NIELS HERBERT JENSEN
by MARIE JENSEN WEBSTER,
daughter of HANS JENSEN
My grandfather, Niels Herbert Jensen, was born April 11, 1857, in Malmg, Sweden. He was the son of Pehr Jonsson, and Matta Oldsdotter.
Grandpa's Parents joined the Church in Sweden. They made preparations to come to Utah. The Father, Pehr Jonsson, contracted smallpox and was placed in a "Pest House" to recuperate. He urged his wife to carry out their plans, and he would follow as soon as he was well. However, he died of his illness and was buried in Sweden. The mother and her four children, Boel, Sissa, Kristina and son Niels came to Utah and settled in Sanpete County, Utah. She placed her children with Mormon families in the community. Little is known by me of her life.
Grandfather was raised by a family named Peterson. He said that they were good to him, and sent him to school until he completed the third grade. When he was a young man, he hauled ore from the mine in Tooele, Utah. My Grandparents were married January 11, 1883, and lived in Goshen, Utah. Later, they sold their farm and moved to Southeastern Idaho. They bought a farm near a town called Elba; later the name was changed to Ucon.
Grandpa was a hard worker and very frugal. With the help of their six sons, he clear his farm of sagebrush. He eventually owned 120 acres of good farm land.
When he was 55 years of age, he built a large brick house on a small acreage in Ucon and rented his farm out to provide income. His little acreage in Ucon provided for most of my grandparents' needs. They raised a few chickens, a pig and a cow. They had a large garden planted with vegetables, fruit trees and bushes. Grandpa had a smoke house where he cured the pork he raised.
He was industrious and inventive. He had cobbler's equipment and repaired his family's shoes. Grandma never shopped because of a bad hip, so Grandpa did all the shopping. He always picked out her clothes, sometimes secondhand. The clothes usually fit, and she never objected if they didn't. Style wasn't important to her. Grandpa made unusual purchases. Their "parlor" had an organ (no one played) and a gramophone with a big blue horn to provide sound for the records it played. It was a big table model that needed manual rewinding to keep it playing.
He was gruff, said little and I was just a little afraid of him. My grandma never argued with him. She just gave you a wink, then agreed with him whether she approved or not. However, she pretty well did the things she wanted to do and without a confrontation!
Grandpa was not a church-goer, but he was honest, hardworking, and a respected citizen. He put a bathroom in his house in the later years of his life. There was no city plumbing; a cesspool took care of the waste. But Grandpa was always afraid it would fill up, so no one used it except on rare occasions. When we grandchildren came to help Grandma, she rewarded us with a bath in the bathtub (we used a tin washtub at home) if Grandpa wasn't home.
Grandpa usually walked over to town every day to pick up the mail and "pass the time of day" with his "old cronies" who met there each afternoon. We hurried up and bathed, drained the waste into the cesspool, and then wiped the bathtub dry so Grandpa wouldn't find out we used it, while Grandma kept a "look out"! Such fun!
He used to let me comb his hair. He loved that. Then if I pulled his hair a bit, he'd let out a snort, turn as if he was going to bite and then laugh. He had a rough exterior, but a "soft heart" sometimes.
Grandpa became ill when he was about 75 years of age. He was diagnosed as having stomach cancer. Not much was known then about treatment for cancer, so he just slowly became weaker, and finally passed away September 5, 1932.