Sunday, July 17, 2011



by Mina Jensen Briggs

                To tell what I remember about Grandma and Grandpa Jensen, I should start with a short preview of where they came from and their early lives.

                Grandpa was born in or near Sallerup, Malmo, Sweden, April 11, 1857.  His parents joined the church and his father died in December, 1857.  In 1858, his mother brought the four living children to America.  According to what I have been told, they came to Utah with he last hand cart company in 1859.  Stories differ.  Because his mother wasn't able to care for her family, they were raised in other homes and Grandpa was raised by Hans Frederick Petersen, who was the first missionary to Norway.

                On January 3, 1883, Grandpa was ordained an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.  On January 11, 1883, he married Karen Maria Halversen in the Salt Lake City Endowment House.  They were married by Wilford Woodruff.  He became a citizen of the United States and Territory of Utah, on April 13, 1885.

                They made their first home in Goshen, Utah, where Grandpa built a house of adobe bricks made from straw and the sticky mud common to the area.  They lived there for 17 years during which Grandpa farmed and worked in the mines at Eureka.  Their six sons were born there.  In 1900, they made a trip to Idaho to visit his sister who had homesteaded on Willow Creek, near Iona.  They liked what they saw and so sold out in Goshen and bought 80 acres of land from a Mr. Huffaker, one mile south of Ucon, and moved up there in November, 1900.

                Grandma was born January 11, 1860 in Sindal, Denmark.  Her father [Peder Halvorsen] was gone a lot as he was a Captain in the Danish army and they were poor.  She told me she herded geese in the fields when she was a little girl.  According to a life story given to Alta, they lived in a mud house with a dirt floor.  Their dishes were crude earthen ware, the spoons made of horn, and iron knives and forks.

                The German soldiers came three times and took their food and bedding, leaving just the poorest of their possessions.  At one time their mother was so desperate, she killed their cat, skinned it and walked several miles to sell it for money to buy food.

                The missionaries came and converted the family and in June 1882, she and her 11-year-old brother (Neils) left Denmark and came on an emigration ship to America.  There was what was called an Emigration Fund supplied by converts already in Utah and through it they came to Spanish Fork, Utah.  They both worked to repay that and saved to help the rest of the family come, except for two older brothers who went to New Zealand.  Grandma later moved to Goshen where she met and married Grandpa.  From now on their story is together and they farmed and raised their family in Ucon.

                My earliest real memories of Grandpa and Grandma began when I was five and Louie was three years old.  Mother had to go to Salt Lake for surgery and we stayed with them for about six to eight weeks.

                They were always kind and good to us, but it was harvest time and Grandma was busy cooking for threshers.  I wandered up the road to some neighbors about l/2 mile away.  They searched for me even in the canal.  I started back when it was getting dark and met Grandpa with a willow.  He switched my legs all the way home and I've always remembered it.  I also remember going in the buggy with Grandma and having an egg to trade for candy.

                In 1912 Grandpa built a yellow brick house in the Ucon townsite and they moved there.  he could do a lot of things, raise such good gardens and had the best apples, one called a banana apple that was real good.  He built a small smokehouse and smoked hams and bacon for us, lots tastier than that we buy now or maybe we were hungrier.  He half-soled our worn shoes and sometimes the tacks worked loose and would stick in our feet.

                Grandpa was a hard worker and thrifty, always neat and conscious of the appearance of his house, yard and surroundings.  In the 1920's he splurged and bought a Dodge car.  I doubt if it would go more than 35 miles an hour but it was too fast for Grandma; she preferred to walk. His opinion was, it used less gas the faster he drove it.

                He had a dry sort of humor and I remember him talking about taxes and politics.  What would he think if he were here today?

                Beverly and Shirley always liked to go visit him and Grandma.  One time Beverly had on a new dress I had made and he asked me if I ran out of cloth.  It was too short in his opinion.  He walked to Rigby once to visit us when Shirley was a baby, so I think he was interested in us.  We had supper and then took him home.

                I don't remember Grandpa complaining about his health but he must have suffered a lot before he passed away from cancer on Labor Day, September 1932.

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