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General John Rawlins

The City of Rawlins Named After Him.

 

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General John RawlinsUnion General John Rawlins is born in Galena, Illinois in 1831. Rawlins was a close personal aide to General Ulysses S. Grant and was reported to have kept Grant from drinking heavily during the war.

 

Rawlins' family was originally from Virginia but had settled in Illinois shortly before Rawlins' birth. He studied law and was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1854. He became the city attorney in 1857 and became involved in state politics.

 

When the war began, Rawlins became the aide de camp to Grant. He was Grant's principle staff officer throughout the war, and Grant said that Rawlins was nearly indispensable. Grant was known to be a heavy drinker when he served on the frontier in the 1850s, and there were rumors that he continued to drink during the early stages of the war. Rawlins appears to have been instrumental in keeping Grant from over imbibing during the Civil War.

 

After the war he headed west and while helping survey the route of the Union Pacific Railroad in 1867, General John A. Rawlins by then Chief of Staff of the U. S. Army, expressed a wish for a drink of good, cold water. A detachment of scouts explored the countryside and discovered a spring. General Rawlins declared it was the most refreshing drink he had ever tasted and exclaimed, "If anything is ever named after me, I hope it will be a spring of water." The commander of the party immediately named the spring "Rawlins Springs" and the community which grew around it bore the same name.

 

Later shortened to Rawlins, the town was incorporated in 1886, and designated the seat of Carbon County. The county's name was derived from the extensive coal deposits found in the area. The county is traversed by the historic Overland Trail and both the original route of the Union Pacific railroad and Lincoln Highway.

 

Adapted with thanks from: www.rawlinschamber.org and www.wikipedia.org

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