New data on Ramer family provides clarification

Published 1:41 am Saturday, April 29, 2017

It is unfortunate that nearly all of the researchers of the RAMER family of Covington County, Ala., who have posted genealogical trees on (over forty of them) have made serious errors regarding the early generations of this family. Worse yet, these errors will prevent them and future researchers from finding the true ancestors of this family. This article is meant to identify those errors and present documented information that can help identify the actual ancestors of this family that has played an important role in Covington County.

The error is fairly simple. The John RAMER Sr. and his wife, Barbary who first settled in Montezuma by 1824 are being reported by researchers to be another couple by the same name who were born, lived their entire lives, died and were buried in Pennsylvania,

The following information about the two couples clearly differentiates between them:

The John & Barbary RAMER Sr. of Covington County will be described first. John was born circa 1770 in North Carolina, and Barbary was born circa 1778 in Pennsylvania. They had the following children: Daniel, b. 1899 N.C.; Elizabeth Anna, b. ca 1801 S.C.; John Jr., b. 1805 N.C., m. Nancy Summerford; John William, b. 1808 Ga., d. 1885, m. Cloie Ann Hogg; Jacob, b. ca 1812 Ala., d. 1873, m. Celia Taylor; and Martin, b. ca 1816 Ala., m. Lucinda Biggs. John Sr. purchased land in the Montezuma settlement in 1824, which was early for the area. In 1837, he bought 40 acres in the Gantt Township, and the next year he purchased another 40 acres in the same area. The family is enumerated in Covington County on the 1830 through 1860 U.S. Censuses. John Sr. died between 1860 and 1866, and Barbary, between 1870 and 1880.

John Ramer and his family arrived quite early to the area of South Alabama that would become Covington County in 1821. It is likely they came around 1820 as some of the earliest settlers, and there is a record of him acquiring 80 acres of land from the government in 1824. This land lay on both sides of the Conecuh River in the area of the Montezuma settlement. He and his son, Daniel were enumerated as heads of households in the 1830 Federal Census, the first one made for the new Covington County. At that time, John was a farmer and had seven slaves. In the 1840, four of their children were still in the household, and John owned two slaves at the time. In the 1860 census, John and Barbary were both listed as being 88 years of age. He died 1862, but she lived to be more than 100 years old according to the 1870 census.

At least two of John Ramer Sr.’s sons, Daniel and William, rendered service in 1837 in Captain Littlebury Rogers’s Company of the 11th Brigade, 4th Division, Alabama Militia. Daniel apparently left the area soon afterwards as he did not appear in any later censuses for Covington County. William, or John as he is sometimes called, remained in the county and was enumerated in the 1850 census. In 1852, he purchased with Charles Stanley 40.03 acres of land in the Gantt Township. In 1854, he acquired four tracts of land in the Libertyville Township: 80.67 acres, 80 acres, 80.12 acres and 159.62 acres. He became a large-scale farmer.

William was married to Cloie Ann Hogg, daughter of Holland and Mary (Mixon) Hogg. They reared the following children: Lyers, b. ca 1837, d. ca 1850; Elias, b. 1839, m. Martha Seaborn; William Pickney, b. 1841, m. (1) Saranda ? (2) Martha Wilmer; Mary Ann, b. 1842, m. Wesley W. Sheffield; James T., b. 1844; Lily Ann, b. 1845; George Washington, b. 1846, d. 1931, m. 1875 Sarah Frances “Babe” Arline; Sarah Ann, b. 1847, d. 1903, m. 1869 Zachariah Daniel Phillips; and Docken Martin, b. 1852, d. 1897, m. Mary M. Phillips. The family decided to move to Texas circa 1850 before the two youngest children were born. Unfortunately, during the journey there, the oldest son. Lyers, was drowned. The family settled in Spurger and farmed on Raimer Island in the middle of the Neches River in Tyler County, Tex. William died there in 1885 and was buried in the Turner Branch Cemetery.

Another son, Jacob Ramer, was not married until he was around 40 years of age. He was married to Celia Taylor, and their household in the 1860 census was as follows: Jacob, 48; Celia, 29; Sarah Ann, 7; John Allen, 5; Elizabeth, 2; and Rebecca, 1. Jacob served as a Corporal in Captain Littlebury Rogers’s Company of the Alabama Militia and advanced to the rank of Major in the 2nd Battalion, Covington County, 60th Regiment. In 1864, at the age of 58, he served as a 2nd Corporal in Captain George W. Kierce’s Company A, County Reserves, Covington County, CSA. In 1850, he purchased 40 acres of land in the Carolina community to which he added 80 additional acres in 1856.

The youngest son, Martin Ramer, served as a private in the same Captain Kierce’s Company of the Confederacy. At a young age, he was married to Lucinda Biggs. In the 1870 federal census, the family was enumerated as follows: Martin, 57; Lucinda, 48; Jacob, 26 Barbary, 15; and Barbary Sr., Martin’s mother, 104. That year Martin homesteaded 85 acres of land in the Gantt community, but it was later canceled. In 1886, Lucinda who was most likely a widow, homesteaded 160 acres in the Rawls Township.

Next, the family of the John & Barbara (Burkhalter) Ramer of Pennsylvania will be presented. John was born February 9, 1763 in Lancaster County, Penn. Barbara was born April 7, 1758, in Dauphin County, Penn. In 1784, John served in the Second Battalion, Dauphin Militia. He was married May 10, 1785, in Dauphin County to Barbara Burkhalter. They reared the following children: Catherine, b. ca 1786; Jacob, b. 1789; John B., b. 1791; Henry, b. 1796; Joseph, b. 1797; Barbara, b. 1798; and Elizabeth, b. 1801. John acquired land in Cumberland County, Penn., in 1794, and the family was enumerated there as residents in the federal censuses from 1790 through 1820. The family was living in Perry, Penn., when Barbara died in 1827 and John, in 1838.

All of the above children of John and Barbara Ramer were born in Greenwood Township, Cumberland County, Penn, which later in 1827 became Buffalo Township., Perry County, Penn, through jurisdiction border changes.


The birth date of 1870 and birthplace of North Carolina for John Ramer of Covington County, Ala., were taken from the 1850 and 1860 census reports. His death date is assumed from US census data from 1860 and Alabama Census data from 1866. The birth date and death dates for John & Barbara Ramer of Pennsylvania were taken from their tombstones, which are now housed in a place of honor in the Juniata District Mennonite Historical Society in Richfield, Penn.

Note the differences in birth dates of 1763 for John of Pennsylvania and 1770 for John of Alabama. Also, see the differences in birth dates for Barbary of Alabama (1778) and Barbara of Penn. (1758). Barbara of Pennsylvania died in 1827, more than 40 years before the death of Barbary in Alabama. John of Pennsylvania died in 1838, more than 22 years before John, in Covington County.

To further distinguish between these two families, additional data including DNA testing results will be presented in next week’s story. Appreciation is expressed to John Ramer of Fitchburg, MI, for sharing his research to clarify these Ramer families’ genealogy and to serve as the primary source for this writing. Also, the records of June Rainer Poole filed in the Andalusia Public Library and Wyley Ward’s Original Land Sales and Grants in Covington County, Alabama and Early History of Covington County, Alabama, 1821-1871 were additional sources.

Anyone who might have any corrections to the above is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email:



The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be meeting at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 4, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Guests and prospective members are welcome.