Palatine Roots 

     Very few records have surfaced as of this writing which would enlighten us with respect to the activities of our first American ancestor after his arrival in the South Carolina back country. It is certain that he (Nicholas Rambee) served in the militia on the side of the rebels prior to the fall of Charles Town in May, 1780. Many years later (1801) two grants of land were made to him (Nicholas Rampey), presumably in recognition of that military service. Unfortunately, the picture is clouded by the fact that Nicholas Rambee is also listed as a private in Captain George Dawkins' company of South Carolina Royalists (British) from February through June, 1781.   The  October-December muster states: "Ramby, Nicholas, dead, 30 Oct 1781."
     A reasonable explanation for the seemingly contradictory records may be that Nicholas, along with a great many other patriots, found it expedient to change sides in that trying conflict. The initial policy of the victorious British after they took control of Charles Town was to grant amnesty to the captured rebels and send them home with their promise not to take further hostile action against the Crown. But that policy was almost immediately revised so as to require that the participants in the rebellion take up arms with the Loyalist forces.
    The death notice may be explained by the fact that it was common practice to report deserters as deceased. (The American victory at Yorktown, Virginia, eleven days before the death notice, had effectively ended the war.)
     While we have no record of the date of Nicholas' death (other than the above), it may be that it occurred shortly before his land on Horsepen Creek was sold by Peter, his eldest son, in 1802.  Supporting the conclusion that Nicholas lived long after the war had ended is the record of Captain Peter Zimmerman's estate administration in which Nicholas Rambay is listed as a purchaser of goods, November 26, 1797.  (Two Peter Zimmermans were among the Palatine immigrants:  the son of Phillip, age four, and the son of Frederick, born three days after the arrival of the Union.)
    The four sons of Nicholas Rempi, Peter, John, William and Samuel lived out their lives in Edgefield and Abbeville Counties.  Land and court records document the activities of Peter and his male children pretty well, but information concerning the other three is scant due to the loss of the Abbeville County courthouse files by fire in 1873.
     Peter's name appears on several Edgefield County jury lists from 1785 to 1790, and in 1788, he was one of the signers of a petition which was submitted to the General Assembly requesting incorporation of the back country German Protestant churches.  It is likely that he represented the Lutheran church known as "St. George's" which was situated near the point where Long Cane Road (Rt. 112) crosses Hard Labor Creek.  In 1786, Peter had purchased 100 acres of land adjacent to the church, and he may have been one of its more active members.  He was probably living on that property in 1843 when he died, leaving possessions, exclusive of land, valued at only $300.
     Like most people of that era, the Rampeys were continually seeking a better life somewhere else. The first to leave South Carolina was probably Phillip N. Rampey, the oldest son of Samuel.  Phillip moved to Greene County, Illinois, in 1821. His descendants may be found today in Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas and Oklahoma. The existence, of a branch of the family in Illinois at that early date suggests the probability that Rampey cousins faced each other on opposite sides during the Civil War.
     In the mid-1830s, many Edgefield families moved southwestward, ultimately settling in Alabama. Two of Peter's sons, Henry and Jacob, were among them. There is some indication that they lived for a short time in Georgia, but by 1836 they had established their homes in Chambers County, Alabama. In the 1840s, Henry moved a few miles north to Randolph County. When Peter died in 1843, Mary, his youngest child, went to live near her brothers. It is said that she brought with her a ring which her father had made for her from a gold coin, and that the ring remains a keepsake of the Rampy family in that area today.
     In 1845, L. (Lewis?) Henry Rampy (Note: Now known to be Henry, Jr..  GAR, 2001), the oldest son of Henry, left Alabama and became the first of many Rampys to settle in Texas. He farmed in Anderson County. Another of Henry's sons, John Henry, moved with his family to Bell County, Texas in 1884. (His son, Thomas Jefferson, was the author's grandfather.)
     Rampy descendants may also be found in Mississippi as a result of a move to Water Valley by Amos Rampey in about 1868. Amos, born in 1824 in South Carolina, was the son of Nicholas Rampey, Peter's oldest surviving son.
     While there are probably more Rampys in Texas today than in any other state, the greatest concentration of Johan Nicholas' descendants is found in and around Greenville, South Carolina, in the counties of Pickens, Anderson and Greenville.  As of this writing, none bearing the name are known to reside in either Edgefleld or Abbeville County.

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