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Rankin Family History Project

Sanford Felix Rankin

Button Call Him Phil
Button Marriage to Mary Marcellina Watkins
Button The Family Grows
Button A Bizarre Bequest
Button Children of Sanford Felix Rankin and Mary Marcellina Watkins
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Call Him Phil

Sanford Felix Rankin was born in Perry County, Missouri in 1859.   He was the third child and second son of Sanford and Mary Rankin.   His father, who'd been born in Louisiana and moved to Missouri as a teenager, was a blacksmith in Saline township.   It appears that both parents died sometime between 1863 and 1870, leaving four orphan children.  

Sanford Felix, who became known as "Phil", was not more than 11 years old when he lost his parents.   His older sister, Elizabeth married George Washington Hudson about 1872, and took over raising her youngest brother Charles.   They also were guardians of some of the other siblings.   Although life must have been difficult after losing their parents, the children apparently were able to attend school.   Census data for 1900 and 1910 indicate that Phil was able to read and write.  

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Marriage to Mary Marcellina Watkins

Phil married Mary Marcellina Watkins in 1882.   She was the 5th of the eleven children of John Chrysostom Watkins and Mary Ann Frum.   John C. Watkins was a Civil War veteran who had been born in Perry County about 1829.   He was named for his mother's brother, John Chrysostom Layton.   Mary Ann Frum was born in Prussia in 1829.  



John Chrysostom Watkins, born Abt. 1829 in Perry County, Missouri; died 1893 in Lithium, Perry County, Missouri.   He was the son of David John Watkins (from Vermont) and Mary Layton (born in Washington County, Kentucky.   He married Mary-Ann Frum (born in Prussia) August 18, 1850 in Perryville, Perry County, Missouri.   She was the daughter of Joseph Frum and Mary-Catherine Stedlaun.   Children of John Watkins and Mary-Ann Frum are:
  1. Mary-Catherine Watkins, born June 14, 1851.
  2. John-David Watkins, born December 05, 1852.
  3. Mary-Matilda Watkins, born January 20, 1855.
  4. John-Henry Watkins, born October 07, 1857.
  5. Mary-Marcellina Watkins, born November 16, 1859 in Perry County, Missouri; married Sanford Felix Rankin 1882.
  6. Charles Celestine Watkins, born April 05, 1862.
  7. Cecilia Melissa Watkins, born March 27, 1865.
  8. Francis Wilfred Watkins, born June 04, 1867.
  9. Mary-Ann Watkins, born July 25, 1867.
  10. George V. Watkins, born 1871.
  11. Thomas J. Watkins, born March 30, 1874; died March 13, 1935.

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The Family Grows

Phil and Mary became the parents of at least eight children.   The names of six of them are known, including twins, Mary Elizabeth and Joseph Sanford.  

"Mary Elizabeth & Joseph Sanford Rankin, female 2nd child & male 3rd child, born on 07 Jan 1884 in Saline Township, Perry County, Missouri.   Father:  Sanford Felix Rankin, farmer, age 25, American, born in Perry County, Missouri.   Mother:  Mary Marcella Watkins Rankin, age 23, residing in Ste. Mary's, Perry County, Missouri.   Birth was assisted by Nancy Hagan, Perryville, Missouri.   Reported by Sanford F. Rankin, Ste. Mary's, Missouri."  
Source: Missouri, Perry County, Register of Births and Stillbirths, 1883-1887.  

Phil Rankin may not have been raised as a Catholic, but Mary was and so the children were baptized into that religion.   Mary Elizabeth and Joseph Sanford were baptized at St. Mary's Church in Perryville.   Note that the person who did the recording made an error in the name of Joseph's father.  

"Baptized on 09 May 1885, Joseph S. Rankins, born 07 Jan 1885, son of Joseph S. Rankin and Mary M. Watkins.   Sponsors: Joseph T. Vallroy and Susan Vessels (conditionally).   Priest: J.A. Foley, C.M."  
"Baptized on 09 May 1885, Mary Elizabeth, born 07 Jan 1885, daughter of Sanford F. Rankin and Mary M. Watkins.   Sponsors: John W. Rhiney and Mary Ann Vessels.   Priest: J. A. Foley, C.M."  
Source: Catholic Church records, Perryville, Mo., 1857-1920, Book 2, pg. 446  

Their fifth child was named after Phil's brother-in-law, George Washington Hudson.  

"George Washington Rankin, male, 5th child, born 23 Sep 1887 in Bois Brule Township.   Father: Sanford Fell Rankin, American, born in Perry County, Missouri, age 28.   Mother: Mary Marsaletta Watkins/Rankin, American, born in Perry County, Missouri, age 27.   Assisted by Mrs. Wm. Nanny, Silver Lake, Missouri; Reported by Sanford Fell Rankin."  
Source: Missouri, Perry County, Births and Stillbirths, 1883-1887, Part I: 04 Oct 1887.  
"Baptized on 30 Mar 1888, George, born 23 Sep 1887, son of Sanford Rankin and Mary Watkins.   Sponsors: Albert ----- and Theresa Silford. Priest: J. A. Foley, C.M."  
Source: Catholic Church records, Perryville, Mo., 1857-1920, Book 2, pg. 29

A sixth child, Charles Vincent, was born in 1889, followed by two more brothers: Samuel B. and James Edward.  

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A Bizarre Bequest

On 15 February 1893, Mary Marcellina Watkins Rankin's father, John C. Watkins made and published his last will and testament.   He died one day later on 16 Feb 1893.   In his will he mentioned five of his children by name.   His wife and the children that are not named probably predeceased him.   To each of his four children, Francis C., George V., Thomas J., and Mary A. he bequeathed one-fourth of his property.   Oddly, to his other daughter, "Mary M., wife of Sanford F. Rankin", he left one dollar "because she has been a disobedient child".   By this time she had been married for eleven years.   What she had done that angered her father is not known, but it seems the man could carry a grudge.  

The census records for 1900 and 1910 provide a little more information about the family.   They are living on a farm in Bois Brule township.   All the children attended school.   Phil's wife, Mary is the only one that cannot read or write.   By 1910, Phil and Mary had been together for almost 30 years.   It is not yet known when they died or where they are buried.  

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Children of Sanford Felix Rankin and Mary Marcellina Watkins

Sanford Felix Rankin, born 1859 in Perry County, Missouri.   He was the son of Sanford and Mary Rankin.   He married Mary-Marcellina Watkins 1882.   She was the daughter of John Chrysostom Watkins and Mary-Ann Frum.   Children of Sanford Rankin and Mary-Marcellina Watkins are:
  1. child Rankin, born Abt. 1883.
  2. Joseph Sanford Rankin, born January 07, 1885 in Saline Township, Perry County, Missouri; died April 21, 1940 in Perryville, Perry County, Missouri; married (1)Cora May Gardner 1907; married (2) Gladys Leasch Abt. 1926.  He is buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery.
  3. Mary-Elizabeth Rankin, born January 07, 1885 in Saline Township, Perry County, Missouri; married Turman.  
  4. child Rankin, born Abt. 1886.
  5. George Washington Rankin, born September 23, 1887 in Bois Brule Township, Perry County, Missouri; died January 29, 1969 in Perryville, Perry County, Missouri; married Estell Connally.  He is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery.
  6. Charles Vincent Rankin, born November 14, 1889 in Lithium, Perry County, Missouri.  
  7. Samuel B. Rankin, born November 1893; died in WWI abt. 1918.  "Perry County sent 557 of her bravest and best to the World War.  Of this number 36 gave up their lives while in the service...Samuel B. Rankin..."
    Source: The Centennial History of Perry County, Missouri 1821-192, pg. 121 (PCHS)
  8. James Edward Rankin, born September 04, 1896; died January 06, 1936; married Carolina Elizabeth Parker May 11, 1926 in East St. Louis, Illinois.  

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Updated Friday, June 08, 2001 11:29:53 PM
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