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Rawlings to Rollins

I have been thinking about writing a chronology of my branch of the Rollins family for some time now. The problem is where does one start. Do we start with me and go back or do we start with the earliest person we have a record of and go forward? I think I will combine those two options. First I'll introduce myself, say a little bit about how I got started on this project and then go back to 1667 in Anne Arrundel County, Maryland to Virginia to Kentucky and finally to Scotland County, Missouri.
My name is James Stanley Rollins, the fourth child of eight children born of John Benjamin Rollins and Marie Irene Downing/Rollins. I live in Bettendorf, Iowa but was born in Kirksville, Missouri.
Both my parents were dead when I decided to find out who my ancestors were so I couldn't ask them for any information. I talked to my brother, Jack, and sister, Betty, and together we got as far back as our grandfather. Betty had already compiled all the vital information on our immediate family. This is when we decided to try the Internet. The wealth of information that is on the Internet is truly unbelievable. Jack actually found a cousin we didn't know we had while searching the net.
We want to give credit and thanks to Beverly R. Allan who, along with Margaret E. Smith, compiled and authored a manuscript entitled
"Stephen and Elizabeth (Tyler) Rawlings and Their Descendents".
Most of the information we have on the Rawlings line comes from their manuscript. I thank them and applaud their efforts.
Since Beverly and Margaret provided so much information, the biggest problem we had was determining who and when the spelling changed from Rawlings to Rollins. It happened about the same time the family moved from Kentucky to Missouri so, humorously, I thought they might have changed it to elude the Posse. They didn't. Another version is they changed it because there were so many Rawlings's that even the postal service was delivering mail to the wrong people etc. I think I like that explanation better, but I don't actually know for sure.

Now let's go back in time to Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

Straight line descendents are underlined.
Aaron Rawlings was born in 1667. He married Susannah Jones,
daughter of Dr. William Jones. I cannot prove who his parents are yet. It has been proven who they are not. This quote is from Beverly Allan's research. "If you ever come across a claim that Aaron was the son of Anthony Rawlings, son of Henry Rawlings who came to America in 1653 with his wife, sons Anthony and John, and servants, and settled in Maryland … please disregard. This is one of those claims that has been around for over 100 years and has been proven incorrect. I call it a myth as there is no record of any kind to give it credibility." She continues "I do have information that proves it wrong. It is still accepted and passed along as fact by some persons." I accept Beverly's research and will continue to search for Aaron's ancestors.
Aaron and Susannah amassed quite a lot of land in Anne Arundel County. A large portion of Aaron's land holdings was lost in a foreclosure by a William Hunt of London, England. Subsequently one of Aaron's sons, Jonathan, brought suit against William Hunt's foreclosure of the land in question after the other heirs of Aaron renounced their claims and agreed the property should go to Jonathan if he was successful in the suit. Jonathan finally won the suit but the final judgement did not come down until a short time after his death. It appears that Jonathan died the same year the judgement came down, 1784.
Aaron Rawlings died 06 Apr 1741. A photocopy of his last will and testament is in my files along with my translation because it is so hard to read. There were a lot of swirls and flourishes in the writings of that day. Aaron and Susannah's children were;
Aaron Rawlings Jr. b- ?? - d-c1757
Ann Rawlings b- ?? - d-1762
Moses Rawlings b- ?? - d-after 1741
William Rawlings b- ?? - d-after 1772
Daniel Rawlings b-1695 - d-after 1772
Jonathan Rawlings b-c1720 - d- 1784
Stephen Rawlings b-1721 - d-1783

Stephen Rawlings was born c1721 in Anne Arundel County and Married Elizabeth Tyler c1740 in Prince George's County, KY and moved to Frederick County, Virginia in 1747. He died in 1783 in Berkeley County, Virginia.
Stephen was a planter (farmer) by profession but he was also somewhat of a wheeler-dealer. He bought, sold and traded land in Virginia for a number of years. He was also in and out of court most of those years. On one of the court records Stephen's last name was spelled Rollings. Stephen Rawlings' Granddaughter, Elizabeth, who was a daughter of Edward, was born c1766 and married Miles Hart c1780. They had several children by June of 1790 when Indians attacked and killed Miles. Elizabeth and the children, including a son, Joseph, were taken captive. Joseph became separated and was rescued by his uncles, the Hart brothers. The Indians evidently killed the other children. The Indians took Elizabeth to their encampment in Detroit where she was held captive. En route to Detroit she gave birth to a baby who died about six months later. After several years of captivity Elizabeth was able to persuade a French trader to buy her and return her to her home in Kentucky. She went on to marry Peter Gunterman in 1797 and raised three children of that marriage. Elizabeth died in 1844 in Hardin County, Kentucky.
Most of Stephen and Elizabeth's children were born in Berkeley County, Virginia. They were …

Edward Rawlings b-c1745 -- d-1796
Stephen Rawlings II b-1749/1754 - d-1830
Aaron Rawlings b- ?? -- d-1827
Susannah Rawlings b-1742 -- d-1820
Mary Rawlings b- c1745
Pricilla Rawlings b- ?? -- d- after 1818
Elizabeth Rawlings b-1755 -- d-1824
Ruth Rawlings b- 1757 -- d-1814
female Rawlings (believed to be Sarah)

Aaron Rawlings was born in Berkeley County, Virginia and married to Nancy "Ann" ?? by 1780 probably in Berkeley County. He was living in Breckenridge County, Kentucky in 1800 and died there in 1827. During the American Revolution Aaron Rawlings, spelled Aron Raulings provided wheat for public use per a certificate dated Sep. 27, 1780. He apparently lived in Berkeley County until 1781 or 1782 when he moved to Nelson County, Kentucky. Sometime before 1800 he moved to Breckenridge County, Kentucky. All of his children except Elizabeth were born in Kentucky. Elizabeth was born in Virginia in Nov. 1780.
Aaron and Nancy's children were …

Elizabeth Rawlings b- 1780 -- d- 1840
Stephen Rawlings b- ?? -- d- 1853
Robert Rawlings b- 1783 -- d- 1845
Edward Rawlings b- 1788 -- d- 1837
Aaron Rawlings Jr. b- 1790/1794 - d- 1843

Aaron Rawlings Jr. was born about 1790 in Breckenridge County, Kentucky. He married Marinda Hardin, daughter of Daniel Hardin and Alice Jolly in 1819. Hardin County, Kentucky was so named for Daniel Hardin. Aaron and Marinda had three children, Stephen, Nancy, and Robert. It gets kind of fuzzy here because Aaron's next child, William, was born of his second wife, Sarah "Sally" ???. William and one sister, Sarah, were born close together, about 1828. They could have been twins, but I'm not sure of that. William died at a young age, 24, in 1852. Aaron and Sarah had six children altogether. I don't know what happened to Marinda. She may have died and Aaron remarried. Aaron's Three children by Marinda and six by Sarah were …

Stephen Wells Rawlings b- 1820 d- ??
Nancy Rawlings b- c1823 d- ??
Robert Rawlings b- c1825 d- ??
William Rawlings b- c1828 d- 1852
Sarah Rawlings b- c1828 d- ??
Elizabeth Rawlings b- c1830 d- ??
Aaron Rawlings b- c1834 d- ??
Davis C. Rawlings b- c1837 d- ??
Mary Francis Rawlings b- c1840 d- ??

Stephen Wells Rawlings was born in 1820 probably in Breckenridge County, Kentucky. He married Keturah Francis Knott (Kitty) on Oct. 26, 1850. Keturah was the daughter of Joseph P. Knott and Maria Irvine McElroy. Keturah's brother was James Proctor Knott. Knott County, Kentucky was so named for James Proctor Knott. He was also Governor of Kentucky from 1883 to 1887. He was prominent in Kentucky State politics as well as Missouri State politics.
Soon after Stephen and "Kitty" were married they moved to Missouri, settling near Memphis, Scotland County. Keturah's brother had just entered a law practice in Memphis in 1851, so both families were there at the same time. James P. went back to Kentucky in 1863 and continued his political career there. He died in Kentucky in 1911.
This is where it got a little fuzzy. My wife, Sue, and I are going to visit Scotland County, Missouri to research whatever records we can find to prove out the connection between my Grandfather and Stephen Wells Rawlings. In the meantime let's talk a little about the women's families who married these Rawlings men.
Well … Keturah Francis Knott and her brother, the Governor James Proctor Knott, were children of Joseph Percy Knott and Maria Irvine McElroy. Maria was a daughter of William Elder McElroy and Keturah Cleland. William Elder McElroy was a son of Samuel McElroy and Mary Irvine. Samuel was one of three brothers, (Hugh, Samuel and James) who married three Irvine sisters, (Esther, Mary and Margaret). The brothers married the three girls in southern Virginia where the girls lived at that time. The girls were the daughters of Rev. John Irvine so I suppose he could have presided over the ceremonies. All three families later moved to what is now Marion County, Kentucky and that was the beginning of The Kentucky McElroys.

We're back from our trip to Missouri. We discovered some interesting facts in Scotland and Adair Counties. The 1860 census of Scotland recorded Stephen and Keturah and four of their five children with their last names spelled "Rawlings". That was the last reference to the "Rawlings" spelling we could find. An obituary for Keturah Rollins death in 1901 indicates the spelling was changed sometime between 1860 and 1901. The 1860 census for Jefferson Township in Scotland County contains the following Rawlings'. Stephen W. age 40, Keturah H. age 35, William R. age 6, Joseph P. age 4, Ann E. age 3, Marian T. age 1. The H in Keturah H. appears to be a mistake. Marian T. is probably Minnie and Mattie wasn't born until 1861. The 1900 census contains an Edward W. Greever, born 1860, Mattie Greever born 1861, and Nina Greever, their daughter, born 1889. Keturah Rollins' obituary mentions William, Joseph, Minnie and Mattie as sons and daughters. Marriage records show Mattie Rollins married to Edward Greever on October 24, 1888. This record ndicates the name change happened before 1888. No record of Stephen has been found after the 1860 census. One entry in the Irvine Line (section 7) which was published in 1908 indicates he was "long since deceased" by that time. Keturah Rollins' obituary also confirms her brother was J. Proctor Knott of Kentucky. This should erase any doubts about the spelling change from Rawlings to Rollins.
Stephen and Keturah's children were;

William Robert Rollins b- Jan. 1, 1851 - d- Apr. 1, 1923
Joseph Proctor Rollins b- Nov. 8, 1855 - d- Sep. 25, 1949
Ann E. Rollins b- 1856 - d- ??
Minnie Francis Rollins b- Jul. 10, 1859 -- d- May 14, 1932
Mattie W. Rollins b- 1861 - d- ??

The Joseph Proctor Rollins, underlined above, is our Grandfather we mentioned at the beginning of the Chronology.
After we had established a possible link back to Stephen Wells Rawlings Jack remembered an incident when he was in the Air Force. In 1953, soon after he enlisted, he was assigned to Technical School in Amarillo, Texas. Dad asked him to look up his cousin, Wells Rollins,
while he was there. He did that but could not recall much of the visit. He decided to do a name search on the internet for anyone in Texas named Rollins. The name, Wells P. Rollins was discovered in Austin Texas with an address and telephone number. Jack was getting ready to leave on vacation so I was designated to try to contact him. I called the phone number two or three times but no one ever answered so I decided to write to the address listed. To my surprise I received a phone call from his son, Stephen Wells Rollins.
Stephen's father had died just several months before and since he was the oldest and lived closer to his father he was taking care of the estate. Stephen and I talked by phone and corresponded by e-mail and regular mail. We discovered Stephen's great grandfather was William Robert Rollins who was a brother of my grandfather, Joseph Proctor Rollins.
All of the information on William Robert and his descendents came from Stephen Wells Rollins of Texas. Stephen has two brothers who also live in Texas. All three are unmarried and have no children.

About this same point in time I subscribed to a newsletter called Rawlings/Rollins Family History Association. A woman from Pensacola, Florida wrote to me after seeing my name in the newsletter and said "I think we could be cousins". Her name is Marilyn Kay Walker and it turns out she is a great granddaughter of Minnie Francis Rollins who was a sister of my grandfather, Joseph Proctor Rollins. Marilyn also discovered another cousin in another branch of Minnie Francis Rollins' family who lives in Raleigh NC. Marilyn supplied me with all the information on Minnie Francis Rollins and her descendents and I certainly thank her for that.
Joseph Proctor Rollins was born in 1855 in Scotland County, Missouri. He married Martha Louise "Mattie" Walker October 29, 1890. Joseph was 35 and Mattie was 22 years of age. Joseph and Mattie were farmers and probably rented land in Scotland County before moving to Kirksville, Missouri. I believe all their six children were born in Scotland County. Joseph died in 1949. He was nearly 94 years old. Mattie died in 1923, the same year my mother and father were married, she was 55 years old. I remember very little about my grandfather. My father once told me that Grandpa ran into Jesse James, the famous bank robber, and several members of his gang while hauling a load of wood in a horse drawn wagon. Jesse supposedly said to him "do you live around here?" Grandpa, scared almost speechless, replied "yes" and Jesse and his gang just rode on their way. To where I don't know. Maybe to Corydon, Iowa where the James Gang robbed the Ocobock Brothers Bank in 1871. Corydon, Iowa is near Centerville and about one hundred miles from Scotland County, Missouri. Grandpa would have been sixteen years old at that time, so the story could be true.
Sometime after 1905 the family moved to Kirksville, Missouri in Adair County, about thirty miles to the southwest.
Children of Joseph and Mattie Rollins were ….
Lee Joseph Rollins b- Oct. 6, 1894 --- d- Aug. 27, 1979
Anna Rollins b- 1896 --- d- ??
Birdie Rollins b- 1898 --- d- 1980
John Benjamin Rollins b- Jan. 3, 1901 --- d- Jan. 21, 1963
Minnie Rollins b- 1903 --- d- ??
Louise Rollins b- 1905 --- d- ??
John Benjamin Rollins was born Jan. 3, 1901 in Scotland County, Missouri. He married Marie Irene Downing, daughter of Charles Thomas and Nancy Catherine Downing of Green City, Missouri Mar. 17, 1923 in Kirksville, Missouri. She was born Oct. 17, 1902. Marie's parents never gave her a middle name so she adopted Irene for her middle name. John served in the U.S.Navy before he married Marie. He worked for International Shoe Company for many years before he died of a heart attack in January, 1963. Marie was a stay at home mom. With eight kids to care for you can understand why, or maybe wonder why.
After John died Marie married Fred Zeigler, a retired farmer from Missouri. They moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1965 where she lived until her death in 1994. John was 62 when he died and Marie lived to be 92 years old.

Children of John and Marie Rollins are ….
Born ---- Died
Mary Louise Rollins Dec. 4, 1923 --
John Benjamin Rollins Jr. Aug. 14, 1926 --
Betty Lee Rollins Feb. 14, 1928 --
James Stanley Rollins Feb. 13, 1930 --
Robert Leroy Rollins Dec. 18, 1932 --
Jackie Lee Rollins Jan. 28, 1935 --
Paul Albert Rollins Oct. 13, 1939 --
David Eugene Rollins Oct. 28, 1941 --
All eight children of John and Marie Rollins are still living as of this date, December, 2000. Mary lives in Arizona with her husband, Jack. She has three children. John lives in Iowa and is widowed. He has two children. Betty lives in Arizona and is widowed. She has one child. James lives in Iowa with second wife, Sue. The mother of James's three children, Jacki, died in 1982. Robert lives in Arizona. He was never married. Jackie lives in Angeles City, Philippines with his wife Nenita. They have four children. Paul lives in Arizona with his wife, Mary. They have no children. David lives in Mass. He has two children .
As of this date descendents of John & Marie Rollins are ….
Children 8
Grandchildren 15
G Grandchildren 24
GG Grandchildren 14

END OF CHRONOLOGY, December, 2000.

Notes: Robert died September 22, 2002 in Tucson, Arizona.
David died February 3, 2005 in Boston, Mass.
John now lives in Arizona

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