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"The History of the MACRAGHNAILL, later RANNELLS, family in America"

When James the VI of Scotland became James Ist of England, he demanded the Irish Chiefs to submit documentary proof of ownership of their property. If any formal error was found in the document the Chief's lands were forfeited to the Crown. Some 800,000 acres of land came to the Crown during the reign of James 1. (1603-1629)

Many Scottish families migrated to Ireland by invitation of James I, between 1609 and 1612 to colonize Ulster. In the early 1700s the land leases the immigrants had then were to be renewed and the new charges were exorbitant.

England would not let them build their church on their property and if their marriages were performed by Presbyterian clergymen they were declared illegal. However they were required to pay tithes to support the Episcopalian Church. They were forbidden to educate their children in their own faith. They were excluded from all Civil and Military offices under the Crown, by requiring all who served in these offices to take communion in the Episcopalian Church. So, since they could not make a decent living, they refused to live in a country where they did not receive the rights of Citizens.
One of these families was JOHN MACRAGHNAILL (known as RANNELLS when they came to America.) JOHN married Elizabeth Sheppherd in Grange Meeting,(near Charlmont) Ireland (County Armagh) 18 June 1714. JOHN and Elizabeth had two known sons, WILLIAM and JOHN. WILLIAM was born between 1715 and 1720.

Family records state: It is believed they emigrated to Cecile County, Maryland in 1724. The ship docked at Jamestown, VA. They later lived near Winchester, Frederick county Virginia. Which became Hampshire county West Virginia in 1753.

William and Jane had land in Frederick County, Virginia which had been deeded to them by the Honorable Thomas Lord Fairfax. It was this 423 acres which he sold 6 Oct., 1766 to Joseph Stires. It was here in Hampshire County West Virginia where William died between 3 Aug. 1791 when the will was made, and 13 Oct. 1794 when it was probated.

In the book "Early Records of Hampshire County" by Sage and Jones, page 130, is the synopsis of his will as follows: RANNELLS WILLIAM: 8-3-1791. Probated 10-13-1794. Wife JANE. 7 children: 1 James, land adjoining Chalmes; 2 Sam; 3 John Robert; 4 Nancy Humes, Washington Co., PA., land: 5 William; 6 David; 7 Margaret Earsom; Grandaughter Jane Becket to share as children. Executors, Fielding Chalmers and John Taylor. Witnesses, Fielding Chalmers, Samuel Abernathy and John Long.


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