The May 2015 edition of the “North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal” (Vol. XLI, No. 2) contains information reported by Larry W. Cates regarding several Coroner’s Inquests. Page 169 & 170. One item mentioned an item of interest regarding a coroner’s inquest held in 1784 on the body of William Ratliff. What made this of interest is the date and the manner of death.

According to Mr. Cates’ report of the inquest, a William Ratliff was killed while pursuing a robber. He was shot 5 times in the left hip and died from his wounds. As we have no firm death date for our William Ratliff (1777 Anson Co., NC will) this raised the question of whether this would have been our William or possibly some other William Ratliff. So a request for a copy of the actual inquest report was made to the North Carolina Archives who have provided a copy of this report. The report is difficult to read but in an attempt to make the information clearer to the reader, time was taken to copy it down (spelling and grammar) and it follows.  The poor spelling and lack of punctuation makes it difficult to read.

William Ratlef Inquest 1784


This inquest taken at the home of John Cotney in the county of Anson on the 30 day of August and in 9 years of American Independence over the body of William Ratlef ——-

We the jures do say on our oath that the said William Ratlef was wounded on the 29th day of August he being with a lawful officer in sarch of George Burlew suspected of having commited a Robery and in sarching the woods nere suspected splashes (?) was heard to say George surrender at which time a gun was heard to fire by the Rest of the party which was in sarch of the said Burlew Then running to the place saw a man Running from the said Ratlef lay wounded with five shots in the lef hip of which mortal wound the said William Ratlef died on the 30 day of August and are the ? for the day that Elisbeth Burwell was there present in the woods with the person that commited the murder which we believe to be gorge.

This inquest taken before John Dejarnett one of the Justes of the said County this 30 day of August (?).

Then the members of the jury were listed although the document calls them  “Burlers(?)”:

John Ingram

Samuel Philips

William Yeo

Thomas Tallant

George Dood

Gorge Harrel

John Huton

John Bloodwworth

Thomas Lawhed

Abner Lefever

Ralph Vickers

Joshua Birmingham

Now several things come to mind when reading this report.

First, a definite crime has been committed – murder.  There has to be some type of a criminal report on this matter and George Burlew had to have been given a trial.  This obviously needs to be researched further but wanted to make this information available for those who may be interested.

Several questions also arise:

Why was William pursuing old George?

Was William the one that was robbed?

Was William some type of a deputy for law enforcement?

All questions that need to be addressed.

The Anson Co., NC William Ratliff’s on which we have some information that would have been alive in 1784 in Anson Co. were reviewed:

William Ratliff (1727 to 1777) – our William. (1777 Anson Co., NC will)

William Ratliff (1760 to 1819) – son of our William and Susannah.  This William married ca. 1781 and sired children after 1784, ultimately moving to Wilcox Co., AL where he died about 1819.

William Ratliff (1785 to 1839) – son of Thomas Ratliff & Sarah Diggs.  Born too late to have been the William who was killed in 1784.

William Ratliff (1794 to 1884) – son of Zachariah and Elizabeth Fields.  Obviously the dates don’t fit the 1784 situation.

There was one William Ratcliff who was one of the Quakers in Johnston/Dobbs Co. but his death was listed as 1795 in Orangeburg District, SC.

So unless we can locate any other William’s in Anson Co., that were alive in 1784, wouldn’t the process of elimination fit our William (1777 Anson Co., will)?

Next, it seemed appropriate to examine the names on the Inquest report.

  1.  Couldn’t the Burlew name have been misspelled and could have been Belew or Belyeu?
  2. The George Dood could have been misspelled from George Dodd. Considering the poor spelling in the written inquest report, this could be a possibility.

An examination of the land transactions for the Ratliff family in Anson Co., NC reveals similar names where a possible relationship could be made with the parties named in the inquest.  Three transactions could lend some support to the idea that relationships did exist between our William (1777 Anson Co., will) before he died in 1784.

Nov 1790: George Dodd sold Mary Ratliff 150 acres on Spring Branch of Cedar Creek.  One of the adjoining land owners was Abraham Belew (similar to Burlew?). Notice the Abraham Belyeu as a witness in the following land transaction.

Nov 1791: Richard Ratliff sold Maliciah Gould 100 acres on branch of flat fork of Brown Creek adjoining Ralph Vickers (one of inquest jurors) land.  One of the witnesses was Abraham Belyeu.

Oct. 1810: George Dodd sold Jesse Ratliff 65 acres of land lying on N/S of Savannah Creek surveyed by John Newton (possible father or brother of Mary Newton).

The Justice of the Peace at the inquest was John Dejarnett (how it is spelled in the article and the handwritten coroner’s inquest report).  Did the Dejarnett family have any possible connection to the Ratliff’s? There are some “interesting” possibilities.

John DeJarnette (how we have it spelled) may have been John Thomas DeJarnette (1748-1799).  He married Jemina Owen (1752-1821).

One of their children was Phoebe DeJarnette (1778- 1840).  Phoebe married James Watkins (1770-1840).

One of their children was John Fletcher Watkins (1794-1859).  Guess who he married? Sarah Ratliff (1800-1852).  Her father was William Ratliff (1760-1819) the son of our William (1777 Anson Co., NC will) who married Mary (Polly) Henson (1764-1841).  Thus the grandson (John Fletcher Watkins) of John Thomas DeJarnette married the granddaughter (Sarah Ratliff) of our William (1777 Anson Co., NC will). This son William immigrated to Wilcox Co., Alabama after 1810 where he died about 1819.

According to our records, Sarah Ratliff and John Fletcher Watkins were married about 1821 in Alabama (site is undetermined).

So this would at least provide some “circumstantial” evidence of at least an acquaintanceship between the DeJarnette and Ratliff families.  But then was our John Thomas DeJarnette a Justice of the Peace in Anson Co. in 1784?

Looking through Mary Medley’s “History of Anson County, North Carolina” we find mention of a Captain John DeJarnette joining the Anson militia along with Captain James Marshall (page 41).  Mention is also made of General Francis Marion (Swamp Fox) visiting Capt. DeJarnette’s house (on page 61).

Page 63 mentions a Captain John DeJarnette, along with other able leaders turning their attention to the creation of a new county seat after the revolution.  Obviously Capt. DeJarnette was someone of high standing within the population and it could be conceivable that he would have been appointed (or elected) as JP.

On Page 64 we find reference of Capt. John DeJarnette again assisting in the creation of the new county seat of Anson.  In looking through the appendix for Medley’s book, I cannot find any listing of the Justices of the Peace.  I would strongly “suggest” that the John DeJarnette who presided over the coroner’s inquest for William Ratliff in 1784 was the same Capt. John DeJarnette who was prominent in the Revolutionary War in North Carolina and in the establishment of the new county seat of Anson.

This is certainly is “very interesting” regarding the relationship of the party’s mentioned in this inquest.  While it’s not definitive proof that the inquest is for our William (1777 Anson Co., NC will), there is certainly strong “circumstantial evidence” of this possibility.

All comments and suggestions are requested and would be greatly appreciate

In their monumental work, Betty Carson and Howard Hazlewood briefly addressed the “possible” parents of William of Anson County as Robert & Mary Touchstone Ratcliff of Prince George’s County, Maryland [i].

In September of this year (2014) my daughter Janet Starkey (Jacey) and I went to Maryland and spent some time in the Hall of Records. One of our objectives was to try and prove, or disprove, that Robert & Mary Touchstone Ratcliff were or were not the parents of our William of Anson County. While the results confirmed much of the information in the Carson/Hazlewood work, it was surprising regarding how the determination was made to not consider this couple as potential parents of William of Anson Co., NC.

First, we were able to confirm much of the work done by Carson/Hazlewood. One of the more interesting pieces was the renunciation of Richard Rattcliffe from his parent’s estate (both deceased in 1741). Here is a copy of that renunciation found in the court file:




Several things are evident from this document alone:

  1. Richard has a brother or brothers, it isn’t clear from the handwriting.
  2. Both parents named Robert & Mary are deceased.
  3. Richard has an uncle, Richard Touchstone.
  4. Richard cannot write.
  5. Richard apparently did live in Prince George’s County at the time of this renunciation.

From an Administration Bond filed with the Prince George’s Prerogative Court dated 13 August 1739, Robert Ratcliffe is deceased as wife Mary, along with Richard Touchstone and James Hyet[iii] are posting a bond for the administration of the estate of Robert, deceased. Mary also provided an inventory of the estate dated 21 June 1740 listing the disbursements from the estate as of that date.[iv] The date of this filing becomes important as it indicates that Mary was still alive.

By July 1741, Mary was deceased and Richard Rattcliffe had renounced his interest in the estate to his uncle, Richard Tutchstone as mentioned earlier. Thus Richard Tutchstone was required to post a bond to the Prince George’s Prerogative Court that provides the information that Mary was deceased. It also establishes that Richard Tutchstone had assumed the administration of the Robert Rattcliffe estate that Mary had left “unadministrated by Mary Ratlif, his administratrix” as per the comment in the following bond. The bond is posted in separate segments to make the reading of the bond much easier.







This bond listed Richard Tuchstone, Humberstone Lyon and Henry Tuchstone as parties to the bond. Richard made “his mark” and Humberstone Lyon and Henry Tutchstone signed their names. Now “why” would Richard Rattcliffe renounce his interest in the estate?

  1. He was leaving Prince George’s Co.
  2. He felt he wasn’t competent to handle the job.
  3. There wasn’t enough in the estate to interest him.
  4. He was genuinely concerned about the well-being of his siblings and wanted to provide for their care.

We then went searching for any property that Robert Ratcliffe might have owned in Prince George’s Co. A search in Prince George’s Co. (also Frederick County as parts of Prince George’s Co. was divided in 1748 into Frederick Co.) could find no land holdings owned by Robert and/or Mary Ratcliffe.

With that information known, we examined a very well researched paper on the Touchstone Family written by George Ely Russell[vi]where he provides a paper trail for the Touchstone family as Richard Touchstone came to this country in 1679/80 probably as an indentured servant. This research outlines a paper trail to the Ratcliffe family in Prince George’s Co. and his sources are listed. Thus there is a link between the Touchstone family and the family of Robert & Mary Touchstone Ratcliffe of Prince George’s Co. But does that connect Robert & Mary as possible parents of our William of Anson County?

Several references were found in Prince George’s Co. regarding the Touchstone Family owning land in what was called “Monocasy Hundred”. A search of tax lists revealed a 1733 tax list for Monocasy Hundred that listed Richard Touchstone, Humberstone Lyon and Robert Ratcliffe. A copy of that record is shown below:

MD 1733 List of Taxables Monocasy 100 #2

MD 1733 List of Taxables Monocasy 100 #3

Again, this places Robert Ratcliffe in Monocasy Hundred in 1733 paying a tax only on himself. He was also in the same area of Prince George’s Co. as was Richard Touchstone and Humberstone Lyon so they probably knew each other. Mr. Russell traces the various land holdings of Richard Touchstone, including his brother Henry in Prince George’s Co. Therefore, a case can be made for the relationship of the Touchstone Family and the Robert Ratcliffe family of Prince George’s Co., MD. But a review of the known land records does not provide any “hint” of a relationship of Robert & Mary Touchstone Ratcliffe to our William of Anson Co.

Mr. Russell does list possible children of Robert & Mary Touchstone Ratcliffe as:

Daughter – name unknown. Married James Hyett/Hyat, Prince George’s Co.

Daughter – name unknown. Married William Gooden.

Richard Ratcliffe

William Ratcliffe

[Anselus?] Ratcliffe

Questions still remain:

What happened to Richard Ratcliffe when he rescinded his interest in his parent’s estate in 1741?

What relationship, if any could Richard Rattliffe have to William Ratliff of Anson Co. whose record of marriage is found in the records of St. Luke’s Parish Church, Queen Anne’s Co., MD in 1759?

While researching at the Hall of Records in Annapolis, we noticed they were having a “Family History Day” on Saturday, October 4. One of the features of the event was the opportunity to spend 15 minutes with one of several professional genealogists who were giving of their time for the day. We came prepared to present our thoughts on why Robert & Mary Touchstone Ratcliff should be considered as “possible” parents of William of Anson County.

With our charts and references in hand the genealogist almost immediately stated that the migration from Prince George’s Co. (western side of the Chesapeake Bay) to Queen Anne’s Co. (eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay) was probably not something that would have normally occurred. They would have gone either west or south as lands opened up. But not east across the bay. As we could not find any evidence of Richard Ratcliff or Richard Touchstone owning any land in Queen Anne’s Co., MD, that piece seemed to fit with what the professional was sharing. So his suggestion was to pursue other areas as possibilities for finding the parents of William of Anson Co.,

The Russell history of the Touchstone Family says that the Touchstones left the Maryland area in 1752 and migrated to Anson Co., NC where they settled on the northeast side of the PeeDee River. No mention is made of them owning land in Queen Anne’s. Co., MD which would seem to confirm there was no stop for the Touchstone’s in Queen Anne’s Co.

Also the professional shared that there was a big migration of Quakers out of Maryland and Virginia to the Carolinas between 1740 and 1760. This may become more important as we further examine “possible” Quaker connections to our William of Anson Co.,

In the Richard Touchstone’s will dated 16 February 1767 in Anson Co., NC, one of the provisions was for 15 pounds Maryland money to William and [Anselus?} Wratlif[vii]. Why these persons and “why” Maryland money?

The genealogist says these could be the same nephews from Robert & Mary Touchstone Ratcliffe. Also, the “W” at the beginning of the last name in that Richard Touchstone will could be a spelling error considering how the last name of Ratcliffe has been spelled down through the years. Also, there is no known evidence, or any circumstantial evidence that these men are related in any way to our William of Anson Co.

Therefore, the above evidence does not provide any evidence (direct or circumstantial) that there is any possible relationship between Robert & Mary Touchstone Ratcliff of Prince George’s Co., MD and our William Ratcliff/Ratliff of Anson Co., NC.

So the search goes on….

In response to a question regarding difficulty in crossing the Chesapeake Bay, the genealogist said people normally traversed the bay all the time. But to move families east was just not something that normally was done.

I asked regarding our not finding any land holdings for Robert Ratcliffe in Prince George’s Co.? Could he have been a tenant farmer to Richard Touchstone? “Possibly” was his reply but felt we needed to follow the land holdings to see who the possible parents of William of Anson Co. might be.

Therefore, from what is presented above it is hoped to put on hold the “possibility” of Robert & Mary Touchstone Ratcliffe as parents of our William of Anson Co., NC. There are a couple of other areas to possibly pursue but we wanted to put our work, “on the record” for today and future genealogists who might wish to pursue Robert & Mary Touchstone Ratcliffe as possible parents for our William of Anson Co., NC.

There is another William Ratcliff in Queen Anne’s Co., MD around the same time as William of Anson Co. Who is he and how does he relate, if any, to our William of Anson Co.?

Look for further postings to Ratliff’s Ferry for additional research in this area.

[i] The William Ratcliff/Ratliff Family of Maryland and Anson County, North Carolina, privately published, Page 6

[ii] Prince George’s County, Maryland, Administration Bonds, Original, Box 11 Md. HR 8925-11-1/75 1-26-7-13, Folder 68.

[iii] Prince George’s County, Maryland, Original Bonds, Box 10 (MdHR 8925 57122, 1/26/7/121), folder 48.

[iv] Prince George’s County, Maryland Administration Bond, Box 1, folder 73, Maryland State Archives

[v] Prince George’s County, Maryland Administration Bond, MSA C1147-11

[vi] Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin, Vol. 37, #3, Summer 1996, pages 289-298

[vii] Original will, Craven County, NC.

Many are aware of the research and work that has been done by John & Diane Ratliff to publish the factual account of the life and family of John’s Great grandfather, William Pinkney Ratliff (1847-1927) who lived in Kosciusko, Mississippi. The book includes many photos of the family that will enhance any Ratliff family members library.

John now tells us the book is listed for sale at! Go to the URL link below, or go to Books on and type in The William Pinkney Ratliff Family Saga.

This work has been researched and the photos included will add to any Ratliff family members understanding of their Ratliff heritage.

For you history buffs who enjoy a good, factual report of events that impacted not only this Ratliff family but the entire region in and around Kosciusko, this book is a “must” for your personal library. Please pass this along to those local libraries and historical societies who would also wish to know the “rest of the story” regarding these events in Mississippi history.

Enjoy this fine piece of Ratliff history.

In the Ratliff’s Ferry post of 12 July 2013, mention was made of a Richard Ratliff in the 1790 Anson Co., NC federal census as a “possible” relation to our William (1777 Anson Co., NC will).  In that post, information was shared regarding this Richard Ratliff as being the same Richard Ratliff that married Mary Newton in 1750 in St. Luke’s Parish, Queen Anne’s Co., Maryland – the same church where our William (1777 Anson Co., NC will) married Susannah Thomas Curtis in 1759. 


Further evidence was provided in the sale of Richard Ratliff’s land in 1811 after his death by his presumed heirs.  It is in that sale document we find the name James Vandiford and his wife Rachel.  That led us to consider that Rachel was one of the children from Richard & Mary Newton Ratliff.


A search regarding the Vandiford family revealed the correct spelling of their name is Vanderford.  There is also a well-documented history of the Vanderford family which you may view by going to:


 Published in 1992, this well documented history by Cheryl Lynds Jensen gives a thorough background review of the Vanderford family. 


Rachel Ratliff married James Vanderford, Jr.  Rachel Ratliff is identified in the Vanderford history as the daughter of Richard Ratliff & Mary Newton.  James, Jr. was born 21 Sep. 1761 in Queen Anne’s Co., MD. Died after 1838 in Hickman Co., Tennessee and is buried in the Ratliff Graveyard, Hickman County, Tennessee.


The Vanderford family migrated from New York to Maryland in 1660 settling on Kent Island on the Eastern Shore. Michael Vanderford was entitled to 550 acres for himself, his wife and 7 children.  He purchased an additional 450 acres Michael purchased was at the head of Coursey’s Creek in Talbot Co. (now Queen Anne’s Co.) near the town of Centreville.


Some of the Vanderford family was very active in church activities.  Michael’s eldest son George was very active with the church and we have found mention of Charles (Michael’s grandson) in the vestry minutes of both St. Paul‘s Parish as well at St. Luke’s after the split with St. Paul’s in 1729. 


The marriage records of St. Luke’s Parish regarding any Ratcliff family were provided in the 26 November 2013 post.  But now with the “possible” Vanderford connection, a further review of the records of St. Luke’s seemed in order. 



9 Dec 1740

Thomas Vanderford

Jane Emory

26 Sep 1744

William Soward

Mary Vanderford

18 Oct 1745

Dugil McGrigers

Esther Vanderford

10 Aug 1748

Absolom Timm

Jane Vanderford

11 May 1749

Joseph Ashbury

Rebecca Vanderford

17 Aug 1749

Benjamin Vanderford

Ann Baloy

11 Feb 1749

Charles Vanderford

Sarah Dolony

4 Nov 1750

Isaac Soward

Milliston Vanderford

17 May 1752

Charles Chelsey

Rebecca Vanderford

21 Jul 1758

John Vanderford

Mary Hines

26 Feb 1759

James Vanderford

Sarah Calvin


What does this tell us?  The Vanderford family was in Queen Anne’s Co. at the same time as the Ratcliff’s.  From 1740 to 1759, many members of the Vanderford family married in St. Luke’s Church.  The James Vanderford mentioned as marrying in 1759 is the father of James Vanderford, Jr. who married Rachel Ratliff, daughter of Richard Ratcliff & Mary Newton.


Do we find any connection between the Vanderford Family and our Ratcliff (Ratliff) family during this time?  One such transaction occurred in 1740 in Queen Anne’s Co.  George Vanderford & wife Elinor sold some land to George Hayes.  One of the witnesses to the transaction was William Ratcliff.  There is no indication this is either our William (1777 Anson Co., NC will) or the William Ratcliff who died in 1741 leaving only 5 daughters and no male heirs.


Many references in Queen Anne’s Co., Land Records indicate a William Ratcliff witnessing many documents.  Also a William Ratliff was found very active in both the St. Paul’s Parish and St. Luke’s Parish churches as mentioned in the 26 November 2013 posting.  Our thought now is that the William Ratcliff mentioned in both the church vestry minutes and the land witnessing transactions is the William Ratcliff who died in 1741.


Can any conclusions be drawn based upon this analysis?


  1. The Ratcliff (Ratliff) families were in the same county and church during the 1700 to 1750 time period.
  2. A Vanderford married a Ratliff (Rachel). 
  3. Rachel has been identified as the daughter of Richard Ratliff & Mary Newton.  Proof of such a marriage & relationship to Richard is still needed.
  4. The Vanderford’s and Ratliff’s migrated from Maryland to the Anson Co. NC area about the same time.
  5. As mentioned in earlier posts, it seems the descendants of Richard Ratliff did migrate to Hickman Co., TN after the death of Richard and the sale of his land documented in the 14 Oct 1811 land sale in Anson Co., NC.


Still much needs to be developed.  Efforts are underway to look at various land records in both Queen Anne’s Co. and Talbot Co. during the time of the Ratcliff (Ratliff) habitation.  There definitely appears to be 2 William Ratcliff’s living at the same time.  What is their relationship to each other and how does any relationship impact our current thinking regarding our ancestry? You will be kept informed of any findings regarding developments in any research.

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.

Much of what you will read will in this blog may be confusing.  While our intent is not to confuse the reader, the purpose of offering the following is to establish where the research is regarding any connection with the Ratcliff Quaker lines from Maryland & Pennsylvania.

Over the years, much has been written (mostly unproven) regarding a possible relationship between our William Ratliff/Ratcliff line (1777 Anson Co., NC will) and the Quaker Ratcliff’s of Talbot Co., MD and Bucks Co., PA.   Many have connected their own Ratliff/Ratcliff lines to one of the Quaker lines as a result of the genealogical work of Clarence Earl Ratcliff. 

In his 1988 edition of his book, Clarence did connect our William Ratliff/Ratcliff line to his Ratcliff lineage through William, son of Richard & Mary Caterne Ratcliff.  However, to date, no actual evidence of any such connection, or the possibility of any connection, has been found.  In discussing this inclusion with Clarence before he passed away, he admitted to me that he had no proof of such a connection.  However, all of us “cousins” that he met he just loved and wanted to be connected to us. 



Our William Ratliff/Ratcliff married Susannah Thomas Curtis on 3 June 1759.  At that time, St. Luke’s Parish Church was a member of the Church of England.  Now St. Luke’s is part of the Anglican Church.  But St. Luke’s is definitely NOT, and never has been a Quaker place of worship. 

Examination of the St. Luke’s Parish records reveals several individuals with the Ratliff/Ratcliff names, along with several from the Thomas family also married in that church.  So one would conclude that there would not be an immediate connection to the Quaker church with this family.

In addition to the scarcity of records available for that period (1680 to 1760), it has been very difficult to verify individuals.  Now compound that issue with Queen Anne’s County Maryland being located next door to Talbot Co. where Third Haven Monthly Meeting of the Quakers is located.  This meeting House became central to the development of the Quaker faith in this part of Maryland during the late 1600’s and early 1700’s.  To further complicate the analysis, we find a Richard Ratcliff (who is the ancestor researched by Clarence Ratcliff) who was mentioned many times in the records of Third Haven Monthly Meeting.

Now the question “Is this Richard (Talbot Co.) any relationship to the William and/or Richard in Queen Anne’s Co., MD?” 

Were there other possible connections with William Ratliff/Ratcliff family members who may have had Quaker heritage in their family history? We find the possibility of Quaker connections in the family of Susannah Thomas, wife of William Ratliff/Ratcliff (1777 Anson Co., NC will):

          Father: Thomas Thomas, Jr.

                    Grandfather: Thomas Thomas, Sr.

                    Grandmother: Elizabeth?

          Mother: Susannah Clothier

                    Grandfather: Robert Clothier

                    Grandmother: Jane Kemp


In Kenneth Carroll’s excellent work Quakerism on the Eastern Shore many references to Quakers in Talbot & Queen Anne’s Counties are mentioned.  You will find references to the Thomas, Clothier & Kemp families.  A Thomas family worshiped as Quakers when they migrated into North & South Carolina.  But the stronger Quaker connection seems to be with the Clothier and Kemp families.  So the Ratliff & Thomas families had Quaker connections.  The only mention of any connection with the Quaker Richard Ratcliff of Talbot Co., MD seems to come from the work of Clarence Earl Ratcliff who has admitted that he had no actual proof of such a connection.


Brief History of Quaker Ratcliff’s

According to Clarence, Richard Ratcliff was born in England and came to America in 1682 aboard the ship “Submission”.  He settled in Talbot Co. Maryland and became an active member of the Quaker meeting there called “Third Haven Monthly Meeting”.  There is still a meeting there to this day and the old church meeting house is preserved and can be toured if you are ever in the Easton, Maryland area.

Richard had a brother, James who came to Bucks Co., Pennsylvania in 1685 and established himself as a prominent citizen and Quaker.  He built a large family who then migrated into new lands that opened up as America began to explore its new found lands.


DNA Comparisons

With the availability of DNA, it seemed the obvious approach would be to see how the DNA would direct the research.  But one has to keep in mind one thing regarding DNA analysis:

DNA will never lead you to the actual person to whom one may be related.  What it does tell you is that you have a Most Common Recent Ancestor (MCRA).  Old fashioned paper trails then must prove the actual relationship. 

Many Ratliff’s have taken the Y-DNA test and comparisons can be made to help lead research. 

One living descendant of the Quaker Richard Ratcliff has been found.  Also a living descendant of the Quaker James Ratcliff was found.  Both have had their DNA tested.  The chart below is a comparison of the test results for the Anson Co., NC & Hickman Co., TN Ratliff’s to both the descendant of the Quaker Richard and the descendant of the Quaker James.

The meaning of the various numbers in the chart below are as follows:

1 – Tightly related. Few people achieve this level of a match.

2-3 – Related

4 – Probably related. You may have a connection in a more distant genealogical times (7-15 generations).



Descendant of Richard Ratcliff

Talbot Co., MD

Descendant of James Ratcliff

Bucks Co., PA

Anson Co.   #1



Anson Co.   #2



Anson Co.   #3



Anson Co.   #4



Anson Co.,   #5



Anson Co.   #6



Hickman   Co., #1



Hickman   Co. #2




Anson Co. #1 is related to both Richard & James Ratcliff.  However, Anson Co., #2-6 is related to Richard further back in the generations.  But, there is a closer relationship to James Ratcliff

Hickman Co #1 & 2 are both related to Richard but tightly related to James.

Just an overall observation from this limited analysis would conclude there is definitely a blood relationship between the Anson Co. & Hickman Co. Ratliff’s to James Ratcliff.  Another way of saying this is that the Anson Co. & Hickman Co. Ratliff’s share a MCRA with James Ratcliff.  Now that MCRA needs to be identified. 

As mentioned at the beginning, the purpose of the above is only to publish what is known today in the hopes of stimulating further research and comment.  But several conclusions can be made about any relationship with the Ratcliff Quaker brothers.

  1. Any blood relationship with Richard Ratcliff is in the more distant past.
  2. A blood relationship with James Ratcliff seems more likely.
  3. Research on the James Ratcliff line should proceed by discovering any James Ratcliff descendants that came into NC around 1770.

We put forth in the last blog that there is a blood relationship between the Anson Co., NC Ratliff’s and those who came into Hickman Co., TN.  Documentation exists showing a John Ratliff who married Minerva Ratliff and they are listed in the 1820 Hickman Co., TN federal census as reported in the last blog.  However, tracing the lineage of this John Ratliff has been difficult.  We could not trace the parents of this John.  Some have said that John came from Virginia.  However, any documentation or circumstantial evidence leading to this conclusion has been difficult if not impossible to locate.  If anyone reading this blog could provide any information, we would greatly appreciate it.

Ed Ratliff