Wednesday, February 11, 2004

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Tuesday, February 10, 2004

There are several biographies and life sketches of David William Rainey, but this is the only one, of which I am aware, written by himself. It came into my possession through Enid Durham when I made contact with her in 1998 or 1999. She is somehow connected with David William's fourth wife, Ruth Comish Larsen, who outlived David William. Apparently several of his records, etc., were passed down through 'Aunt Ruth's' children from her first marriage. JDC


[Paragraph 13 indicates that this history was written in 1931]
(Given to Jean Dewey Sisson by Enid Durham, Feb. 19990

I, David William Rainey was born of goodly parents, January 6, 1858 in Provo, Utah. David Pinkney Rainey was my father; Dorothy Jane Dennis was my mother.

When I was two years old we moved to Cache Valley, Our first house in the city of Richmond in Cache Valley was a dugout. As we were moving into it I sat down in my little rocking chair, saying, wisely, ‘This is quite comfortable’.

I remember when the soldiers came up from Fort Douglas to fight the Indians on Battle Creek in 1863, North of Bear River, and of their returning victorious, but with many wounded soldiers.

The Indians were a constant menace to the white people. I used to go out on the hills after the horses, and was always in fear of the Indians.

Once a year the family took a trip down to Pond Town (now Salem) for molasses, fruits, etc. We would go down about conference time and stop over at Salt Lake to attend the meetings.

I helped my father on the farm until I was 16 years old; after that I went off to work. I went down South of Salt Lake to work on a road from Sandy to Bingham Canyon, where contractors were planning to build from Sandy to the Jordan River.

The next year I worked for my Uncle in Little Cottonwood Canyon, hauling ore from the Flagstaff Mine to the smelter.

The next year I worked for my Uncle freighting to Montana from Franklin, Idaho. The Utah Northern Railroad had reached to Franklin from Salt Lake and was to be constructed from there into Montana. But then the freighting was done with mule teams. I used mule teams with two or three wagons in the train. I continued at freighting until just before I got married. I had stayed with it until I was able to get twelve mules and three wagons of my own.

I got married March 24th, 1880, to Mary Maria Olson, daughter of Christopher M. Olson, and Caroline Olson, after which I quit freighting and went to working on the Utah Northern Railroad until it was completed into Butte, Montana.

I had already purchased forty acres of my father’s homestead, but we lived with my mother-in-law for about two years, because we had no house of our own.

While living with my mother-in-law, our first child was born May 8th, 1881. We named her Florence May Rainey. In Jan. 1888, my wife and I took a trip to Salt Lake and went through the endowment house and were sealed to each other by Daniel H. Wells.

Later, I bought twenty acres more land and the improvements on a place joining my first forty acres. However, after I bought it, I went back to Montana with my wife and here two sisters, and worked on the Northern Pacific Railroad, which went through Missoula, Montana to Portland from St. Paul.

After the summer was over, I went back to Cache Valley and continued to work on my place until the early spring of 1888. We had two more children born while living on the farm. Ivy Irene, born Feb. 22nd, 1884, who is still living now, 1931. The other Claudine was born August 9th 1886 and died April 3rd, 1887.

David William, Jr. was born July 4th, 1888, while I was away working. He is now a dentist in Los Angeles, California.

Ruby Marion was born on Salt River [blank] County, Idaho, April 14th, 1981.

I went to Star Valley in the early spring of 1888 and bought a place and then took up a homestead. After David William Jr. was born and my wife was able to move, which was not until Aug. 1888, I moved my family to Star Valley – the town of Freedom, Wyoming, which was on the border of Idaho.

I bought a dairy outfit and went into the dairy business – making cheese and milk and butter.

In 1892, Sept. 2nd, I went to Canada to marry Janet Hanson in polygamy, which was after the manifesto had been issued, however, Wilford Woodruff who had issued the manifesto gave me a recommend to President Card in Canada to perform the marriage ceremony. On the count of the law of the United States and the church I left my second wife in Canada for two years.

In the meantime my first wife, who I had left in the United States left Star Valley to return to Cache Valley.

The next summer she and I were living in Star Valley and continued with the Dairy business. There Christie Jane was born, Nov. 18th, 1893 and died Nov. 13th, 1900.

When I returned to Canada, Christie was a week old, leaving my wife’s mother and a hired family in charge.

In June 15th, 1893, the first child of the 2nd wife was born – Julia Teola, she still lives in Star Valley, her husband is a successful merchant and farmer.

After I took her (my 2nd wife) back to Star Valley Lawrence Irvin [Ivan according to other records] was born May 23rd, 1895, he is still living in Mt. Home, Idaho and [?] had the Ford agency there.

Alta was born May 15th, 1897 and died June 16th, 1926, leaving three children.

Verna was born August 3rd, 1899. She lives in Logan, Utah. Her husband is prosecuting attorney of Cache County – Newel Daines.

Gladys was born July 28th, 1904. She married Roy Williams of Marysvale, Utah while teaching school there.

Fern was born Dec. 31, 1903 – married Mr. Deweyville [correct name is Arlen G Dewey, who was from Deweyville.] [I?] moved to Afton and started a modern dairy, going to business with the stake president and his counselor.

My first wife, Mary Maria Olson died July 20th, 1903, Afton, Wyoming.

When my first wife died, she had eighty acres near town; my 2nd wife had a 120 acre place farther out. When my first wife died, I tried to get my 2nd wife to move into the place where the new house was, but she refused – and while I was on a fishing trip with some friends down Snake River, she took 14 head of milk cows and my small dairy outfit and the house-hold furniture and returned to Freedom to her mother, refusing to help take care of my other children.

I told her if she refused to help me raise my children, I’d get some one who would.

After that I married a widow, Mrs. Margaret Burton Barlow, in 1904. We had one daughter, Dorothy Ellen, named after her two grandmothers. She was born May 7th, 1906. Is now a school teacher in Salt Lake City.

My third wife, Margaret B. Rainey died Feb. 10th, 1908. In Afton, Wyoming. [She died in childbirth and the baby girl was buried in her coffin as well.]

My first wife’s daughter, Josephine Rainey died July 26th, 1919 at Rigby, Idaho.

I married Mrs. Ruth Comish Larsen of Cove, Utah, May 15th, 1912. We moved out of Star Valley living there until Sept. 1917 – when we moved back to Cove, Utah. We lived there until Nov. 1920 when we moved to Harbor City, California, where we have continued to reside since.


When I was little a group of 20 or 30 Indians at a time used to come to the houses and dance and sing to get flour, bread or other provisions. We used to hire the squaws to pick up potatoes, receiving potatoes as pay for their work.


I have been Sunday School Superintendent.
A counselor to Bishop Covington and at the present time am working in Genealogy, in the San Pedro Ward.



While living in Wyoming, a man by the name of Weber who had been in bed so long he was covered with bed sores, called for Bishop Lowe and his counselor Allred to come and administer to him. They went a distance of 25 miles to comply with his desire. I was also invited to go along. After the administration they claimed some spirit that should not be there would have to leave. A woman arose and said it might be her. She left and they went in the prayer circle and then administered to him he was promised that he should get well immediately – Which was literally fulfilled.

In San Pedro, California, a new convert to the church was not expected to live. All the doctors had given her up, and by the power of the Priesthood, she was restored to health and strength. That sister is Gladys Love Merrill.

When I went to Canada the second time to see my 2nd wife, her mother had gone up there and prejudiced her so against me, she would not let me see the baby nor kiss her, although her mother herself had urged and planned the marriage. Later I found out it was some foolish jealousy over a woman who had never been anything but a friend. I planned to return home, not knowing how to make things right, but that Sunday in church, Apostle John W. Taylor, preached a sermon telling how terrible it was for individuals to make trouble between husbands and wives or between friends. The sermon was so powerful my mother-in-law repented and the trouble between us was settled, although Brother Taylor knew nothing of our difficulties. I have always felt that the Lord directed him to speak for my benefit.

I have received a great testimony of genealogical work and a strong desire to work in the Temple of the Lord for the redemption of the dead. For I see very plainly that it is the most important work to be done in the church.



Florence-----------------May 8th, 1881
Ivy Irene-----------------Feb. 22nd, 1884
Claudine----------------August 9th, 1886
David William----------July 4th, 1888
Ruby Marion------------April 14th, 1891
Christie Jane------------Nov. 18th, 1893
Ethel Lucile--------------Mar. 6th, 1896
Josephine----------------Jan. 26th, 1899
Ralph----------------------Aug. 11th, 1902

In Jean Dewey Sisson’s computer files this document is saved as D.W.Rainey3.doc

In Nov. 2003, my nephew Dale S Dewey stayed in our home for most of a week while we worked on family history. I had a great time listening to his memories of my mother, his Grandma Dewey. Before he left, I asked Dale if he would write down some of the things he shared with me and he agreed. Less than a month later, Dale's father, Spence A Dewey, died (Dec. 20, 2003). I knew Dale had many things on his mind with this death and the usual bustle of Christmas, so I didn't expect to hear from him soon. However, on Christmas morning, the following E-mail was awaiting me. What a lovely Christmas gift, the first I 'opened'!

Dale gave me permission to post this on my Rainey/Dewey BLOG site so that others could share in his memories of this quiet, humble woman who touched so many lives for good.

Memories of my Grandma Dewey
Dec. 24, 2003
By Dale Dewey – grandson

My grandmother, Fern Sophronia Rainey Dewey, was one of the most influential people in my life. During my elementary years I would stay with Grandma & Grandpa Dewey for a couple of weeks each summer, in Logan, Utah. My earliest memories of Grandma Dewey are centered around sitting on the living room rug, in the early morning sunlight while I finished getting dressed. She would always burn paper goods in the fireplace and sing the Primary hymns of the Church. It was there, near her side, that I learned my first lessons of the gospel. I suspect it was there that I gained my deep love for the Primary hymns. In December of 1994,I contracted an illness called Guillian-Barre syndrome. During my rehabilitation period I had a tape made of Primary hymns. It was this tape of Primary hymns, many of the songs Grandma had sung to me, that gave me hope and spoke peace to my soul as I went through the process of learning to walk again. One of her favorite hymns was ‘Give Said the Little Stream.’ She not only taught me the words, but taught me the message of each hymn she sang.

At night, before being tucked into bed, we would gaze out the second story window and look upon the lighted spires of the Logan temple. As she spoke of the temple and told me stories of this great edifice and spoke of the life of Jesus Christ, I remember feeling that it was our family’s own special temple. She spoke of it fondly and instilled in me a great desire to someday enter therein. As I grew and found an eternal companion, it was the Logan Temple that came to my heart as the place I wanted to go to be sealed. After all, it was what Grandma Dewey and I talked about – it was the Dewey temple.

During most of my teenage years, we lived too far away from my grandma to visit during the summer. Upon graduation from high school, I entered the military, and soon found myself in Viet Nam. Thoughts of the lessons my grandmother taught me often entered my mind. One day, to my great surprise, I was notified that a Military Chaplin wanted to see me. I was worried that something had happened back home, but as it turned out, Grandma had tracked me down and put me in touch with an LDS Chaplin. Her love for me has been felt all through my life.

I firmly believe in the concept taught by Elder Paul H. Dunn – the concept of a cheering section in the spirit world. Ancestors who have gone before us in life and in death, who under the direction of the Lord, seek to encourage us and provide us extra incentive to do better in our lives. Since the death of Grandma, I have never seen her or heard her kind and loving words, but while racked with pain in a lonely rehab hospital I could hear, in my mind, Grandma singing, ‘Give Said the Little Stream’ and I knew the Savior was ‘giving’ me the gift of life. I knew I would be okay.

When it comes time for me to lay this mortality down, I believe it will be Grandma who will find me and welcome me home.

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