Biography - John Rawlings

JOHN RAWLINGS. It seems one of the compensations for the many hardships we suffer in this world that when the dark river has been crossed, the friends left on this side forget to a great extent the mistakes that have been made, and have only kindly, gracious things to say of one. This is as it should be, for human nature is at heart much better than we are often willingto give it credit for. Let us strew pansies for sweet thoughts over the mounds whose fullness leaves a void in many a saddened heart.

Our subject, who passed away from this life into the unknown but imagined brightness of the after world at his home, which is located on section 34. Pickaway Township, in 1888, was taken away while yet there was a golden yellow in the fall season, before the blasts of winter were chilling the homes and making life seem more desolate. At the time of his decease he had all but reached the three-score and ten generally allotted to man, being sixty-nine years and some months old. He was born in Maryland December 18, 1819. Although he was an American by birth and parentage, he was of Irish ancestry.

Our subject's father had died when his son was but two years old. He was the youngest of two sons and two daughters born to his parents. Carefully reared by his mother, he continued to live with her in his native State until he became of age, during which time he aided in the work of earning a livelihood. There he became of age and was soon after married to Miss Martha E. McMaster. Their marriage was celebrated May 15, 1851. The lady was a native of Maryland and born May 16, 1830. She was of American parents, although of Scotch-Irish ancestry.

After marriage our subject and his wife went to Ohio and there they lived for some years in Guernsey County, where a part of their children were born. In 1865 the family came to Shelby County, Ill., and our subject, who, by his industrious, thrifty ways, had accumulated for that time a comfortable amount, was enabled to purchase a farm of two hundred and eighty acres in Ridge Township, at which place he lived for some years. In 1882 Mr. Rawlings came to Pickaway Township and purchased one hundred and sixty acres on section 24, where he was living at the time of his death.

Our subject was a man with careful, industrious and prudent business faculties, in whom the acquisitive faculty was predominant. He was very successful in every undertaking and at the time of his death was the owner of six hundred and ninety-two acres of fine land in this county. Most of this, in fact all but eighty-five acres, which is timber land, was well improved. Thrifty and far-sighted, the investments that he made on first coming to the county were proved to be judicious and profitable, nor was he alone in his efforts, for his wife was such a woman as is described in Proverbs.

He of whom we write had been reared in the Quaker belief and throughout life rather held to that belief, but here, where there were so few of his sect, he united in worship of the Almighty with the members of the Presbyterian Church, of which he was a regular attendant. Mr. Rawlings was a Democrat in his political inclinations, although in accordance with his early religious training he left political strife to those who had taste for such an exciting, unsatifying career. Our subject's widow, who yet survives him, is an amiable and charming woman, who holds a prominent position in social life, by virtue of her high intellectual attainments and her suavity and gentleness of manner. She is now the owner of part of the homestead, including the fine brick residence in which she lives. At sixty years of age her vigor is unabated and the keenness of perception shows no diminution, she has a large circle of friends in this county, among whom she is regarded with tender and loving affection. She and her children are members of the Presbyterian Church.

Eight children have come to this beautiful home and have enjoyed the advantages of loving parental care. Two of these are deceased: Emma T., who died at the age of twenty-one years, and Mary T. passed away at four years of age. The living children are: Cecil J., who is an owner and operator of a farm in this township; he took to wife Amelia Robinson; Harry M., took to wife Catherine Weekly and resides on a farm of which they are the owners, in Ridge Township; William C. farms his own land in this township; his wife's maiden name was Ida Yencer; Robert F. owns and occupies one hundred and twenty acres of homestead and makes his home with his mother; Edward M. took to wife Effie Reed, of this township; they live upon the old home place in Ridge Township; Lizzie R. is at home and is the comfort and help of her mother.

Extracted 16 Feb 2019 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 619-620.

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