Isabella Pratt Robison (1884-1913)

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Isabella Pratt Robison Keith
Isabella Robison Keith.jpg
Mrs. Isabel Robison Keith
Born: 23 Jan 1884 Fillmore, Utah
Died: 21 Feb 1913 Fillmore, Utah
Father: Franklin Alonzo Robison
Mother: Isabella Eleanor Marden Pratt
Siblings: Alonzo Franklin Robison
Parley Proctor Robison
Joseph Alfred Robison
Herma Lucretia Robison
Belinda Pratt Robison
Ruth Pratt Robison
Isabella Pratt Robison
Carrie Pratt Robison
Alma Pratt Robison
Harmel Pratt Robison
Parker Pratt Robison
Olea Pratt Robison
Half Siblings: Willis Nephi Robison
Lois Hattie Robison
Josephine Robison
Herbert Alonzo Robison
Ella Adelia Robison
Alverna Robison
Ancil Platte Robison
Addie Florence Robison
Archie Robison
Bernard Thorpe Robison
Nolan Frederick Robison
Lowell Robison
Homer Franklin Robison
Eldred Vickery Robison
Loran Culbert Robison
Lindon Wells Robison
Alda Leona Robison
Spouse: William Jairus Keith

10 Jun 1903

Salt Lake City, Utah
Children: Bessie Clell Keith
William Jairus Keith, Jr.
Sarah Lucille Keith
Olea Gem Keith
Isabella Lynn Keith

Isabella Pratt Robison was born at Fillmore, Millard, Utah on January 23, 1884, the fourth daughter and seventh child of Franklin Alonzo Robison and Isabella E. M. Pratt. She was born in the “rock house.”

At the age of six she began school in the little rock house a block from home through cross-lots through the city park. It was a large one-room house with old fashioned double benches. One teacher taught three or four grades. Isabella loved her teachers and loved to learn. She was a very bright child and learned remarkably fast.

When Isabella was seven years old, she and her sister Ruth came down with diphtheria while their brother Alfred had the grippe. The rest of the children had severe colds, except Carrie, who had eaten a cup of the sulfur and molasses their mother had prepared as a preventative. Mother feared that she would be sick but she was the only one who stayed well. As it was winter, and the stairs were awkward to travel, Mother moved beds down into the front living room for those who were sick. It seemed a novelty to the rest of the children, and they thought the situation must be very serious. Indeed it was for Isabella. There were not doctors available, but kind helpful neighbors and friends came to help. One remedy offered Isabella was to have golden seal or burnt alum put into a funnel and blown down her throat; one held her down, another held the lamp, while another held the funnel and blew. It was very distressing to her. One night she kicked so hard that she knocked the chimney off the lamp, and it fell on her, burning a bad blister on the side of her face near her neck. The folks felt so badly about it that they gave up treating her throat. Her father and the other Elders administered to her and she recovered. The burn dripped water and discharge as an abscess for several days. Her mother thought that the disease in her throat sloughed off through the burn, and helped with her recovery. However, she was left with a bad heart which never improved.

Isabell was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on July 7, 1892 up behind the old mill at Fillmore.

The great trial in her life from the time of her illness was her physical weakness. She never complained about it, but her eagerness to do her part, and to spare others from doing too much caused her to use her strength to the limit. Every exertion caused her to pant and run short of breath, and her heart to pound. She loved activity, and was of a social disposition, so she didn’t retire easily. Her kind loving personality, and extreme unselfishness brought her the love of her brothers and sisters. Alfred always called her his girl and was always acting in her defense when defense seemed necessary. Carrie, two years younger than Isabell, was always in sympathy with her, and tried to spare her strength as much as she could, so they continually tried to out-do each other in kindness and help. Years later as these sisters recalled their childhood, Carrie said, “Do you ever remember us quarreling or having unkind feelings between us?” Isabella said, “Not since I can remember.” Then she added, “Once when I was combing your hair you carried on so I hit you with the comb, then I felt so badly about it that I went off and cried.”

Life was never dull in the “Rock House” with its big family. The girls’ room upstairs had a daily moving, due to the fact that Ruth liked her bed by the closed window, and Isabell and Carrie liked their bed by the same window. Every time Ruth went upstairs and found her bed pushed away from the window, she proceeded to pull the other bed away and put hers there, and vice-versa.

The big house had four fireplaces in it. The one in the living room was usually kept burning all winter. It would burn faces and warm toes, but backs were always cold. However, a heater in the living room kept the family fairly comfortable as they enjoyed reading together in the evenings, or listening to the music of the organ which Linda especially could touch their hearts with, playing the hymns and other beautiful classical music that was enjoyed by all the family. All of them could play at least a little, and they loved to sing. Isabell could play by ear most of the tunes she heard. However, she could not sing much because of a hoarseness in her throat. She also loved to read, write, draw, paint and sew. She was especially gifted at making dainty, fancy things.

Two big swings in the apple trees provided many happy hours of play for Isabell and her brothers and sisters. Sometimes they would herd cows up at the Warner lot (where Aunt Hattie and Aunt Lois later had homes), and they played in the sand there, threw small apples they picked up there, and chased lizards. One day a lizard ran up Linda’s sleeve. They picked apples, plums, and pears up there to take home.

Every year their father took a load of the children on the wagon down to the farm to pick up potatoes. He plowed out the potatoes, and the children picked them up into buckets, and filled the wagon box. They ate their lunch there, and played in the sand and hunted snail shells, and evening found them riding home the seven miles on the load of spuds, which were stored in the cellar under the rock house. Isabell participated in these expeditions, and would stay with the work as long as she could, until she was panting furiously and her heart pounded audibly.

Isabell was a very progressive child, and ambitious. In school she studied diligently, excelling in English and literature. Her compositions were highly praised by her teachers. She was very proficient at diagramming sentences, reconstructing or correcting poor composition. Mr. Thomas D. Reese, her teacher in the eighth grade and the first two years of high school, had her correct the English papers and compositions, also teach an English class for him regularly. He said she could excel him or anyone he had ever seen, and he encouraged her to pursue a career in magazine story writing or other literary profession. She might have done this had she not had more important duties for her limited strength. Each year she was forced to quit school about March because of her health.

She was always faithful and diligent in her callings in the Church. She was called to teach in the primary at Fillmore in December, 1899. January 13, 1900 she was chose as assistant secretary in the YWMIA. She held this position until September, 1902. Her feet and legs were badly swollen with dropsy, and she had to wear her father’s felt boots at home. With all of her illness, she never gave up trying to do the things her ambition dictated. She continued to write, paint and sew when she couldn’t do other things.

A young man, whose sister had come to Fillmore from far-off Asheville, North Carolina and married Isabell’s brother Alfred, had joined the church and proceeded to join the Saints there also. As soon as he met Isabell, they fell in love, and were soon engaged. William Jairus Keith and Isabella Pratt Robison were married in the Salt Lake Temple by Elder John R. Winder, on June 10, 1903.

She felt her health, or lack of it, would be unfair to him in marriage, but he told her, “I’ll love you all the more.” He was a very devoted, loving husband, and she did all in her power to make him happy. Her health grew steadily worse, but he provided every help and comfort he could to make her burdens lighter. They were both very desirous of having a family, and in spite of her weakness, she bore him five beautiful healthy children. Her faith buoyed her up when it seemed she could no longer go on, and she enjoyed the blessings that come from motherhood and gloried in the love of her devoted husband. She helped her little ones to learn to carry the responsibility that must be theirs, and taught them to be useful. She attended her church meetings as often as she possibly could, and kept all the commandments to the best of her ability. She was never heard to find fault with anyone, and her faith and prayers were a sustaining influence to her family. She had a testimony of the Gospel, and instilled into the hearts of her tiny children a love of righteousness.

She worried that she was not able to wait on herself and her family as she wanted to do, and her physical suffering was great. She passed away at the age of 29 years on February 21, 1913, leaving besides her husband, five children, the oldest eight years old and the youngest 2 years and 3 months.

William later married again providing the children with a kind and loving mother, and they grew up to be an honor to their parents.

[Condensed by Melba Despain Garner from a sketch written about 1950 by Carrie R. Despain]


The Millard County Progress Review, vol 22, Friday 28 Feb 1913, No. 9:


Two of Fillmore's Well Known

Ladies Answer Last Call

On Saturday last occured the death of Mrs. Isabel Robison Keith wife of William Keith and mother of five children. The case is a sad one from the fact that the children left are all small and unable to care for themselves. The deceased was a faithful Latter-day Saint all her life and carried with her to her grave the loving respect of the entire community. She was the daughter of Franklin A. Robison and Isabel E. Pratt Robison and was born and raised here in Fillmore where she lived all her life. The funeral was held in the Ward Chapel on Sunday afternoon last and the speakers Elders Christain Anderson and Peter L. Brunson. Appropriate music was rendered by the Ward Choir.


  • Despain, Carrie Robison and Garner, Melba Despain. History & Genealogy of the Franklin Alonzo Robison Family, p. 27, 50-52.
  • Day, Stella H., ed., Builders of Early Millard, p. 604.
  • LDS Family Group Record Collection [Patron Section]
Submitted by: O. Stanley Allen
Family of: William Jairus Keith & Isabella Pratt Robison
  • The Daily Herald on Sunday, 13 Sep 1998, page A6, Obituary: William Jairus (Bill) Keith, Jr.
  • The Daily Herald on Sunday, 5 Sep 1999, page A9, Obituary: Bessie Luke.
  • Burial: Lichfield, Beulah Menlove. Cemetery Records, Fillmore, Millard County, Utah, p. 36:
Name: KEITH, Isabella Pratt
Born: in Fillmore, Utah
Age at Death: 29 yrs 29 da
Parents: F. Alonzo Robison & Isabella Pratt
Died: 21 Feb 1913
Buried: Block 48, Lot 2
Reported by: Parker Robison
Comments: Married. Was a housewife.
  • Burial: Fillmore City Corporation, Cemetery Single Line List, by Deceased Name, 22 Apr 1990, p. 29:
KEITH, Isabella Pratt
BLK 48, Lot 2, Grave 5
d. 2-21-1913
  • Death variant: 22 Feb 1913 [obituary]