Tuesday, July 12, 2011



Christian Peter Halverson
Christian Peter Halverson was born in Redmond, Sevier County, Utah on September 25, 1893.  He was the third child of Ane Marie (Mary) Peterson and Lars Andrew Halverson.  This was in pioneer times, when it was hard for his parents to provide for all their needs.  The land was poor, the winters were cold and the prices for their produce was low.  There was no money in the area - script from the store was used exclusively. 

After losing the farm in Redmond the family moved back to Palmyra where his brother Harvey and sister, Eliza, were born.  Joe was born in Mapleton, three years later.

From the time he was eight years old, Chris had to work very hard.  He not only had to work and do chores on his father's farms, but worked for neighbor's to bring home whatever income he could to help the family.  I don't have the childhood stories of Chris, he didn't seem to talk about, like the other older children never had much time to play and missed lots of school when he was a child but was later able to finish.  His brother, Harvey said "Chris was the only one of all the older kids to graduate.  He did this while he was working for Ed Banks in Lake Shore, in his teens."  Chris's since of humor and his ability to play while working made a hard life more bearable. 

Chris loved to play baseball and was very good at it.  In later life he played catcher for Spanish Fork, Utah and Dillon, Montana.  Harvey remembers when he broke a couple of fingers at one of these games. 

Chris standing far left
When Chris lived at Lake Shore, He worked for Ed Banks for $300 dollars a year.  Ed always spoke very highly of Chris.  After he finished school, he bought a very fancy rig (carriage) and a pony to pull it.  He was very proud of it.  We have no pictures of the rig but we have pictures of the horse.  His name was Pinto, and he was a lively and spirited horse, everyone just loved him.  When work was done, you would see Chris was seen dressed up in his very best clothes going off to visit the girls.  His father killed the poor horse with an axe when he baulked at pulling a hay-wagon up on Billie’s Mountain.  I don't know where Chris was at the time Dillon or the army, maybe Rag Town.

Chris was eleven years old when the family left for Idaho.  He and Jim, Myrtle and Ray walked all the way to Ucon, Idaho.  He was now old enough to do a man's work on the farm.  Andrew's older sister who married Neils Jenson sent for Andrew she had found a farm for him to buy.  He didn't buy it, he was afraid to go into debt.  The family tried many farms in several Idaho cities before going broke and moving back to Utah January 1910.

Chris back far right
Chris, now 17 years old and never made the move back to Utah.  He had answered a "help wanted" add and began working for a man named Peterson who had a large farm with lots of cattle.  Chris was a hard worker and very trustworthy.  When winter came and the family was leaving, Peterson bought Chris the best clothes he had ever owned and a saddle horse.  Chris would get the cattle up and around in the morning to keep them from freezing and then do the many chores that a farm had.  Peterson would send cattle to Seattle in box cars, Chris would go with them. 

Chris front right---Jose dark dress back of him
Chris came back to Lake Shore the next year where his family now lived.  His Father had told both Chris and James to come home, they could get work at Magna working for Utah Copper.  

Chris did come home and got a job at Magna working in the mills.  He lived with his father and brothers Jim and Ray in a place called Rag Town, near Magna, but he didn't like the work.  Then one day an opening came, on the B&G railroad which was part of the same company.  When Chris applied for it, the boss fired him. 

Jose back right
Chris then went to Dillon, Montana to work on a cattle ranch but it was later sold by the owner.  He was now twenty-one years old and a war was on so he volunteered. 

He became a member of the U.S. Regular Army on June 4, 1917, and given an Honorable Discharge with a rank of Corporal, June 21, 1919. 

His training was in Fort Sill, Oklahoma and Camp H. J. Jones, Arizona.  He was with Battery F, 11th Field Artillery.  The morning of July 14, 1918, departed New York Harbor aboard the Royal Mail Steamer "Caronia", a Cunard liner converted into an American transport.  They arrived at Winchester England, July 27th.  August 1st, they proceeded to Southampton and embarked to Cherbourg, France, and the war.  Chris was wounded in action between October 26, 1918 and November 11, 1918. 

Christian Peter Halverson, 87 of Salt Lake City, died 11 November 1980.  He married Josephine Lambardi.  She died 7 July 1865.  Retired Engineer for the D&RGW Railroad.  He had lived in Soldier Summit, Thistle, and SLC.  He was buried at the  Evergreen Cemetery, in Springville.
Born 25 September 1893 Redmond, Utah

four families of 1st cousins--Ray 2nd back row


"Grandma told me about his going to war and how she never heard from him for over a year.  Other boys were returning to Mapleton but she still didn't hear from Chris.  How she grieved and prayed for him.  One day she was looking out the window towards where the little store used to be and she saw Chris walking down the road.  That was probably the most ecstatic moment of her life.  You know she had his uniform in that old armoire in her bedroom.  One of our weekly chores was to take Uncle Chris' uniform out of the closet and brush it and carefully put it back." 

"In my nine-year-old mind, she made Uncle Chris a very romantic figure and I always felt he was a very special person, from the time I was nine-years-old, I sent him a Christmas Card every single year till he died."

After returning to civilian life, he became employed by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, remaining with them until his retirement as a Railroad Engineer.
Jose   Chris back row

During the great depression, Chris worked on both highway and railroad construction and maintenance.  When he first worked for the railroad, he lived in a boarding house in Thistle, Utah.  He was a fireman on a steam-driven locomotive and was required to maintain the correct steam pressure on the locomotive at all times.  Tons of coal was shoveled into the firebox on each trip over the mountain to Helper and back again to Thistle. 
Jose in Thistle, Utah
This is where he met and later married his wife, Jose (Josephine Lombardy) on the 5 Dec., 1922.  She was a daughter of Mary Ann Leak and James Lombardy.  She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on the 16 April, 1900, was raised and went to school in Thistle.  Her father was Section Foreman for the track. 

Chris front left--4 brothers one sister

Thistle, Utah
By Eugene Halverson
Ranchers and farmers lived in Thistle many years before the railroads came.  They called it Thistle because of the “Canadian Thistles” growing there.  The town was   built in a narrow canyon.  Thistle Creek meandered through and dumped into the Spanish Fork River just below town.   I was too young to remember it as a railroad town.  To me it was just a pleasant little town with some old wooden houses and a store and a gas station.  It was cool and pleasant little town nestled under some red sand-stone cliffs. 

Starting in 1883 the D&RGW Railroad moved in and took over the town.  The first branch of the railroad went right through town and on to San Pete County.  The next branch followed Spanish Fork Canyon over Soldier Summit to Carbon County.   The canyon and the Valley filled with railroad yards, loading ramps, coal and water towers, and even “round-houses”. 

It eventually became a “Company Railroad Town” with a company store.  This had to be the grocery store Chris and Jose operated.  Chris worked himself up from a Fireman to an Engineer for the D&RGW running “Helper Engines” between here and Helper. 

Old Steam Engine
Jose was a Lombardi and her father worked for the railroad too.  Her father and mother lived here with Jose’s brothers and sisters.  Ray was raised near them and felt close to his Lombardi family.  Jose’s mother, Mary Ann, 67, died here about 1941.It was now a “Company Railroad Town” with a company store.  We are told of a grocery store that Chris and Jose operated but it was a Pool Hall.

 A book “The Railroad Town of Thistle” by Baadsgaard and Edwards, tells us this.

“Harry’s Inn and Pool Hall”
Add caption

Chris Halverson ran the pool hall after Harry “Hans” Lombardi quit.  He had a brother, Joe that worked in the Sand House.  Joe lived in Mapleton.  When Harry moved to Salt Lake Chris took over Harry’s Pool Hall.  Chris was still working for the D&RGW and bought empty coal cars back to Thistle where other bigger engines took them on to Helper.  Chris would then take his engine and turn it around in in the “Round House”, hook on to a bunch of loaded cars and take them to Salt Lake.   He would check and see how his pool hall was running before leaving for Salt Lake.  He did this for about three years until he closed in 1942.

Chris worked himself up from a Fireman to an Engineer for the D&RGW running “Helper Engines” between here and Helper until 1939.  When he moved to Salt Lake City he ran out of SLC on the main line to Helper and Grand Junction till about 1961.  

Ray was born here on 14 June, 1926.  He was an only child.

When “Diesel Engines” replaced the Steam Engines the town shrank down to a few houses.  So in the summer of 1939, the family moved to Salt Lake City, on Denver Street near Liberty Park.  Ray must have felt devastated; he left a home in a town he loved, cousins and friends he had known all his life, there was no mountain to play in, stream to fish and swim in. I to move from Bingham, I knew how he felt.
They must have lived here on Denver Street for about 20 years, when Ray was able to build the home on Wander Lane in Holladay.  They moved here in about 1960??  We all remember Chris and his flowers and garden.  

far left Aunt Jose
Aunt Jose was an excellent cook and homemaker.  Her home was always spotless and I can still remember her lemon meringue pie.  She loved to play cards, on club nights she and her friends would play canasta.  She was a member of the LDS Church and a Relief Society teacher.  A Board Member of the Rio Grand Old Timer's Club, a member of the Locomotive Engineers and Firemen's Ladies Auxiliary. 

One day while she was visiting her brother at his home she opened the wrong door and fell down the basement stairs, a terrible tragedy.  She died 6 July, 1965, Spanish Fork, Utah. 

Chris owned a cabin on the Strawberry Reservoir, the family spent many a day enjoying life here.  In later years, his best fishing partner was his brother, Harvey.  Many enjoyable hours were spent by the two of them at the Lake telling stories and catching the big one.  Uncle Chris lived alone for fifteen years, on 11 Nov., 1980 in Salt Lake City; he died of heart failure at the age of 87 years old.  Both Chris and Jose were buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Springville. 

I remember visiting their home on Denver Street; it was so close to Liberty Part that we were able walk from one to the other.  I had never seen so much grass and big playgrounds.  We never had anything like this in Bingham.  I remember it as a red brick house.  I was with Dad and Mother until my mid-teens after that I had a job with the Utah Copper. I still have photos of Ray and the Park.
The War was still going strong when he graduated from South High School in Salt Lake City.  He was 18 and Draft-age so Ray joined the US Army and for the next 30 months - August 17, 1944 - November 30, 1946 - spent time in Texas, The Philippine Islands and Japan.  He received his Honorable Discharge as Sgt T-3.  Ray attended the University of Utah and worked for the Utah Department of Highways for 10-1/2 years and was Chief Traffic Engineer for the last 4-1/2 years.  He joined 3M Company, January 1, 1959 and retired after 31 years as an Account Executive.  He moved to Texas in 1971 and served in addition to the 3M responsibilities in the following organizations: Chairman, Texas Highway Users Federation; Vice President - Texas Safety Association; Member, Texas Good Roads/Public Transportation; Member, Institute of Traffic Engineers; and Texas Section, ITE.

Merrill, James, Chris at Strawberry
Rays Obituary by the Christensen Family—short version
Ray died 28 January 2011.  In the 84 years he lived an extraordinary panorama that included a single-room school-house in thistle, World War ll-torn Philippines, endless stretches of Texas Highways, scenes of Ireland, Kenya, Cuba, and countless natural wonders across the globe. 
Ray experienced extremes of every measure.  From the Great Depression to the spoils of Neiman Marcus, from war-rations to his gourmet cooking, from an only child status to being “Uncle Ray” by his neighbor-cum-family.  It was hard not to embrace a personality like his.  Ray’s charisma earned him success and awards in his career at the 3M Highway Division.  More importantly it won him lifelong friends in the many places he called home.  Salt Lake City, Austin Texas, then to Scottsdale, Arizona, and later moved to St. George.  He freely gave of his talents and was named “Volunteer of the Year in 2007” for his many years of service to the Bureau of Land Management. He will be buried by his father and mother in the Evergreen Cemetery, Springville.

Ray  back center
So, between High School, Army, University and work, Ray was taken away from us.  I talked to him on the phone while he was in Texas.  He was on the road a lot but he had a cabin on a nearby lake.  He never fished at Strawberry and I don’t believe he fished there.  He said he was a better cook than a fisherman.  I imagine he still enjoyed the quiet and solitude of a lake.  I know he had to repair his cabin there from “Flood Damage”.  I talked to him many times in Scottsdale.  He had a liver or kidney problem that just about done him in.  Every time I went to St. George we would meet about noon to have breakfast.  Ray was just like his dad, he always paid the bill. 

Ray did his best in everything he did.  Both Ray and I loved photography.  Many years ago he bought his “Leica Camera”, it was the best camera you could buy.  He wouldn't take a picture until the light was just right, sometimes he got up early and other times he would wait all day if needed.   His was a “film camera” and soon he could no longer but it.  MY camera was a “Digital Nikon”.  I could take a hundred pictures and take the best.  Ray would laugh at me and say, “Never, Never”.  Every Christmas card had a new scene or a flower.  He had his creations all over his house.  I think it was the biggest fanciest house overlooking the Golf Course.  There must have been a hundred steps from the top to the bottom, it draped majestically over two sets of cliffs.  
Grandpa, Dan, James, Chris at Rag Town, at Magna
We always wondered why he never married; I imagine many young ladies wondered too. 
“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” 
“Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a teardrop.”

The Army and war was now a reality and Ray knew what was ahead of him.  He and another half a dozen kids had fun and lived it up during High School and three or four months after graduation.  Shows and dances and just doing things teenagers do.  Ray and his girlfriend began to make commitments.  They loved each other and promised to wait and get married when Ray came home.
Jose  2nd from right back row Thistle School  children
We have no idea what Ray seen or experienced in the Philippines and later Japan but he changed.  He never said why, just that he could not get married.  She was heart-broke and shed many a tear. 
We were told that Jose ran his girl-friends off.  Not so.  The girl’s mother and Jose were the best of friends.  They visited each other most every day and always parted with a hug. I remember my first love.  We separated before any commitment and I still think of her.  I imagine Ray has shed a tear or two.  I know she did.

June and Bruce and Chris and Jose built houses next to each other on Wander Lane.  The kids were in and out of Ray’s home, dragging them here and there, until he was just a part of the family.  Well, Uncle Ray helped raise some wonderful children.  He needed that and now he had two families.

Thistle, Utah
Halverson family
Ray came to every funeral and some “Reunions”.  He always sent a box of candy or a basket of fruit every Christmas to all his uncles and aunts.  My kids didn't really know him, I wish they had but there were many of us and none of us were near Wander Lane.  We exchanged letters and Christmas Cards and talked on the phone.  One day I received some Halverson pictures and an heirloom too keep them if and when he might die. 
When I told him I was in town we usually met about noon for a late breakfast.  I even visited him at the Bureau of Land Management Office where he volunteered.  The boys befriended him and took him out in the Desert.  He told me of the many places he had seen.  Well, Ray had a very “private life” and it was hard to get to know the real Ray.    

Thistle 1983 with everything under water
Thistle finally died in 1983 when a huge lake covered the town. A huge rock slide covered the road and river just above Castillia Hot Springs.  The slide area had always been a problem but this slide went clear up to the top of the mountain and brought half the mountain with it. It formed a dam hundreds of feet high and a few miles long.  The railroads drilled a new route through the mountain and the highway went over “Billie’s Mountain”.  The flooding left Thistle completely submerged and lost forever. The only sign that Thistle was ever there is the two “Red Rock Walls” guarding the entrance.  They have a “Thistle Day” to remember it; Ray went there to celebrate with them. 

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.