Born at Rabb’s Prairie on March 19, 1841, John Gilbert Rankin, 20th president, was publisher of the Brenham Inquirer before the Civil War and the Washington Watchman, published at old Washington-on-the-Brazos when it was the capitol of Texas.
Rankin learned his trade as a printer under his father, D.H., at Brenham. He attended old Baylor at Independence, volunteering and entering the Civil War with his father under Gen. Tom Green.
He returned to Brenham with Col. Dan McGary and in 1866 began the Southern Banner, later changed to the Brenham Banner, which he continued to own and publish until 1912.
Col. Rankin was married twice, first to Mary A. Chalk, with whom he had two sons; and following her death to Susan A. Oglesby, with whom he had 12 children. He was a commander of Washington Camp U.D.C.V. until his death in 1924 at Brenham, where his remains were interred.