Saturday, September 15, 2012

It's all in a name-Joshua Rainwater

Joshua Rainwater.  I've always loved his name.

I wish that we had named some of our children after our ancestors, but I wasn't doing family history then and at that time my ancestors were just names on a  pedigree chart kept by my grandmother.  Now they are real and I feel that I almost know many of them.  I have learned about them, thought about them and eagerly searched to find out more about them and in the process they truly feel like family .  Recently a grand-daughter was given the middle name of Olivia and I cried when our daughter told me that they had chosen that name.  To me it almost says, "Olivia made a difference, so emulate her strengths, honor her as you use her name."  I think that naming a child after an ancestor is just one more way to create a link with the past and to help children to feel connected to those that lived before.

Joshua's parents, Solomon Rainwater and Ruth (Felton), apparently gave some thought to the names they gave their children. In addition to naming their son Joshua, the names for their other children were also from the Bible and include Job, John, Delilah, Rebecca, Laodicea, Solomon, Rhoda, Abner, Rachel and Elisha.  Simply said, names mattered.  At that period of time, children were often named after family members, ancestors, political leaders, spiritual leaders or, as was the case for my Rainwaters, people in the Bible. I've read that the trend for 2012 is for children to once again be named "old fashioned" names after grandparents and other ancestors and I'm glad that that tradition is returning

While naming their children from the Bible implies that Solomon and Ruth had a certain familiarity with the Bible, to me it also implies that the Bible held value for them. But the names of Joshua's siblings are not the only indication that religion played a part in the Rainwater's life. The Rainwaters are often found among the rolls and lists kept by church congregations, a fact that appears to have continued down through the generations. Unfortunately, not everything recorded on the subject is of a completely positive nature.  In September 1999 on the Rainwater Rootsweb list, Kay Ohana shared a few entries from the minutes of The Yellow Creek Baptist Church in Hall County, Georgia.
December 15 1827  Rec'd by letter Joshua Rainwater
February 14 1831 Joshua Rainwaters gave satisfaction for drinking two much spirits
November 19 1831 granted Letters of Dismissions to Joshua and Polly Rainwaters.
  (To see her complete post, go here:  Partial Minutes from Yellow Creek Baptist Church)

On a positive note, this does show that they were members of a local congregation, although apparently they enjoyed their "spirits" a little too much.

Knowing that by 1840 Joshua and his family had moved to the Haralson/Carroll County area, I once again turned to "Haralson County, Georgia, A History," by Lois Owens Newman and found a church sketch and list of members for Bethany Baptist Church before 1851.  The list on pages 92 and 93 includes Abner Rainwater, John Rainwater, Mary Rainwater, Frances Rainwater, and Louisa Rainwater (Abner's wife),  Mariah  (Rainwater) Barnwell, Olivia Gaines (I believe this to be a transcription error and to actually be Olivia Ganus nee Rainwater).  Matilda Rainwater married Josiah Goggans and listed is a Josiah Goggans  along with a Mary Goggans, so I wonder if perhaps Matilda's name was incorrectly listed.  If so, this list would include all of Joshua's children.  Joshua is absent from the list, although wife, Mary (Polly) is included.  Because I  don't have access to the original list to view it myself, I do consider the possibility that Joshua was omitted in the transcribing process. The author indicated that the list is a compilation, with some actually joining after 1851 and some well into the 1860's.

Bethany Baptist Church, Haralson County, Georgia
Bethany Baptist Church
Haralson County, GA
Some remodeling has occurred,
but has remained in the same location
(used by permission)








 Religion played an important role in people's lives back then and the people that they associated with and interacted with were often members of the same congregation.  Further research shows that religion continued to play an important role for some of Joshua and Polly's children as well as grandchildren and that has continued down through the generations for many of their families.  I wonder if just maybe that was what Solomon and Ruth had hoped for when they chose their children's names?





Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rainwater Ford? --I wanna go there!


 Joshua Rainwater was my third great grandfather. Born the 13th of November 1791 in South Carolina, Joshua was the seventh child of eleven born to Solomon Rainwater and Ruth Felton. I have enjoyed learning about Joshua and have appreciated the fact that he has been a little easier to research than some ancestors. He apparently had some money and appears to have been at least a little more educated than some and that has made all the difference. I am going to take a couple of posts to share some of what I have learned about him.  While technically I should probably start at the beginning,  I've decided instead to share something fun about him, just because.

On page 222 in  "Haralson County, A History" by Lois Owens Newman I found an interesting write up about Joshua. Included in the article about him is the following information :
 "The Rainwater property, lot 157 lies along the Tallapoosa River and it is on this lot that the well known Rainwater Ford is located.  The Ford is still in use. (1990.)" 

I was able to locate a deed that confirmed that Land Lot 157 did indeed belong to Joshua. In 1832, he purchased Land Lot #157 in the 8th District from Abner Carter for $100.00.  Joshua's property consisted of 202 1/2 acres and was then located in Carroll County, but due to county line changes, that property is now in Haralson County.

What a fun discovery!  I was able to locate the Rainwater Ford on the following map on the University of Texas Libraries website, "Perry-Casteneda Library Map Collection"   found under "Georgia Historical Topographic Maps." (map in public domain)

Rainwater Ford
Rainwater Ford
Published by the U.S. Geological Survey 

This landmark still bears the Rainwater name today and I was able to find a satellite view of the ford on the following website:   Rainwater Ford (The location of the ford is marked by the pin.)

Sometimes my ancestors almost seem mythical, like they existed only as a story, so I love it when I can find something absolute that truly says, " I really lived and I was here."  It's so fun to have physical evidence of their existence.  In addition, I now have another place to add to my "What to see when I go to Georgia" list.



Sunday, September 9, 2012

It's Grandparent's Day!

It's Grandparents Day!   I know that my life has been deeply influenced by my grandparents , their choices and their beliefs in ways that they would never have imagined.  They were just simple folk that  lived their lives doing common every day things and yet their lives deeply impacted mine and others.

Recently on a trip to Colorado, we visited a small museum in Sanford, Colorado, where I was able to find pictures that I had not previously seen before of each of my grandfathers . If you ever take a trip to Southern Colorado, I highly recommend that you take time to visit this wonderful museum. Information about the museum can be found here:  Sanford, Colorado Museum.  I truly had not expected very much, knowing that it was housed in a very small location, but I was pleasantly surprised.  Not only were their displays wonderful, but they had volumes of pictures, books full of obituaries and newspaper articles and the lady that helped us was great.  I could have spent days in there and in fact my family began to worry that just maybe I would try.  I finally gave in though and we moved on, but I came away with some priceless pictures.
Heber Monroe Ganus
Unknown on left, Heber Monroe Ganus on right


Nephi Glen Hostetter
Nephi Glen Hostetter
My Grandpa Hostetter died when I was just two and so I have no memories of time with him. But my Grandma Hostetter and my mom made sure that I was able to "know" him by sharing stories about him.  Among many other things, I know that he had a sawmill much of his life and that he loved the song "You are my Sunshine."  My Grandpa Ganus died when I was six.  Because we lived in California and they lived in either Colorado or Oklahoma, I really don't have many memories of him either, but I do have one choice one.  Grandma and Grandpa Ganus had moved from Colorado to  Supulpa, Oklahoma  due to my grandpa's poor health and his need to live at a lower altitude.  I remember a trip that my family took to visit them when I was about 5. My parents decided to go out one evening and left me with Grandpa and Grandma Ganus.  That night was absolutely magical as Grandpa took me out in the back yard to catch fireflies in a jar.  I had never seen fireflies before and I remember feeling like they were magical little fairies.  I will never forget that night of fun with him.

Maud Leone McDaniel Hostetter
Maud Leone McDaniel Hostetter
Both of my grandmothers lived to see at least some of my children.  My Grandma Ganus died the day before  my third child was born, but my Grandma Hostetter lived to see them all.  Grandma Ganus had a good sense of humor and I remember that sometimes when I would visit her she would take me to a little hamburger stand outside of LaJara, Colorado and we would get hot dogs and have a good ole time.  My Grandma Hostetter loved to tell stories and I remember literally sitting at her knee and listening to her tell stories in a way that made them live.

Hazel Mickelsen Ganus
Hazel Mickelsen Ganus










I could go on and on about what I remember and what I've been told about my grandparents, but I will spare you that.  The longer I do genealogy, the more I am aware of the part that each generation plays in the next generation's life.