Lillie Lang (1888-1965)

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Lillie Lang Robison Stevens
Robison, Lillie Lang.jpg
Lillie Lang Robison
Born: 1 Oct 1888 Beaver, Utah
Died: 29 Sep 1965 Roosevelt, Utah
Father: John Mickelson Lang
Mother: Annie Marie Ipson
Siblings: Lillie Lang
Spouse: (1) Alma Pratt Robison
Married: 23 Apr 1912 St. George, Washington, Utah
Children: Birdie Isabella Robison
Willis Alma Robison
Spouse: (2) Oliver Carlos Stevens
Married: 11 Mar 1943 Salt Lake City, Utah

Born October 1, 1888

(Written by Birdie, her daughter)

Lillie Lang was born on a farm three miles north of Beaver known as North Creek, to John Michelson Lang and Annie Maria Ipson Lang, 1 October 1888. She was the fourth child in a family of eleven. During her childhood, she was surrounded by two older sisters, her younger brother, Martin, and Grandfather John Lang living in Beaver and her Aunt Dorothy Baker, her mother’s sister. They were a well-knit family. The children had wood to carry, cows to watch, butter to churn, and younger children to watch. Many hours were spent together as a family. Older sisters, Cathy and Ina drove a horse cart into Beaver to school. Her father was presiding elder at this farm. One day Martin about 2 ½ years old stood in the road with his little red wagon. The team of horses ran away from her father towards Martin. As they got to him, they separated far enough apart to miss him and his wagon. Guardian angels were near that day. They all lived on this farm until her father was seriously ill with “Catarrah” of the head. He sold the farm and took the family to Salt Lake City to get medical aid. They got to Spanish Fork leaving the family with John’s Grandparents and went on to Salt Lake with Lillie and Martin. He recovered O.K. in time.

They went back to Beaver, first settling in the west of town, next buying a house in the east of town. Lillie started school in Beaver. Her penmanship was perfect. Never did she misspell any words. Her school work, artwork too was very tastefully done. Her sewing was without fault. About 1901 her father sold the home and rented the farm ground at the Beaver Branch of the B.Y.U. about 2½ miles east of town. She attended this Academy until the year of the sickness told about in her mother’s history when she had to quit school to care for the family. So at 17 she was through with her formal education, but she was very well educated and she had good values: she believed ‘having a place for things, and things in their place’. Meals were served three times a day and her home was always neat and clean. Her hospitality was unrivaled. “If there is room in the heart, there is room in the home” was her motto.

She seemed to have learned the skills of all her extended family: She could half-sole and re-heel shoes; she could build and repair buildings; she could cook and sew, and she painted beautifully. She crocheted, tatted, embroidered, quilted, wove rag rugs and recited literature. She had taken piano lessons from Homer Durham and played “Nearer My God to Thee.” She was the perfect, patient mother, sister, wife, and gardener.

When she was 16, the family moved to Buckhorn Springs, it was halfway between beaver and Paragonah, in Iron County. She first saw her future husband Alma Pratt Robison in Buckhorn. She was hanging out clothes when he called on her sister Ina. He greeted her, but because she was bashful and went into the house, she never saw him for two years. She knew from first sight that he was the one for her. After the final courtship, they traveled with her sister, Ina Limb as their chaperone in a white top buggy to St. George where, with the roses blooming, on 23 April 1912, they were married. Their honeymoon: a week doing temple work. After returning to Buckhorn, they learned of his mother’s untimely death of a stroke the very day that they were married.

They were proving up on a homestead in Buckhorn, but 12 June 1912, they went to Fillmore on a visit, staying and working. They farmed a place west of Fillmore known as the Sink, having a good year of raising alfalfa seed. From the sale of the seed they purchased her Vertical Feed Sewing machine and their De La Val cream separator and other necessities.

Lillie and Alma’s sister, Carrie, Became good friends and because Aunt Carrie’s husband was on a mission, she had come back to Fillmore to care for her mother’s family. Lillie copied many of her mother-in-law’s writing at this time.

Their oldest child, Birdie Isabella Robison, was born 12 January 1914. They named her his mother’s pet name. Alma was overjoyed that his first was a girl as all his brother’s had had boys first. Birdie had a secure childhood; she was loved and her achievements were recognized. They taught her by their love and kind ways. Lillie’s mother died 1 February 1914 and Birdie being but two weeks old, they missed that funeral too.

Alma and Lillie lived in Buckhorn Springs while proving up on a homestead. There was a one-roomed log cabin on the place, artesian flowing wells and a root cellar. It was north of John M. Lang’s. Heat mirages, lizards and badgers were about and there was untilled ground on many sides. In the spring floods separated us from my Uncle will Keith’s family of cousins, causing us to sleep over on one occasion. Birdie less that 3, was taught to count by 2’s and 5’s before my cousins and she got out of bed. My Aunt Ina’s family lived south of Grandpa’s and there was a community church and school. My Aunt Mary lived with us sometimes. This was during World War I and the terrible flu epidemics. People wore masks over their mouths and noses. We didn’t have the flu. The very first automobiles were coming out and we rode in one to my aunt Artimisia’s funeral when falling on the doubletrees and breaking her neck. We went to Beaver to that funeral in that dusty, noisy car.

When not proving up on the homestead they lived in Minersville and Beaver too.

The year that the war ended, they were in Beaver awaiting the birth of their second child, Willis Alma Robison, born 28 January 1918. Mother knows that she carried him 10 months and he was born breach tearing her internally. That was their last baby. They had hoped for and got a son. He certainly had a warm corner in their hearts and received many an admiring glance as he developed into the handsome dark-eyed, dark-haired child that he was.

Because of a visit to Granit at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon Carrie Despain persuaded them to stay there where schools were the finest in the state. So Birdie went part way through the sixth grade there. They started buying a farm. Lillie was secretary of the Primary here. They always took their family to church walking or hitching up Bess or Queen to our black buggy. We had many good times visiting and playing with our cousins who lived here. It was at this time because John M. Lang had lost his second wife, we often had him and Uncle William, Aunt Mary, Emily, or Carlos S. Lang visiting or living with us. We lost this place and moved to Sandy. Alma still worked, but we were closer to the street car. Lillie and the children wove rag rugs to help with the livelihood. We raised a garden and bottled fruit.

They enjoyed visits from family members here too. Aunt Carrie’s from Granite, five miles from the east nieces and nephews from Salt Lake, riding the street car out for 25 cents. Brothers and sisters, aunts, cousins and once Grandpa Lonnie Robison from Fillmore. They all felt at home at our place. We had and enjoyed friends everywhere we went. Musical training and schools were good here. Church experiences and entertainments are shining memories. Lillie was Religion Class president in the second ward. This was a Thursday after school class in addition to primary. We never missed our church meets. Aunt Mary & Birdie even going to a Scandinavian service.

Late in the summer of 1928, the Mollerup Moving Van took us to Kaysville. We moved right into the depth of the depression. We lived from day to day, working at every job that we could find. We still wove rugs. We lived in five or six places in Kaysville so we walked or neighbors gave us rides. Dad started to grow a cherry orchard on an acre of ground several blocks east of Main Street in Kaysville. We lost that to bad times. This moving and striving to make a living was one part of this history, but the real spirit of that home was made by Lillie’s fine home management. Always keeping a clean, neat, well-ordered home’ always serving meals regularly and clothing and feeding her family and making all who came welcome and comfortable too. Birdie Despain McMillian wrote 1 October 1965, after her (Lillie’s) death: “But my Dear Aunt Lillie will always live in my memory as one of the kindest persons I’ve ever known, not only kind words, but kind, kind deeds. Andy you know she must have been tired, but she never thought of herself. We all have to stand before the judgment seat of God and I doubt if there ever was a person with more genuine compassion for her fellowmen, wherever they were. God knows, and will reward her.”

After the children’s marriages, Alma suffered from heart trouble and was advised not to work. So in 1938 or 1939 he came out to Birdie’s and Sherman’s helping with the chores and the children. Lillie stayed in Davis County and was school lunch supervisor. While there he found some ground in Ioka and decided that he and Lillie should have a home at last. After he got the first crop in Lillie came out and they rented a house nearby and they had a couple of years together there. They started to build a home there. What good watermelons they raised, and they started many trees. Everything grew for them. They had young pullets starting to lay eggs. Alma was working at Myton on a Public Works Project. He was stricken with coronary thrombosis and died just before they were to move into their new home. He died 22 December 1941. We buried him in the Boneta- Mountain Home Cemetery the day after Christmas. Lillie lived with Birdie for a time. We set up the loom and wove rugs for a while. Then because Willis remarried and after Patricia was born she went in to Salt Lake and worked at the Lion House serving food. Willis went overseas.

When Aunt Martha died, instead of retiring and taking life a little easier, she felt she was called to help raise Martha’s family so she married Uncle Carlos (Stevens) 11 March 1943 and cooked, washed, ironed, doctored, trained, guided and disciplined the family of ten of the twelve unmarried children. When Donal, the oldest son was serving in the Navy got word of his aunt Lillie’s coming to mother the children, he said, “Of all the women father could have picked, he couldn’t have picked a better one.”

Their home was in Enoch. Leaving there they moved to Bear River City in the late 1940’s. Life was pleasant and busy as she devoted her life to her husband and family until she was injured in an automobile accident in 1951 while they were on their way to the Lang Reunion. Then the husband and the children could return her services to them by waiting on her. She had lived with them for 22 years.

After he had a stroke and his children put him in a nursing home in Brigham City, Lillie came home to Birdie. Part of the first summer and nearly all of the second summer she spent with Willis in Rock Springs. Her final illness was a series of strokes and seizures. It lasted a month. She died 29 September 1965, just three days before she would have been 77 years old. We buried her in the Boneta-Mountain Home Cemetery beside Alma. Aunt Carrie Despain said of her: “Happy that she can go in peace, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that her dear Redeemer lives; that she will meet and enjoy the company of all the dear ones who have gone before.” Time advances and speeds on and before we can realize it, we have as the saying goes, “One foot in the grave” and we can go no more or only under handicap. What a blessing death is to the righteous. And she has been all her life, righteous, loving and serving others. For her there awaits a great reward.


  • Despain, Carrie Robison and Garner, Melba Despain. History & Genealogy of the Franklin Alonzo Robison Family, pp. 27, 67.
  • LDS Family Group Record Collection [Patron Section]
Submitted by: Birdie R. Swasey
Family of: Alma Pratt Robison & Lillie Lang