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, 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?