Joseph Lafayette Rawlins bigraphy, stories - United States Senator and Territorial Delegate from Utah

Joseph Lafayette Rawlins : biography

March 28, 1850 - May 24, 1926

Joseph Lafayette Rawlins (March 28, 1850May 24, 1926) was a delegate from the Territory of Utah and a Senator from Utah.

Rawlins was born at Millcreek, Salt Lake County, Utah on March 28, 1850.

He pursued a classical course at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. He was a professor at the University of Deseret, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1873–1875. He then studied law; he was admitted to the bar in 1875, and he commenced practice in Salt Lake City. Raised a Mormon, young Joseph disliked the practice of plural marriage and was grateful that his father, Joseph Sharp Rawlins, resisted the pressure of the church to take a second wife. However, when the elder Rawlins did succumb to the authorities, his son began questioning the principles and practices of Mormonism. By the time Joseph Lafayette returned to Utah after his first year at college, he was well on the way toward apostacy in his views, and by the time he became Salt Lake's city attorney, he considered himself a non-Mormon. He never went back to the church ("The Unfavored Few": The Auto-biography of Joseph L. Rawlins [ed. and amplified by Alta Rawlins Jensen]. Salt Lake City: privately printed, 1956, pp. 63-65, 125).

He was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-third Congress (March 4, 1893 – March 4, 1895). He was then an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1894 to the Fifty-fourth Congress. He was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1897, to March 4, 1903. He was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination.

Afterwards, he continued the practice of law. In 1921, he withdrew from public life and active business, and he died in Salt Lake City on May 24, 1926. He is buried in Salt Lake City Cemetery.

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