The Family Bible Records of Theophilus and Fanny Rawls

In 1999, when I began my genealogy “career”, I was most interested in finding my father’s g-g-grandfather, Theophilus Rawls.  BigBroBob somehow found an elderly woman in western Kentucky named Sara, a descendant of Theophilus and Fanny.  (Mrs. Sara is since deceased, so y’all don’t call her or look her up on FaceBook.)

Mrs. Sara, in turn, found Mrs. Ruby in west Tennessee.  I’ll have to do a little more research to see who Mrs. Ruby’s husband was, but for now, what we are most interested in is the fact that Mrs. Ruby had the family Bible of Theophilus and Fanny Rawls in her possession. 

Mrs. Sara was a genealogy researcher herself, and she talked to Mrs. Ruby on the phone, who then transcribed the family Bible and mailed it on to Mrs. Sara, who then mailed it to my BigBroBob, who then mailed it to me.  This was all in the late 1990’s, right before Y2K was supposed to happen.  I’m guessing that these two elderly ladies did not have access to the worries of Y2K, and simply used the telephone and mail system.  No doubt there were no home copiers available then to these ladies, because why would they need one?  How times have changed.   

I then submitted the info to a genealogy site for that little county where Theophilus and Fanny lived and died.

 Below the Bible record, I’ve transcribed Mrs. Sara’s letter.

Theophilus Rawls born Sept. 1804, died May 23, 1871
Fanny Holder born Sept. 13, 1808, died Oct. 29, 1894

Their children

William D. born Feb. 2, 1826, died Aug. 24, 1900
Isaah W. born Jan. 30, 1828, died June 27, 1908
Martha M. born June 5, 1830, died Oct. 24, 1899
Washington L. born Jan. 27, 1833, died Aug. 19, 1910
James born July 25, 1835, died Feb. 19, 1910
Esekel H. born March 11, 1838
Francis M. born April 5, 1840
Benton F. born Oct. 1, 1843, died Oct. 15, 1868
Thomas P. born May 16, 1845
Doctor Riley Jasper born June 14, 1848, died 1940

Theophilus and Fanny were Married June 3, 1825

(The deaths are not in Bible that are not put down.)

Submitted by Ruth Rawls


Page 2. I apologize. I’ve lost page 1. I possibly left it on a public copying machine somewhere.

1880 Census Weakley Co. Tenn.

Theophilus & Fannie had a daughter Martha A. Rawls.  b. 1830 NC m. 21 June 1869 John Myrick b. S.C. 1809. 

Their children:

Edwin S. b. 1858 TN probably by first wife since he was so much older than Martha A.

Albert B. b. 1871 TN

Joseph O. b. 1873 TN

David W. b. 1876 TN

Also in HH (household) was Marita J. Rawdon, niece single, living there.

This also confirmed by marriage license records of Weakley County.

You may also note that the Bible Record of Theophilus Rawls & Fannie Holder does not list a Mary as shown on the 1850 census.  She was probably just living there – a poor relative, orphan or servant.  I could find no other reference to her.

I think that I have done all the digging I can do with the resources I have.  Maybe this will help you expand your search.

I have really enjoyed finding my new family members.  I had thought I would never know for sure who Theophilus was.

Page 3. There might be a page 4, but I don’t think so.

 Mrs. Rawls said she remembered Doctor Riley Jasper Rawls (whose name really started the search for all this).  She said he was a tall, big man, not fat, just big.  My grandmother had a very tall brother, Thomas Jefferson Rawls.  I remember him.  And other descendants are tall as well, even the women.

Mrs. Rawls gave me permission to give you her name and address in case you might like to check something with her.  (My note:  I removed that from this letter.  Privacy issues and all that.  She didn’t give *ME* permission.)  I haven’t met her but she sounds very nice on the phone.  She mailed the Bible record.


(Then as a bit of a P.S.)  Stay in touch, I’ve enjoyed the letters and conversations.  And please straighten me out about Washington Lafayette Rawls and his family.  I may be reading your report wrong.  Did he really have twelve children?


Let’s talk about Doctor Jasper Riley Rawls.  He shows up on subsequent censuses using any of those three names.  He wasn’t a doctor of any sorts, but I’ve seen people referred to, in the old records, as “Doc” or “Dock”, like Dock Rhea on my mother’s side.  Apparently that search led to the discovery of the Bible record for Doctor Jasper Riley’s parents.

And yes, Washington Lafayette Rawls and his wife Martha Trent Rawls (God bless her) really did have 12 children.  See that photo that serves as my header?  That’s the family right there.  To Washington Lafayette’s right is that very sister, the only sister in that huge family of boys, that Mrs. Sara mentions.  Her name was also Martha, just like W.L.’s wife, and she married John Myrick.  I’m not descended from these folks, but my 2nd great grandfather is W.L.’s brother, Isaac.  I can’t find squat on him, which leads me to believe that he was neither famous nor a criminal.  Just wish I had a photo (quietly shouting this to the universe…)


I received this correspondence in 1999.  Mrs. Sara died the following year, I presume a bit more satisfied with her search for family.

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2 Responses to “The Family Bible Records of Theophilus and Fanny Rawls”

  1. John Rawls Says:

    Ruth, I believe I have an answer to “Mary”, listed in the 1850 census and not listed in the family Bible. Take a look at column 10 on the census (I can send you a copy of the page if I knew your email address). She and Isaac are marked as being married within the past year. I think she is Margaret Harriet Foster, your Great Great Grand Mother. John


    • ruthrawls Says:

      O. My.
      John, I have been worried about poor Mary Rawls, the “poor” relation, for 13 years. You can now knock me over with a feather. I’m on right now, and YOU ARE CORRECT. Isaac and Mary married in 1850. My stars and garters, I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.


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