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John Hancock Rackerby, Sr
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Birth: Feb. 27, 1799
Nottoway County
Virginia, USA
Death: May 16, 1883
Pierce City
Lawrence County
Missouri, USA

(Written by John Hancock Rackerby)

I was born on the 27th day of February 1799 in Nottoway County, Virginia, according to the records.

My father's name was William Rackerby and my mother's maiden name was Elizabeth Craddock.

My father was a posthumous child, being born after the death of his father, John Rackerby after whom I was called. My grandfather, John Rackerby was from a place called White Haven, England; he emigrated to Virginia and settled in the city of Norfolk a short time before the breaking out of the American Revolution, where he married my grandmother Enicent my father's mother. Having been in the country but a short time before the breaking out of the Revolutionary trouble, and being a good Englishman, he was not prepared to take sides with the Rebel party as they were then called by the mother country, and he concluded to go home to England and look after some unsettled business there and remain a while, believing that the troubles between England and her Colonies would soon be reconciled, when he would return again. He embarked on a vessel for England, via the West Indies and Lisbon in Spain, leaving my grandmother Enicent with my father. The vessel was heard from at Lisbon, from whence she sailed for her destined port in England; and that was the last ever heard of the vessel, crew or passenger.

My father died in Nottoway County, Virginia, leaving my mother with six children, the youngest an infant at the breast; the three elder were sons, myself the oldest. After the death of my father, my mother moved to a farm of his up in Charlotte County where we remained five years, when in 1814 we moved to Kentucky and settled in Grayson County, my second brother William, dying a short time after we came to the country.

In about two years after we came to Kentucky, my mother married again, and soon after that my step father (Lewelwin) with all our family except myself in 1816 emigrated to the Territory of Missouri and settled on the frontier in what was then called the Salt River Country, and where my remaining brother and three sisters grew up, married and settled. As I before stated, I was allowed the privilege of remaining in Kentucky, and at the age of sixteen I launched my bark upon the World Wide Ocean, with none but myself for engineer and pilot. The loss of my father when I was but eight years of age, and being the oldest child; and my mother being a good manager and councilor, I was at an early age taught the necessity of self-reliance; and the experience I had had in the affairs of the world as an assistant to my mother in the cares and responsibilities of the family, I felt a degree of confidence that I could take care of myself, and avoid the shoals and quicksand's of life, that perhaps fell to the lot of few boys of the age of 16 who had a father to guide and protect them.

I had an old uncle, (my mother's uncle) living about fifty miles distant; he was very wealthy; and never married; had no legal heirs but such as he made so by his will, and who claimed him as their parent. He owned some fine lands in my county, on which was some two or three farmers, and he employed me to look after them; collect his rents, pay his taxes, etc. For which he paid me as he would any other stranger. He lived a bachelor and in a style corresponding with his wealth, and was a true type of the Old Virginia Gentlemen. He lived secluded, and had no society except a few old friends who visited him occasionally by his special invitation. He never went from home, and called his place the Hermitage. I had a great deal of correspondence with him, social and otherwise, and occasionally visited him, and except good advice I never had any other benefits from him. He was my only relation in Kentucky.

One of the stories Aunt Annie told was of a young man in Pre-Revolutionary Days, in England, who was a close relative of one branch of the family, probably of the Rackerby or Craddock family. His name was Richard Maitland. (He was a cousin of Elizabeth Craddock).

One day Richard and one or two companions went to an English port to watch the shipping activities. A stranger asked Richard if he would like to see something interesting in the hold of the ship. Richard followed the man into the depths of a ship and his attention was held for some time. When at last he ascended to the deck he found that the ship had sailed from the port. In this way he had been "Shanghaied" as a member of the crew.

The ship sailed to America. There he was bound out in virtual slavery to an ignorant, but wealthy farmer in the South.

Richard had a fairly good education. One day while the farmer was overseeing the work which Richard and others were doing on the plantation, a servant came hurriedly on horseback to deliver a written message to him. The farmer was unable to read the message and became angry when the servant could not tell him what it said. Richard, seeing his difficulty, asked his Master if he might read it for him. The farmer was surprised and pleased that the young man could give him the message. He became interested in Richard and in a short time took him from the field work and established him in his home as a tutor for his children.

It would be interesting to know the rest of his history, but that is as much as Grandmother Sutton knew about him.

Sir Richard Craddock, a knight of England, was a magistrate. He arrested one of Roger William's followers for preaching and arrested the members of his congregation for listening to the preacher.

Sir Richard had a small, badly spoiled granddaughter whom he dearly loved. The little girl, seeking her grandfather, came running into the building where the preacher and his followers were sitting under guard. The preacher attracted the child's attention. She climbed on his knee and asked him why he was there and why all the other people were there too. The preacher told her that he and his friends were to be sent to prison. The little girl ran to the door of her grandfather's office and knocked on the door with her head and heels until admitted into Sir Richard's presence. She stormed at him and told him she would drown herself in the pond if he sent the people to prison. Sir Richard released them all.

Captain John Craddock, Grandmother Sutton's grandfather and Aunt Annie's great-grand father, had a large family of girls. His youngest child was a boy named Pleasant, a family name. This is probably the origin of the name Pleasant given to the youngest child of Grandmother Sutton. His full name was Pleasant Craddock Sutton. He married Isabella De Lappe and has 2 children Mabel Alexia and Marvin Lee (Named for General Robert E. Lee).

Captain John Graddock had a favorite daughter named Jensey. She fell deeply in love with a man whom her father considered far beneath her in many ways. Her father begged her not to marry him but seemed unable to change her determination to do so. At last in sorrow and desperation, he took his Revolutionary War sword from it's hanging place on the wall, kneeled before Jensey as she sat facing him and said, "Jensey, cut my throat, but don't marry that man."

Her fathers pleading was in vain for she married the man and they had a large family. Her husband turned out to be a n'er-do-well and, as Aunt Annie always dramatically and quaintly expressed it, "He brought her to the very depth of poverty".

Jensey's father disinherited her and would never see her again. Her mother helped her when she could without the fathers knowledge. When the Captain was near death, the mother begged him to let Jensey come to see him but he said, "She broke my heart. I never want to see her face again". After the Captain's death, Jensey's mother took her into the old home and supported her and her children.

Another story of Captain John Craddock and his family of girls. He had a daughter named Nancy, whom he often took to parties. She was pretty and attractive and her father enjoyed lavishing lovely clothes on her and showing her off.

One night he took her in an open buggy to a party which was in a town some distance from their home. She wore only a light wrap over her party dress. After the party was over and they were preparing to return home their host and hostess told the Captain that the weather was very unsettled and a storm might break at any moment. They begged them to stay over night, or at least, to leave Nancy. But the father insisted on going home and taking Nancy with him, believing he could make the trip with his fleet horses before the storm broke.

They put an extra wrap on the girl and started off, but they had gone only a short distance when a furious wind and rain storm came upon them. They went on and at last reached home. Nancy became very sick from cold exposure and later developed a paralytic condition so that she was unable to wait on herself.

Her father suffered terribly with remorse and made all the other girls wait on her. Aunt Annie could not tell how long she lived in that condition.


Thomas Winslow RACKERBY [SIC]** is a native of Princeton, Caldwell Co., Ky., son of John H. and Georgiana (DUDLEY) RACKERBY, the former being a native of the Old Dominion, and a merchant by profession. Mrs. Rackerby was a daughter of Benjamin DUDLEY, who served in the Revolutionary War, and also in the War of 1812, under Gen. W. H. HARRISON, a colonel of a Kentucky regiment. In 1854 John H. Rackerby removed with his family to Wisconsin, and spent four years in Grant County. He then removed to Dubuque, Iowa, and there remained seven years, after which he removed to St. Louis, whence, after three years' residence, he came to Lawrence County, Mo., and here passed the remainder of an eventful life. He died in 1882, and was buried with Masonic honors, an organization with which he had been connected from his twenty-first year. He had reared and educated his children well, and his five sons are now active and useful business men. He was also the father of six daughters. Thomas W. Rackerby grew to manhood with his father in his different locations, and obtained a good common-school education. At the age of nineteen he engaged in the merchandising business in Peirce City with the firm of WHITE & Co., with whom, after six years of clerical work, he purchased the mercantile interest of White & co. and continued the business for some years. He then engaged in the grocery business, at which he has been quite successful. He was married here to Miss Sallie CONSTABLE, of St. Louis, a lady of estimable attainments, who has blessed their union with two children, Maudie and Lillie. Mrs. Rackerby is a member of the Christian Church, being an active worker in the same, and upon the organization of the W.C.T.U. she took an active part, lent material aid in its establishment, and has been recording secretary of the same for the past five years. Mr. Rackerby has been a member of the city council as alderman of the Third Ward. Nathaniel and Elizabeth (STEVENS) CONSTABLE, parents of Mrs. Rackerby, are natives of Surrey County, England, and the father was a manufacturer by occupation. He located at St. Louis, and made the first fire-proof and burglar safe west of the Alleghanies, receiving a high premium for his work at the First Mechanical Industrial Exhibition in St. Louis. He died in this city in 1880, in full communion with the faith of the Christian Church. The firm of BEARD & Bro., safe manufacturers at St. Louis, are his successors.

From "A Reprint of Goodspeed's 1888 History of Lawrence County; Reprint Lawrence County Section of Goodspeed's Newton, Lawrence, Barry And McDonald Counties History; published by the Goodspeed Publishing Co., in 1888; Reprinted by Litho Printers Of Cassville, Missouri In 1973." as transcribed by JJR. (page 244)
Family links: 
  Joseph H Rackerby (1833 - ____)*
  William C Rackerby (1836 - 1910)*
  Susan H Rackerby Binkley (1837 - 1878)*
  Georgiana Rackerby Coons (1838 - 1921)*
  Martha J Rackerby Beck (1843 - 1926)*
  John H. Rackerby (1845 - 1921)*
  Milton Parish Rackerby (1846 - 1920)*
  Milton Parish Rackerby (1846 - 1920)*
  Mary Louise Rackerby Fall (1848 - 1915)*
  Thomas Winslow Rackerby (1850 - 1922)*
*Calculated relationship
Pierce City Cemetery
Pierce City
Lawrence County
Missouri, USA
Created by: Pamela
Record added: Jan 22, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 83853950
John Hancock Rackerby, Sr
Added by: Pierce City HBW fan
John Hancock Rackerby, Sr
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Big John
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- Pamela
 Added: Jan. 22, 2012

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