Miles Rainwater, the second son of Bartholomew Rainwater and Nancy McLaughlin, was born on 7 April 1836 in Pulaski County, Kentucky. He grew up on the family farm in Faubush with his ten siblings.
In August 1861, he enlisted with the 1st Kentucky Volunteer Army to serve the Union in the Civil War. His younger brother Josiah enlisted four months later. Miles served as a 2nd sergeant in Company C, until his medical discharge in 1863.
After leaving the army, Miles moved to Mound City, Kansas. Miles’ sister, Polly, had apparently moved to Kansas with relatives in the late 1850s, and married Alfred Holbrook in 1859. It may have been the presence of family that informed Miles’ choice of destination.
Once in Kansas, Miles apparently re-enlisted in the Army, serving as a 1st Lieutenant and later Captain of Company E (colored), 1st Battalion of the Irregular Kansas State Militia.
It was in Kansas that Miles also met Cornelia Ellen Sawyer, whom he married in 1865. Two years later, the couple’s first daughter, Mary, was born. When the 1870 census was taken, the couple lived in Linn County, Kansas. Miles occupation was listed as "runs grocery weight".
In 1875, the Rainwater family moved to California, and then three years later, to Linn County, Oregon, where Alfred Holbrook, now a widower, also lived. Here Miles and Cornelia’s second daughter, Josephine, was born in 1883. Miles took up his father’s profession, working as a schoolteacher.
In 1896, the family returned to California, taking residence in Upland, San Bernardino County. Daughter Mary died some time prior to 1898, but exactly when is not clear. Josephine died in 1908. Neither appears to have married.
Miles Rainwater died two days before Christmas in 1914 at the family home on North Laurel & 9th Streets. Cornelia Sawyer Rainwater died on 6 March 1922. Both are buried in Bellview Cemetery in Ontario, California.
The Rainwater Home in Oregon, ca 1896
The Rainwater Home in Upland, CA, ca 1906
Miles Rainwater’s 1898 Civil War pension application
Miles Rainwater’s 1912 Civil War pension application
Cornelia E. Rainwater’s 1914 Civil War widow’s pension application
The photographs were offered for sale on Ebay in May 2002, and are now in the collection of Susan Chance-Rainwater and R. Steven Rainwater.
© 2018 Susan Chance-Rainwater
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