My Father Jasper Alfonzo (Alf) Rawlins
By Mae Rawlins Jorgensen (Daughter)
Jasper Alfonzo Rawlins was born 1 February 1872 in Richmond, Utah to Harvey M. and Margaret Elzirah Frost Rawlins. He was the eleventh of twelve children. His father was homesteading in Lewiston and moved back to Richmond for the winter. When they returned to Lewiston in the Spring of 1872 they established a permanent home there. The first house was of two rooms made of upright boards. Later a four room adobe lined house was built, two rooms down stairs and two rooms upstairs.
Father's schooling was in a one room school where they went by readers rather than by grades. Christian Jacobson was one of his teachers. The favorite method of discipline was being put under the floor through the trap door. Father said if anyone was caught reading something other than the reader, or drawing a picture they were punished.
He remembered going barefoot even to school. Shoes were a luxury, worn only on special occasions or in very cold weather. He often said his feet became so calloused if he struck his foot against a rock it would cause sparks. He also remembered the hollows under the brush fence made by drifting snow where he and his sister Ellen played.
One winter when he was a young man he attended U.S. U. in Logan, which consisted of what is now called Old Main". He was in the R.O.T.C. and recalled the blue uniform.
When Uncle Joe Leavitt, Uncle Jim Leavitt, and Uncle Sam Rawlins and their families moved to Star Valley, Wyoming, father went along to drive their cattle. When Uncle A' Rawlins went into Idaho to homestead, Father went along then too. He decided to stay there and homestead for himself. His older brother, Harvey, suggested to the aging parents that they should deed what was left of their homestead, some 63 acres, to Father so there would be someone to care for them in their old age. Father was asked to return to Lewiston, which he did. This was done several years before he married.
The deeds read at Grandfather's death the property went to Grandmother and Father, and at Grandmother's death to Father, his assigns, and his heirs. By the time Grandmother passed away the home had a $500.00 mortgage, which was a considerable amount in those days.
When Father was 30 years old he married Cora May Burbank in the Logan Temple 5 March, 1902.
Father was a very good horseman and took pride in his team. Somewhere is a picture of Father with his horse and buggy and some lady friends.
The rheumatism that struck him when his family was young left his body crippled and full of pain the rest of his life. He could never do hard work again but could drive horses for some years. This was very hard for him to bear. His last years he walked with a cane which he called his 'persuader'. We knew what that meant.
He taught his boys his love of horses and how to do their work well. He supervised horse shoeing and other work. From a seat on the ground he directed hay stacking. No one made a more beautiful hay stack than Owen did under Father's watchful eye.
Father played the Jew's harp and harmonica and loved to sing. When he sang in the evenings we knew he was feeling better. One of his favorite songs was "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen."
Father was kind and sympathetic. If anyone was sick or hurt, he also hurt. We had seen him faint when someone else was hurt. He was never one to perform in public but was proud when Mother or his children did.
In the '20's, he was stricken with diabetes. Many of the foods he liked he could no longer have. Mother never fixed mashed potatoes anymore. Just plain boiled potatoes were not such a temptation to him.
He never liked his name and often made light of it. He said his Mother called him Alfie, but he would not stand for anyone else to do so.
The last time I saw Eulalie Taggart she gave me a picture of Father as a young boy with Aunt Mint and Aunt El, and some notes she had written about Father.
The following is from her notes:
There was always a high swing in the trees close to the house. When Uncle Ed Stocks went on his mission, Aunt El lived with her folks. Rita was a little girl. Uncle Alf could never swing her high enough. She was always ready to go again.
There was always company at Grandpa and Grandma's, summer or winter, and Uncle Alf used to have to take them where ever they wanted to go. The folks from Draper always came up in July and August when the Choke Cherries and Service Berries were ripe. They knew that Uncle Alf would take them to get the berries. What a big time they always had.
Uncle Alf came to Star Valley to get the horses that had been there all summer, 10 or 12 horses and colts. He started back with us on November 6. It was snowing when we started. When we got to what we called "Camp Give Out", Pa borrowed a harness and took the pony that Uncle Alf rode out there and put it with one they had taken off the range and put them with our team and we drove them through the deep snow to Montpelier. There we left the harness at the blacksmiths. We stayed in Montpelier for 2 days for a herd of cattle to go through ahead of us. When we came over to Mink Creek there was very little snow and little the rest of the winter.
"I well remember," Eulalie said, "It was very hard to get the folks up in the mornings. Grandpa would call 'Alfa, Alfa' a dozen times, then it would be 'Minta' then 'Ella'." This would go on a long time every morning. Grandpa never went up stairs to call them, he just called and called. used to stay over there a lot, so I know."
Some of his girl friends according to Eulalie were Leulla Stocks, Eve priest, Ida Allen, Nettie Hiner and Annie Hyer. Russell Rogers, who lived across the road, was always with Father. Other friends were Joe Lewis, Hall Stocks, Harmen Wiser, and Fred Karren.
"Uncle Alf loved to dance," she said, "And a dance was held every Saturday night."
I'm grateful to her for this bit of information about dad that we didn't know.
Father was blessed 1 April 1872 by Henry Standage. Baptized 28 March, 1880 by Harvey M. Rawlins, Jr., his oldest brother. Confirmed 28 March 1880, by William Waddoups, Sr. Ordained an Elder 29 September 1901 by Brigham A. Hendricks. Ordained a High Priest 25 February 1923 by William L. Winn.
Father passed away 16 November 1935 at his home. His six sons were his pallbearers.