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.
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.
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."
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."
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."
"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."
A sixth child, Charles Vincent, was born in 1889, followed by two more brothers: Samuel B. and James Edward.
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.
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:
Betty, Vicki and Rita: This one's for you!
Rankin Family History Project Sonoma County, California
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