William H. Rankin, one of the leading merchants and a popular resident of Perryville, is a son of George M. Rankin and Jane Alexander, and was born in Perry County Mar 4, 1850. He was reared on his father's farm and educated at the subscription schools of his birthplace, until his eighteenth year, when he commenced farming for himself, on land rented from his father. He continued in that occupation until 1872, when he commenced rafting logs to Little Rock, which business he conducted successfully until the following year, and then embarked in mercantile life with Mr John Bland, who was also his partner in the rafting venture. In 1877 he erected what is known as the Perryville saw and grist mill in connection with a cotton gin, and in 1880 sold out his interest in these industries. Mr Bland has been associated with Mr Rankin in all of his enterprises, and the firm of Rankin & Bland are now building a steamer at their docks, on the Fourche, near Perryville, for Fourche LaFave and Arkansas River navigation, to be used in both passenger and freight service. The firm deal largely in farm and wild lands, in connection with these merchandising and also handle warrants, notes, etc. On February 7, 1875 Mr Rankin led to the altar Miss Mollie E. Swaggerty, a belle of Georgia, and a daughter of Dr Gandison and Nancy Denman, of Tennessee and Georgia, respectively, who moved to Arkansas about the year 1854. This union gave them four children: Hallie (born February 17, 1876), Sibyl (born December 30, 1879), Fay (born November 29, 1883) and Joe (born January 27, 1886). In politics he is a Democrat and was elected on that ticket to the office of sheriff, in 1882, which position he filled in a creditable manner to himself and to the satisfaction of those who supported him. He is a member of Perryville Lodge No. 238, A.F. & A.M., and was first initiated in 1872. He has been and is Master of his lodge at the present time and has represented the same at the Grand Lodge on several occasions.