Contributed by Charlene Holland

Biographical & Historical Memoirs of Western Arkansas
The Southern Publishing Company, Chicago and Nashville, 1891.


      Capt. John Rawlings, senior member of Rawlings & Son, dealers in general merchandise at Waldron, Scott County, Ark., is a native of Illinois, born February 14, 1834, and the son of John and Malinda (Blair) Rawlings, the father a native of Chattanooga, Tenn., and the mother of Kentucky. John Rawlings passed his boyhood and youth on a farm, and was left an orphan at an early age. When but two years of age he went to Missouri and made his home with his grandmother until eighteen years of age, when he crossed the plains to the gold regions of California. He mined there for four years and met with fair success, after which he returned to the east and located at Waldron, Ark. He followed agricultural pursuits on rented land during the year 1858, and then entered a piece of Government land, 120 acres, which he immediately began to improve by erecting a house and barn, and clearing it of timber. Here he remained until the breaking out of the war. In 1861 he enlisted in the Confederate Army as lieutenant, but was soon promoted to captain, in which capacity he served until discharged, account of disability, in January, 1863. He was in the battles of Wilson Creek, Neosho, Elkhorn (or Pea Ridge), Corinth and Shiloh. At the last named place he was taken sick and sent home, where he remained for thirty days. He was then sent to command in the Western Department, and later sent home to organize a battalion; or, rather a company to form a battalion. He was now captain of Company I, Carroll's regiment of Cavalry, but on account of trouble with his eyes was discharged. The company that he formerly commanded was Company I of the Arkansas State Troops. At the time of his discharge he took his family and went to the southern part of the State, where he remained until cessation of hostilities. In 1866 he returned to his farm near Waldron. A detachment of the Federal troops had made his farm their headquarters and his house was pre served, otherwise the farm was laid waste, fences burned and fruit trees destroyed. He at once commenced to rebuild and improve his place. He was in poor health, owing to exposure in the army, and had a wife and five children to support. He cultivated the soil until 1877, when he entered into his present line of business at this place. This he has since continued. He at that time formed a copartnership with J. C. Bell, now of Fort Smith and at the end of a year he bought out his partner's interest. He then formed a partnership with Dr. James H. Smith, of Waldron, which existed about four years, when Mr. Rawlings again bought out his partner. He then took in his son. He began on a small scale, but his business has increased until he now carries a stock of goods valued at $7,000, and the annual sales amount to about $20,000. He has in all about 600 acres of land-the most of which lies near the city. He also owns quite an amount of town property, and deals considerably in real estate. His farm, which he rents, is well improved and one of the best in the township. Mr. Rawlings and his estimable wife are members of the Baptist Church, and he has filled the position of deacon in the same for some time. He is liberal in his support of all worthy enterprises, and is universally respected. His wife who was formerly Miss Nancy J. Smith, and whom he married in 1858, is the daughter of Dr. Smith, of this place. Eight children have been born to this union, five now living: Annie E. (wife of J.D. Benson, of this place.), Ida M. (widow of W.P. Evatt), Flood S., (who is in business with his father), John O. (attending school at Fayetteville, Ark.), and Charles F. (also at Fayetteville). When Mr. Rawlings first went into the army he was with the State troops, but after the battle of Oak Hill he raised a new company and entered McIntosh's regiment of cavalry. Here he remained until he received a furlough on account of ill health, as above stated. He was wounded in the shoulder at Pea Ridge, and this disables his right hand and arm to this day. He was a brave and fearless officer, and served the Confederacy faithfully and well.

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