REUEL LEAVITT RAWLINS
by Alice Beach Rawlins (wife)
Reuel Leavitt Rawlins could well have said as Nephi of old, "I, Reuel Rawlins, born of goodly parents."
He was born the tenth child of Franklin Archibald and Leona Leavitt Rawlins on the 22 September 1896, at Lewiston, Cache, Co., Utah in beautiful Cache Valley.
He was born of pioneer heritage and when both his grandparents came to Lewiston to settle, it was known as "Poverty Flat," but by hard work, perseverance and faith they were able to bring their land under production and provide for their large families
They became self-sustaining, raising gardens with their vegetables, berries, gooseberries, currants, and apples. They also had cows, chickens, hay, and grain for their feed, which entailed long hours of hard work for both the women and girls as well as for the men and boys
Reuel grew up in a farm home and an environment where he learned to work and do his share at an early age. Five of the children of his parents had died previous to his birth, so he grew up with George, Elzira, Alpheus, Adith, and himself
When he was three years old his father was called on a mission to California. His mother, with the help of the older boys and her brother’s supervision, kept the farm going and supported him on his mission and he found they were better off when he returned than when he left.
It was while he was on his mission that his mother wanted Reuel's picture taken to send to his father. Not having proper clothes or the money to buy any, Aunt Mint Hogan loaned her son Lloyd's suit for the picture. The picture was taken at Odel's Studio in Logan. And would you believe it, Mary Beach had her baby's picture (Alice) taken about the same time, same chair, same studio. And would you believe that these children knew each other in the pre-existence and covenanted to come to earth and meet and marry and be companions? I do.
Then in 1903 his mother gave birth to another baby girl, Aurilla, and lost her own life, and the baby only lived a few months and also passed away
Elzira was working at the time of her mother's death, so quit her job and book on the responsibility of caring for the home and family, and the sister, Adith, who was an invalid, made it doubly hard. Elzira became both mother and big sister to Reuel, and the only mother he remembered and the bond between them was very close all their life and he loved her dearly. It was always "going home" to go to Elzira’s
His close playmates across the street were Wilford and Eric Jorgensen. Eric and Reuel became almost like brothers throughout the years. Wilford died young and left his wife and three baby daughters. Merlin and Jewel Van Orden and Reuel and I went to Salt Lake as soon as we heard of his death and attended the funeral
One of his teachers was Nellie Lambert, who later married Reuel's brother, George.
In 19 his brother, Alpheus, was called on a mission to New Zealand and his wife and baby son, Lloyd Alpheus, went to live with Brother Rawlins while Alpheus was gone
It was during this time that Reuel got scarlet fever and they quarantined him in his bedroom for a long time. They placed a quilt over the door to keep out germs and took his meals to him around through a window. When he got to feeling better he thought they were starving him. But the baby, Lloyd, didn't get Scarlet fever.
When Reuel was 12, Mable said they used to take him to the Saturday night dance and taught him to dance so she and Elzira would have someone to dance with. His father had charge of the dances at that time. He became a good dancer and loved to dance all his life
About this same time he joined the choir and wherever he lived after that, if there was a choir, he sang in it. He had a beautiful tenor voice and always sang first tenor. He also loved to sing in quartets and men's choruses. One highlight was singing in a chorus of twelve for a Seventies meeting in the Assembly Hall at General Conference time. They were so good they were invited to stay and repeat the numbers at the Priesthood meeting that evening in the Tabernacle, but some had to get back to their cows and other chores so they had to decline and Reuel felt bad to think they couldn't do it. Ed Kemp directed them and Alta Harrison was the accompanist. They kept the chorus going until we moved to Washington in 1941
The first year he went to the Agricultural College in Logan he roomed with Otis Van Orden and Otis' older sister. Mable lived with them and cooked for them. They lived close to the college with a professor.
The next year he boarded with Arvilla Johnson's mother down on 5th West and almost to 1st South. Arvilla married Ralph Hyer from Lewiston. That year Reuel met Alice Beach who was going to the old Brigham Young College.
Otis was a tease and one night while Reuel was shaving and getting ready for a date with me he kept tormenting Reuel and poked him under the arms. Reuel's shaving brush was full of lather and Reuel turned around and pushed it in his big mouth and he shut his mouth and ate it all. It really shut him up and Reuel really got a big kick out of it. Someone reminded me of it just lately.