Saturday, May 27, 2017

Lord Dunmore's "Little" War and the Roberts Family

Where the tip of Virginia meets Tennessee on the Clinch River is where John Roberts and his family were killed by the Native American Logan.

I have been considering having an ancestor, collateral though John Roberts was, being killed along with his family on September 24, 1774 by a man who has descended into history as a sympathetic historical figure. It's Shawnee/Mingo chief John Logan I mean. In my previous blog, HERE, I couldn't bring myself to discuss Logan, so only inserted a link to his Wikipedia page. Actions have consequences.  If some whites hadn't killed Logan's family, the John Roberts family would have lived longer.

It appears that John's brothers, William Roberts (our 5th great-grandfather), Henry and David, volunteered shortly after John Roberts' family was slain to fight the Indians in what became known as Lord Dunmore's War. HERE  
John Murray, 4th Lord Dunmore, last Colonial Governor of Virginia Colony, by Joshua Reynolds

They served alongside Daniel Boone in Captain Looney's company for 49 days. The culmination of the Virginia militias and hundreds of frontiersmen from the back country banding together to attempt to put an end to Native American depredations on land the colonists wanted to settle was the Battle of Point Pleasant. HERE This battle  has been called the most extensive and bitterly contested Indian battle in American history, with far-reaching results. At the time it occurred, it aroused world-wide interest; English, French and German newspapers published extensive articles descriptive of the battle. Some call it the actual opening battle of the American Revolution.

The Roberts brothers didn't make it to the battle, but were assigned to patrol the frontier. Their listed names, William, David and Henry, grouped together, are on the Fincastle, Virginia, militia list under Captain David Looney (sometimes as "Robertson," sometimes corrected to "Roberts") indicating they were paid for serving 49 days in the autumn of 1774 (which would explain why William Roberts waited until the following spring to settle his brother's estate in Fincastle County). It appears these men remained in the Clinch River area (near their homes) to build forts. Their families had taken shelter at Looney's Fort, on the present site of the Blountsville, Tennessee, Central High School, a few miles beneath the western tip of the Virginia state line.  Originally seven additional militia forts were to be constructed in 1774.  

"Capt. William Russell was to command four of the forts on the Lower Clinch River and Capt. Daniel Smith was to command three forts on the Upper Clinch River. These forts were to be erected by the local militia men supervised by Colonel William Christian who had been sent out to the frontier by Col. William Preston who was commanding officer of the Fincastle County Militia. The forts were generally named for the landowners where they were located and/or the military commanders. Many of them had multiple names as landowners and commanders changed." Most of these forts were erected in what is now Russell County, Virginia, so they weren't so very close to those few settlers in what became northeast Tennessee.

Present-day Russell County, Virginia

Present Sullivan County, Tennessee (Hawkins County to the left), the Roberts families having settled on the county lines.

Now I must tell you that in doing this latest research, I discovered that another William Roberts served with the Fincastle County militia, and he had a brother Cornelius (c.1746-1788), who also served, and was later killed and scalped by the Cherokee while hunting ginseng in the Black Mountains of Russell County, Virginia. (Ginseng was used for medicine - still hunted, it's now an endangered plant due to over-harvesting). In looking up this other Roberts family on, someone has listed a John Roberts, born in 1771, as this William's son (with no further information).  Is this our 4th great-grandfather and not the John Roberts a researcher claimed was born in 1784? The 1771 date is correct and the father's name is William (1740-1776), married Elizabeth Walling (1748-1847). But this family appears to have settled in what is now the Elk Creek section of Grayson County, Virginia, not Sullivan or Hawkins County (in what became Tennessee). Hawkins County was written in John Roberts' death information as the place he was born to William Roberts.  
Present-day Grayson County, Virginia

Those are the only hints, nothing about the young John Roberts' marriage or moving to Pulaski County, Kentucky, as our 4th great-grandfather did. Perhaps, though, they were all related to some degree. This goes to show how difficult it can be to separate out our ancestors with common names, especially when so many records have been destroyed in "burned" counties (by incidental fires and those set by the British during the American Revolution and by Federal troops during the American Civil War.

Monday, May 15, 2017

John Roberts (1771-1857) - His Doomed Hawkins County Family

Milla (Millie) Roberts Rainey was born c.1808 in Kentucky and died of complications from a stroke ("struck with thunder") not long after 1880 in Monroe Township, Pike County, Indiana. She married James Rainey (born 1814 - died before 1870 in Monroe Township, Pike County, Indiana) in Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1832.  See their life story HERE  

Millie appears to have had brothers John, Isaac, James, and sisters Sarah and Lucinda. Her father was John Roberts, our 4th-great-grandfather, born c.1771 in what was then Fincastle County in south-western Virginia.  He died in Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1857, age 86, his name appearing on the Pulaski County death lists for that year. Under the column "Name of Parents or Owner of Slave" is the name William Roberts (our 5th great-grandfather). And in the column "Place of Birth" is "Hawkins Co. Tenn," an important clue in my research because the surname Roberts was common, even in colonial America. If being born in Hawkins County, Tennessee, and Fincastle County, Virginia, seems a contradiction, bear with me.

In the 1850 Pulaski County census, John Roberts was the correct age, but the census taker listed his place of birth as Georgia.  By age 79 John probably lacked most of his teeth and mumbled - or the census taker was sloppy. 1850 was the first time a wife's name was listed and John's wife's Christian name was Jane, age 73 (our 4th great-grandmother). She was listed as born in Georgia, too.  Did I have the wrong elderly Roberts couple? I didn't think so. They lived in Division 3, near the Norfleets, whose daughter Elizabeth had married son Isaac Roberts (both dead by the 1850 census.); just past the Norfleet farm lived Millie and James Rainey and their growing family, soon to journey north to Indiana.  I found John Roberts, his unnamed wife and children in Pulaski County from the 1810 census through the 1850 census. He must have already been in his thirties when he settled there.

The key to tracing the Roberts ancestors appeared to lie in Hawkins County, Tennessee.  But there was no Hawkins County when John Roberts was born in 1771 near the headwaters of the Holston River and a place called Salt Licks, that later became Kingsport. It was a staging ground for settlers coming through the Cumberland Gap and was claimed by Botetout County, Virginia, if claimed at all. 
Daniel Boone escorting settlers through the Cumberland Gap

The following year, 1772, the area came under the jurisdiction of newly-created Fincastle County, Virginia, stretching all the way to the Mississippi River. Fincastle County was abolished in 1776 and divided into three new counties, which included Washington County, named for General George Washington in an act of faith so early in our fight for independence. Where the Roberts families lived became contested territory between Virginia and North Carolina.

Present-day Washington County, so much smaller than its original
And then this part of Washington County became part of Sullivan County, North Carolina in 1779. From 1784 to 1788  Sullivan County was part of the extra-legal State of Franklin. Don't ask, further discussion will only confuse us all.

State of Franklin super-imposed over present-day Tennessee
Sullivan County in pink in the State of Franklin
Present-day Sullivan County, Tennessee, nearly, but not quite, the size of the original.
Hawkins County, established in 1787, when John Roberts was 16, appears to have been formed from the former Spencer County, State of Franklin, but it's possible the Reedy Creek area (we will soon read of)  was on the original Sullivan-Spencer County line. I believed John Roberts must have continued to live in Hawkins County after its formation in 1787 and during his early marriage until he moved his family to Kentucky, some thirteen to fifteen years later, else how could his widow have kept those name changes straight?

Present-day Hawkins County, Tennessee

I want to share two stories I discovered on  John Robert's father William Roberts (our 5th great-grandfather) had three brothers, John, Henry and David Roberts. All four brothers were rearing young families in 1774 on or near Reedy Creek in the future Hawkins County.

The following is from Emory L. Hamilton's unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, pages 11-15 [quoting John Anderson's account of the 1774 massacre that is in the Draper manuscript. Draper's oral history collection was the source for my blog on our ancestress Jane Stephenson's captivity and her father's killing in 1792 HERE .
The following events occurred earlier and farther south]:

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After leaving Ft. Blackmore, Logan [Read about the Cayuga tribal member Logan and his motivation for revenge HERE], and his followers traveled through Big Moccasin Gap to the neighborhood of King's Mill on Reedy Creek, in Sullivan Co., TN, near the present Kingsport. Here they attacked the home of John Roberts [our John Robert's uncle], on Saturday, September 24, 1774, the day after their attack on Blackmore's Fort.  John Roberts, his wife [Sarah Smithson Roberts], and [four] children were killed and scalped, except the eldest child, James [our John Robert's cousin], a boy of ten years of age, who was carried into captivity and later exchanged. 
Alleged remains of the massacred Roberts' family cabin

An older and different view of the Roberts' cabin
The massacre of the Roberts family is best told in a manuscript (1) left by John Anderson, a relative [by marriage] of the Roberts, and a near neighbor. He states: The author of the underwritten remarks, John Anderson, (2) was born in Cecil County, state of Maryland, 19th of February, 1765. While he was young his parents emigrated to this part of the country where he now lives to this day in Sullivan County, Tennessee [John Anderson died in 1850]. Him [sic] and his parents arrived in this country in the fall of 1773, when there was but few settlers here, at that day, of what might be termed a wilderness. Valleys that now appear dry and unpleasant was then closed with verdue [sic] and beasts, both wild and tame, might be seen browsing on the berries and leaves in those wild extensive valleys. We lived in peace and happiness for some better than one year when the Shawnee Indians, that then lived on the north side of the Ohio paid us a very unpleasant visit.

It was on the 16th of October, 1774, (3) that my father and his family was awakened by a neighbor man in the night who informed us that John Roberts and his family, that did not live far distant, was murdered by the Indians, and it was thought there was a vast quantity of these near about us. The neighbors thought it best for all the families near to go to the top of a high ridge, not far distant from us, where they knew was a deep sink hole on said ridge. (4). Accordingly, there was about six families did repair to the aforesaid sink hole on [the] ridge, and the author of these remarks was one among the rest, and as soon as day made its appearance, a number of men went well armed to the house of the aforesaid John Roberts, (5) and to their extreme sorrow they found him, his wife, and four children killed and scalped; one of which was tomahawked and scalped and not yet dead, but died in a few days. 

The oldest son [James Roberts] of the said Roberts, the Indians took prisoner. He was about ten years old. That same year there was a treaty (6) held with the Indians and the prisoners they had taken. They gave him up and he got home to his friends. The author of these remarks often heard the said boy say, after he got back, that he would like to take an Indian scalp, as they had taken his father's and mother's, sister's and brother's, but am apt to think he never put his desires into execution.

The day after said Roberts and family were buried, all the neighbors near where the murder was committed, went to building forts. My father and all of us went to Looney's Fort, (7) and there continued for a considerable time. My father and his family and a Mr. William Neal that lived near us, agreed to move back home. The same night after we came home, we heard there was an Indian seen not far from where we lived. The next morning us and neighbor William started and went to a fort called King's Fort, very near where the said Roberts was killed. There we continued for some weeks. The fort was very strong and well stockaded and strong gates, but the Indians did us no other harm at that time, only kept us from our home. As we came here we heard of them committing depredations on the settlement of Clinch, that lay thirty or forty miles north of us. After being confined in forts for a number of weeks we returned home and there lived in peace for upwards of one year.

Major Arthur Campbell, in a letter to Col. William Preston, written on Thursday, October 3, 1774, (8) makes this statement:

The boy that was scalped is dead. He was an extraordinary example of patience and resolution to his last, frequently lamenting to his last, [that] he was not able to fight enough to save his mammy.

Major Campbell is here referring to the Roberts boy that John Anderson says was found the morning after the massacre, tomahawked and scalped, but still alive, and who soon died. A letter written by Colonel William Christian to Colonel William Preston, dated November 8, 1774, definitely ties the Mingo Chief John Logan, as the leader of the Roberts massacre. He says:

Last Friday was two weeks ago (October 21), Logan, a famous chief went home with a little boy, a son of Roberts on Holston, and two of Blackmore's Negroes. He said he had taken them on the frontier next (to) the Cherokee country, and had killed, I think, either five or seven people. The boy and the Negroes will soon be in. (9)

Captain William Russell writing on November 12, 1774, from Fort Blair, at Point Pleasant, (where his company had been left after the close of the Point Pleasant campaign), to Colonel William Preston, states: When I took water at Hochocking to come down, two white men and a captive Negro of Blackmore's, with a horse for each man, set out to come by land. They might have been here two days past, but at present there is not the least account of them. I much fear the Indians have killed them, or as the Governor (Dunmore) has a parcel of prisoners taken at Hill Town from the Mingoes, I fear they will try to get as many of our people, to redeem theirs, rather than give hostages, especially if they intend to be troublesome hereafter. (10)
At a court held for Fincastle County, March 7, 1775, is entered this order: On the motion of William Roberts [William Roberts our 5th great-grandfather] who having made oath according to Certificate for obtaining Letters of Administration of the estate of John Roberts, deceased, he having with securitys entered into and acknowledged their bond according to law. (11)
(1) Mss in possession of Miss Grace Denny of Bristol, who is a descendant of John Anderson.
(2) John was the son of William Anderson, (born 1736, died Sullivan Co., TN, October 23, 1789, and Jane (nee Bion), (born March 12, 1744, died Sullivan Co., TN, August 22, 1819). His parents were married in April, 1762, in Cecil Co., MD, where their second son, John, was born as Mss states, February 19, 1765. He died in Sullivan Co., TN, November 17, 1850. John Anderson married Rachael Roberts (1175-1831)
[our John Robert's sister]. She was the daughter of William (1732-1816) and Isabella (Graham) Roberts, (1744-1833) [our 5th great-grandparents]. William was a brother of John, Henry, and David Roberts.
(3) Anderson is mistaken here. The Roberts massacre occurred on September 24, 1774. See Draper Mss, letter of Lt. William Cocke, 25 September 1774, Mss 3 QQ 103.
(4) This sinkhole is on what is designed Mill Ridge, TVA Map 197 - SW Indian Springs, TN-VA, will show the sinkhole very clearly. Mill Ridge is located immediately north of Holly Spring Church at the intersection of the Bloomingdale Road with U. S. 11-W near Kingsport, at Silvacola. (Courtesy of Gordon Aronhime, Bristol, VA).
(5) George Christian, Livingston, TN, 25 September 1853, says: "John Roberts who was murdered had two brothers Henry and William. (Draper Mss 15 DD 39).
(6) The treaty signed at the end of Dunmore's War.
(7) This was the residence of Moses Looney on the Island Road, about one and one half miles due south of the mouth of Boozy Creek (North Fork of Reedy Creek) and approximately where the source of Fall Creek touches the Island Road. See Fincastle Co. Court Order Book for 6th January 1773. Courtesy Gordon Aronhime, Bristol, VA.
(8) Draper Mss 3 QQ 111
(9) Thwaites and Kelloggs, Dunmore's War, page 305, and Calendar of Virginia State Papers.
(10) Thwaites and Kellogg, Dunmore's War, page 309
(11) Fincastle Co., VA Court Orders
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Except for my ellipses and highlights, the above was Emory Hamilton's writing. He wasn't finished relating John Anderson's story.
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The Killing of David Roberts and wounding of Henry Roberts [our John Robert's other uncles] in 1778, from the unpublished manuscript, Indian Atrocities Along the Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers, pages 57-59 [The other Roberts brothers allegedly lived just across the county line from Gate City, near where John Roberts was killed, in Sullivan County, Tennessee.]

John Anderson of Sullivan Co., TN, in his unpublished manuscript tells of this attack in this manner: 

In the year 1778, the Indians from the north side of the Ohio paid us another visit. Some of our very near neighbors in the summer of that year 1778, on a certain morning about daybreak, a Mr. Henry Roberts (1) and his family was attacked by a small number of Indians. They attempted to break in the house by force. He, being a brave, resolute man, and an old soldier of great experience, fought like a hero, and prevented them from getting into the house. During the contest, which was perhaps upwards of an hour, he had a small axe in his house and aimed to strike one of the Indians out of a window, the handle of the axe being short, he could not reach him. During the shuffle another Indian, from the corner of the house shot the said Roberts in the neck and he fell backwards in the floor, and he, having two daughters, young women, when they saw him fall broke out of the house and ran through the cornfield that was near the said house, and when they had run through the said field several times, one of the girls the Indians caught. The other ran back to the house and came in and by that time the old man had got up, but bled considerable. The shot he got did not appear to injure him much.

The said Roberts had a mill not far distant from his house. He concluded to take his wife and the balance of his family that he had left, and go get into the mill. He accordingly did. During the time he was in the mill with his family several people came to the mill. Among others there was an old man, Mr. McNeal came, and two girls with him. The said Roberts informed them to push off with all speed for there was Indians there. They went off as fast as they could. The Indians saw them and pursued them upwards of two miles and overtook them, and killed the old man McNeal, (2) but the girls got safe home. Among many others that went to the mill that morning (was) a certain old Mr. McMilian, (3) that lived within half a mile of the author of these remarks. The Indians took him prisoner, and the young woman above mentioned (Henry Roberts' daughter) and conveyed them home to the Shawnee Towns. The said Mr. McMilian continued to live with the Indians for a space of five years, during which time he experienced many hardships. The young woman taken never returned. She died in that savage country. She was to have been married a few days after she was taken prisoner, but was most grievously disappointed in all her expectations.

Said Roberts had a brother that was coming to his house that morning and the Indians killed him near the house.

In the above paragraph John Anderson does not so state, but the brother was David Roberts, and an uncle of John Anderson [by marriage], the author of the manuscript relating the attack on the Roberts family.

The will of David Roberts is recorded in Washington Co., VA, Will Book 1, page 17, and was probated February 16, 1779. In this will he leaves his estate to his daughter Sarah Roberts. His executors were his brothers, William [our 5th great-grandfather] and Henry Roberts. On March 16, 1779, Susanna Roberts, widow of David Roberts, deceased, renounces the will and claims her right of dower.

(1) Henry Roberts was a brother of the John Roberts, who, along with all his family was killed nearby in 1774, as were [meaning they were brothers, not killed] William and David Roberts, and Rachael, a sister, who was the mother of John Anderson, the writer of the manuscript. [And here Emory Hamilton is wrong, because John Anderson stated above that he himself married Rachael Roberts.]

Draper Mss 15 DD 39, and Washington Co., VA Will Book 1, page 17.
(2) The "old man McNeal" who was killed was Archibald McNeal. The Court of Washington Co., VA, on 19 November, 1778, ordered Joseph Kingead (Kincaid), James Brigham, and Benjamin and John Looney to appraise the estate of Archibald McNeal, deceased. Inventory and appraisal of the estate recorded June 16, 1779.
(3) Probably William McMillian who owned 400 acres of land on Beaver Creek, where he settled in 1773, and who had a wife named Mary.
NOTE: John Anderson does not give the name of Henry Roberts' daughter who was carried away and never returned, nor the names of the two girls who accompanied McNeal to the mill who were chased, but escaped from the Indians.

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Thus ends the account of David Roberts' and his niece's deaths. But then I ran into a crimp in my genealogy research, making me doubt these pioneers were our relatives. Someone on gave the names and dates of William Roberts' children, listing John Roberts (our 4th great-grandfather) as born in October, 1784, when in fact he was born in 1771 (based on his death information and all of those Pulaski County censuses.)  Did I have the wrong John Roberts and as a consequence the wrong William Roberts, so that tragic family history wasn't ours? Unable to discover the source of this birth information, I decided to discount it because his birth date of 1771 could have fit into the list of children. Besides, I had another hint that this was our family.

After the 1774 massacre, the boy James Roberts (1764 - 1829), who was captured by Indians, must have been reared by his uncle William because it was he who administered the boy's inheritance, filing papers at the county seat in Fincastle County, Virginia, a few days' journey away.  I discovered that James later settled in Pulaski County, Kentucky. It's likely he moved his young family up from Tennessee with other Roberts' family members, although not accompanied by his uncle William Roberts and aunt Isabella Graham Roberts (our 5th great-grandparents), whose graves are in Knox County, Tennessee. 
Knox County, Tennessee
William Roberts, born 1745 -  died 1816 in Knox County, Tennessee

Isabella Graham Roberts, born 1744 in Monmouth Co., New Jersey - died1833 in Knox County, Tennessee
James and our 4th great-grandfather John Roberts were on the Hawkins County tax rolls for 1799, and listed in the Pulaski County's 1810 censuses, James aged 45, John age 39, both with growing families.  They did not, however, settle close to each other. James was granted 200 acres on Wolf Creek in 1807. John lived on the other side of Somerset, the county seat, on  Buck Creek, the amount of his acreage unknown.  A William Roberts received a land grant of 200 acres on Buck Creek in 1800, and I believe he is John Roberts' brother, born 1782 in Sullivan County, Tennessee, died after 1837 in Texas, his wife Elizabeth Anderson outliving him. 

As for John Roberts' wife Jane Roberts, our 4th great-grandmother. What was her surname? John Anderson, the storyteller, married Rachael Roberts, our John Roberts' sister.  William Roberts, John Roberts' brother, married Elizabeth Anderson (born 1785), John Anderson's sister.  I thought perhaps our 4th great-grandmother was Jane Anderson, born about 1775, another sister, but I could find no proof of their marriage; and then discovered Jane Anderson was born in 1784 and died in Texas after a long life.  The only John Roberts, whose marriage was recorded in Tennessee at what would be an appropriate time was to a Jennie Patton in Jefferson County, Tennessee in 1797.  Jennie . . . Jane . . . I just don't know.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The James Rainey Family: Pulaski County, Kentucky to Indiana c.1851

A photo from a Facebook site called "Abandoned Pulaski County, Kentucky"

Family knowledge of the Raney family, without the help of, begins with James Rainey (b. 1814 - died between 1860 and 1870), who married Milla  (Millie) Roberts in May of 1832 in Pulaski County, Kentucky. They were our 3rd great-grandparents. We think James was born in Virginia, but when asked in censuses after his death, they gave conflicting answers, indicating he removed from Virginia to Kentucky early in his life and didn't recount stories of life in Virginia, or was a quiet man.

Our cousin Pat and our uncle Paul Raney drove to Pulaski County years ago and at the courthouse in Somerset located the marriage license for James Rainey and Milla Roberts, recorded 5 May 1832. That was before these ancestry sites digitized everything for the Internet.  Part of a page in a large tome reads, "James Rainey and Millie Roberts . . . consent of John Roberts . . . my daughter of age."  Someone typed up that large tome, and it's available online, but the handwritten entries aren't.  Millie might have been born in 1810. In some censuses she's listed as older than James; in others James is listed as older.

Pulaski County, Kentucky
 The 1850 census was the first to list the names of family members, a boon to genealogists.  In the Pulaski County census Absolom was born in 1835, James in 1838, Larkin in 1839.  Sarah is listed as the same age as Larkin, so was either his twin or born within a year. Cinthy Ann (Cordelia) was born in 1842; Everett (our great-great grandfather) in 1844; Serena in 1845; and Elizabeth in 1847.  They later had daughter Melvina in 1852, after they moved to Indiana. Absolom, James and Larkin are checked as having attended school, but not the other children. In doing research, I've observed that census takers can be inaccurate and downright sloppy. You'd think Millie would want to get as many children as she could out of the house and down the road, but southern communities were notorious for not providing schools and teachers to rural areas. It often depended on farmers themselves to build a schoolhouse, find a teacher, pay and board him. James himself was illiterate and must have seen no shame in it.  He's listed as a farmer with a real estate value of $200.00, so he owned his own land. In this 1850 census his place of birth is listed as Kentucky, but in the 1860 census in Pike County, Indiana, it's listed as Virginia. In later censuses various children thought his place of birth were those states, but also Tennessee and North Carolina.  Millie's place of birth was consistently listed as Kentucky.

James moved his family north to southern Indiana between the census being taken in 1850 and Melvina being born in Pike County in 1852. He most likely barged them, their possession and livestock down the Cumberland River to the Ohio River, perhaps across it into Illinois and then a short way overland along the river road into southern Indiana. Perhaps others emigrated with them. Extended families and neighbors were interdependent and safety lay in numbers. Travel wasn't as dangerous as  in earlier years when their parents moved from Virginia and eastern Kentucky to Pulaski County. The Indian threat was gone, but strangers met along the way weren't to be trusted.   And what would they find when they arrived? But they might have had connections with families who'd already resettled in Indiana. Others had earlier moved from Pulaski County to Indiana - our Turpin forebears for one. And a Turpin had married a Roberts in Pulaski, possibly Millie's aunt, and moved up to Indiana. Word may have come back of how fine a place it was.

What made James decide to pull up stakes? The eternal question that always involves land. Indiana was the place of new hopes in the 1830s, twenty years earlier. Perhaps James' Kentucky land was barely maintaining his large family.

Cumberland River flowing through Pulaski County into Tennessee and then up to the Ohio River.

The 1860 census of Pike County, Indiana, finds James (age 46) owning his own land, which he valued at $250.00 and his personal property at $300.00. Nearby established farms were valued at three and four times more.  Neither he, Milla (age 50), James [it reads Jason] (age 22), Cynthia (age 19) could read or write (or so the census taker ticked under that heading). Everett (age 17) could read and write. Serena, age 15 had attended school; but Elizabeth, age 11, and Melvina, age 8, are not checked off under "attended school." In this 1860 census Absolom, Larkin and Sarah were no longer residing at home. Sarah would have been about 21. Had she married and had her own household?

Pike County, Indiana

James Rainey doesn't appear in the 1870 census. Instead, Millie is shown as head of family, with son Everett Rainey, his wife Nancy Jane (Dougan), and his young family either living in a house on Millie's property or renting the next farm over. I can locate no grave-site for James.

The Civil War had a major effect on the development of Indiana. Before the war, the population was generally in the southern part of the state, many settlers having entered via the Ohio River, and then using it as a cheap and convenient means of exporting products and agriculture to New Orleans to be sold. The war closed the Mississippi River to traffic for nearly four years, forcing Indiana to find other means to export its produce. This caused a population shift north, relying more on the Great Lakes and the railroad for exports. Ohio River ports, stifled by an embargo on the Confederate South, never fully recovered economic prominence; consequently southern Indiana fell into a post-war economic decline.  

Oldest child Absalom married Mary Jane Riddle in 1853, reared a family, and died in Warrick County, Indiana, in 1907, age 72. In the 1860 census he is listed as a farmer, owning his own land, and has three sons, James, William and Warden. The name William may be connected to both the Rainey and Roberts forebears. Absolom enlisted in Company G, Indiana 59th Infantry Regiment on 11 Feb 1862, but mustered out five weeks later at St Louis, Missouri. He came home before Everett enlisted in August of 1862. In the 1880 census he listed four additional children.

Second son James Rainey is difficult to place, James being a common Rainey name, but a person on, who claims descent from him, shows him marrying in 1858 and moving to Covington, Kentucky, fathering 11 children and dying in 1888. He also claims he served in the Union army, but the paperwork I saw online indicates only that he registered for the draft. Here is a photograph of this James Rainey's son, Luther Rainey. Perhaps there is a family resemblance, although that's quite a long chin he has.
Luther Albert Rainey (born 1872, Harrison County, Kentucky - died 1916, Pike County, Missouri)

Larkin Rainey, born in 1839, married two sisters - 1858 to Eleanor Lance (1840-1863), with whom he had three children, and then to Martha Lance (1844-1880), with whom he had four children. In 1870 he appears to be farming land leased from his well-off father-in-law, for he lives next to him. In the 1900 census Larkin, then 64, is working as a "servant" on a farm owned by James Julian. You remember the Julians - Alice was married to our 3rd great-grandfather William Hill Dyson in Kentucky by our 4th great-grandfather, the Reverend Samuel Denton Julian, and the entire Julian family moved to southern Indiana. James Julian must have been Alice's nephew or great-nephew. Poor old Larkin, in the 1910 census he's 72 years old and an inmate at the Gibson County Farm, on which he works for wages.  Where were all his children, that he ended up destitute? Or was he so ornery or demented, no child would take him in.  He died in 1914 at 75 and probably was buried at the county farm, for I've found no grave-site.

As for Sarah Rainey, born in 1839 or 1840, I'm unable to find anything about her. She might have died before the 1860 census or married, her husband's name unknown.

Cynthy Ann Rainey, real name Cordelia Ann, born 1842, married in 1870 Robert Barrett, a widower with two children. He was a miller by trade then, but became a farmer. By 1880 they had four children of their own - Dora, Alonzo, Fines and Henry. In the 1900 census she's listed as having been a widow for 10 years, having had 10 births, but only four living children. She had her son Finis with her and a woman with a baby as boarders. She rented her home and claimed to have been born in Missouri - a census-taker error or some dementia on her part?  Either she died or she is the Cordelia Barrett, who by 1910 was an inmate at the Pike County Poor Farm, remaining there until her death in 1924. Probably buried there without a tombstone. 1910 and 1920 census information came from the institution's records. Her place of birth is again given as Missouri, and it states she has no children. She certainly appears abandoned.  The facility was closed in 1949 and is now the grounds of the high school. How did two members of James Rainey's family end up at poor farms? Did they live too long? Did they develop dementia? Without property or a veteran's pension or children who would or could take them in, they became charity cases.

Pike County Poor Farm about the time of its closing in 1948

Serena Susana Rainey, born in 1845, married Civil War veteran William H. Mason (42nd Indiana Infantry Regiment) on December 4, 1865, using the name Susana Rainey for the license, but the minister entered Serena on the certificate, perhaps because that's what he called her.  They had children James, Elmer, Effie, Willa, Rosa and George and lived in Lewis County, Kentucky.

Lewis County, Kentucky
William sought an invalid status veteran's pension in 1880.  Serena was widowed in 1895 and in that year applied for veteran's widow benefits. In 1898 she requested a certified copy of her marriage certificate, perhaps because her application was initially denied.

The 1900 census in Lewis County, Kentucky, states that she owns her farm.  She died of influenza in 1923. I posted her no-nonsense-looking photograph in Everett Rainey's story, part 5 HERE 

Serena Rainey Mason tombstone.
We've covered Everett Rainey's life (1844-1899), beginning HERE

Elizabeth Rainey (1848-1924) married about 1870 William W. Heath (1838-1892), a Civil War veteran, who served with the  42d Indiana Infantry Regiment from 1861 to 1865. They had children Henry Franklin "Frank", Mary, Charles and Lafayette. I can't find Elizabeth's grave-site, but she applied for a veteran's widow pension in 1892. They appear to have tried homesteading in Kansas after their marriage - two children born there - but returned to Pike County by the 1880 census. Elizabeth owned her own home in Pike County in 1910 and had a 7-year-old orphaned granddaughter, Oda Warner, living with her. She died in Posey County, Indiana, in December, 1924.
Posey County, Indiana
And that leaves the youngest daughter, Melvina Rainey (1852-1885), who married David Hanover (1856-1935). He was born in Alabama and could neither read nor write.  He was a farmer and they lived in Pike County, Indiana. It was with Melvina that their mother Millie Rainey was living when the 1880 census was taken. Millie, then 72,  was described in the census as "struck with thunder" and the box "maimed, crippled or bedridden" was ticked.  She'd most likely had a stroke. In that year Melvina also had 6-month old Elizabeth to care for -- and had only a few years left to live. 

Life was difficult and relatively short for most of this family, but Indiana must have been a peaceful and lovely place to reside.