Wednesday, February 28, 2007


David Nevin Rankin
October 28, 1833 – January 1, 1900

David Nevin Rankin was born in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania on October 28, 1833. He was one of twelve children, several of whom also ended up, as adults, living in Pittsburgh. Rankin’s parents were Dr. William Rankin and Caroline Olivia Nevin. David N. Rankin was baptized in Shippensburg on January 5, 1834. David Rankin followed in his father’s footsteps and became a doctor; he received his M. D. from Jefferson Medical College in 1854 and began his practice in his father's office, in about 1855. During the Civil War, he lived in Washington DC.

Here is a biographical sketch of Dr. Rankin, from Appleton's Encyclopedia...

"RANKIN, David Nevin, physician, born in Shippensburg, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, 27 October, 1884. After graduation at Jefferson medical college in 1854, he practised with his father in his native town until the beginning of the civil war, in which he served as acting assistant surgeon, and aided in opening many of the largest United States army hospitals during the war, among which were the Mansion-house hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, and the Douglas hospital in Washington, D.C. Afterward he was made one of the thirty surgeons in the volunteer aid corps of surgeons of Pennsylvania, which rendered efficient service. In 1864-'6 he was medical examiner of the United States pension bureau, and since 1865 he has been chief physician of the penitentiary of western Pennsylvania. Dr. Rankin was a member of the British medical association in 1884, a delegate to the 8th and 9th International medical congresses, and is a member of various medical societies. He has contributed numerous articles to medical journals."

Dr. David Nevin Rankin was original member of the NATHANIEL BEDFORD MEDICAL SOCIETY which became the PITTSBURGH ACADEMY OF MEDICINE. Indeed, the first meeting of this society was held December I, I864, at the office of Dr. D. N. Rankin. He served as the physician for the Western Penitentiary as well as the physician for the Pennsylvania Reform School. He was a delegate to the Medical Society of Pennsylvania, meeting in Philadelphia in 1867, representing the Allegheny County Medical Society.

On May 7, 1863, in Allegheny, PA, David Nevin Rankin married Anne Katherine (Kate) Irwin (1843-March 14, 1926), the daughter of Henry Irwin and Elizabeth Peterson. Kate Irwin was the sister of SFF&CH member Lewis Irwin, as well as the sister of Maria Irwin who was the wife of SFF&HC member Henry Holdship.

As reported in "The Social Mirror" (1888): "Mrs. Rankin, wife of Dr. D. N. Rankin, of Lincoln Avenue, Allegheny, is descended from one of the oldest families in Pittsburgh. Miss Kate Irwin was her name previous to her early marriage, her father being the late Henry Irwin, and her great-grandfather Major John Irwin of the Revolutionary army. Mrs. Howard Childs and Miss Edith Rankin are daughters, the latter being one of the prettiest of the coming society belles." (page 137).

The children of David Nevin Rankin and Kate Irwin include:

Elizabeth RANKIN b: 14 APR 1864 (married Howard Childs, see below A)

Henry Irwin RANKIN (1868 - 1914) M.D.

Edith Nevin RANKIN (26 OCT 1872 - 2 DEC 1926) (married Plumer see below B)

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Here is their household in the 1880 census...

David N. RANKIN; 44; born in PA; Doctor M. D.
Cathrien RANKIN; 36; born in PA; Keeping House
Lillia I. RANKIN; 16; born in PA
Harry I. RANKIN; 11; born in PA
Edith N. RANKIN; 7; born in PA

The household also included several servants...

More on Rankin line:

Elizabeth Rankin married Howard Childs (a relative of Adelaide Childs Frick)

(Again, from "The Social Mirror"): "Mrs Howard Childs, nee Lily Rankin, is a beauty of the brilliant type. She is a brunette of rich yet delicate coloring, and the animation of her expression when she is interested in the conversation is not the least of her charms. She was one of the October brides of a year ago, and her elegant wedding is still talked about in the 'Cotillion' set. She is a daughter of Dr. D. N. Rankin of Allegheny, and during the four or five years of her young ladyhood was one of the most admired belles of the city." (page 13)

Marriage 1 Howard CHILDS

The children of Howard Childs and Elizabeth Rankin:

David Rankin CHILDS b: 3 AUG 1888

Howard CHILDS b: 23 AUG 1889

Adelaide CHILDS b: 23 AUG 1891

James CHILDS b: 1 JAN 1893

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Henry Irwin Rankin, M.D., married [unknown]

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Edith Nevin Rankin married Henry A. Plumer

Marriage 1 Henry A. PLUMER

The child of Henry A. Plumer and Edith Rankin is:

Catherine A. PLUMER b: 15 JUN 1907

(See more of the genealogy of Rankin-Irwin family at:

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