Tuesday, October 29, 2019

52 Ancestors - TRICK OR TREAT: Those Pesky Ruckers

One of the TREATs of blogging is connecting with distant cousins and potential cousins. This past week I received two emails from Rucker descendants looking for more information. That was just the kick in the pants I needed to get back on my Rucker research.

DAR marker for Angus Rucker
photo courtesy Brian Gallagher
Rucker-Hoffman Cemetery, Madison Co, VA
Some time ago I was TRICKed into thinking my oldest known-for-sure Rucker ancestor was a descendant of Revolutionary War patriot Captain Angus Rucker of Madison County, Virginia. I had been advised by a well-respected Rucker researcher and then-president of the Rucker Family Society to prove that John Frank Rucker was son of Angus. Conventional wisdom was that he was son of Jarvis Rucker, not Angus.

It did not take long to discover that John Frank’s children named some of their own children “Angus.” Surely they were honoring their grandfather Angus Rucker. So it seemed a done-deal that John Frank was son of Angus. Even Daughters of the American Revolution agree; several women have joined this lineage society as direct descendants of Angus Rucker through his son John Frank.

I was lulled into thinking my known great-great-grandfather Frank Rucker was son of John Frank. I mean, after all, look at the name – Frank.

But not so fast.

John Frank Rucker died intestate in 1839. An abstract appears in the Rockingham County Guardian Bonds book: 15 July 1839, Parent, John F. Rucker; Orphans, Onslow, Angeline, and Eliza; Guardian Jared Powell, Bond was $2,000, bondsmen, John Cook and Honorias Powell. 

A daughter Sarah Jane had married James Frazier the year before and thus was out of the house and not in need of a guardian. It made sense to me that Frank likewise was of legal age and not in need of a guardian. I have lived with that thought several years.

Try as I might to ignore the numerous documents that refer to John Frank’s “four orphans,” now I am pretty sure Frank was not son of John Frank. The nail in that coffin was delivered by a chancery cause of 1857 in which Asa Baugher, administrator of the estate of Onslow Rucker, represented his wife Eliza Rucker and her sister Angeline Rucker Roach in a suit against their guardian Jared Powell. While details of the land dispute and proper accounting of how Jared Powell carried out his duties as guardian are interesting to ME, the clincher is this one sentence:
From Chancery Cause Rockingham Co, VA 1857
Adm Onslow Rucker vs Jared Powell

The heirs at law of Onslow Rucker are Mary Rucker, his mother, Jane Frazier wife of James Frazier, Angeline Roach wife of Mickleberry Roach, & Eliza Baugher wife of this complainant.

Frank Rucker was very much alive in 1857, so had he been an heir of Onslow Rucker, he would have been listed in that sentence.

At this point I cannot connect Frank to ANY Rucker male. I have my doubts about whether Frank connects to Jarvis, which is the standard view. Jarvis was from Culpeper County and died in neighboring Madison County. If the death certificate of my great-grandfather Joseph Calhoun Rucker can be believed, his father Frank was born in Amherst County.

Amherst County research will be something new for me. But maybe determining Frank’s parents will turn out to be a TREAT. After all, there were only 10 Rucker families listed in the 1830 census for Amherst County, and only 2 of them had a son born about 1824. Let the search begin again.

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

© 2019, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. It seems so daunting with the research you do especially if it leads down an unfruitful path. Hoping you get some answers to your questions about who Frank belongs to.


  2. Oh my goodness, what a lot of research just thrown out the window...and now you get to jump into a new area completely! I'm doing the same, but in spits and spats because it is so daunting...back with early New England ancestors. Can only do a few hours at a time before I'm cross-eyed!