Roderick Alexander Rawlins
By Mrs. H. E. Rawlins
(Written in 1892)
Roderick Alexander Rawlins, who is prominently identified with the growth and prosperity of Dallas County, Texas, is a descendant of James Mason Rawlins, who was of pure English descent, and came with two brothers Charles and Roderick, from England to America some years prior to the Revolutionary War. James Mason Rawlings lived at the beginning of the War in Massachusetts, near Bunker Hill, with his family. They moved to North Carolina while the War was in progress. The wife of James Mason Rawlings was Miss Priscilla Blount. They had five children, viz: Charles, James, Roderick, Elizabeth and Nancy. He was an adherent of the King of England, and fought on that side, while his brothers espoused the cause of the colonies. He was captured and imprisoned at Raleigh. During this was his two brothers Charles and Roderick, dropped the "g" from their names, spelling it afterwards "RAWLINS". Subsequently the descendants of James Mason also discarded the same letter.
Roderick Rawlins, a son of James Mason Rawlins and the father of our subject, was born near Bunker Hill, Massachusetts, March 11, 1776, was reared by his mother until eight or nine years of age, when she died and Roderick was thrown to his own resources. He first engaged as a farm hand, and continued at this occupation until 1779, when he was married to Sarah King a member of the Van Remsslaer family. This occurred in Bedford County, Tennessee, on Duck River, where they lived about 10 years. Three children were born from this marriage in Bedford County, viz: William born March 19, 1800; James S. born 6, 1802; Angelina, born May 1, 1806 (who became the wife of Valentine Wampler, one of the pioneers of Dallas County, Texas). They moved to Kentucky where two children were born, viz: Asa born 1808 and Elizabeth born September 8, 1811. In 1811 Roderick Rawlins and his family moved to Indiana, settled on the East Fork of White River, in Lawrence County. Here his wife, whose name before was Sarah King, died in 1814. All of them are now dead (1892), but have left a large number of descendants.
Shortly after Roderick Rawlins moved to Indiana, he enlisted with a company of Rangers for protection against the Indians, and was thus engaged about two years; at the expiration of which time he was elected to the Legislature, a representative of Lawrence and Monroe Counties. At the end of this term as representative, he was elected County Clerk of Monroe County, and helped to lay out the county town, and gave it the name it bears now "Bloomington".
While serving as County Clerk of Monroe County, he donated part of his salary for the purpose of putting a town clock on the court house. The county being then and for some years afterwards out of funds, the matter was overlooked by the beneficiaries and it was not until some fifty years later that the request was resurrected, and the provisions carried into effect, at which time the amount including the interest legally accrued, constituted quite a handsome sum.
He was a natural mechanic at which trade he afterward worked in connection with farming. In 1823 he moved from Indiana to Illinois, and remained there until 1844, when he moved to Texas and settled on Ten Mile Creek in the southern part of Dallas County.
He sold part of his headright to A. Bledsoe, a native of Kentucky. There came with Roderick Rawlins to Dallas County, in 1844, his children with their families as follows: Nancy P. Taylor, Elucia C. Hall, Lucinda A. Keller, Talitha Wise, also his son 11 year old Roderick A. Jr. In 1864 his son William came with his family, and in 1848 Pleasant King came with his family.
Roderick Rawlins was an untiring worker in the Baptist Church, until the time of his second marriage, when he united with the Christian Church with which he remained until his death, which occurred April 27, 1848. In politics he was a Whig. In 1846 on the question of annexation, it is said that he and Alex. Harwood were the only ones in Dallas County who voted against it. Mr. Roderick Rawlins second marriage was to Milly Parks in 1816. She was born in North Carolina December 6, 1793, and was the daughter of George Parks a resident of Monroe County, Indiana. To this union were born eight children, two sons and six daughters who are named in the order of their birth as follows: Pleasant King born in Indiana September 1, 1817, and died in Dallas County Texas in 1889; Nancy P. born May 10, 1820 married to Pleasant Taylor, a resident of Dallas, Texas at the time of his death which occurred February 4, 1891, Mrs Taylor died also in 1891; Elusia Catherine, born in Indiana September 5, 1822 is the widow of Lucis Hall, and now resides in Montague County, Texas; Lucinda Ann born in Illinois January 1, 1825 and died in 1889, she was the wife of Samuel Keller (deceased) who was a resident of Dallas County; Polly Parks was born in Illinois October 5, 1826, and became the wife of M. N. Miller, a resident of Dallas County, both are now deceased; Talitha was born in Illinois September 18, 1826 and died in 1876, she was the wife of Carlos Wise of Dallas County, Texas; Hannah M. was born September 1, 1831, and died September 18, 1831; Roderick Alexander Rawlins, our subject, was born in Green County, Illinois, on January 20, 1833 where lived with his parents until 1844. From there he moved with them to Dallas County Texas, near the present town of Lancaster which place is located on his fathers headright, and there he continued to live until 1850, when housekeeping was broken up. The mother went to live with her daughter Mrs. Nancy P. Taylor, and Roderick worked on a farm, and engaged with his brother-in-law Samuel Keller, in running a saw mill. In 1853 Mr. Rawlins was married to Virginia Bledsoe, daughter of A. Bledsoe, who for several years was comptroller of the State of Texas.
Mrs. Rawlins was a school teacher, and taught the first school in the neighborhood her husband being one of the pupils. In 1855 Mr. Rawlins moved to his present home, where he has since resided with the exception of four years when he lived on his place near Hutchins.
In September 1861, he enlisted in the 6th Texas Cavalry, Company F, under Captain H. S. Guy, and went out as Orderly Sergeant. At the organization of the army in 1862, he was elected Captain, and held that position until the end of the war. At the time of Lee's surrender, he was home on furlough, on account of being wounded, but had gotten as far as Marshal, Texas on his way to rejoin the Army when he heard the news of surrender. He was in a number of principal engagements, was dismounted and went to Corinth, served in the infantry for six months, and was remounted again. He was with General Price in his second unsuccessful attempt to capture Corinth, and was afterward with Van Dorn in taking of Holly Springs. He was shot through the hip at the battle of Thompsons Station.
To Mr. and Mrs. Rawlins were born three children, one son and two daughters: A. Bledsoe, born February 8, 1855, was married in 1876 to Miss Virginia Fisher, a native of Dallas, County Texas. Adda Blanche, born May 25, 1859 and Bette Alexander, born November 3, 1861 the wife of Dr. C. A. Shultz, of Alcardo, Johnston County, Texas.
Mrs. Rawlins was killed in 1890, being thrown from a buggy. Mr. Rawlins is identified with the Christian Church, and in politics a Democrat.
(Erle Rawlins "my husband" is the son of A. Bledsoe Rawlins and we have three sons Roderick, Erle Jr., and Francis Marion.)