Joseph Lafayette Rawlins

Joseph Lafayette Rawlins was born March 28, 1850, in Mill Creek, Utah, the son of Joseph Sharp and Mary Frost Rawlins. He was the youngest of three children, two of them girls. One of his sisters died at age thirteen.

When Joseph was two years old his parents settled with several other couples in Draper, Utah, then called Willow Creek. Here Joseph went to school in the winter and during the summer months he worked on his father's farm.

Joseph was a very studious young man desiring to gather knowledge from all walks of life. When he turned 18 years old, Joseph desired to attend the University of Deseret, which then had its home in the old Council House, in Salt Lake City.

Soon after entering the University, he was engaged as its instructor in mathematics. Provident and economical, he soon saved the necessary means to enable him to continue further with his studies. In July 1871, he passed a successful examination and entered the sophomore class in the University of Indiana, at Bloomington. Joseph completed the classical course, but because of lack of funds he could not remain for graduation. For the next two years Joseph was professor of Greek and Latin at the University of Deseret, and in his spare moments he devoted himself to the study of law, in the office of Williams, Young and Sheeks. In 1874 Joseph was admitted to the bar of the Third District Court, and in 1875 to the bar of the Supreme Court of the Territory.

Joseph met and married Julia Elizabeth Davis on December 8, 1876, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Julia was born December 8, 1851. in Merthyr Tydful, Glamorganshire, Wales. She was the daughter of John S. Davis and Elizabeth Phillips.

Julia and Joseph were the parents of seven children. Their first born, Brent, born in 1878, died in 1883. Other children were Leda 1880, Athol 1883, Alta 1884, Josephine 1885, Lara and Boyce 1890. Josephine only lived one year.

While Julia was busy raising her young family Joseph was busy in politics and in his law practice.

The Democratic Party nominated Joseph as candidate for delegate to Congress. He won the election and took his seat in the House of Representatives in August of 1893. Joseph was defeated in the next election but in the winter of 1896-97 Joseph was elected United States Senator for a period of six years. He then returned to Salt Lake City to resume the practice of law.

Joseph died May 24, 1926, and is buried in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Julia died April 26,1946 and is also buried in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Information from History of Utah, pgs 678-682,

Draper Historical Society. The History of Draper, Utah, Volume Three: People of Draper 1849-1932. (Salt Lake City, UT: Agreka History Publishing, 2004), pp. 590-591, Draper Library, ISBN: 1-888106-45-X.

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