Benjamin Franklin Rainwater was born in Tennessee ca 1840 to Matthew Rainwater and Mahala Snapp. Between 1846 and 1848, the family relocated to Johnson Co., Illinois, where they are found in the 1850 census. A decade later, he is listed in the 1860 census, working as a farm laborer in the Little Spring, Madison Co., Arkansas home of his future in-law’s, John B. and Nancy A. Wood.
Benjamin Rainwater married Amanda Adeline Wood on 21 August 1862, but the couple did not start a family until after the close of the Civil War. Whether he served in the war is a complicated question. Amanda Rainwater filed for a Civil War widow’s pension in 1917, citing her husband’s service in Company A, Brook’s Regiment, Fagen’s Brigade from Washington Co., AR. The response of the pension authorities was that no such regiment could be found in the Confederate records and the application was denied.1
Benjamin Franklin Rainwater made his post-Civil War home in Washington Co., Arkansas, where the family is found in both the 1870 and 1880 census records. Like most of that era, Benjamin supported his family with farming. The couple’s nine children followed: Charles Franklin, 1866; Margaret Catherine, 1867; Hosea Milton, 1870; Ann Eliza, ca 1873; Ida Jane, ca 1875; Harvey A., 1877; Alice J., 1880; and twins, Mary Sophronia and Sarah Caldona, 1882.
Benjamin died in 1882 and is buried in Prairie View Cemetery in Washington Co., Arkansas. The following year, Amanda Rainwater moved her family to Bomarton, Baylor Co., Texas. She died in 1821, and several of her children, is buried in Bomarton Catholic Cemetery.
Photo and biographical information supplied by Marcia Schutza
1 Based on the information Amanda supplied, this can only be 2nd Brigade, 34th Arkansas Infantry, Company A, under Gen. James F. Fagan, and under the immediate command of Col. W. H. Brooks. However, B. F. Rainwater is not carried on the roster of Company A, or any of the other companies of the 34th. Three other Rainwaters did serve in the 34th, and this may have been the source of Amanda’s confusion.
© 2018 Susan Chance-Rainwater
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