Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 77
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
James Rankin is a representative of the honored pioneers of a great commonwealth who have served faithfully and long in the enterprising west. He claims Pennsylvania as the state of his nativity, his birth having occurred in Indiana county, June 27, 1839. His father, Isaac N Rankin, was a well known citizen of that county and was a son of Andrew Rankin, who was born in Ireland, of Scotch-Irish parentage. Andrew Rankin married Ann Stitt, who was also born of Scotch-Irish parentage, and they were members of the Presbyterian church. Isaac N, the father of our subject, was reared to manhood in his native county and was there married to Jane Alcorn, a daughter of James Alcorn. They were the parents of the following children: Andrew, a resident of Bedford, Iowa; James, our subject; John, a twin brother of James and a resident of Oklahoma; William, who resides in Rice county, Kansas. Two of their children are deceased, - Robert Johnson, who died at the age of eighteen months, and Mary, who died in Ringgold county, Iowa. In 1874 the parents came to Rice county, Kansas, where the father died in Harrison township, at the age of sixty-seven years. He was a carpenter and joiner by trade and was identified with the Democratic party. The mother, who was born in 1800, survived her husband until 1888, dying at the age of eighty-eight years. They were members of the Presbyterian church.
James Rankin, whose name introduces this review, was reared in his parentís home in Pennsylvania. He accompanied the family on their removal to Hancock county, Illinois, locating near Laharpe, and later they removed to Des Moines county, Iowa. A settlement was made near Middletown, and he was there married to Cynthia Duke, who was born in Henry county, Iowa, and was there reared and educated. Her father, James M Duke, was born in Kentucky, of which state the grandfather, John Duke, was also a native. James Duke was but a boy when he removed with his father to Iowa. He was a sawyer by trade and operated many sawmills in Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas. His wife bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Williams and was a native of Ohio, a daughter of Nehemiah and Elizabeth (Borden) Williams. James and Elizabeth Duke became the parents of five children, but one, Francisca, died in childhood. The living are: Cynthia; David W, a resident of Victoria township, Rice county; and Mrs Harriet Holmes, of Lyons, Kansas. The father of this family died in Weiner, Arkansas, at the age of seventy-six years. In early life he affiliated with the Greenbackers, but later was an advocate of Democracy. His widow now resides with her children in Rice county, Kansas, and is a worthy member of the Baptist church, with which her husband was also identified.
In the year 1875 Mr Rankin took up his abode in the Sunflower state, casting in his lot with the pioneers of Rice county. He first secured a timber claim, containing cottonwood, box-elder and mulberry trees. He now owns a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres, known as Grove Land, and this is one of the beautiful country seats of Victoria township. The place is located a half mile from Pollard, and is highly cultivated, the productive fields yielding a golden return for the care and labor which he bestows upon them.
The marriage of Mr and Mrs Rankin has been blessed with three children, namely: Andrew J, who married Miss Lizzie Grumbine, and is a grain buyer, railroad agent and postmaster of Pollard; Hattie F, who is employed as a clerk in a store in Pollard; and Estella H, a successful and popular teacher of Rice county. The children received excellent educations in the Normal College at Great Bend. In his political views Mr Rankin was formerly a Democrat, but now affiliates with the Populist party, but he has never been an office seeker, preferring to give his time and attention to his business interests. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and his wife and daughters hold membership in the Reformed church. In his social relations he is connected with the Modern Woodmen of the World. He is imbued with fine sensibilities and clearly defined principles. Honor and integrity are synonymous with his name and he enjoys the respect, confidence and high regard of the community.