Finding Your Folks: Oops! Wrong Rawls family

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

Boy, did I make a bad blunder last week. I just flat out lied to you. Didn't mean to but I made a statement that just wasn't true. For a minute there, I seemed to have lost my genealogy savvy and didn't use the genealogy cop-out as I should have done … you know those lovely phrases that allow you to speculate like crazy without committing and showing your total ignorance. Things like … "may have been" … "said to be" … "more than likely" … "probably" … and "possibly." There are more, as you well know. We all use them constantly when we're not quite sure.

Well, I said that my Patience (Rawls Perry), mother of Olive Perry Dorman, may have been a Rawls (that part was okay) but I also said she was from the same Rawls family which came into Coweta. That was the lie. She absolutely was not.

After being overwhelmed with all that new information last week and flipping all over the Net trying to find connections and confirmations, I just made a mistake. My dear friend Valerie Freeman in California (whose husband is related to the Coweta Rawls family) sent me a file and brought me to my senses but it was too late. The bad deed was already done and the paper had gone to press. So, this week I'd like to correct the error and tell you a little about both Rawls families.

The Rawls family which came into Coweta very early (also seen as Ralls and Rahls) was said to be descended from one Johannes Ralls who landed in Charleston, S.C. in 1749. He later was known as John Ralls or John Rall.

My Patience's Rawls (or Rawles) family was in Nansemond County, Va. in the 1600s. Therefore, if the two are related, the connection would be back in Europe somewhere.

Johannes Ralls was said to have come from Germany but I'm not sure anyone has been able to prove it. His descendants settled first in the Lexington, S.C. area and many moved on into Georgia, Alabama and points west. Members of the Coweta County branch settled in the first district around Haralson and were very influential members of Mt. Pilgrim Lutheran Church.

Johannes' son, Jacob Rawls (Sr.), born abt. 1760, died about 1800, married Catharine Price in Lexington, S.C. and they had six known children: (1)Jacob Jr., (2)George, (3)Daniel, (4)Christian, (5)Frederic, and (6)Catharine. Both Jacob Sr. and Catharine Price Rawls died in South Carolina.

Of their children, (1)Jacob Rawls Jr. married three times, first to Elizabeth Gartman in Lexington, second to Sarah Corley, moved to Coweta County and third married Ruth Elmore. Elizabeth is buried in South Carolina and Sarah and Ruth are both buried at Mt. Pilgrim in Haralson. Jacob's children with Elizabeth, his first wife, were John, Mary, Samuel, Rebecca, Barbara, Daniel, Celia, William, Joseph, David and Jesse Cyrus Rawls. With Sarah, his second wife, Jacob had only one child, Thomas F. Rawls.

(2)George Rawls, brother of Jacob Jr., moved to Alabama and then to Leake Co., Miss., where he died in 1854; (4)Christian Rawls (male) married, had children and died in Noxubee Co., Miss, in 1865; and (5)Frederic died leaving property to be divided by his children in Lexington District, S.C. (6)Catherine remained in Lexington and married David Boozer. She died there in 1857. There is no information on child No. 3, Daniel Rawls.

Jacob Rawls (Jr.) moved to Coweta County about 1839 with his second wife, Sarah Corley, and some of his children. Sarah died in 1849 and was buried at Mt. Pilgrim Lutheran Church. Jacob married Ruth Elmore in 1850 and was in the 1850 Coweta census (household 190) in the neighborhood with four of the children who came to Georgia with him: Jesse, who married Martha Jane Bellah (household 179); Joseph, who married Nancy Ann Bernhard (household 175); Celia, who married the Rev. Elijah Elmore (household 185); and Mary, who married Jacob Addy (household 176). Barbara, who married the Rev. Levi Bedenbaugh, lived a distance away in household 474.

Descendants of these children married into families with familiar names to Coweta researchers … Bell (relatives of the Boyds of Fayette), Clower (prominent family of Pike County), North, Summer, Swygert, Herrin, Nixon and many other prominent families. The church founded by these families in Haralson, Mt. Pilgrim Lutheran, is still an active congregation today.

The Virginia Rawls family, that of my Patience Rawls Perry, appears to descend from a John Rawles, early land owner in Nansemond County, Va., and a William Rawls, most likely John's son.

Bobby Rawls of Texas, who has done exhaustive amounts of research on the early Rawls families, states on his Web site, " … William Rawles appears to have been the father or grandfather of William Rawles, Jr., John Rawles, Hardy Rawls, Luke Rawls, James Rawles & David Rawles. The Luke Rawls (whom I call “old Luke Rawls) appears to have been the father of Luke Rawls, Sr., Gabriel Rawls and Jesse Rawls."

My Patience Rawls Perry was said to have been the daughter of "Old" Luke Rawls. There is a deed in Nansemond County where William Rawls is the purchaser (thought to be Patience's brother) and James Perry (Patience's husband) is the witness. I have not had time to really dig into Patience's line but its credibility looks promising. Study of wills and deeds will tell the tale.

There are some excellent websites on both of these Rawls families. Just Google "Rawls" and the state they lived in and you will be flooded with choices.

Again, forgive me for last week's blunder. You will notice I went heavy on the "cop-out" phrases this week. I certainly wouldn't want to mislead anyone.

Family histories about your ancestors who lived on Atlanta's south side are always welcome. Send them to or Mail to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214. All letters and e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column

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