Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick


The Disowned Clan Migrates to Van Buren County

I have no idea what caused the problem, but recent websites have uncovered the interesting fact that my ancestral lineage roots are from a branch of the Ratcliff(e) family that was disowned and shunned by their Quaker peers.

Family historians before me could never find out much about Job and Tamar Ratcliff, who resided in Indiana, except that they had migrated there from the Carolinas. We were assured only that they were of English descent.

I never really knew why the women of the family (including my grandmother) spelled their name Ratcliffe, while the men usually spelled it Ratcliff. I was delighted to find that the original name was Ratcliffe, with the “e” included.

Thirteen generations of lineage go back to John Ratcliffe (1588-1649) of Chapelhill, Lancashire, England, and his wife Rachel. Through Quaker records, I discovered that their grandson Richard migrated to Talbot County, Maryland sometime prior to 1691.

In Maryland is an interesting twist of family names. Richard’s third son John (born Sept. 15, 1694 in Talbot County, MD) married Sarah Fellows at the Third Haven Monthly Meeting in Talbot County. Although the name is the same, I do not find any connection through the Fellows line of ancestry.  (My grandmother, Mary Ratcliffe married Theo Fellows in 1904)

John and Sarah’s son John married Ann Farmer. They lived in the area of Lower Falling Creek in North Carolina. John and Ann had a son Thomas, who was the father of Job Radcliffe (1780-1829). Job married Tamar Davis, born August 3, 1780 and both Job and Tamar died in Indiana.

Job was disowned by the Cane Creek Monthly Meeting of Quakers on November 7, 1801. This explains why Job and his immediate family moved away from his clan and roots, and also why there was no contact or any other information about Job and Tamar’s families. Quakers carry the idea of shunning of disowned members, to precision.

Job and Tamar lived in Kentucky from 1811-1818, returned to North Carolina for a very short time, and ended up in Indiana. Tamar and children John, Thomas, Elias, Jesse and Enos transferred Quaker Church membership from Cane Creek Monthly Meeting to White Water Monthly Meeting near Richmond, Wayne County, Indiana on March 6, 1819 and on December 5 of the same year, transferred to Springfield Monthly Meeting, also in Wayne County. Tamar also had two daughters, Hannah and Mary.

Job was killed in 1829 when a tree fell on him, driving an axe handle through his abdomen. Job and Tamar were the first family members to drop the “e” from off their name--perhaps to distinguish themselves as separate from the root Ratcliffe family that shunned them.

Job’s son Jesse was my great-great-grandfather. On January 27, 1831 he married Rosanna Cozad in Fairfield, Ohio and the two had 8 sons and 7 daughters, including my great-grandfather Aaron.

According to the newspaper clipping (November 3, 1955) written by descendant Roy Ratcliff of Douds, Jesse was born January 14, 1809 in South Carolina and moved with his family to Indiana in 1819. After their marriage in 1831, Jesse and Rosanna lived for awhile in Fairfield, Ohio and in Noblesville, Indiana.

In 1853, Jesse purchased 320 acres of land under a land patent signed by President Pierce, for $1.25 an acre, located one mile north of Douds Station and adjacent to the west side of Business Corners, in Van Buren County.

In 1860, Jesse and his sons began building a large brick house on the property. Completion of the house was delayed by the Civil War and return of his sons Aaron and Jacob. After Jesse died in 1879, his son Aaron and wife Charlotte moved into the brick house from a log cabin southwest of Leando. The house consisted of three very large rooms on the first floor and three similar rooms on the second. Nearby was a brick two-room milk and wash house, which my great-grandmother used as a summer kitchen.

My grandmother, Mary Ina Ratcliffe, was born in “The Old Brick” on June 16, 1881. The other 7 children were all born in Aaron's log cabin south of the Des Moines River.

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Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick