We mentioned earlier the difficulty in locating one record that clearly stated that James Rampley (1803 Harford County, Maryland-1884 Hancock County, Illinois) was the father of Riley Rampley (1835 Coshocton County, Ohio-1893 Hancock County, Illinois). Other than printed county histories there are no sources that state the relationship explicitly. County histories are not always the most reliable of sources and they weren’t going to cut it for my relative’s DAR application.

In summary, two records connected James and Riley as father and son.

  • A 1907 court case from Hancock County, Illinois, included testimony from witnesses and a judicial decision that indicated that Riley Rampley, James Rampley, Thomas Rampley, John Rampley, and Martha (Rampley) Luft were siblings. The court case was a partition suit that came about as a result of John’s death without children. James, Thomas, Martha, and Riley’s children (all of whom were named) were determined to be John’s heirs at the time of his death.
  • Martha Luft’s 1923 death certificate indicated her father was James Rampley. No place of birth for James was given or any other identifying information was given. A granddaughter was the informant.

And so I wondered?

Do I need to connect this James Rampley–father of Martha on the death certificate–with the James Rampley who was living in Hancock County, Illinois, in the mid-19th century? That James Rampley was already known to have been the son of Thomas Johnson and Christianna (DeMoss) Rampley who died in Coshocton County, Ohio, in the first part of the 19th century. How much evidence did I need?

After all, the death certificate just says “James Rampley.” I thought I needed just a little more in case someone else doubted the connection.

So I included the 1850 and 1860 census enumerations for James Rampley and his wife, Elizabeth (Chaney) Rampley. They showed the children in their household (admittedly with no relationships stated). There was an Elizabeth Rampley as a child in the 1850 household who died before 1860 and left no heirs. That’s why she was not listed in the estate settlement. Otherwise the children listed matched those named in the 1907 partition suit.

I felt the census tightened up my case.

What do you think?

Keep in mind:

  • there is no estate settlement for James or Elizabeth–the parents
  • there is no death certificates providing parental information for any of the Rampley sons
  • there are no deeds that mention relationships
  • Civil War pensions for the sons do not state any parental relationships either






2 Responses

    • One of the sons mentioned in the post left a will, but there was nothing in that to help establish the connection from James who died in 1884.

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