To the best of our knowledge, at 105½ years, Molly Rainwater Aderholt holds the record as the longest lived Rainwater. She is shown in this photo with her father, taken in 1918 at a family gathering in Bugscuffle, Texas.
Born on 28 April 1879 in Pulaski County, Kentucky to Elizabeth Jane Weddle and Josiah W. Rainwater, was one of nine children. Though she was officially named Mary, the name she answered to for most of her life was Molly.
When Molly was 11, the Rainwater family moved to Waterloo, Williamson County, Texas, where her father took up farming and ran a general store and post office. Just across the creek from the Rainwater farm was the property of Emanuel Aderholt, a Confederate Civil War veteran from Alabama. Though Josiah Rainwater and Emanual Aderholt are said to have never spoken to each other on account of their differing Civil War backgrounds, the fathers’ animosity did not prevent the children from socializing. Both Molly and her sister Lucy married Aderholt brothers.
Molly Rainwater and Charles A. Aderholt were married on 22 December 1898 in Taylor, Williamson County, Texas. The couple had five children, all daughters. Charles supported his family as a farmer and rancher. The Aderholt family were active members of the First Baptist Church of Taylor and the church presented Molly with a plaque on her 100th birthday, which now hangs in the entry of the church.
On the anniversary of her 102nd birthday, Molly gave an interview to the Taylor Press, entitled Old in Years, Young in Spirit.
Molly Aderholt will be 102 years old Tuesday, April 28.
She was born to J. W. (Joe) and Elizabeth Jane Rainwater in a little community in the woods of Kentucky while Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States, was involved in recalling Union troops in the south, bringing an end to the period of history known as the Reconstruction.
She remembers the long train ride to Texas with her family in 1890 when her father was lured to the blackland farming community of Waterloo, which he named for their home in Kentucky. He was the first postmaster there.
Arriving in Taylor in the middle of the night, they were met at the train station by Charlie Gossett. He and the nine-member family formed a sleepy parade up Main Street to the Gossett house, where they spent the rest of that night.
She enjoys telling of the halcyon days of her youth on the Texas prairie. Mainly that the people really knew how to enjoy life. “We had such a good time. People can’t know how to have that kind of fun anymore. Everything costs so much money now. We didn’t have any money and there wasn’t anyone who enjoyed life more than we did.”
She may have a point. When was the last time you took a picnic to the river and were enticed to make ice cream when a cow wandered by?
There were no fences in those days and cattle grazed up and down the river banks. If you were prepared and wily enough, you had the makings for the first “Good Humor” franchise.
And that’s exactly what they did on more than one occasion. One of the river picnics she recalls is the dedication of the Hoxie bridge.
Then there were the box supper socials. “Mamma always fixed the prettiest boxes. Mine sold for 75 cents one time,” she recalls. “The bidding would start at a quarter and the boys always tried to bid on the boxes prepared by their girlfriends.”
Euell Gibbons not withstanding, foraging was a common means of procuring food when she was a girl. She can still hear her mother say, “Put on your bonnet Molly, and we’ll go to the meadow to pick greens for a salad.”
Not all the memories are of the “Good Old Days.” One of her experiences on the San Gabriel was after she married when the flood of 1900 swept their house off its foundation.
She was married to Charles Aderholt in December of 1898. Their five daughters all grew up and went to school in Taylor; Irene Skinner of Electra, deceased, Ruth Guyton and Ruby Harrod of Houston, Bess Clark and Mary Adele Smith of Taylor.
They, along with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be in Taylor this weekend to celebrate the remarkable spirit of this beloved lady and the loving influence she has had on their lives.
100th birthday plaque
Photos and article from the collection of Susan Chance-Rainwater and R. Steven Rainwater. View a copy of the original article, from the 24 April 1981 edition of the Taylor Press.
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