Joseph’s father was a barber who was allowed to work independently provided he shared some of his profits with his owner. Eventually, he saved enough money to purchase his family’s freedom sometime in the early 1840s. In 1846, he moved the family to Charleston where he obtained a job as a barber at the prestigious Mills House Hotel. Joseph and his brother Edward received minimal formal education, instead learning their father’s trade.
In 1859, Joseph traveled to Philadelphia where he met and married his wife,
The self-governed British colony had abolished slavery in 1834, so the Raineys set up a barber shop and a dress shop that thrived in the healthy economy. After learning the war had ended with a Union victory, they returned to Charleston in 1866, then later to Georgetown.
As a wealthy man, Joseph’s stature in the community increased and he soon became involved in politics, specifically the Republican party. A state constitutional convention was called in 1868, and he went to Charleston to represent Georgetown. The following year he attended a state labor commission and served as a census taker. By the late 1860s he worked as an agent for the state land commission and was a brigadier general in the state militia. He won a seat in the state senate in 1870 and became chairman of the finance committee.
In 1861, Joseph started a brokerage and banking business, but the firm didn’t succeed and ceased operations five years later. He then managed a coal mining operation and wood yard before his health began to decline. He moved back to Georgetown where he passed away on August 1, 1887, leaving his wife and three sons.
Legacy of Love (Keepers of the Light, 10)
Purchase/KU Link: https://amzn.to/3nMgxqK