A Talk With My Grandmother
By Mildred Leavitt Last
Margaret Elzira Frost Rawlins was born on the 28th of April 1830 in Knox County Tennessee. She told me the following about her pioneer live.
Though she was young she remembered some things about the Prophet Joseph Smith.
She was about thirteen years old wehn she first saw Joseph Smith. She remembered seeing him several times but had never had the opportunity to speak to him or shake his hand. She remembered seeing Joseph and his wife, Emma, riding horseback while drilling together for a parade. Emma, who was a very handsome woman, was dressed in a pretty bright red riding suit. Her skirt hung below the horse's body. The Prophet was dressed in his uniform. It was a pretty sight to watch.
My grandmother said she had heard the Prophet Joseph speak on a number of occasions. She remembered especially hearing him address the Nauvoo Legion.
It was a bright beautiful day in June 1844 when the word came that the Prophet Joseph and his brother, Hyrum, had been killed. They could not believe it and hoped it was not true.
Grandmother said, "Harvey M. Rawlins, who is now my husband, and Isaac Steward, a cousin of mine, went to see if it was true. We lived about five miles from Carthage jail. When they returned they said it was true. They saw the men sweeping the blood down the stairs. It looked as if a beef had been killed. It was a horrifying sight."
Grandmother continued, "I was married very young and when our first baby was about three weeks old my husband and I left our parents and families and our home in Nauvoo and started west with the Andrew Cunningham Company of ten. I rode in the wagon which carried supplies. It was pulled by four oxen. A pig pen was built on the back of the wagon. There was a chicken coop built on top of it. At night they chained the pigs to the wagon wheel and the chickens were turned out to pick around. Then they would hop back in their coop to roost. The old hens laid their eggs every day and they were seldom ever broken from the shaking of the wagon.
"Our bed was a homemade one. It stood in the back end of the wagon. I made by bed every day and tidied up my corner of the wagon.
"I had a little rocking chair which sat in the front corner of the wagon. I sat and held the baby most of the time because she was very cross and cried a lot. My husband walked most of the time and drove the oxen and cattle.
"We milked our cow every day and strained the cream into the churn which stood in the other corner of the wagon. The jar of the wagon churned it to butter. We had butter all the way across the plains which was quite a luxury for us.
"We were never troubled by the Indians nor did we ever have a stampede to bother us. There was no sickness and no deaths as we traveled along. There was one baby born on the Platt River, he was called Platt Lyman."
They arrived in Salt Lake City on the 12th of October 1848. They moved to Big Cottonwood for a while, then moved to Draper in San Peet County. Some years later they moved to Cache Valley and settled in Richmond, Utah. In a couple of years they took up homesteading in Lewiston, Cache County, Utah. Later they built a home on their land and moved there.
They were among the first settlers of Lewiston.
As the Settlement grew and more people settled there they felt the need of organization in the community. Therefore, on the 6th of June 1876 the Relief Society was organized with Margaret E. Rawlins as president. She visited the sick and cared for the dead and comforted the broken hearted. Many times she took People into her own home to care for and help. She served as president for twenty-six years until 1902, when she was released. In her Relief Society work of caring for the dead she helped to lay away 125 bodies.
On her 50th birthday the Relief Society sisters had a surprise party for her. They pitched a tent and set tables for over 50 people. Everyong had a very nice time.
She celebrated her 65th Wedding Anniversary with her husband and family on December 3rd, 1911.
Her husband lived to the age of 88 years and 7 months. He died the 16th of September 1913. She was able to care for him until his death. He was blind for many years.
She had her own home until she became sick a few months before she died. She lived to be 90 years old. She died 4th of April 1920, and was buried in Lewiston, Utah.
This history was written by my mother Mildred Leavitt Last with these foot notes.
Margaret Elizirah Frost Rawlins came to Salt Lake City, Utah Oct. 12, 1848. Settled in Draper and later moved to Lewiston, Utah in 1872. That was her home the rest of her life.
She died in April 4, 1920 in Lewiston and was buried there also with her husband.
Grandmother Margaret and Grandfather Harvey attended the dedication of the Logan Temple on May 17, 1844 and the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple at April Conference time in 1893.