John Rampley–The Well-Known Kentucky Jack


This was not what I was expecting when I searched Maryland newspapers for members of my Rampley family. Finding items in classified advertisements can be helpful as it documents a person’s existence in a time and place.

I’m not so certain having a horse named after a relative is quite as helpful.

I’m also not certain if the horse was named after a specific “John Rampley” or not. I’ll have to review my files as John was not one of those first names really favored by the Maryland branch of the family during this time period–James, William, and Thomas seemed more their style.

Given the unique nature of the last name and the fact that this horse was a Harford County resident there is likely a connection between the person who named the horse and some member of the Rampley family. Maybe.

I’m just not going to be looking for a birth certificate.


8 thoughts on “John Rampley–The Well-Known Kentucky Jack

  1. Mary Hammond says:

    Michael, I don’t think this “fine jack” is a horse, but rather a (excuse my French) jack ass, i.e. male donkey. Look more carefully at the picture, as well as the text. You may not really want to know that this jack was named after your John Rampley! Also, Jack is a common nickname for John – just to mess a little more with our brains.

    • This is rather interesting–more interesting than I thought. Another “rabbit” hole, as they say, that I did not intend to go down .

  2. Mary Hammond says:

    “. . . where three colts of his got, as fine as can be. . . .” I interpret this as an announcement that John Rampley is ready to breed again. Y’all bring us your mares, pay our fee, and see what happens.”

  3. Tracy Rietmann says:

    As ‘Jack’ is a nickname/alternative name for John, it is possible that the horse had his own personal given name and shared the family surname. I have friends who view their pets as children of sorts and although they may have pet-style given names they will also ‘share’ their owner’s surname.

  4. Well this is definitely food for thought! I never thought about this type of issue coming up. Guess I’ll be on my guard from now on if I hit a brickwall.

  5. Mary W. Hammond says:

    What still puzzles me about this ad is the use of the word “got” as a noun. I couldn’t find it in my (somewhat limited) search of online dictionaries. However, I assume it may be an archaic or biblical term, related to “his first-begotten son,” which makes sense, in that it’s related to breeding. “Got” not in a sense of ownership, or control (“I’ve got 3 lovely daughters”), but to indicate having sired a foal. The foal (likely a mule) is the got. Slight difference, due to species! So this Jack’s “3 got” = 3 offspring.

    • I was thinking about that for the offspring as well. The other thing to remember with newspaper advertisements is that they may use whatever wording or phrasing they can to cut down on the cost of the ad.

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