Mr. Rawlings was born in Yorkshire, England, May 31, 1830, and came with his parents and their family to America in the fall of 1840, when a little over ten years of age. He remembers that they shipped from Liverpool to New York City, and were on the ocean six weeks. From the metropolis they proceeded to Albany, then to Buffalo, and from there by lake to Cleveland, Ohio. From that point they journeyed on to Cincinnati, thence to Cairo, Ill., thence to St. Louis, Mo., and from there up the Mississippi, finally arriving at Naples, Ill., whence they proceeded to Jacksonville, in this county. It is hardly necessary to say that this later town presented a wide contrast to its present condition.
The father of our subject, upon his arrival in this county purchased 560 acres of land, where he put up a house and commenced the cultivation of the soil. He lived there until his death.
William Rawlings, the father of our subject, was likewise a native of Yorkshire, England, and was born about 1780. The wife and mother, Mrs. Mary (Wilson) Rawlings, was born and reared not far from the childhood home of her husband, and passed away some twelve years after his demise. Of their ten children the record is as follows: William was born Aug. 22, 1821, and died nine days later; James was born Aug 12, 1822; Henry was born March 6, 1825, and died Sept. 26, 1873; William W. was born Sept. 22, 1827, and died Nov. 12 1857; Edward was born May 31, 1830; Charles, April 8, 1833; Lydia, Dec. 5, 1811; Mary, Feb. 10, 1814, and died Nov. 18, 1869; Rachel was born Sept 2, 1816; Anna, May 23, 1819, and died in April,, 1884. Charles married Miss Delaney, of this county, and died in Arkansas in 1880; his widow resides in Chapin, this State. Lydia married Vincent Richardson, of Yorkshire, England, and is now deceased; her husband and family live west of Jacksonville. Mary married Peter Richardson, of Yorkshire and both are deceased; Rachel married Richard Ambrough, of England, and who is farming in this county; they have one child - Sarah.
Our subject was first married Nov. 5, 1852, in this county, to Miss Sarah Ann Smith, a native of Yorkshire, and who died Sept. 26, 1881, without children. On the 10th of May, 1882, he contracted a second matrimonial alliance, with Miss Sarah Jane Simms, and to them were born four children, one of whom, Richard, died when seven months old. The survivors are Sarah A., Edward and William W. Mr. Rawlings commenced in life by working on a farm by the year, and after a few years purchased a team of horses and operated on land rented of his father - 160 acres - for which he paid $100 per year, and after the death of the mother he inherited this land from the estate. He then purchased forty acres of land, and the year following an additional forty acres. In a few more years he bought 110 acres, and thus kept adding to his real estate. He brought the whole to a good state of cultivation, and erected comfortable buildings. In addition to general agriculture he raises cattle, keeping usually about sixty head; has a goodly number of horses, and also sheep and swine. He is in all respects a forcible illustration of the results of energy and perseverance, and is one of those men who form the bone and sinew of the farming community.
Politically, Mr. Rawlings is a sound Republican. Both he and his wife belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which Mr. R. has held the various offices and to which he has contributed a cheerful and liberal support. He has made many warm friends during his long residence in this county, and is looked upon as one of the old landmarks - one whose name will be held in remembrance long after he has been gathered to his fathers.