Christiana Gowen b. 1746 m. John Rains, lived in Davidson Co, TN
Children born to Capt. John Rains and Christiana Gowen Rains are believed to include:
- William Rains born about 1769
- John Rains, Jr. born about 1770
- Martha “Patsy” Rains born about 1773
- Barbara Rains born about 1778
- Elizabeth Rains born about 1781
- Mary “Polly” Rains born about 1784
- Susannah Rains born about 1786
- Christiana Rains born January 20, 1787
- Nancy Rains born about 1791
- Sarah Rains born about 1793
- Jonathan Hance Rains born about 1796
FACTS and NOTES:
Christiana Gowen Rains and her Husband . . .
Capt. John Rains Challenged the Creek Indians
Prepared from research developed
By Joy Jean Quimby Stearns
Editorial Board Member
618 Greenwood Circle, Mt. Olive, Alabama, 35117
Christiana Gowen, regarded as a daughter of William and Sarah Gowen, was born about 1746 in Granville County, North Carolina, according to the DAR membership application of Mary Hamilton Haile, a descendant who lived in Savannah, Georgia in 1952. She was married about 1765 to John Rains who was born in 1743 in Culpepper County, Virginia [originally Orange County]. He was one of the “long hunters” in Kentucky and Tennessee as early as 1769, according to “Draper Collection of Manuscripts. Several descendants have made successful DAR applications, citing his supposed military service as a North Carolina Revolutionary soldier.
Mary Hamilton Haile stated that Capt. John Rains came to the Watauga area of Eastern Tennessee [then North Carolina] in 1775 with his wife and children. He built Rains Station and continued there for four years.
A. W. Putnam writing in “History of Middle Tennessee” states that John Rains was present at the signing of the Treaty of Long Island of Holston near Ft. Patrick Henry July 20, 1777.
He mentions other patriots who were present at that event, “Col. William Christian, Col. William Preston, Col. Evan Shelby, John Sevier, Valentine Sevier, Daniel Boone, Isaac Bledsoe, Anthony Bledsoe, Isaac Shelby, Richard Henderson, Thomas Hart, James Robertson, James Eaton, and Robert Cartwright.”
John Rains had made a trip to Kentucky during which he met Capt. James Robertson, founder of Nashville who persuaded him to go to Tennessee with him. John Rains who had hunted on the Cumberland River for many years, led a group of settlers to Ft. Nashborough in 1779.
It is suggested that his father-in-law William Gowen, brothersin-law John Gowen and James H. Gowen and their nephew David Gowen were influenced to accompany him on the trek to Tennessee. A. W. Putnam, wrote:
“There were some women and children with the Rains company of emigrants. The winter of 1779-80 has ever been mentioned as ‘the cold winter,’ one of extraordinary severity.
The cold commenced early, and the emigrants by land encountered much difficulty in their route, yet they arrived at the place appointed for rendezvous in safety, no deaths having occurred among them and without any attack by the Indians.
On their way the Robertson party was overtaken by the Rains party. The overland route the settlers followed from Cumberland Gap to Nashville followed a circuitous path through what is now Kentucky.
They reached the [Cumberland] River in December 1779 and . . . crossed the river to where Nashville is now situated. The ice in the river was sufficiently solid to allow Capt. Rains’ cattle to pass over upon it. It is believed that the first day they passed at the lick was Christmas day 1779. When they were all assembled, there were more than 200 people, and many of them young men without families.
Some of the Nashville settlers, particularly those with women and children floated down the Tennessee River as far as Muscle Shoals, Alabama and then trekked overland the remaining 75 miles to Nashville.”
Rains immediately selected his body of land and built pens for his 19 cows, 2 steers and 17 horses near the spring on Brown’s Creek then about two and one-half miles south of Ft. Nashborough.
Presently his property is the location of Tennessee State Fairgrounds and Cumberland Park. William Gowen, his father-in-law who had accompanied him to Nashville, was granted a North Carolina Pre-emption Certificate for 640 acres located on Mill Creek, about four miles east of Rains Station.
This land later was the site of the Metropolitan Nashville Airport and the Tennessee State Hospital.
“Capt. Rains had occupied his home on Brown’s Creek for three months and three days when he learned that the Indians had killed John Milliken on Richland Creek and Joseph Hay near Sulphur Spring. The propriety and necessity of removal to the protection of Ft. Nashborough soon became evident. He lived there for four years before it was safe to return to his home. During that period of time he took his family and slaves to safety in Kentucky. When he attempted to return to Ft. Nashborough he encountered a large party of Indians, and his companion, Zachariah Stull was killed on the spot. Rains fled, was pursued, but escaped; two bullet holes through his clothes and a slight wound to his horse. He wandered through the woods, was out in a great sleet storm and with much difficulty reached Carpenter’s Station. While tarrying there Col. Robertson arrived from a Kentucky visit. In a few days four other men joined them, and they came safely home.”
The Indian threat intensified, and many settlers elected to retreat to the safety of Kentucky and Eastern Tennessee. Some were killed and scalped as they attempted to escape. Col. James Robertson went from station to station to rally the spirits of the settlers. The spies [scouts] and hunters reported signs of Indians almost daily. The horses had been stolen, and the cattle and hogs at every station driven off or killed. They had no teams wherewith to break up ground for planting.
A conference was called to determine whether to go or stay.
Col. Robertson spoke eloquently to the stationers, “There is danger attendant on the attempt to stay, as there is in the effort to go, and in the attempt to do either, we may be destroyed. We have to fight it out here or fight our way out of here.”
Rains caught up the sententious remark and declared, “Fight it out here!” which soon became a rallying cry for the settlers.
On January 9, 1783 John Rains received confirmation of North Carolina Land Grant No. 5 in the Nashville area “for 640 acres on Brown’s Creek of the Cumberland” for services rendered as a North Carolina soldier of the Continental Line, according to descendants who were admitted to the DAR on this claim of service. The Mount Olivet Cemetery office received a letter in March 1885 from Susan M. Gilbert, Route 3, Box 196, Warrenton, Virginia, 22186 in which she stated, “Capt. John Rains was a Revolutionary War Soldier and received a pension from Prince George [County, Virginia?] Company.”
John Rains was fined “for swearing in the presence of the Court” in July 1784, according to “Davidson County, Tennessee County Court Minutes, 1783-1792” by Carol Wells.
John Rains was summoned by the court to answer to a charge of assault and battery by John Boyd, tavern keeper and distiller of Nashville in the April 1785 term. The charge specified that on January 3, 1785 Rains was indebted to Boyd “for merchandise.” Additionally Rains “broke and entered Boyd’s house and assaulted him. He picked up a chair and knocked the plaintiff down. He also bit the plaintiff’s thumb.” The case was continued until the July term when the jury awarded the plaintiff “5 shillings damages.”
In 1787 Capt. John Rains commanded a company of spies at Nashville. In that same year, his son, John Rains, Jr. captured an Indian about 19 years old in a battle near Nashville. The Indian youth was turned over to Capt. Samuel Shannon who “domesticated” him and allowed him to live in his home for some time. At his departure back to his nation, Shannon provided him with a horse, clothing, a gun and ammunition.
The young Indian took the name of John Rains by which he was ever afterward known..
The Indian attacks intensified in 1787, and the marauders became intensely vicious, given to mutilating the dead. In that year Col. Robertson, having learned the location of the base of the Creek, Chickamauga and Cherokee raiders, organized the Coldwater Expedition to destroy their town. With a force of 120 men going overland and up the Tennessee River, they surprised the Indians, routed them completely and burned their town. They returned after a 19-day campaign with no casualties among the settlers. Capt. John Rains participated in this campaign as well as the subsequent Nickajack campaign.
The Indian attacks intensified in October 1788. Southerland Mayfield had a station upon the west fork of Mill Creek, a mile above Brown’s Station. A party of 10 or 12 Creek Indians attacked Mayfield’s Station. Mayfield and one of his sons, along with a soldier were killed. George Mayfield, another son, was captured and held prisoner for ten years in the Creek Nation. The station was abandoned, and the survivors retreated to Rains Station. Brown’s Station was also overrun, and its survivors also fled to Rains Station.
Sometime before July 1790 William Gowen, the father of Christiana Gowen Rains, “was killed,” according to “The Flowering of the Cumberland” by Harriette Simpson Arnow.
The conclusion is that he, too was a victim of the Creeks, at about age 70.
In the January 1791 session of Davidson County Court the minutes read, “Davidson County, Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio.” On January 15, 1791 Capt. Rains was given permission by the court “to build a grist mill on Brown’s Creek on land whereon he now lives, agreeable to the petition of a number of inhabitants of this county.” On July 11, 1791 the grand jury “presented John Rains for profane swearing.” He was fined “four shillings.”
On October 10, 1796 Capt. Rains was recommissioned as a captain in the defense of Nashville against the marauding Indians.
On September 1, 1797 William Gowen, nephew [and later to be son-in-law] of Capt. Rains, was elected a lieutenant in his militia company. Lt. William Gowen was married to Martha “Patsy” Rains three months later, December 3, 1797, according to Davidson County Marriage Book 1, page 28. Research indicates him to be her first cousin.
She once had a narrow escape from the Indians when she and her friend, Betsy Williams, were fired upon by Indians while out riding. Martha “Patsy” Rains, riding a fast horse, escaped, but her friend Betsy Williams was killed and scalped. A. W. Putnam stated “Indians shot and killed Betsy Williams who was riding on the same horse behind Martha “Patsy” Rains.”
The household of Capt. John Rains appeared in the 1820 census of Davidson County as:
“Rains, John white male over 45
white female over 45
white female 16-26
white female 16-26
white male 10-16
white female 10-16”
Christiana Gowen Rains died in 1826 and was buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville, according to the “Nashville National Banner” in its March 24, 1826 edition.
Capt. John Rains “lived to a ripe old age and grew loquacious and vainglorious,” according to Felix Robertson, son of Capt. James Robertson. He died March 26, 1834 at the age of 91 and was also buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. His death was reported in the “Nashville National Banner” and the “Nashville Daily Advertiser.”
The estate of Capt. John Rains was presented to the Davidson County Court for partition in its October 1834 session. Administration of the estate was given to Alfred P. Gowen, grandson of Capt. John Rains and a member of the Tennessee State Legislature and John Rains, Jr. Alfred P. Gowen, son of Lt. William Gowen, was shown as the only heir of Martha “Patsy” Rains Gowen.
Children born to Capt. John Rains and Christiana Gowen Rains are believed to include:
William Rains born about 1769
John Rains, Jr. born about 1770
Martha “Patsy” Rains born about 1773
Barbara Rains born about 1778
Elizabeth Rains born about 1781
Mary “Polly” Rains born about 1784
Susannah Rains born about 1786
Christiana Rains born January 20, 1787
Nancy Rains born about 1791
Sarah Rains born about 1793
Jonathan Hance Rains born about 1796