A prosperous and progressive farmer and a man of integrity and uprightness and one of the real builders of the reservation country, it is fitting that he be accorded representation in this volume which recounts the history of this interesting region.

Joseph Rawnsley was born in Morgan County, Indiana, on September 5, 1844, being the son of James and Margaret (McPherson) Rawnsley, natives of North Carolina. At the age of four he came with his parents to Keokuk County, Iowa, and thence they removed to Hardin County, the same state. There the father died in 1859.

Our subject grew to manhood there and received his education, remaining with his mother until the date of his marriage. This important event occurred on February 6, 1870, and Laura T., born April 18, 1854, daughter of Carver and Luanda (Rubottom) Benbonw, natives of North Carolina, was the excellent lady that became his bride. The following children have been the fruit of this union: Florence M., wife of Henry Krounse, of Pomeroy, Washington; Nora, wife of George Montgomery, of Pomeroy; Wilbur J., married to Nellie Miller of Nez Perce; Margaret, Ada C, and Iris L., who is deceased. Mrs. Rawnsley’s parents removed from their native state to Indianapolis and in 1854 they landed in Hardin County, Iowa.

In 1875 our subject and his family came to San Francisco, thence by ship to Portland and in the vicinity of Vancouver he bought land and there followed farming for five years. Then came a move to the vicinity of Pomeroy, Washington, where he entered a preemption which was the family home until the opening of the reservation. He was here on the eighteenth day of November, 1895, the date of opening, and he selected his present fine place, about six miles southwest from Nez Perce. His family was brought the following spring and were among the very first ones here. He now has a house, barn, orchard, plenty of berries, all varieties of fruits, and many other improvements, which, added to the real value of his land, make his estate one of the most valuable of this vicinity. All this has been wrought out by the wise labor of Mr. Rawnsley and speaks well of his energy and wisdom.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903