One problem with my cousin’s DAR application was that the only actual information tying Riley Rampley (1825-1893) to his father, James Rampley (1803-1884) was from printed county histories. There was no reason to doubt the connection, but the application required something a little more substantial.

The problem was that there was not one record stating the father-son relationship. This was particularly frustrating as the Rampleys, while not well-off, were landowners. Landowners in this time period usually leave slightly more detailed records that directly state parent-child relationships. The only approach was to use more than one record–and it really was not that difficult.

Several of the children of James Rampley (1803-1884) were like their father–they left no will upon their death. In the case of James that was part of the problem in establishing the parent-child connection. Fortunately the fact that his son John Rampley did the exact same thing was helpful. With no children, John’s wife was left owning his property jointly with his siblings.

The partition suit between Anne E. D. Rampley and her Rampley in-laws in Hancock County’s Circuit Court in 1907 provided strong evidence of the sibling relationship between:

  • James Rampley (died 1913)
  • Thomas Rampley (died 1910)
  • Riley Rampley (died 1893)
  • John Rampley (died 1907)
  • Martha (Rampley) Luft (died 1923)

As discussed in the blog post on this partition suit (“These Are My In-Laws and I’m Suing Them with Reliable, Primary Information“), there is absolutely no reason to doubt the accuracy of the sibling relationships as given in various court filings in that partition suit.

The Rampley brothers all died in Illinois before death certificates required parental information. Fortunately their sister Martha died in 1922–after Illinois started requesting those details in their death records.

Martha’s death certificate stated that she was born in Ohio and that James Rampley was her father. The other parental information is stated as unknown. The informant, Mrs. Ben Humke of Sutter, Illinois, was a granddaughter of Martha (Rampley) Luft. It’s reasonable that she knew who her grandfather was, particularly as there were numerous Rampley relatives in the area and her grandmother was to be buried in the same small cemetery as James Rampley and his wife.

My proof for James Rampley (died 1884) being the father of Riley Rampley hinges on two things:

  • the sibling relationship as given in the 1907 partition case
  • the death certificate of Martha (Rampley) Luft

Fortunately it’s the relationship from James to Riley that I’m establishing with these documents. That’s a little bit easier than showing Elizabeth Chaney was his mother from these documents–but there’s a good case for that as well.

It has nothing to do with the James-Riley connection, but slightly over ten years later, a son of Mrs. Ben Humke asked to date a granddaughter of Riley Rampley. That granddaughter’s mother told her she could not date the son–because they were related.

I’m not certain the DAR would accept that as proof.

note: the potential dating couple would have been second cousins–both were great-grandchildren of James and Elizabeth (Chaney) Rampley.




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