History of the Restoration Movement

Elder Billie Rawlins


William Rawlins, Jr. was born March 19, 1800 in Massachusetts. He was the eldest son of Roderick Rawlins. He moved to North Carolina as a young man. Later he moved to Indiana, then lived in Iowa. As early as 1832, he wrote in queries to Barton W. Stone, the editor of the Christian Messenger. He was a well-studied and intelligent minister of the gospel of Christ. In 1844 he moved to Lancaster, Texas. His father Roderick moved his family to Lancaster within months of his son's entrance into Texas, in January, 1845. He helped with cousins, William Rawlins, Sr. and John Martin Rawlins, to start the church of Christ there in 1846.

Obituary In Gospel Advocate

Departed this life, at his home in Dallas County, Texas on the 25th of August, 1869, Elder William Rawlins, after a brief illness. Brother Rawlins was born March 19, 1800, and lived the Christian life for more than 45 years. He will be recognized by many readers of the "Gospel Advocate," as our correspondent, "W.R.," and he was also an occasional contributor to the columns of many of our periodicals, dating as far back as the "Christian Messenger," when conducted by B.W. Stone. Bro. Rawlins, although entertaining many peculiar views, which, to some extent, crippled his influence as a teacher of Christianity, was a man of great personal worth and Christian integrity. His habits were studious; his convctions earnest and strong; his deportment quiet and unobtrusive, and, in all the relations of life, honest and faithful. The messenger, Death, found him not unprepared for the summons.

At his death he was a member of the Church of Christ, meeting at Liberty, Ellis county, Texas, and presided at the Lord's table for the congregation on the first Lord's day in August, and otherwise attended a co-operation meeting in Collin county, some thirty miles from his home, and soon after his return was seized with the illness that so quickly terminated his earthly career; thus manifesting a lively interest in the cause of Christ to the last. Like a shock of corn fully ripe, he has been gathered to his fathers, and the great mystery, death, is, to him, a mystery no longer.

The bereaved wife, children and friends of the deceased will find consolation in God's holy word; and, by imitating his virtues obtain the reward of eternal life.

"Life's labor done, and sinks the clay,
Light from its load the spirit flies,
While Heaven and earth combine to say,
How blest the righteous when he dies.'"
--H. Douglas

We sincerely regret to learn of the death of Bro. Rawlins, for while he had peculiarities constitutional in a great measure, that crippled his usefulness, he was beyond a doubt a sincere and diligent seeker after truth. He loved the truth for its own sake. Nothing could move him from it. Such men are rare in this age, and we very sadly mourn the loss of such sterling qualities. The family and friends of our Bro. have our sincere sympathies in their affliction. D.L. (David Lipscomb)

Gospel Advocate Vol. XII No. 44, Nov. 11, 1869, page 1056

Directions To The Grave of William Rawlins, Jr.

The Rawlins family were some of the earliest settlers in Texas. They lived and died just south of Dallas, Texas in the town of Lancaster. South of Dallas, take I-35E to exit 413 (W. Belt Line Road). Head east toward town and take the first right on Main St. The Rawlins Cemetery is located on Main Street, just west of town. Enter the cemetery through the gate and go to the first left. The road will make a hard turn to the right in the middle of the cemetery. After making the turn park and head to the left down through the cemetery to what will look like the oldest graves. The Rawlins plots are right in the middle. See photos below & GPS for accuracy.

GPS Location of Grave
32°34'55.5"N 96°47'30.9"W
or D.d. 32.582071, -96.791911
Grave Faces West

Rawlins Cemetery

See Chalked Marker In Center Of Picture

Polly Rawlins

Lucinda Rawlins: His Second Wife

Elder Billie
Mar. 9, 1800
Aug, 1869

See How Close H.M. Rawlins Is Buried

Special Thanks - A very special thanks goes to my good friend, Rich Berdan. In January, 2010, my wife, Jenny and I were out in the D-FW area for the Fort Worth Lectures. We stayed with our dear friends Rich and Barb. One morning Rich and I took off to locate graves of gospel preacher including the one on this site. Thanks again to Rich for all his help.

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