General Moses Marshal Rawlings was born 12 June 1793 in Virginia. As a child, he set out on his own for Illinois, reaching Shawneetown in 1809, working in the Saline salt works1 - a place that was later notorious for the evils of slave owner John Hart Crenshaw. Rawlings' eagerness to work and invest soon made him successful in business. Rawlings had the largest dry goods and grocery business in the southern part of Illinois. He invested in steam boats, transporting cargoes between cities. In 1832, Moses Rawlings was appointed Major General of the state militia by Governor John Reynolds. 2
Rawlings married Sarah Seaton in 1811 and produced ten children, but all but two died before Moses Rawlings reached the Mound City area; one of his surviving children was state legislator Francis M. Rawlings. He was married again in 1829, to Henrietta Calmes, who died in 1833 after bearing two children, Florida and Carroll. He was married a third time, in 1840, to Ann H. Simms. 3
Rawlings founded the city of Mound City, Illinois, county seat of Pulaski County. He owned a log cabin, which he used as a hotel, and guests would often sleep on the nearby Native American Mound, where a breeze would cool them in summer and keep away the mosquitoes. The mound became a meeting spot, where political debates took place, and plans for a city were discussed. 4
General Rawlings built the first house in Mound City; the first floor of the house being outfitted as a general store. Lots were sold, and other houses were built, as well as a saloon and grocery store. Rawlings traveled to Springfield in 1854, seeking a charter for a railroad, but was met with opposition from the Cairo Company; he eventually triumphed, and set to building his railroad. In 1856, Mound City gained a post office, with Rawlings as Postmaster as no one else was available.
In 1855 the Emporium Company was formed, to create Emporium City on land adjacent to Mound City5. In 1867, the Emporium Company purchased General Rawlings' railroad; after the collapse of that company it became a part of the Illinois Central Railroad. In 1857, Emporium City and Mound City were incorporated together as Mound City. 6.
General Moses Rawlings died in 1863, becoming a Catholic only hours before his death. His son, captain Carroll H. Rawlings, raised a company of volunteers in Mound City to fight for the Confederacy.8. Today, Mound City has a population of about 700 people.