Monthly Archives: November 2013

In continuing to unravel the mystery of our Ratliff family in Maryland, an examination of the microfilm records for St. Luke’s Parish reveals some “interesting” information.  What you will find below is a breakdown of an examination of those records and how they might be helpful in determining with whom the Ratliff family may have been in relationship.

 First, let’s look at what Ratliff (including all types of spellings) marriages are recorded from the earliest time (1729) of St. Luke’s Parish to about 1760 when the family is thought to have moved on to Anson Co., NC.




19 Jun 1735

Thomas Hackett

Mary Ratcliffe

19 Jan 1742

John Hamer

Hannah Ratcliffe

8 Nov 1744

Edward Tarbutton

Rachel Rattcliffe

27 Aug 1746

Thomas Hamer

Elizabeth Rattcliffe

31 Mar 1749

Benjamin Whittington

Jane Rattcliffe

16 Feb 1750

Richard Ratcliffe

Mary Newton

3 Jun 1759

William Ratcliffe

Susannah Curtis

Previous posts to this blog have discussed the “possible” relationship between the Ratliff’s mentioned here in St. Luke’s Parish and the large Quaker Ratcliff family that is found in Talbot Co. which is the county just below Queen Anne’s.  What has many questioning such a relationship is that the Ratliff’s (including the various spellings) mentioned above and in previous posts were NOT Quaker and did not practice the Quaker way of faith and worship.  So how, if any, could there be such a family connection?  That question still remains to be answered.

 Previous Ratliff family researchers have pointed out two William Ratcliff’s in St. Luke’s Parish at the same time.  A church seating layout posted on the church wall shows a pew owned by William Ratcliff.  Who is this William and how is he related to William Ratcliff who married Susannah Thomas Curtis in 1759?  What follows is one “possibility” to explain this occurrence.

St. Luke’s Parish was established in 1729 when the existing church, St. Paul’s was divided.  Attempting to find any William Ratcliff in the records of St. Paul’s, the microfilm of the Vestry minutes for St. Paul’s was reviewed at the Hall of Records in Annapolis, Maryland. Several notices were found for a William Ratcliff (there were various spellings even in the Vestry minutes).

April, 1726: Wm. Rattclif is to clear land and put Wye Church yard in good order and for “his doing he is to be paid 400 pounds of tobacco of the Vestry of St. Paul’s.”

May, 1727: Ordered to Wm. Ratliff “400 pounds of tobacco by a note drawn on Wm. Hensley by it bring the sum which he was to be of the Vestry for his work in the Vestry yard.”

April, 1728: Wm Ratcliffe was a member of St. Paul’s vestry who signed a declaration regarding the “Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper or the elements of blood & wine at or after the consideration thereof by any person.” 

May, June, August & September, 1728:  Wm. Ratcliffe is listed as a member of the vestry of St. Paul’s Church.

 22 April 1729:  Vestry of St. Paul’s and St. Luke’s met. Vestrymen for St. Luke’s included Wm. Ratcliff.  Vestrymen for St. Paul’s did not include any Ratcliffe. The members of this meeting (both Vestry’s) agreed with the surveyor Robert Wright Surveyors of Queen Anne’s Co. to run the line of division between St. Paul’s Parish & St. Luke’s Parish.  It would appear that the William Ratcliff (including various spellings) in the new St. Luke’s Parish vestry is the same William Ratcliff who was a member of St. Paul’s vestry.  This would also lead one to conclude that this William Ratcliff was someone of importance to the church and the community.  He was also someone who had lived in the area for many years.

Previous researchers have also found the will of a William Ratcliff who died in Queen Anne’s Co. 20 January 1741.  This death is also listed in the death records of St. Luke’s Parish.  It is estimated that he was born ca. 1679 and probably in Maryland but it is not known where.  In his will, he left his estate to his wife, Hannah and his 5 daughters: Hannah, Mary, Jane, Frances and Elizabeth.  If you will look at the marriage record above, you will find 4 of the 5 Ratcliff ladies mentioned.  Frances is not listed in this record.  The fact that this William did not leave any male heirs leads one to conclude that this William could not be the father of our William who married Susannah Thomas Curtis in 1759.  But who was he and what is his relationship to our William and our Ratliff family?

 Look again at the marriage record posted above.  After the 5 Ratcliffe ladies, you will see two men, Richard & William.  The William is our ancestor.  But who is this Richard and what, if any, is his relationship not only to our lineage but also to the William who died in 1741?

 Richard Ratcliffe married Mary Newton 16 February 1750.  As mentioned in our 12 July post, this Richard & Mary welcomed a son named Richard (of course) 14 January 1751.  The birth is also recorded in the St. Luke’s records.  The July 12 post also outlined the “possible” migration of Richard from Queen Anne’s Co., MD to Anson Co., NC when our William & Susannah Ratliff also migrated to the Anson Co., NC area.  Land records were shown regarding various land transactions for a Richard and William and various family members. 

 One land sale dated, 14 Oct. 1811, is of particular interest due to the names of those selling the land.  It was land owned by Richard Ratliff and was part of his estate after his death (assumed to be sometime in 1810.)  Once the land was sold, the heirs moved to Hickman Co., Tennessee.  Please refer to our July 12 post for a discussion of this migration. 

Now, the question still remains as to what is our William’s relationship to this Richard?  Is this Richard the one who married Mary Newton in 1750 or is it the son Richard born in 1751?

 For the sake of discussion, several points should be reviewed:

 1.  The William who died in 1741 who left a widow and 5 daughters could not be the father of our William who married Susannah Thomas Curtis in 1759 as he left no male heirs as far as can be determined.

2. The Richard who married in 1750 and our William who married in 1759 could very possibly be brothers.  Their father could not be William who died in 1741. 

3. If Richard and William ARE brothers, did Richard migrate to Anson Co., with William around 1760 as has been discussed by previous Ratliff family researchers?

4. In reviewing the 1790 Anson Co., NC census for Richard Ratliff, notice that there are 4 males under the age of 16.  We don’t know the ages of the 3 girls but assume one of them is the wife of Richard.  Assuming the age of the males as 16 & under, that would have indicated a birth year of 1774.  It could be possible that Richard of 1750 marriage was having children at this age but not probable.  Son Richard (born 1751) would have been age 23 in 1774 so it is highly probable that he is the Richard counted in the 1790 Anson Co., NC census.

5. If the above is a close “possibility”, then what is the relationship of our William (married 1759) and the Richard (married 1750)?  Probably brothers.  We don’t know the date of birth of Richard (married 1750).  But if son Richard (born 1751) came to NC in 1760, he probably came with his parents as he would have only been about 9 years old at the time. 

6. The parents of Richard (married 1750) and William (married 1759) still remain to be found.

7. Could the William (died 1741) be the brother of the father of Richard (married 1750) & William (married 1759)?

 A recent discovery of a document provides some “interesting” information.  In an article entitled Register of St. Michael’s Parish, Talbot County, Maryland, 1672-1704 a Richard Ratcliffe of Anderbies Creek was shown as having 2 children Richard, born 5 March 1691/2 and James born 6 May 1693.  If Richard of Anderbies Creek was Quaker, why was he listed in St. Michael’s Parish Register?  Under what circumstances were Quakers shown in non Quaker church parish records?

 The community of St. Michael’s was originally settled in an area that was roughly the area served by a church called St. Michael’s.  Because it was early in the development of the area, this register was an attempt by the church to record ALL people within the area served by the church as opposed to just those members of the church.  That is one theory and it is just that…THEORY.

 A review of the work done by Clarence Earl Ratcliff on his Quaker Richard Ratcliff who came to the Talbot Co., Maryland area in 1682 reveals the following children:

Richard        5 Mar 1691/2

James           5 May 1693

John            15 Sep 1694

William        15 Sep 1696

Jane             7 Mar 1697/8

Samuel         31 Mar 1700

Alice            ca. 1702

Mary            ca. 1704

You will see that the first 2 children were mentioned in the St. Michael’s Register.  What happened to registering the other children?  The register reveals female young of other families were also listed.  So there didn’t seem to be any discrimination in listing females.  But no further explanation is given other than it makes one wonder.

 In reading Clarence Earl Ratcliff’s account of these children, one interesting comment was made.  Clarence states that Richard, born 5 Mar 1691/2 probably died young as he wasn’t mentioned in his father’s 1720 will.  It makes one consider that maybe Richard didn’t die but left the Quaker faith of his parents and married “out of unity”.  Father Richard could have disowned him in his will.

 One other fact to consider is that Talbot County where the Quaker Richard lived and Queen Anne’s Co. where our William lived are next to each other.  Given the travel challenges of the time, travel between the two counties could be possible. 

 Obviously more needs to be done with this information to come to more concrete conclusions.  However, the material is presented here in the hopes of stimulating more research and investigation.