My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in The History of East Tennessee published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1887.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Samuel E. Rankin, farmer, was born on Dumplin Creek, near Flat Gap, January 5, 1839, the son of Christopher and Frances (Galbraith) Rankin. The father was born January 19, 1809, in the above locality, the son of Thoman Rankin, a native of Cumberland County, Penn., who came to Tennessee about 1785, and settled in Jefferson County. The father was a prominent farmer and for several years was an elder in the Presbyterian Church. He died July 1, 1881. The mother was born near Dandridge December 24, 1816, the daughter of James Galbraith, of Jefferson County. She has been a Presbyterian for about half a century, and now lives on the old Dumplin Creek homestead. Our subject grew up with farm life advantages, and July 27, 1863, enlisted in Company B, Ninth United States Tennessee Cavalry, of which he was first lieutenant from its organization to the close of the war, and escaped both being captured and wounded. The regiment was mustered out September 11, 1865, at Knoxville, but Lieut. Rankin was detained until February 13, following, on a charge of murder, to the effect that he was in a detachment sent to capture, dead or alive, a civilian who had harassed the colonel of the regiment, that the man was killed, and our subject said to be one of those who did it. The fact was that he was on the detachment, but on a part of it in the rear, to whom the killing was unknown until after it happened. They were court-martialed, but acquitted of the charge. The circuit court indicted him, however, on his return, and he was tried and acquitted, but the States attorney appealed to the State supreme court, which referred it back to the circuit court. Our subject appealed on a writ of error to the United States Supreme Court, which having no jurisdiction, referred it back to the circuit court again, showing that should that court reach a decision the United States Court would decide whether a man could be tried for his life more than one time, plainly intimating that the case would be thrown out of court if opportunity offered. Our subject was under bonds while the case was pending, but at the last procedure he had his securities give him up and went into custody, and sued out a writ of habeas corpus before Judge Trigg, of the Federal courts, at Knoxville, who promptly threw the case out of court, saying the defendant had been unlawfully detained all the long years of pendency, which was from August 1865, to the same month in 1875, during all of which time our subject was hard at work on the farm, endeavoring to carry on the case and support himself and family. Notwithstanding this severe trial he has succeeded, and now owns and cultivates a fine body of about 600 acres of land, in four farms or tracts, besides a house and lot in New Market, He is a public-spirited and generous man, and has been a member of the Presbyterian Church since his eighteenth year. February 7, 1867, he married Sarah L. Lyle, who was born near Dandridge January 3, 1846, the daughter of Samuel R. Lyle. Their children are Rozee A. (born November 1, 1867), an infant (October 10, 1868), Horace R. (September 24, 1869), Chase R. (September 24, 1869), Courtland T. (May 25, 1871), Samuel H. (July 29, 1873), Frances M. (July 24, 1875), Christopher M. (January 16, 1877), Nina B. (September 28,1878), Elma N. (February 4, 1880), Herman L. (June 2, 1882, deceased June 4, 1882) and Denmar W. (August 26, 1883).

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This family biography is one of 938 biographies included in The History of East Tennessee published in 1887.  For the complete description, click here: History of East Tennessee

To view additional Jefferson County, Tennessee family biographies, click here

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