Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Rainwater Ford-I DID go there.



Joshua Rainwater, Mary Peterson, Olivia Rainwater, Tallapoosa, Rainwater Ford
Rainwater Ford on the Tallapoosa



Back in 2012 I wrote about my desire to someday visit Rainwater Ford, a landmark located outside of Tallapoosa, Georgia.   

I became aware of the property when I bought the book by Lois Owens Newman, "Haralson County, A History."  On page 222, I read the following:


"The Rainwater property, lot 157 lies along the Tallapoosa River and it is on this lot that the well known Rainwater Ford is located." (1990) 

A little research confirmed that my third great grandfather, Joshua Rainwater, had owned the property. In 1832, for the sum of $100.00 Joshua purchased Land Lot #57 in the 8th District of Haralson from Abner Carter. At the time, it consisted of 202 1/2 acres and was located in Carroll County, but due to boundary changes, the property now lies in Haralson County. 


genealogy, research, a southern sleuth, ancestry, family, Georgia
Rainwater Ford
Published by the U. S. Geological Survey 

Joshua was born on the 13th of November 1791 in South Carolina. He was the seventh of eleven children born to Solomon Rainwater and Ruth Felton. On January 20th, 1814, at the age of 23, Joshua volunteered to serve in Captain Alexander Morehead's Company, Col. Nash's Regiment in the battle that would be known as the "War of 1812." He survived his time in the army and returned home to South Carolina. Joshua married, moved his family to Georgia and later, after the passing of his wife Mary, he moved with sons John and Abner to Texas. There he applied for a pension and thanks to that document, we are able to see his signature. 



Joshua died on the 15th of August 1878 and is buried in Rock House Cemetery in Hamilton County, Texas. 

Visiting the location of Rainwater Ford had long been on my bucket list. I was so excited when in the fall of 2019, my husband and I decided to take a trip to Georgia. I pulled out my list of "must-sees" and we planned our trip. 

By plugging the longitude and latitude for Rainwater Ford provided on GA HomeTownLocator  into Google maps, we were able to find the location of Rainwater Ford. The area was beautiful, the dense trees lining the rushing water of the Tallapoosa and we could clearly see where the water was more shallow. 

Standing there on the bridge that spanned the river, I tried to imagine a time when Joshua and Mary and their children lived there. I imagined their sons and daughters fishing in the river and playing in the trees lining the river. I imagined the children cooling off in the water during the hot summer months.  I also imagined their daughter Olivia's delight when as a married woman, her husband John Monroe Ganus bought property adjacent to Joshua's. 

I wondered how many people took advantage of the shallow crossing there to cross the Tallapoosa and if the ford ever benefitted Joshua financially. 

It was a beautiful spot and I was thrilled that not only were we able to find it, but that finally, I could really say, "Rainwater Ford--I DID go there!" 


Rainwater Ford on the Tallapoosa 

To learn more about Joshua Rainwater, see the previous blog posts:





Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2020, All rights reserved. 
  No use without permission 




Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Worshipping as Family, Neighbors and Friends, Tallapoosa Primitive Church

Tallapoosa Primitive Church, Carroll County, Carrollton, Georgia, Lee, Ganus
Inside the Tallapoosa Primitive Church
Carrollton, Georgia 

I could imagine them sitting there. Grandparents, parents and children--side by side, gathered together to sing and to worship. 

Peering in the windows of the Tallapoosa Primitive Baptist Church in Carrollton, Georgia, I felt that all over warm feeling of knowing that the Lee, Brock and Ganus families had once been there. 


My people, the people I've worked so hard to get to know on paper had worshipped in that church, walked those grounds, wept at the graves of their departed family members. It truly was hallowed ground. 



genealogy, ancestry, research, Ganus, Lee, Brock Walking through the cemetery, reading the names on the headstones of great aunts and uncles, I felt a new kind of connection to them.  Samuel and Rebecca (Ganus) Lee, Rebecca's sister, Marta Elizabeth Brock, and many others were laid to rest there. Seeing the many graves of ancestors, all in such close proximity underscored what I have always been taught, that the southerners stayed close to their family. Unlike today, where children, parents and grandparents often live many miles apart, years ago, many families chose to stay close as a means of help and support to each other. Certainly, this tendency was evident here. 



Tallapoosa Primitive Church and Cemetery
Carrollton, Georgia


Rebecca (Ganus) Lee
daughter of James Ganus and Elizabeth McCluskey
wife of Samuel Solomon Lee 

Martha (Ganus) Brock
daughter of James Ganus and Elizabeth McCluskey
wife of William C. Brock 


And although I didn't grow up living close to them, and didn't personally know their descendants, the need to be close is still there. But that closeness has come about in a different way. It has come as I've researched my ancestors, discovered and written their stories, and finally as I have visited and paid my respects to their final resting places. 


Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2020, All rights reserved. 
  No use without permission 



Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Rain, Wind and Fear of Snakes, Blooming Grove Cemetery


Blooming Grove Cemetery, Polk County, Georgia, Genealogy, Frances Rainwater, Frances Ayers, Frances Bailey, Robert A. Bailey
Blooming Grove Cemetery 

As we pulled up to the property, I felt the hair rise on the back of my neck. 

I do admit to a rather overactive imagination at times, but the setting was perfect for a scary movie. The sky was dark and ominous, the rain was coming down in a steady stream and there we sat way out in the country at a very old cemetery, which appeared to be basically abandoned. We debated whether we
really wanted to get out of the car or not.....and for many reasons. 

We really weren't dressed for that kind of rain and the cemetery obviously hadn't had much attention for some time. And then there was the issue of ....snakes. If you've read my blog for a while, you know about me and snakes.   

Phobically afraid of snakes, I had done my snake research prior to our trip to Georgia to see if the things I had heard were true and I had learned from "Venomous Snakes of Georgia" written by the GA Dept. of Natural Resources that Copperheads are found in wooded areas, "both wet and dry." In addition to that, I was cautioned by those who knew I planned to visit cemeteries that it had been a bad year for copperheads. Super. 



Bailey, Georgia, genealogy, research, ancestry,
Graves into the trees in Blooming Grove Cemetery 



But my desire to find Frances Rainwater Ayers Bailey's marker was incentive enough to get me out of the car. Daughter of Joshua and Polly (Peterson) Rainwater, I knew from a journal that she and her sister, Olivia, my second great grandmother, had been close and I was so glad to be able to "visit" her in some way.

As I looked around, I was intrigued by the numerous headstones covered with overgrowth, many tucked deep in the trees. I so badly wanted to explore them all but didn't dare. The rain and the fear of snakes prevented me from going too deep into the brush and I so kept praying that I would find Frances' marker out in the open. The whole experience was a little tense.....

And then there was the knocking.

Yes....knocking. Several times while we were there, I heard a knock---three knocks in a row to be exact. Looking around, I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. It sounded fairly close and it clearly was not a woodpecker. I know what they sound like. I walked around the abandoned church a couple of times to see if possibly someone had managed to get inside the old church and was trying to scare me away. (Yes, I've seen too many movies.) But it was boarded up with no obvious way to enter. 


Blooming Grove Church
Blooming Grove Church 

But what I did finally find was Frances Rainwater Ayers Bailey's marker. 

Obviously, it was not an old marker, and there were flowers there, so apparently, someone else had visited within the week. I wished I knew who. 


Frances Rainwater Ayers Bailey


The Ayers Family fenced area 

Frances' marker was in-between the Ayers' family fenced area and the church. Her first husband, Reuben Ayers had died in the Civil War, which was many years before Frances' approximate 1913 death date. 


Several years after Reuben's death, Frances married Robert Bailey. Although they lived next to Matilda in Haralson County right after Matilda lost her husband, the Baileys later moved to the Blooming Grove area and lived there for many years. It was a beautiful community known for its abundance of mineral springs. A newspaper article described it this way:
"Blooming Grove, about eight miles south of Cedartown, it is stated, is capable of being made a valuable resort for people in summer, several nice springs affording different varieties of water, fine scenery and pleasant surroundings generally being characteristics." (1)
As always, just standing there at Frances' humble little marker, I felt a warmth at seeing some physical evidence that she was real and I was so glad that I had braved the rain, wind and yes, even the fear of snakes that day to find Frances. 


Earlier I wrote a three-part series about Frances and those posts can be found here:

1. Cedartown Advertiser, 1878-1889, July 12, 1883, Image 3. Accessed on Georgia Historic Newspapers, Digital Library of Georgia. 


Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2020, All rights reserved. 
  No use without permission