Polly Rainwater Holbrook

Polly Rainwater and Alfred Holbrook

Mary Rainwater was born on 20 Dec 1837 to Bartholomew Rainwater and Nancy McLaughlin in Pulaski Co., KY. Known all of her life as Polly, she was one of a number of individuals who left Pulaski County in the late 1850s and early 1860s to resettle in Linn County, Kansas. Whether she traveled there with her brother, Miles, or with one of her Tarter or Weddle cousins is not known.

On 31 May 1859, Polly married a New Englander, Alfred Holbrook. The couple had three children, Lucy Isadore, Francis Marion and Nancy Belle, all born before 1863. Alfred enlisted in the Union Army in September 1865, and served until June 1865 with Company K, 12th Regiment of the Kansas Infantry.

Six months before Alfred returned home from the service, Polly died and was buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Bradley, Linn Co., KS. According to Mark Sanborn, the children are listed in the 1865 Kansas state census living in the James Osborn household in Mound City Township, Linn County. Local history books say the Osborns settled in Linn County in 1854 and their home was a local abolitionist meeting place.

Between 1865 and 1870, Alfred remarried. His second wife, Clara Cecelia Harris, was a widow with a young daughter, Cornelia. She and Alfred had one additional child, a daughter named Docia.

In the 1880s, all three of Alfred and Polly's children were married in Linn County. But between 1880 and 1900, Alfred moved west to Linn County, Oregon, where Polly's brother, Miles Rainwater, had also settled. He died in 1908, and Clara returned to Linn County, Kansas, where she died in 1910.

Additional artifacts:

Biographical information supplied by Kelly Jurgeson and J. C. Halbrooks. Additional biographical information and scans of the original photos provided by Mark Sanborn.