Maplewood History: On Edward “Ned” Rannells


If you are a follower of this space you will already know that my last three posts have been about Woodside, Maplewood’s oldest home and the Rannells family that built it and occupied it for 70+ years.  If you don’t know this you can find out by examining the following links.

Woodside and the Rannells Family

Edward “Ned” Rannells of Woodside

The Historic Papers of Woodside 1838-1914

In this post, I’m including some of the material obtained from the newspapers regarding Ned Rannells.  I am also having a look at a couple of images, I believe were in his possession.

Ned was born in 1854 and passed in 1920.  His father, Charles, passed in 1877.  His mother, Mary Warder, passed in 1896.

Apparently a piece of property that Ned owned along with his brother, John, and his sister, Elizabeth Brown, and a couple of other folks, in downtown St. Louis was seized for back taxes and sold on the courthouse steps. I have no idea what to make of this.
Family trouble in 1897 just a few months after Mary’s passing.
By May, Ned is listed as being a director of the Houseman Line railroad.  One of the other directors mentioned is J.S. Houseman, Jr.
In 1899, a property transfer is recorded from another Houseman, J. D. this time, to Ned.
On the 29th of November in 1902, this very interesting article appeared in the St. Louis Republic newspaper. To a historian, this is gold.

This is great.  I can say for certain that Ned Rannells, from what would one day be Maplewood, was a cowboy participating in the cattle drives in the 1800s that have been mythologized by countless articles, books, movies, and TV shows.  He was there and I’d bet he’d say it was no picnic.

Here you have it. On November 24, 1902, Ned assumed the office of County Judge of the First District.
On January 1, 1907, Ned took office as an Associate Judge.  Note that the article says, “Rannells of Maplewood” even though this was more than a year-and-a-half before Maplewood was incorporated on May 21, 1908.  Judge Rannells had a hand in that, too, casting one of the two, out of three, votes needed to approve the incorporation.
The 1909 Boos directory lists Ned as being in real estate. His address is given as Bredell & Weaver. At that time the front yard of Woodside extended from the home to Weaver. Homes have since been built in what was once Ned’s front yard.  The address today is 2200 Bredell.
In 1913, this ad was run listing Ned as Vice-President of the Bank of Maplewood. Go figure. I believe this was in the Maplewood Champion newspaper.
He packed it in on September 8, 1920 in Paducah, KY.  He was still identified as vice president of the bank.  His wife’s name was not Elmer as this article states.  It was Elinor.  We know he first became a judge in 1902 not 1906.  He was re-elected in 1907 so he probably served longer than 1908 as well.


Among the documents and photographs in Ned’s tin box were a couple of images that I noted but didn’t pay much attention to at first.  One was a stereopticon card of San Xavier cathedral south of Tuscon and the other was of the Casa Grande ruins not far from there.  You run into these things in family papers that at first seemed unconnected to the story.  Then I realized that Ned was in that area as a cowboy.  A little more research showed that the images were produced during that period.  I surmise he brought them back with him or sent them home as souvenirs.

This is the stereopticon card from Ned’s collection compared with an image I unwittingly made of the same building a few years ago.  The A.T. stands for Arizona territory.  Arizona didn’t become a state until 1914.
Believe it or not I had no memory of Ned’s image when I took the one above it. Of course, I took photos every few steps all the way around the ruins so it is less a coincidence than it might seem.
There is much information about this photographer online. Notice that Ned’s images seem to be numbers 14 and 16 on the list. The years these images were made, 1878-1881, must correspond to the time Ned spent in the area.


I have more material on the Rannells family.  Readers can expect to see it in the upcoming posts.

The books have been selling well for whatever reason lately.  Much thanks to those who have recently purchased copies.  Heck, I mean , thanks to everyone who has ever purchased a copy.  The hardcovers are getting scarce.  There are only about a half dozen left.  If you want one, let me know or drop by Scheidt Hardware.  When they are gone, there will not be anymore.

Enjoy our summer weather.  It’s hot but there are no wildfires!

Doug Houser       August 12. 2021






  1. Re: Sheriff’s Sale. Ned’s father (my second great grandfather) was a heavy alcoholic and a gambler. It is my understanding that he left the family in dire financial straits when he died. Charles squandered what had been a substantial estate.

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