Terrell Rainwater, 1846-1913

Terrell Rainwater, Jessie May Rainwater, Walter T., Jennie Lee, Ester Shoe Rainwater, and Ethel Frances (inset, deceased), ca 1900
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Terrell Rainwater was born in Pulaski Co., KY on 10 Feb 1846 to Miles Rainwater and Frances Chaney, the second of their 10 children. He lived in his parents' home through the 1860 census, and there is no evidence that he served in the Civil War. Rather, he appears to have left Pulaski Co. around that time, and made his home for a while in Appleton City, St. Clair Co., Missouri, where he married Esther Shoe, in 1879.

Terrell eventually landed in Sulpher Springs, Hopkins Co., Texas, where he established photographic studio. He married a woman named Ester and they were the parents of four children: Ethel Frances, Jessie Mae, Jennie Lee and Walter Terrell.1 Ethel died in 1899 and was buried in Sulphur Springs.

In his 1895 book, "A Souvenir of the Sulphur Springs Gazette", H. Bascom Thomas wrote: "(Terrell Rainwater) is the leading photographer of Sulphur Springs. He is located on the south side of the square. He is a native of Kentucky, in which state he became schooled in his art, and for many years he has followed the photography as his choice profession. His parlor is situated over the Weaver grocery store. The finest apparatus is used, and, in the quality of his work, we recognize no superior. He makes a specialty of life-size, crayon and pastel portraits."

Between 1900 and 1910, the family moved to south to Itasca, Hill Co., TX. Terrell Rainwater died in Mexia, Limestone Co., TX in November 1913. He is buried with daughter Ethel in Old City Cemetery, Sulpher Springs, TX. The Sulphur Springs Gazette reported that "An old time and highly esteemed former citizen of Sulphur Springs died at his home in Mexia on Monday night. He lived here for a number of years and was in the photographer's business. His remains were brought here and services were held at the Methodist church, Rev. J. B. Gober officiating."

Between 1910 and 1913, daughter Jennie married Robert Lee McDonald, and in 1920, they are found in Madison Co., TX, along with Jennie's widowed mother, Esther. The McDonalds had one child - a son named Felix.

Esther Rainwater died in 1941 in Trinity Co., Texas. According to her death certificate and the cemetery's records, she was buried in Old City Cemetery, Sulpher Springs, TX, with her husband and daughter, but the grave is unmarked.

Related Artifacts

1 A fifth child, Robert, is occasionally listed in this family. No documentary evidence supports this claim and family researchers in this line dispute Robert's existance.

The original photo that accompanied this profile was a photocopy supplied by Betty Rainwater Craig. Gary Jasper kindly contributed the current photo.