Life Sketch of Leona Leavitt Rawlins
Leona Leavitt, the fifth child of George Leavitt and Janette Brinkerhoff, was born 25 Sep,. 1860 at Centerville, Davis Co., Utah. While here they had considerable trouble with the Indians and lost many cattle to them.
As a little girl, Leona was terrified of the Indians. They were fascinated by her fair skin and red, gold curls and offered her parents several things in exchange for their little girl, which, or course, they refused.
During her childhood, she had a lot of trouble with her teeth. Many was the time she cried with the toothache.
When Leona was about 8 years old her father was called by President Brigham Young to take his family and go south to help settle St. George where he remained one year, them was sent to West Point, Nevada; where he stayed a little over a year, them was released to return to Centerville. Having disposed of their home before leaving to go south, it became necessary to find a new home. Her father, being one who was called on to settle new places, moved to Mendon, Cache County, Utah, where they remained about a year. Then they came to Lewiston, Cache Co., Utah to make their permanent home, arriving in 1872.
When Franklin A, and Leona were married they lived for about a year in a little log house in the southwest part of Lewiston where their first child, George F., was born.
Then they built a two room house on some property which his brother Harvey M., had homesteaded. (About 40 acres) This house was about 1 miles west of Cub River on what is now the main highway leading into town,
One spring, Franklin A. went up to the ranch to relieve his brother Samuel who was living there, A little later his brother Harvey went to the ranch to help with the work and took Franklin's family with him,
He drove a team, Bert and Spot, hitched to a covered wagon, Near the end of the journey they had to ford Stump. The Creek was greatly swollen due to the spring storms and they found the water so deep the horses were forced to swim, Fortunately, the wagon box was new and tight, keeping the water out and being fastened securely to the wagon kept if afloat, George and Elzira, the two older children, were sitting in the wagon box paddling in the water, not realizing the danger they were in. The mother with baby sat quietly in the seat with Harvey. She sowed great courage and kept herself under control although she was so frightened the color all drained from her face.
Harvey remained calm and talked quietly to the team, The small horse, Bert, was a very good swimmer and that fact, coupled with the calmness if the driver, probably saved their lives. No doubt, they offered a silent prayer, which also helped in bringing them out to safety.
Leona was 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighed 128 lbs. Her eyes were hazel and her hair was red gold. She had considerable illness during her married life and the heartbreak that came from the loss of several children at childbirth and shortly after, was great, Eleven children were born to them, only 5 of which grew to adulthood.
Franklin was called on a mission in 1897, leaving Leona with five children to care for. During the he was away the family was able to do their part at home, as the Lord showered His blessings on them. Leona, with the help of the children, was able to take care of the management of the farm and cows. She paid up the debts, kept up her tithing, fast offerings, her allotment on the new meeting house which was built during this time and sent money to keep her husband in the mission field, besides feeding and clothing the family. The oldest boy was also able to go to school at the B.Y. College at Logan, Utah part of the time during the winter while the other children attended school at Lewiston.
Leona had a beautiful voice and sang in the choir for a number of years. She was also a Relief Society teacher. She only lived a little over two years after her husband's return from the mission field. She died of complications of childbirth on Aug 2, 1903 and was buried in the Lewiston Cemetery.