Life Sketch by Ethel Rawlins
Jasper Alfonzo Rawlins was born February 1, 1872 In Richmond, Cache County, Utah, to Harvey M. Rawlins and Margaret E. Frost He was the eleventh of twelve children. His father homesteaded at Lewiston, Utah, known at that time as "Poverty Flat" because of late frosts in the spring which froze the grain. His father farmed his homestead in 1871 and moved back to Richmond for the winter. This was when Jasper Alfonzo was born. The next year the family moved to their new home in Lewiston. Their house was one with boards running at straight upright of two rooms. Some years later a new house was built and the old adobe- lined house was used for the kitchen and one bedroom. Their newer house had four rooms, two downstairs and two upstairs.
He attended school at Lewiston. Grades were counted in those days by "Readers" and held only when there was no work to be done. Alf told about going barefoot to school and running a big splinter into his toe while dancing on the rough floors. In the winter time the snow drifted over the brush fence and he and his sister, El, used to play in the hollow under the fence all the time with buttons as their only plaything, and every button had to be accounted for. He played football at school in the fall and often said that he nearly got beaten to death. He and Hall Stocks played. He attended the Agricultural College at Logan, Utah when there was only the Administration building there for one winter. He was a member of the R.O.T.C. He wore a nifty, blue uniform. He played a zither, or a "Jews Harp" and a harmonica and was a one man show when he got started. He liked to hear his mother sing one of her favorite songs, "Hard Times Come Again No More". His favorite song was "I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen".
He was crippled with rheumatism all one summer when he was in his early twenties and was bedfast. This Infirmity was to plague him for nearly all his adult life; he was seldom free from pain.
His married Cora May Burbank on March 5, 1902 in the Logan Temple. They were married by Marriner W. Merrill and they received their endowments and were sealed the same day. They lived on the original homestead and cared for his father and mother until they died. At their death, as per agreement, Alf and Cora received the Homestead, about 63 acres which had about a $500.00 Indebtedness against It at that time, which was a considerable In those days. Eight children were born to this union. The oldest to the youngest as follows:
- Aerial Alfonzo Born 27 November, 1902
- Owen Woodruff Born 10 August, 1904
- Horace Burbank Born 30 January 1907
- Howard Frost Born 13 March, 1909
- Mae Born 27 September, 1911
- Reed LeGrand Born 20 November, 1913
- Ruth Born 3 March, 1918(died 11 Nov, 1918)
- Lindsay Marcus Born 19 January, 1920
When Aerial was in the 8th Grade, Alf was stricken again with the dreaded rheumatism and was never free of it again until he died. The boys and Mae all say that they can't remember when their father was free from all his aches and pains, he called them the "Grunts". Cora's brother, Reuben came to their home ill at that time. He had been working at Trenton, Utah. He had typhoid fever. They took him in and nursed his as best they could but he soon passed away. This event is especially clear in Aerial's memory. From the fall of 1913, or 1914 Alf was never able to work. The following spring the ward members came "en force" and put in the crops in one day. The boys did most of the work on the farm from then on. From their earliest boyhood all the boys did the milking and without the herd of cows they would have starved. All they had most of the time was what the cows brought In.
He was a gentle, kind man; never spoke unkind words of others. He was an exceptional horseman and was noted throughout the county for having the most beautiful and best horses and the best looking buggy. Before he was married he always had a buggy full of young ladies and even after he was married, the boys tell about the ladies kissing their father whenever they would meet in town or at meetings. His lady friends always greeted him with a kiss. This pleased him. He was proud too, of his horses and always took good care of them.
Aerial remembers one time he got in the way of a saw that his mother and father were cutting wood with and was badly cut in the face. He began to bleed profusely and before his mother could even realize what had happened his father had him in the house and was washing off the blood and was treating the wound.
Alf was never one to have anything to say in public. He was very shy and retiring. Cora teased him about one time he was called on from the back row in church, where he always sat, to pray and was so frightened that no one could hear a word he said and he never changed. One of the greatest moments in his life, he said, was when he was ordained a High Priest by Wm. L. Winn on February 25, 1923. He hadn't been able to attend church regularly because of his infrimities, but this ordination made him feel that he had not been forgotten. Shortly after this time he became more ill, with Diabetes added to his troubles. He had always loved hot biscuits and would coax his wife to make them for him but after it was discovered that he had Diabetes it was advised by the Doctor that he not eat hot, baking powder biscuits and he found this to be one of the hardest things he ever had to give up.
He loved children and taught his boys and girl to play and fight and live fairly and without anger and to this day they can still tease one another unmercifully without becoming angry. He made a fuss over his grandchildren and derived a great deal of pleasure from watching them; he taught them the same fairness.
He died on the 16th day on November, 1935 in the arms of his oldest son, Aerial. He was most loved by all who knew him and was greatly mourned. He was a little man with a big heart and great capacity for endurance and laughter in the face of all the pain that could be heaped upon one man. There is a verse written by Wlla Wheeler Wilcox which was surely meant for such as Jasper Alfonzo Rawlins:
It is easy enough to be pleasant
When life flows like a song,
But the man worthwhile is the one that can smile
When everything goes dead wrong.
For the test of the heart is trouble
And It often comes with the years.
And the smile that is worth the praises of earth
Is the smile that shines through the tears.
- Blessed: 1 April, 1872 by Henry Standage
- Baptized: 28 March, 1880 by Harvey M. Rawlins Jr. (His older brother)
- Confirmed: 28 March, 1880 by William Waddups Sr.
- Ordained Elder: 29 September, 1901 by Brigham A. Hendricks
- Ordained High Priest: 25 February, 1923 by William L. Winn