Richland County

Ratcliff Family

The Ratcliff family of Richland County, Illinois, descends from William Ratcliff and Mary Ann Miller, both born in England in the late 1700's, and who married in Margate England in 1814. For reasons yet to be discovered, but most likely related to economic and social pressures at the time, they left England in 1829 or 1830 and came to the new frontier of the United States. From 1830 to 1832 they lived in Buffalo, New York, and then moved to Richland County, Ohio, where they remained until 1838. It is believed that during this period, William was engaged in farming and became a naturalized US citizen. With the governmenal land sales available to citizens, he purchased 160 acres of land on October 10, 1839, in a newly opened place that was called Richland County, Illinois, and became a resident of the newly designated town of Olney, Illinois, shortly thereafter.

The original 160 acres bought by William in 1839 remained in the family until the 1940's, with the exception of a corner of the property which was given to the Ebeneezer Church. The church was constructed on this land, and the cemetery is located there also. William Ratcliff died on November 9, 1868, and is buried in the cemetery that he gave to the church, along with his wife and four later generations of Ratcliff family members.

One of William's son's, Thomas Ratcliff, built a home in Olney around 1875. This residence, now known as the Ratcliff house, is on the national register of historic places, and can be found in Olney at 328 North Elliott Street. The family included bankers, implement dealers, teachers, and builders, and is one of the families that helped to make Olney the wonderful town that it is.

Ratcliff Family tree is available at Root's Web WorldConnect Project.


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