The Life Story of Charlotta Rawlins Downs
Charlotta Rawlins Downs was born in Rutherford County North Carolina on Christmas Day in 1792 and died in Draper, Utah the 23rd of January 1863. Her father was Charles Rawlins and her mother was Eustacia Gregory. The father of Charles Rawlins was James Mason Rawlings but he left out the 'g' in his name and always spelled it Rawlins. This Charles Rawlins is the ancestor of Senator James Rawlins and many other prominent people of Utah who carry that name.
Charles Rawlins and two of his sons enlisted in the war, probably 1812. James Mason Rawlins was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and came from England. At the end of the war Charles Rawlins' two sons came home from the battle, but they did not hear from their father. A long time passed, but no word came. They heard he had been killed. From Carolina they moved to Kentucky, and Eustacia married a man by the name of Noah Phillips, and moved with her five children to Indiana, and by him she had five more children; Israel Phillips, Edward, Keen, Amanda, and Nancy. Her children by Charles Rawlins were; James, Joseph, Hoza (Roderick), Charlotta and Amy. Part of these children were born in Kentucky, so it was from Kentucky that the group enlisted for the war.
Years after a man was going through the town in which Eustacia and her second husband had settled, and came across them. He then told them that awhile after they had gone north, the father Charles Rawlins came back, he had been very ill and taken prisoner, and when he came back he found the family gone, and knowing she had believed him dead, and having married another man, he went as Enoch Arden did, away again, and although great effort was made to locate him the family never heard from him again.
This was a source of great grief to Eustacia, having a family by both of them, she wondered if she would be condemned for remaining with her present husband, but finding no trace of Charles she finally became contented to remain with him (Noah Phillips) the remainder of her days. She was the mother of ten children, Charlotta being one of the eldest.
Charlotta Rawlins married about 1814 to Ezekiel Downs, born in 1790. He was the son of Thomas Downs, and grandson of Zachariah Downs who came from Scotland to the Sates. They were early members of the Church. They moved from Indiana to Illinois and thence to Quincy Illinois. The children of this marriage were James, Asa, Matilda, Jane, Amy Emily, Susannah and Sidney Beckworth Downs.
It was in Quincy, Illinois that grandfather met and married Amy Emily, and here he joined the Church. After the marriage they went back to West Virginia with James Downs, where they lived while taught school. They were all very sincere in their new religion and longed to be with the Saints, so they left Virginia again, and settled in Iowa, the home of the Saints. Later they built them a home in Nauvoo, which Ezekiel had at the time of his death. While in Nauvoo for a time they enjoyed prosperity with the Saints, but also suffered the persecutions that were heaped upon them during the latter part of their residence there.
They had just built them a fine eight room house and saw it completed when they were all taken out by the mob and held- in the streets with their arms pinned behind them while their home burned to the ground. Although their trials were many they were faithful to the truth with the exception of Ezekiel and one son. Ezekiel dreamed one night that the Prophet Joseph Smith had come to him and talked to him and asked him to up a hill, they climbed, but the hill was very steep and it seemed that he was unable to make the ascent. The Prophet kept urging him on and took him by the hand and helped him, they came to a stream and the Prophet made him lean over and bathe his head and temples. Then he again urged him on, but Ezekiel began slipping back and calling to the Prophet he cried out that he could not make the grade.
James his son, and Isaac Stewart, later his son-in-law were the body guard of the Prophet when he was slain. When Ezekiel learned of the Prophet's death he said, "Well this is the last, my best friend is gone, surely there is nothing to this after all. I am through."
This was a very happy family that came west although it was a great trial to leave behind her husband and one son, but their faith never weakened and she brought her family to Utah and raised them to this faith.
Ezekiel kept Sidney with him. In later years he married a woman by the name of Frances Graham, and had one son, John. Years after Asa Downs went east and has a large posterity. It is said that Johnny Downs, the movie star, is a descendant of his. He settled in Chicago. James and the three girls located in Draper, Utah and all their farms joined. The girls and their mother remained there the rest of their lives, but James moved to Cache Valley where he is buried. Matilda Jane married Isaac Milton Stewart who for many years was Bishop of Draper, Susannah married John Grover Smith and Amy Emily married grandfather Absalom Wamsley Smith. Throughout their lives these sisters were known for their great devotion to each other. It was a most inspiring sight. They were seldom separated throughout their lives.
Charlotta Downs was later sealed to John Glover Smith for eternity.