John Harvey and Eustacia Rawlins Cunningham Wiser


John was born April 9, 1858 at Alpine, Utah the fourth child and oldest son of John McCormick and Martha McKinney Frost Wiser.  His eight siblings are Sarah Ann born February 26, 1852, Amanda Jane born January 13, 1854, Mary Olive born February 11, 1856, Nancy Alvira born April 8, 1860, Samuel Frost born October 23, 1862, stillborn child born about 1864, George Harmon born October 11, 1867, and Allie Arminda born February 24, 1870.

 

He was born almost eleven years after the pioneers came to the Salt Lake Valley and in 1860, when he was two years of age, the family moved to Richmond, Utah where they lived in the Richmond Fort keeping house in a wagon box until the fort was completed.  John had little formal education or schooling however, he became scholarly in reading and understanding the bible and scriptures quoting them freely throughout his life.

 

In the spring of 1872, when he was fourteen years of age, the family moved to Lewiston, Utah where his father had taken up a homestead of one hundred sixty acres of land.  They struggled against poverty, drought, grasshoppers, and the elements.  Developing the land took years of hard work and, with John being the eldest son, he had much of the responsibility for the farming and providing for the family.

 

During this period of time, farming methods were quite primitive with grain being harvested by cutting it with a “cradle”, hand raking it, and then hand binding it by taking straw and making a band to secure the bundle.  John was always a hard worker.  He hauled freight to Butte and Helena, Montana driving three or four teams of mules on a wagon with just a jerk line and trailing one or two wagons behind.  He also worked on the railroad for a time and spent a lot of time working in the canyon.

 

On January 4, 1883 John married Eustacia Rawlins Cunningham in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City and together they are the parents of nine children.  John Andrew, William Harvey, Clarence Cunningham, Myron Cunningham, Leda Pearl (Olson), Leora (King), Hyrum Leon, Cliff, and Orville.

 

Eustacia was born April 30, 1862 at Salt Lake City, Utah the youngest child and fourth daughter of Andrew and Lucinda Ann Rawlins Cunningham.  Her eight siblings are James Alma born June 14, 1842, Adam Jetson Rawlins born August 15, 1843, Andrew Homer Rawlins born July 9, 1845, Maranda Jane Rawlins born March 29, 1848, Semantha Amelia Rawlins born February 4, 1850, Lucinda Ann born March 29, 1852, Hyrum Rawlins born January 12, 1855, and Joseph Rawlins born June 11, 1858.

 

She, being the youngest child, did not know three of her siblings as they had passed on before she was born.  Adam Jetson died June 27, 1844, Maranda Jane died in October of 1849, and Andrew Homer died in 1853.  She was not quite six years of age when her father passed away on March 2, 1868.

 

In 1887, John, his brother Samuel Frost, and Hyrum Karren and sons purchased and brought the first horse-powered thresher to Lewiston.  This thresher was employed throughout the area for several years.  While working on the West Cache Canal in 1901, John was called to serve as a missionary in the South Western States Mission.  He labored in Oklahoma, which was Indian Territory at that time, from January 13, 1902 to April 5, 1904.

 

When he left for his mission, there was considerable debt and the family had many difficulties during his absence.  They lost three or four horses and were sick with mumps and whooping cough.  Eustacia had lots of faith and never complained.  She kept John on his mission, bought a team of horses, built picket fences around the property, paid off all the debts, bought an organ and took music lessons, and had money in the bank when John returned.

 

The red brick family home at 405 West Center Street, Lewiston is where John and Eustacia were living at the times of their deaths.  She passed away October 9, 1947 and he passed away February 6, 1950. 

 

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SOURCE:  Wiser Family Genealogy and History compiled by Thelma King Woodland.