Ramsey Family

1821 - 1895

Ramsey is a Scottish habitational name from an area in what was Huntingdonshire (now Cambridgeshire), derived from the Old English words “hramsa” meaning “wild garlic” and “eg” meaning “island” or “low-lying land”. The more common spelling in Scotland is Ramsay which means it may have been anglicized at some point.

Our Ramsey family begins with Robert Ramsey who was the son of Samuel Ramsey and Susan Snodgrass. Robert was born in 1784 in Pennsylvania but spent much of his life in Madison, Ohio where he was a farmer. He married Mary Campbell and had nine children:

  1. John (b. abt. 1807)
  2. Susan (b. abt. 1809)
  3. Mary Ann (b. abt. 1811)
  4. Samuel (b. December 22, 1813)
  5. William (b. abt. 1817)
  6. Martha (b. abt. 1819)
  7. Andrew C. (b. 1821)
  8. Sarah (b. abt. 1824)
  9. Alexander S. (b. abt. 1827)

Robert’s Last Will and Testament, dated March 22, 1853, provides insight in the family. John and Andrew and were obviously the most trusted of his sons as he made them both the executors of his will. He left them in control of his estate and gave them each an extra $500, presumably for paying taxes on the property and any other “necessary expenses”. Although he did not leave his wife ownership of his estate, he did leave her with all the furniture in the house, as well as possession of one room in the house, and any “reasonable” privileges of the house she may desire. By our modern standards, not giving her ownership of the property may seem disrespectful but it’s possible Mary did not have the education to manage such affairs and therefore it may have actually been a thoughtful gesture not to leave her with such a burden.

Robert also clearly valued his daughters as he gave them each an extra $100 after his death, despite the fact that all three of the girls were already married and presumably secure financially. Married daughters often didn’t inherit anything since they were considered taken care of by their husbands. The remainder of his money was then split evenly among all his living children so the daughters received an equal amount, plus the extra $100, meaning his daughters actually inherited more money than most of his sons. He also left a small amount of money to his four grandchildren by his daughter Mary Ann Eells, who had died in 1837.

Robert then passed away two months later, on May 24, 1853. His wife Mary lived alone in their house until her own death ten years later on December 12, 1863 when she was 77 years old. They are both buried in West Beaver Church Cemetery in Columbiana County, Ohio.

Susan married Thomas Starr and stayed in Columbiana County her whole life. Samuel initially married a woman named Margaret (maiden name unknown) and had at least three children before she probably died and then he remarried to Lucinda Crow and had three more children before they moved out to Indiana. William married a woman named Elizabeth and had six children in Hanover, Columbiana County. Martha married William Livington and had at least three children in Wayne, Columbiana County. Sarah married James Pollock and had three children in Centre Township, Columbiana County. Alexander married a woman called Frances and had at least one child in Hardin County, Ohio.

Andrew C. Ramsey was born in June of 1821 in Ohio. Andrew married Eliza W. Work sometime in or before 1846 when their first child was born. Andrew would have been 25 years old at the birth of his first child and Eliza would have been about the same age, having been born around 1820 in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Eliza probably moved to Ohio at some point before her marriage since there’s no record of Andrew living in Pennsylvania and the family mostly lived in Centre Township, Columbiana County, Ohio, though they briefly lived in Madison Township in the 1860’s.

Andrew and Eliza had seven children:

  1. Susan (b. 1846)
  2. Wilson S. (b. May 1847)
  3. Mary A. (b. abt. 1848)
  4. E.J. (a girl, b. August 1852)
  5. Maggie (b. abt. 1854)
  6. Jessie F. (a girl, b. June 29, 1856)
  7. Netty B. (b. June 1858)

E.J. tragically died at only 8 months old in April 1853 and Jessie died at 25 years old in 1881 before she’d had a chance to marry. The year before Jessie’s death, she had lived with her sister’s family (Mary A. Neel) in Pennsylvania as a companion, which suggests that her cause of death had not been a long illness. She is buried in West Beaver Church Cemetery along with most of the other Ramsey family members. While her death record suggests her full name was Jessica, her gravestone suggests she preferred “Jessie”. She was obviously a much loved member of the family and especially close to to her sister Mary since after her death, Mary named her next daughter, born in 1884, after Jessie. Brother Wilson also named his firstborn son Jesse who, although a boy, was probably named after Wilson’s sister as well, given his birth is only one year after Jessie’s death. The family must have been grieving greatly from the loss of such a beloved sister and daughter.

In 1870, Andrew owned 159 acres of farmland in the southeast portion of Center Township, just south of the city of New Lisbon (later to be known as just Lisbon) and with the east side of his property butting up against the neighboring Elkrun Township. It was an averaged sized lot for the area with the a couple streams (which now appear to be several small lakes) and Black Road (now Township Highway 784) running through it. Looking on a modern map or satellite image, you can tell that the land once owned by Ramsey is still very rural; the landscape has not changed much, if at all, and you can still see the natural outline of the boundaries of his lot.

On the other side of the township, the Pike family can be found, a name which will be mentioned again later when Andrew’s granddaughter marries into their family.

By 1902, Andrew had sold most of his land off to a George W. Hiscox and John W. King and only owned about 40 acres himself from east of Black Road.

At the age of 86, Andrew passed away in 1907 and joined his wife in West Beaver Church Cemetery. Eliza had died 15 years early on April 20, 1892 when she was 72 years old.

Their son Wilson first married Susan E. Frantz on April 11, 1872 when he was twenty-four and she was twenty-seven. They settled in Hanover Township where Wilson was a farmer and had four children:

  1. Charles (b. about 1873)
  2. Bertha May (b. May 12, 1874)
  3. Eldon (b. abt. 1878)
  4. Jesse Fremont (b. January 6, 1882)

On February 27, 1883 tragedy struck when Susan died at only 38 years old. Within only 3 years, Wilson remarried to a woman named Elizabeth Grafton and had two more children: Clyde H. (b. September 1886) and Eddie (b. January 1888). It is likely Elizabeth died as well, or else they were divorced because in 1895, Wilson married for a third time to a Laura V. (maiden name unknown). By this point, Wilson was 48 and his new bride was 20 years younger than him. His daughter from his first marriage, Bertha, was 21 and married in the same year to George B. Phillips who was 25. We can only question whether it seemed strange to Bertha to be only 7 years younger than her second stepmother or whether that was just a part of life during the times.

By 1900, Wilson had apparently abandoned farming and become a blacksmith. In 1910, he was listed as working in a greenhouse, however, his death certificate says he’d been a blacksmith so this occupation must have taken up most of his adult life.

Wilson and Laura had three additional children: James R. (b. April 1897) , Margaret L. (b. abt 1900), and Robert V. (b. abt. 1910). By 1930, Wilson had moved to Center Township to live in the Center County Home (nursing home) where he died on April 6, 1931 at the age of 83 of chronic myocarditis (inflammation of the heart). His death certificate says that he was divorced (presumably from his third wife Laura) which could mean his second marriage to Elizabeth also ended in divorce rather than her death.

Bertha and George meanwhile stayed in the township of Hanover where George was a farmer. They had five daughters together. The first child, Lela L., was born December 21, 1892, three years before Bertha and George married. The rest of the children were named Eva M. (b. 1896), Ester N. (b. February 1898), Ruby C. (b. September 1899), and Alice F. (b. September 23, 1901).

Unfortunately, early deaths were to plague the Ramsey family and George died in either 1902 and 1903 when he was only about 33 years of age. Bertha, just shy of 30 years old and with the mouths of five girls to feed, quickly remarried on January 12, 1904 to Ralph Springer Pike.

Ruby grew up to marry Thomas C. Russell, a son of another of our ancestors, Robert C. Russell and his second wife, Anna. See the Russell Family Chapter for more on Robert and his son Thomas. To read more about Bertha and Ralph’s life together after marriage, including the fates of her children by George, see the Pike Family Chapter.

© Robin Bauer 2010-2013

Sources:

Ramsey Photos and Documents

Bertha May Ramsey

An 1870 Land Ownership Map overlaid onto a modern Google map in Center Township, Columbiana County, Ohio showing Andrew C. Ramsey's lot highlighted in red.

Close up satellite image with superimposed outline of Andrew C Ramsey's property. As you can see, the natural outline of the cleared land is still visible.