Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hell would be to rent out

William Alexander Lafayette Rawls was married to Eliza Matilda Graham, the sister of my great great grandmother Vashti Graham Wilson.

He was born February 4, 1840 in Tallahassee, Florida and died in Myakka, which was then in Manatee County Florida on January 10, 1907.

In between those 67 years he fought in the Florida Indian Wars, spent four years in the 7th Florida Regiment during the Civil War and then settled down in Manatee County, married Eliza and had nine children with her.

A few years before his death the Manatee River Journal ran a small article about him which ended with the statement in the title of this post. I don't remember how I found the article but thought is was a nice tribute.

I found this photo of him and Eliza in my great grandmother's papers.

October 18, 1903 Manatee River Journal

W.A.L. Rawls of Miakka is in some respects the most remarkable man in Manatee County, if not in the entire state.

He has been a citizen of this county as long, perhaps longer than any other man now living, coming from Leon County in the early '50's and settling first on the Manatee River, where he remained but a few years before removing to Miakka, then inhabited solely by wild bears and game.

Mr. Rawls has surrounded himself with the necessaries of life, raised a large family to man and womanhood, has never been spoken evil of by any one, and has never in all his life employed the professional services of a doctor or lawyer.

Although he possesses a fair education when we consider the opportunities of his day, he has not written a letter, business or otherwise, since he wrote home to his friends from the battlefields during the Civil War, in which he spent four years a brave and valiant soldier.

Some wag has said, "If all men were like Bill Rawls, Hell would be to rent out."

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