Searching For my Roots
It has been my lifelong wish to know who I am by studying the histories of my ancestors and where they came from, and I don’t mean just geographically. I had to let go of that wish while raising and providing for my young children. Then they started asking me countless questions:
Where did your grandfather come from? What did he do for work? Where did he live when he was young? Who did he marry?
Where did he live in his later life ? Did he have any brothers or sisters? Where did they live and what did they do in life?
These questions from my children marked the true beginning of my quest. After a 25-year search (still far, far from completion) and nearly two years of
compiling information, I realize what a gigantic undertaking this project has been. You and our children – of all future generations – are the beneficiaries of this project. Lucky for them I didn’t realize what I was getting into, for had I known what it would require of me and my family, I doubt if I would have started.
My resources for official documents were: the famous Family History Library of the Church of Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah (the largest genealogical library in the world), the Mormon Church Library in Mesa AZ and other cities, church records, court house records, old census records, the National Archives at Washington D.C., the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and county and state historical societies.
Other assistance came from Sheriff Jolly of Blue Springs, Mississippi, a former neighbor of Lafayette “Fate” Raines and his family. Reno Graham of Pontotoc County spent days showing me the old homestead places, among which was a large farm owned by the Sneed Family known as the “Nation.” He also put me in touch with Raines family members from the Pontotoc area. Frank Rains of Tupelo, a great grandson of James H. Rains, gave me information on his grandfather, the Rev. Jacob Lafayette Rains of Tupelo, and then put me in touch with Wanda James of Anton, Texas who had a wealth of information on our line of the family.
It is my hope that anyone reading this who has done research about the Raines family or who has any Family data will contact me. There are still many gaps that need to be filled, especially that about the present generations.
To the best of my knowledge, all information is accurate. I did not include every bit of information found, since that would take me another lifetime. Some relatives failed to return the forms I sent and so is not part of this book. Hopefully, you as the reader will call to my attention any mistakes, missing or incorrect information. I welcome any comments – appreciative, critical, or both!
One of the first things I learned is that according to professional genealogical researchers, the name is spelled several ways for the same family: Rains, Raines, It just depended on who was doing the spelling.
Former Congressman Albert Rains from Alabama is reputed to have said that, in his search for his family history, he learned that three Raines brothers immigrated to the United States from an island off the Brittany Coast of France. He believed that these three brothers are the original ancestors of all the Rains/Raines who exist in the USA today. They first settled in Caroline Co. Virginia where many of them still live. Some of the family moved to what is today Randolph County North Carolina. However, connecting them and their descendants together has turned out to be an extensive undertaking. Congressman Raines died in the 1980s, with no children, and we have not yet been able to locate his original research records.
My research log records Rains/Raines family migrations from Europe to Virginia, to the Carolinas (Randolph County) to Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas. State and County Court houses provided vital records of births, marriages, deaths, probate or wills, deeds of property transactions and cemetery burials. The US Census records yielded information that I could not find anywhere else, and at the same time created a frustrating situation for me because nicknames often were recorded, rather than the legal name. The National Archives in Washington D.C. has million of records of people who had dealings with the federal government, including censuses, mortality schedules, land records, the Revolutionary War, pension records, the French and Indian Wars, claims for Bounty lands (given to soldiers who had fought in American wars before World War I), and military service records.
The saying that Randolph County helped populate the west might be provable if someone could trace the descendants of people who left the county in the early part of the nineteenth century. The immigrations began after the Revolutionary War. I am convinced that our family was part of these.
Biography and history records have revealed some interesting facts about several people named Rains. To learn of some of the Raines’ accomplishments has been interesting to say the least. Just one example is the two brothers, Colonel George W. & Gabriel Rains, who invented and manufactured the land mine for the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
Robert Rains, born in North Carolina in 1789-91, married Martha in Tennessee. He enlisted in the 24th Regiment in Tennessee in 1812 for a term of five years but was wounded in the battle of Ft. Mackinac. I have 43 handwritten pages of Robert’s war records, including his medical discharge for a wound in the ankle and the warrant, which gave him the rights to 160 acres of Bounty Land. Robert and Martha returned to Tennessee after his discharge. Six children were born to them: Joanna, James Hyslop, William, George, Margaret and Jacob, my great-grandfather. Sometime between 1828 and 1830, the family moved to Blount County Alabama. Robert took possession of the 40 acre blocks in 1832-1835. Upon his death in September 1845 in Marshall County Alabama, Martha and her family moved to Pontotoc County Mississippi. In 1853 she applied for and received a war widow’s pension in the amount of $3.50 per month. At this time I do not know the names of any of Robert’s brothers or sisters, or if he had any. It is believed that the some of his family stayed in Warren Co. Tennessee but has yet to be proven by research. A DNA test of some 15 Rains family lines is in process as of Sept 2003 to confirm this belief.
My search for the seven children of Robert and Martha started in Alabama, and then took me to Tupelo, Mississippi. Joanna, the oldest, married twice and remained in Alabama after her mother and siblings moved to Mississippi. James H was the first to move to the new territory, leaving soon after his father died. He returned to Alabama within the year to help move his mother to Mississippi, became a wagon maker, lived in Pontotoc and later moved to Lee County. William married Margaret Pendgrass in Marshall County Alabama, George married an unknown woman, and Margaret married James Billingsley and resided in Pontotoc County. Jacob was born in East Tennessee in what was then the Indian Lands and married Martha Wester 11 July 1850 in Alabama. Their eleven children were Isaac, Missouri (about whom I have little information), John Thomas, James William, James LaFayette or “Fate,” Margaret, George Clinton or “Burt,” Woodard, Robert Ferdinand, Adeline and Elizabeth.
John Thomas Raines was my grandfather. His first marriage was to Molly Carroll, who died in 1881, about eight weeks after the birth of Sally, their first child. John Thomas later married Ellen Bond December 2nd, in 1886. They resided in Pontotoc and Union Counties in Mississippi most of his life. In the census records of 1900 and 1910, he is listed as a farm manager living just south of New Albany. He, his family and possibly three of his brothers – Bob, Fate and Woodard – lived on Cane Creek Hill on Highway 15 South. His daughter Sally lived next door, and was married to Fate Parrish. In addition to working as a farm manager, John Thomas also owned land, and bred and broke horses for trade.
John Thomas and Ellen Bond had eight children: William “Bill,” whose decendants live in Holly Springs, Mississippi; Mary L. who never married; Lillie B. who married B.F. Scott and whose decendants live in Union County; Carrie, who never married and died in her early 20s; Pauline who married Elbert Springer, and, after his death, Adolph Milam; Dovie, who married Earl Rowland; and Jack Taylor who was my father. John Thomas was buried about 1911 in the town Cemetery at New Albany,MS.
Jack Taylor married my mother, Minnie Gertrude Stanton April 1925 in Union County Mississippi. They had six children: Arnold Hugh, myslf, (Dorman,) Dorothy Ellen, Betty Jo, Durl Wayne and Mary Ann. Jack last lived in Bethlehem Community So west of Potts Camp,Marshall Co. Mississippi until his death on May 14,1995. MinniewasmovedtoanursinghomeinSouthhavenMSafterafallthatbrokeher leg in Oct 1995 she lived there until Nov.30 1996 she died of heart failure. John Thomas’ next-oldest brother was Fate, who homesteaded in Blue Springs, Mississippi. He farmed and bred livestock for sale, and was known as a superior horse trainer. Many of his decendants still live in Union County today. In 1983, I spent an afternoon with Sherrif Jolly during a visit to the area. Mr. Jolly, an older Brother of Alfred E. Jolly, described the activities and work of Fate and his sons with respect to their training of horses. Later in life Fate and his wife, Jennie Howe, moved to New Albany, Mississippi. George Clinton, or “Burt”, was married to Amanda “Mandy” Nix. They had six children. He was a farmer and lived in LaFayette County in Etta, Mississippi.
Woodard had three wives and nine children. His third wife, Katie Fuller, and he lived in Martintown and Ingomar Communities, South of New Albany MS where many of the decendants of their seven children lived. Some still live there in 1997. The oldest son Clifford and Lena Swords moved to the Delta near Marks Mississippi, 15 children were born of this marriage..Those who lived in Ingomar are the children of Hunter Raines 1. Marion Helen Smith, 2. William Neely “Gid” Raines (deceased), 3. John Michael (deceased), 4. David Raines.
Bob “Ferdinand” had two wives. He and Cassie C. Nix married about 1892, resided in Pontotoc County and had four children. He married his second wife, Mary Moore Gregory, in 1915. They had four children and lived in Springville, Mississippi.
Adeline or “Addie,” married Marion Hall. Five children were born of this marriage. Although they are buried in Lee County, we do not know if that was always their place of residence.
The youngest child, Elizbeth “Lizzie” married Will A. Hall of Bailytown.South of New Albany MS They lived in this village for thirty years. Seven children were born of this marriage before they moved to Wallerville where they lived another thirty years
These are but a few of the thousands of details found in my search for the Raines family history. Anyone with any information on any branch of the Raines family can call me at 520-567-3671 (call collect if you need to!) or write to me at 814 South Peach Lane, Camp Verde, Arizona 86322-9081.