In the Beginning........
During the height of slavery, around 1855, a mulatto girl was born named Nicey, in Edgefield, SC. Much is not known about her formative years. She grew up and married a farmer named Jefferson Rochell. Together they had four children, Clary, John, James and Mollie.
Nicey was a midwife by trade and the last information that was known about her, was that by the 1920s, she was widowed and living with her son Jim, his wife Leila, and grandson I.P.
This branch of the family tree begins with Clara Rochell, Nicey and Jefferson's daughter:
The History of Ed and Clara Rainey
It is believed that Ed Rainey and Clara Rochell met and were married in McCormick, South Carolina. They later moved to Cross Hill, South Carolina where they leased farmland and began to be a self supporting family unit.
Ed was an outgoing, good natured, and very independent man. He worked hard as a farmer and was very successfuk in raising food, cotton, livestock and turkeys. Each year at Thanksgiving and Christmas, Ed would conduct a turkey shoot for family and friends.
Clara was a deeply religious young woman. She was a Baptist who had strong morals and strived to instill in her children pride, respect for God, and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Ed and Clara's means of transportation was a "Cot Carriage" or rickshaw. It is said that on Sundays, Ed would tie the horses tails in a neat bun and put a ribbon around them for decoration.
There were nine chidren born from the union of Ed and Clara Rainey, six boys and three girls.
Ed and Clara's first born son, Caples, nicknamed "Buddy", was a railroad worker. He married Lucinda, a domestic worker. They had two children, Lou Ella Rainey and Neil Rainey. It is believed that Caples moved to Petersburg, VA, then to Bridgeport, CT where he died and was buried.
Another son Timothy Rainey, never married nor had any children. Timothy was an army veteran of World War I. After serving his country, he joined the Railroad Bridge-Gang in Bridgeport, CT where he died.
Frank Rainey, like his father made a living at farming. He married Lizzie and became a sharecropper. They had two children, a daughter Annie Mae Rainey and a son Kalop, nicknamed "Tuddie." Frank died in Columbia, SC.
Ed and Clara's first daughter was named Cleo. From childhoold, she had impaired vision and was taught to sing, read and write at home by an educator. Even though she was left-handed by nature, her instructor promised her a prize if she would learn to write with her right hand, which she did. Cleo's first child was John Willie Rainey. She married Robert Atkins and they had five children. Edward Atkins, Carrie Bell Atkins Hunt, Coot Atkins, James Atkins, and Mary Atkins Simpkins. Sometimes during the 1940's, Cleo met and married Thomas Young. Later she moved from SC to High Point, NC and later to Hickory, NC, where she died. Cleo's final resting place is Cross Hill, SC.
Henry Rainey was also a sharecropper. He paid for voice lessons and he later became a choir director. He married Lucy Cureton and between them, they had eight children, Henry Jr.. William, Annie, Carolyn, Melvin, Maria, Anell and Nunnie. Henry is believed to have died in High Point, NC.
T.D. Rainey was a sharecropper in SC. He married Florie and they had eight children. Bunch, Helen, Johnny, Leo, June, Marjorie, Ella, and Virginia..
Ella Rainey married Jim Speaks and they lived all their lives in Cross Hill, SC. They were blessed with seven children Wash, Neil, James, Sarah, Bessie, Bertha, Sally, and and one adopted son, Marlon ("Marty"). She also raised three of her grandchildren.
Ella worked in the cotton flieds in addition to being a homemaker. She enjoyed sewing, cooking, fishing and gardening. One of her greatest loves was the flowers and plants she grew. Ella died on January 25, 1990, and she is buried in Cross Hill, SC.
Odessa Rainey, Ed and Clara's youngest child moved to HIgh Point, NC at an early age. She was married to Willie Craig and had one daughter, Odessa Craig Shaw. Odessa worked as a domestic and a short order cook on the "Colored Only" side of the Trailways Bus Station. Odessa was avid fan of baseball and wrestling. Odessa died in May 1970 and was buried in High Point, NC.
Orator: Louella Ballard, Odessa Shaw
Scribe: Brenda Ligon