An 1879 plat book for Greene County, Indiana, includes three different members of the Rampley family owning nearby properties in Fairplay Township.

One must be care in speculating too much about the Rampley properties as shown. The names and acreages as shown appear to be:

  • R. R. Rampley–20 acres.
  • W. W. Rampley–20 acres and a dot for a home.
  • Susan Rampley–40 acres and a dot for a home.
  • Jane Rampley–20 acres.
  • J. Mc. Rampley–20 acres and a dot for a home.

It is possible that the properties were all owned by one Rampley before these Rampleys owned them. Susan owns a third of the Rampley properties potentially meaning that she was the widow of that Rampley and the others were heirs. That is a possibility. Researching actual land records would answer the question and the researcher should determine how these Rampleys came to own the properties in question.

One could easily think the last owner’s name was J. McRampley (although reading the other names should make one skeptical of this theory). That would be an incorrect conclusion. This owner’s name (validated from other records) was actually James McClain Rampley. At this point in the research, the reason behind the McClain name is unknown.

Middle names that are surnames can be clues as to ancestral maiden names. They can also be first and middle name combinations for a famous individual (individuals named George Washington Smith after George Washington or Lorenzo Dow Kile named after Lorenzo Dow). In this situation the name James is common within the family, so it seems doubtful this man was named for someone named James McClain. It is also possible that McClain was the last name of a good friend, neighbor, or famous individual at the time James McClain Rampley was born. More research needs to be done. It could also have been a name that the parents liked for one reason or another.

Lastly all the individuals would probably have been of legal age to own property at the time the plat book was completed. If the property was originally owned by one Rampley individual, minor heirs would have been appointed a guardian and the property likely would have remained in the estate of the deceased individual until at least the heirs reached the age of majority.




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