clotida Medly [Mattingly]. Witnesses were Francis Smith and Sara J. Madley [Mattingly]. Fr. Brennan"
Marriage Records, St. Mary's Church of the Assumption, Perryville, Missouri

Clotilda Johnson was a widow who had eight children by her first husband, Benedict Joseph Mattingly. She was the daughter of Joseph Johnson and Ann Tucker, who later married John Smith. Clotilda was half-sister to the wives of the other McCabe brothers, Sarah Ann and Mary Ann Smith. Michael and Clotilda had one son. After Michael McCabe's death she married Edward Lloyd Adams. After being widowed a third time, she lived with her son James McCabe and his family. At age 75, she was living with them when the 1900 census was taken. No death record has been found. She probably died between 1900 and 1910. The burial location for Michael McCabe and Clotilda Adams has not yet been located.

iii. Bernard McCabe, born 1829 in Ireland; died March 12, 1869 in Perry County, Missouri; married Mary Ann Smith in Perryville, Perry County, Missouri.

"23 February 1857, Bernard McCabe married Maria Ann Smith. Witness was Josephine Hutchinson. Fr. Ed. M. Hennsy."
Marriage Records, St. Mary's Church of the Assumption, Perryville, Missouri

She was the daughter of John Smith and Ann Tucker. Bernard and Mary Ann were the parents of seven children. Mary Ann Smith was also married to Vincent Brewer and Benjamin Cambron. The burial location for Bernard McCabe and Mary Ann Smith is not yet known. No will was found for Bernard, and his estate was in probate from 1870-1872.

Children of Thomas McCabe & Elizabeth Richardson

Thomas McCabe, born 1808 in County Westmeath, Ireland; died March 27, 1876 in Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri. He immigrated to Louisiana between 1830-1836 and married (2) Elizabeth RICHARDSON Abt. 1837 in Louisiana. She was the daughter of Samuel RICHARDSON and Rachel Hamilton, and the widow of Samuel RANKIN, by whom she had three sons.

Children of Thomas McCabe and Elizabeth RICHARDSON are:

i. Mary Elizabeth McCabe, born 1838 in Livingston Parish, Louisiana; died February 05, after 1869, in Perry County, Missouri; married Thomas Brewster in Perryville, Perry County, Missouri.

"05 AUG 1860, Thomas Brewster, son of Richard and Rebecca Brewster, married Mary Elizabeth McCabe, daughter of Thomas McCabe and Elizabeth McCabe. Witnesses were William Mossy and Elizabeth Dean. Fr. O'Keefe."
Marriage Records, St. Mary's Church of the Assumption, Perryville, Missouri

Thomas Brewster had been born in England, the son of Richard and Rebecca Brewster. Mary Elizabeth and Thomas were the parents of nine children. Mary Elizabeth McCabe Brewster and four of her children are buried at Brown Cemetery. Another daughter, Martha, moved with her husband to Los Angeles, California, where she died in 1949. The burial location for Thomas Brewster has not yet been located.

ii. Martha Ellen McCabe, born July 12, 1841 in Livingston Parish, Louisiana; died October 07, 1863 in Perry County, Missouri; married William Simon Riney about 1856 in Perry County, Missouri. He was the son of Evarestus Riney and Ellen Kline. William and Martha were the parents of two children. One month old son, Elias, died just two days before his mother.

"06 OCT 1863, Elias Riney, age 24 days, son of William Riney and Martha McCabe. Fr. J. Meyer. 08 OCT 1863, Martha McCabe, b. 12 Jul 1844. Fr. J. Meyer."
Death Records, St. Mary's Church of the Assumption, Perryville, Missouri

He is buried near her at Mt. Hope Cemetery. After Martha's death, William Simon Riney married Maria Smith, sister of the wives of James, Michael and Bernard McCabe. They were the parents of five children. William and Maria Smith Riney died in 1876 and 1878, respectively, and are buried at St. Marys Cemetery . After their deaths, Samuel E. Rankin became the guardian of their three minor children.

iii. Minerva McCabe, born 1843 in Louisiana. She lived with her parents until their deaths in the 1870s. There is no record of marriage or of any children for her, and court records show that she was declared "insane" in 1877. Her brother, Thomas, was named as guardian. The last known record for Minerva is the 1880 census, where she is living with the family of William Jordan in Ste. Genevieve County, and is listed as "insane". The date of her death and her place of burial are unknown at this time.

iv. Thomas R. McCabe, born January 23, 1849 in Perry County, Missouri; died November 25, 1915 in St. Mary's, Perry County, Missouri; married Emma Phillips Abt. 1874; she was the daughter of Redmon Phillips and Elizabeth Bishop. Thomas and Emma were the parents of one son; Emma died shortly after his birth.

"21 Jan 1876, Died on Sunday morning January 16th 1876, Mrs. McCabe, wife of Mr. Thos. McCabe, aged about 22 years."
Death Records, St. Mary's Church of the Assumption, Perryville, Missouri

In 1880, Thomas was living with his son, Henry. His mother-in-law, Elizabeth Bishop Phillips, was also living there continued to live with them until her death in 1882. Thomas McCabe died of TB and is buried in St. Marys Cemetery.

McCabe Family Links

McCabe Surname Generation 2: James McCabe
Brown Cemetery Mt. Hope Cemetery St. Mary's Cemetery



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