Cass County

Old Letters

Submitted by: Rich

This is some excerpts from a letter written by Vanessa Rainey Yarbro, daughter of Stephen Ridgley Rainey. It gives more of the family history than events at Cusetta. What it does give are names of others who came to this area from Georgia or as indicated.

I am not authority on our fore-fathers. Just some few things I recall being told. The Rainey family emigrated to Virginia from Wales. The name is a well known English name. There were 9 boys in that family that settled in Va. (no girls). I think they expected to become cotton growers, but soon found the weather too unfavorable, and became tobacco growers. ........These boys scattered to many states. Great Grandfather (do not know given name) moved to Ga. and more than one of them moved to Tennessee. I have talked to a few of their descendants. Some live here. They are given to reddish hair and lovers of music. Grand father (Thomas Fredrick) was an only son -- had four sisters. One aunt, Lou, married a Henry Daniel -- the other names I have forgotten. One family (Fords) I think came to Texas and
settled near Sulpher Springs -- 4 girls Papa said rare beauties. You probably know more of our family than I do. Grandfather married Miss Marie Collins -- a family of more than average means. Her father was Scotch-Irish. (I can't remember the name). Her mother was from a French family. Her name was Elizabeth. (I think). After her husband died she lived with papa's mother. I think that these were from Macon and Savannah.

Grandfather had 8 sons (one died while an infant) and 7 daughters. Papa was the oldest. Grandpa had slaves, 39 at one time. The Civil War freed them. Papa was very proud of his family. Aunt Eliaz Rogers and Aunt Ann McMichael were sisters of papa's mother (no boys). Grandmother Collins came to Texas with Mama and Papa, to live with the Rogers and the McMichaels, who had come earlier. She did not live long and was buried in Texas, and was buried at Floyd Hill. The grave is lost, rather one of the three unknown ones there.
There is no marker. Know less of mama. She lost her mother when she was nine days old and her father when she was nine years old. She was named Precious Jo Mannie Sanders or Saunders. She had an older brother John, who was an officer in the army of the Confederacy. (Leut. or Capt.) He was in charge of a bunch who cleaned up the battlefield at Bull Run. Two weeks after the battle was fought - (hot summer) - he got sick and died from this.

They lived only 60 miles from Bull Run and could hear the canons during the battle. Mother had another brother - Uncle Jim who visited us --- James Royl -- I think. There were some half brothers, I think. Mamma lived with Uncle Zack Saunders when she was tiny. There she sat by an old blind lady, Aunt Betty Seat, and was loved and taught by this lady. Aunt Betty was 109 when she died. She owned the land that Norfolk, Va. is built on, but no one took care of this for them, and I guess the Gov. finally took it over. Uncle Jimmie said they should have inherited this.

The Saunders family lived in Rocky Mt. N.C. area. I used to address the letter to two small towns Aventon & Ashland. John A. Saunders lived at the old house place. Mamma's mother's twin brother, Lee Smith, went to N.C. and got Mother after Uncle John's death, and took her to live with his family in Ga. Some of Uncle Lee Smith's family lived near Gladewater, and I visited with them one time (Columbus Smith's family). I talked with Cousin Mary Smith a lot, but remember very little. She told me that General Sterling Price - high ranking Con. gen., was a first cousin of Mother's. He saved Missouri for the south, and served two terms as Gov. of Missouri. Of course Mamma did not know very much of her family, and never went back to N.C. after she moved to Ga. ........

End of family info.

Vanessa moved back to Georgia soon after getting married - something about her husband's job, she was born in Cass Co. near Bryans Mill in 1885. This letter was written about six months before she passed away in May of 1972 at Naples, TX.

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