Everything happens for a reason …

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52ancestors-2015Good deeds … the 52 ancestors week 8 theme … is an easy one for me. When my grandpa would tell stories about his family, his grandfather, Thomas James Rains, would always enter the tale. There are many characters that intertwine in stories of the Rains family, so I will narrow in on one of the most important: Dr. James Lindsey … not even a Rains! He is, however, my 3rd great grandfather.

The Lindsey Family

James Lindsey was born on August 23, 1812 in Kentucky to Reverend Caleb Lindsey and Rebecca Rachel Green1)1850 US Census. James fell in the middle of a whole bunch of brothers and sisters. Around 1815, the Lindsey family moved to southern Illinois, settling in what is now Pomona. They were one of the early pioneers of this region.

Somewhere around 1836, James married Sarah Elizabeth Hagler. Together, they had 8 children. I descend from their daughter, Mary Catherine, born in 18562)Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947. James and Sarah were together until their deaths in 1880 … 44 years!

The Rains Family

My 3rd great grandfather, James Madison Rains was born in 1827 in Virginia3)1850 US Census. He married Francis Ann Moseley on February 26, 1847 in Tennessee4)Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002.

Marriage record for Madison Rains and Francis Moseley

Marriage record for Madison Rains and Francis Moseley

By 1850, Madison, Francis and two children had arrived in Union County, Illinois … just south of the Lindsey home5)1850 US Census. By 1864, six more children would arrive … four sons and two daughters. I descend from son number 4, Reverend Thomas Jefferson (TJ) Raines.

Are you confused yet? Hang in there …

In October of 1865, Madison died. My grandpa always said from pneumonia. In February of 1866, Francis died … from the same thing, presumably pneumonia. Their two oldest children were old enough to be on their own. However, four sons and two daughters essentially became orphans.

I don’t know where the two girls went to live, but I have caught up with them in their adult lives. I do know that James Lindsey – also a farmer – took in the four boys6)Lindsay, Isadore. 1936. Lindsay History. Retrieved from http://genealogytrails.com/ill/jackson/lindsey1.htm. TJ and his baby brother, Benjamin, remained with the Lindseys until adulthood. While I understand the benefits to having four young men to help with daily work that happened on farms, I’m still amazed at how willing James Lindsey seemed to take in these children. TJ was 7, old enough for chores, but Benj was barely 4 … nearly just another mouth to feed7)1870 US Census.

James Lindsey 1870 census

1870 US Census showing James Lindsey family

My grandpa made sure that I knew how James Lindsey became father to TJ … it’s a story I’ve heard so many times that I hear my grandpa’s voice when I think about it. I heard it again when my husband and I adopted our daughter. I’ve often wondered if my grandpa somehow knew what my life would bring.

It gets better …

I mentioned James Lindsey’s daughter, Mary Catherine … and Madison’s son, TJ … yep, they got married! I guess being raised together had a few added benefits!

TJ and Mary were married about 1877 8)1900 US Census and had nine children; only six children lived. Their son, Albert James, is my grandpa’s daddy … my great grandfather.

One of my grandpa’s favorite things to say was, “everything happens for a reason”. He lived long enough to have experienced this first hand many times over, and he told stories about each time. James Lindsey’s good deed of taking in the Rains boys after the death of their parents ultimately led to the unions that would later produce my grandpa … then, of course, me. 

References   [ + ]

1, 3, 5. 1850 US Census
2. Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947
4. Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002
6. Lindsay, Isadore. 1936. Lindsay History. Retrieved from http://genealogytrails.com/ill/jackson/lindsey1.htm
7. 1870 US Census
8. 1900 US Census

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