Born: January 2, 1828, Thornton, New Hampshire.
Died: November 28, 1904, Cleveland, Ohio.
Buried: Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio.
Pseudonym: R. E. Jeremy.
Rankin attended Middlebury College, Vermont, and Andover Theological Seminary.
After ordination in 1855, he held pastorates in New York; St. Albans, Vermont; Charlestown, Massachusetts; at the First Congregational Church in Washington, DC, for 15 years; and at the Valley Congregational Church, Orange, New Jersey.
In 1889, he became president of Howard University, Washington, DC.