ready a resident of this township. We note that he signed with the early family name of Rathbone. This was the name in England used by early generations.
Thomas was a sixth generation America. John Rathbone, the immigrant, was one of 12 residents of MA who met at the home of John Alcock to consider purchasing Block Island from Gov. Endicott on 17 Aug 1660. The 12, later increased to 16, bought the island. It was divided into tracts of 420 acres. The Rathbone family prospered in their new home. The census of 1708 finds 58 of that name living on the island.
John, 1629-1702, m. Margaret Acres, prob. in England; Thomas, 1657-1733, m. Mary Dickens; Thomas, 1695— m. Lydia Mott; Thomas, 1730—, m. Mary Rogers Clark, widow of John Clark; Walter Clark, c1772-cl 844, m. Anna Jones; Thomas, 1793-1866, m. (1) Laurena Bates, (2) Sally Belknap, 1801-1874, b. in Vermont. She was a descendant of Abraham Belknap, an early immigrant to America. Quite likely, she was a seventh generation American.
Thomas and Laurena’s eldest daughter Laurena m. Gardiner Howe, a grocer at LeRoy, MN. Their marriage is included in the Winneshiek Co. marriage records. Their son Roswell m. Clarissa Willard and settled in Calhoun Co., Ml. We have no record of daughters, Anna and Harriet, beyond their births.
Thomas and Sally’s eldest son, Amander, 1826-1851, is buried in Rathbun cemetery, Owen Twp., IL. Walter, 1825-1897, m. Wealthy Loomis, 1822-1900. Both are buried in the Centennial cemetery. Their children were: Mary, Rose, Emma, Geo. Winfield and Libbie. Charles, 1827-1853, m. Electa Cook. He is buried in the Owen Twp. Cemetery, Winnebago Co., IL. Sidney, 1827—, had land records in Winneshiek Co. in 1851 and 1852. Legend holds he moved on to Dakota territory and died in an Indian massacre. Eunice, 1831-1899, m. Henry Bailey. They are buried in Page Lake Cem., Stevens Co., MN. Dolphus, 1833-1898, m. Isaphene Everett. He served in the Civil War and lost an arm in battle. He farmed near Kinsley, IA and is buried at LeMars. Their children were: Angie, Wesley and Charles Alvora. Bradshaw Whelock,
1836- 1910, m. Elizabeth Hall, 1843-1892. Elizabeth,—
1837— , m. John McKay. He was called the richest man in the county by early historians. Children were: Laura, Helen, Mae and James. Cordelia, 1640—, m. Joe Lambert; children: Susie, Minnie and Ashley. Lima, 1845—, m. Kep Pierce; children: Florence Dell. Launa, 1849-1854, is buried in Owen Twp. Cemetery Winnebago Co., IL.
After the death of his father in 1866, Bradshaw took over the family farm in Bloomfield Twp., Winneshiek Co. Likely, it was through the neighboring Mott family that he met Elmira Mott’s first cousin, Elizabeth Hall. Elmira’s father Israel Dodge, and Libbie’s mother Hannah, were brother and sister. Libbie’s sister Lucy was courted by Norman Beedy. Bradshaw and Norman married the Hall sisters in a double wedding 10 Nov 1868. The couples “trained” to the twin cities, returning by steamer to McGregor. They reported having a “luscious” time on their honeymoon.
Bradshaw and Libbie's children were: Lucy Mae, 1869-1943, a school teacher and sales lady; Hattie, 1871-1873, buried in Bloomfield cemetery; Hall E., 1874-1946, m. (1) Ora Nuss, (2) Ella Eckhart. Hall founded Rathbun’s Department store in North Hollywood, CA in 1921. The business employed 30 and enjoyed the patronage of several Hollywood movie stars. Hall and Ora’s children were the twins, Theodore and Leonore, and Lloyd. Fred, 1876-1952, m. Mayme Hunter. He was a carpenter in the Castalia area. Their children were Helen and Ralph. Bessie E., 1879-1951, m. Welt Cornell. She was a school teacher and farm wife. She boarded with the Mott family while attending high school in Postville. Mother was very proud of her cousin John R.; Mott’s brilliant career culminated in the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946. Blake, 1882-1946, m. Anna Christofferson. Their only son, Donald, was accidentally killed while shooting sparrows on the family farm. Herbert, 1884-1955, m. Hattie Huffy; children: Lawrence, Kenneth and Hartley. They farmed near Harpers Ferry in Allamakee Co.
The Rathbun men fought in all of America’s wars. John Peck Rathbone served as John Paul Jones’ first lieutenant. Commodore Esek Hopkins, called father of the American Navy by early historians, stated in 1778: “Most of John Paul Jones success was due to the valor and courage of John Peck Rathbone.” Rathbone was given command of the sloop, Providence, with only 12 four pound cannons and less than 50 crew members. He attacked the British fort at Nassau; seized 6 enemy vessels; captured the fort and spiked its cannons; burned two ships and sailed with the other four as prizes of war. An amazing naval triumph!
He was awarded command of the Queen of France. As part of a task force composed of the Providence, Ranger and Queen, he found his ship next to a British convoy becalmed in a fog. By using the subterfuge of inviting enemy captains aboard for a drink, he and his fellow captains, were able to capture 8 merchantmen. Their prize valued over a million dollars; the largest of the war. Captain Rathbone’s exploits were overlooked by historians.
Rathbone married Polly Leigh. She was the daughter of Benjamin Leigh, a prominent Tory with close ties to the royal family. He is credited with being the Loyalist who halted the Boston massacre through his friendship with the commander of the British troops.
Several family members were friends of President Lincoln. One family account tells of a tall, gawky youth, wading up the muddy road to Springfield, IL, his pant legs rolled up, shoes in one hand, a bundle tied up in his handkerchief in the other. “Why it’s Abe," said Mrs. Gideon Rathbone, a former classmate of Lincoln. He spent the night at her parents, the Howells. The Rathbones visited through the evening hours. Lincoln asked about work in Springfield. Mr. Howell suggested he call on Denton Offut, a merchant who was looking for a stout young man. Abe was hired to load and pole a flatboat carrying Offut’s goods. He worked off and on for the merchant while studying law and preparing for his brilliant career.
A recent historical novel, Henry and Clara, publicizes the role of Major Henry Rathbone and his fiancee, Clara Harris. They were guests of the Lincolns at Ford’s theater
See the associated scan to compare with the published information.
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this page was last updated on Monday, 29 March 2021