Major Charles Cicero Rainwater

Major Charles Cicero Rainwater

Charles Cicero Rainwater was the eldest son of Moses Fowler Rainwater and Elizabeth Clay Olive, born 6 April 1838 in Ray County, Missouri. His father was a Methodist minister and country doctor.

In the late 1850s, Charles met Sarah Hannah Fowler. Born in Calvert County, Maryland, to Samuel and Mary Eastwood Fowler, she was educated at Boonville’s Tracy School and Payne College in Fayette. She was teaching school in Cole Camp when she met her future husband. The two married on 18 September 1858.

Charles’ father Moses later famously remarked to his daughter-in-law: ”I am not so sure that you and Charley haven’t committed a sin by getting married — because my mother was a Fowler.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Charles he enlisted in the secessionist Missouri State Guard as a second lieutenant of the Warsaw Guards. He subsequently served in the Confederate 5th Missouri Infantry as a captain and major. Rainwater was appointed ordnance officer on the staff of Gen. John S. Marmaduke1 in 1863. Wounded on three occasions, Rainwater’s third and most serious wound was sustained on 6 June 1864 at Ditch Bayou, Arkansas, and disabled him for further combat service. He served on Gen. Joe Shelby’s staff until the end of the war as an agent of a scheme to export Confederate cotton through Mexico.

In 1863, Rainwater sent his wife to live with her parents in Maryland, for her own safety. A year later, upon receiving work of her husband’s injuries, Sarah Fowler Rainwater undertook a harrowing journey from Maryland to Camden, Mississippi, to reach her wounded husband.

Following the close of the war, Rainwater co-founded the Rainwater-Bradford Hat Company (later the C. C. Rainwater Hat Company) in St. Louis. He was later the resident and manager of the St. Louis Times, was a member of the partnership which built Merchant’s Bridge over the Mississippi River, and was president of the St. Louis Street Cleaning Company. He was very active in fraternal, business, and Confederate veterans’ circles, and was founder of the Rainwater Rifles, a private militia2.

Charles Cicero Rainwater died on 10 November 1902 at his home in St. Louis and is buried in Belfontaine Cemetery. His wife Sarah died in 1937 and is buried with him.

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1 Rainwater later engaged in a contentious political campaign for mayor of St. Louis, which was opposed by John S. Marmaduke who was then Governor of Missouri. See the related articles below.

2 Organizations of this era characterized as “marching societies’ or “private militias,” were anti-reconstruction vigilante groups operating with the tacit approval of the local community.

This photograph comes from the Rainwater Researcher, Volume 1, Issue 1, September 1994. The newsletter does not indicate who owns it. The information for this biography is drawn from original research and from the biography at the Western Historical Manuscript Collection website of Charles Cicero and Sarah Fowler Rainwater. Moses Rainwater’s remark to his daughter-in-law was reported in Volume 2 Issue 3 of the Rainwater Researcher. While this comment has assisted genealogical researchers in tracing this line, it certainly rates as one of the most inappropriate comments one could make to one’s daughter-in-law.

© 2018 Susan Chance-Rainwater
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