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Caroline Bennett and William T. Rainwater of North Carolina

William T. Rainwater and family
Left to right: Caroline Bennett Rainwater, William T. Rainwater, unidentified daughter

William Thomas Rainwater was the son of Simon P. Rainwater and Mary Jane Smith, born 3 March 1840 in South Carolina. His parents lived in Bennettsville in the Marlboro District (or county), and he is found in their home in both the 1850 and 1860 censuses, with a large number of brothers and sisters. In 1861, William married Caroline Bennett in Cheraw, Chesterfield Co., South Carolina. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the South Carolina State Troops, and served with the 8th Regiment, Company C. In July 1863, he fought in the Battle of Gettysburg and was shot in the thigh during the engagement. Based on this service, William applied for a Confederate pension in 1908, and Caroline filed for a widow’s pension in 1910 following her husband’s death. Both pension applications were filed in North Carolina, where the couple had moved some time after the 1880 census.

William and Caroline were the parents of at least seven children: Rufus, who died at age 5, Kirby, born ca 1866, Jennie M., born ca 1870, Mary J., born ca 1873, Sarah E., born ca 1875, Henrietta, born ca 1878, and Roland W., born Dec 1879. It is not known which of the four daughters is pictured with Caroline and William in this photo.

Caroline Bennett was a member of the Pee-Dee and Cheraw Indian Tribes native to Chesterfield Co., South Carolina, and her descendants can make the legitimate claim of indian ancestry, although it is not from the Rainwater side.

This photograph was found in the back of the family Bible, owned first by William T. Rainwater and later by his son, Roland W. Rainwater.

Photo and biographic details supplied by Howard Rainwater