Thursday, August 16, 2012

David Jensen

Taken from "A Proud Heritage From David Jensen, Serena Petersen Jensen, and Julia Konstance Petersen Jensen". David Jensen was born April 15, 1835 in Toten, Norway to Jens Johansen and Gulina Olsen. He had seven half sisters from his father's first marriage, who were all grown with families of their own when he was a small boy. He also had a half brother, Ole Olsen, a son of Gulina, and eventually had two full brothers, Johannes who only lived a few hours, and Anton. When David grew to young manhood, he decided to leave Toten and move to Oslo because of the difficulties of leasing land, and because farming was very hard work. Another reason could have been because he had an Uncle Ole Olsen, his mother's brother, who had moved there and had bought some land at Maridalen. His land was near where Anne Christensen Hansen lived, who was a grandmother to Serena and Julia Petersen. It was through living with Ole that he became acquainted with Serena and Julia, who lived a good part of their time with their grandmother at Maridalen on her little farm. David had dark hair and blue eyes. He was about 6'1" tall, was husky, had wide shoulders, was stout, rough boned, and had very large hands and feet. He would let his hair and beard grow all winter long and wore a beard most of the time throughout his life. He was a very quiet man. He had very little to say to others. He was a poor conversationalist and talked only enough to answer questions. He was regarded by his fellowmen as being dependable, honest, and having good judgement. His opinions on matters was often solicited by the early settlers. He had the highest integrity toward his fellow man. David did things about the same way from day to day. He did not change his pattern of life easily. He enjoyed teasing others, but did not like to be teased. He controlled his temper very well. He was not easily provoked into a fight, even when tormented. He just could not be pushed to a fighting spirit. He was no hand to go visiting, but thoroughly enjoyed visitors to come to his home. His promise was an unwritten law and never broken." (David C Jensen, a grandson). David worked for the city of Oslo at the time of his marriage to Serena Petersen on 20 August 1859. Serena's mother and grandmother had become members of the Mormon Church prior to this time, and David would not allow Serena to have anything to do with them. Things changed after the death of their first born son, Sigvard. David longed for something that would give him comfort and the story is told that as they were going past the place where the Mormon Elders were holding a meeting they heard them singing the hymn, 'O My Father'. It caused them to stop and listen. After hearing the words of the hymn, they decided that they would go in and see what the Mormons had to say. From that time on they began to investigate the Gospel. Just one year after this event on 21 February 1862, they were baptized into the church by Elder Hans Paulsen. As soon as David became a member he began to make preparations for coming to Utah. He had evidently saved up enough money during the time he had worked in Oslo to take him and Serena, as well as Julia, to Utah. They left Norway 6 April 1863. On arriving in Salt Lake the 3rd of October, the family went directly to Lehi, Utah where they stayed for four years. They then moved to Franklin, Idaho where they purchased town lots for homes and a few crops. David decided that he wasn't quite satisfied with living in Franklin, so he looked all over the valley to decide just where he wanted to homestead. There were several different places where he looked but be decided on a 160 acre piece of ground on Worm Creek in what is now called Egypt or 5th Ward near Preston,Idaho. A story is told by David's son about an Indian encounter during one of these trips around the valley. "He [David] decided that he would see Gentile Valley and Bear Lake Valley before he settled down. So he and Mr. Olsen joined a company that was going over to Bear Lake. The road at that time, from Franklin to Bear Lake, went up through the Johnson brother's ranch, then up past the Johnson reservoir and over the hill just east of the round knoll in Guy Petterborg's field, then up Worm Creek to where Jim Robinson now lives. Then it crossed over the divide into Station Creek where a stage station was maintained at that time. From there it ran over through Bear Creek, up Mink Creek, and Strawberry, and finally over what was known as the Bear Lake Dugway." "The company that Father and Mr. Olsen were with arrived at the camping place on Worm Creek the first day by noon. While they were camping for dinner, Father and Mr. Olsen decided that the company was traveling too slow for them, so they started out ahead of the rest of the company. When they reached the top of the Station Creek divide, they saw that there was a band of Indians camped down on the creek. They decided they would go up around the camp by going up the divide until they got to the head of Station Creek. But as they were nearing the place where they thought they could cross, they ran right into the Indian who was herding their horses. When the Indian saw them, he thought they were trying to steal their horses. He gave a war-whoop and started after Father and Mr. Olsen on his horse. Because the country up there is covered with a heavy coating of cobble rocks, Father and Mr. Olsen could out run the Indian on his horse. Before they reached the open ground where the Indian might have caught them, the company had finished their dinner and were moving up the hill. As soon as the Indian saw the company coming, he turned and went back to his horses. Father and Mr. Olsen joined the company until they had passed the Indians. . . and then they went on ahead again." David would raise hay on his 160 acres in the summer and then cut it and stack it up on the homestead so that he might haul it into Franklin during the winter. During the first winter, they had so much snow that David was unable to find his little stack of hay. It was completely snowed under. David cut all of his hay with the scythe for the first few years out on the ranch. He did a lot of cutting of grain for the people of Franklin with the cradle, as it was called. He did no farming out on the ranch for he did not think that he could raise grain out there. He had a couple of city lots in Franklin where he raised some small fruits and potatoes and enough grain for his family. On one occasion he took his son with him to cut hay in the meadows. He says, "Father took the team and hid them in the willows. Thus, if there should be any Indians coming along, he would have a better chance to get out of sight. It was not safe for men to be out alone in those days because of the Indian danger. It was just before noon when Father raised up from his cutting to whet his scythe. He noticed a band of Indians up in the hollow just south of the field picking choke cherries. He at once grabbed us and ran into the willows; but the Indians had already spied us. About ten or twelve of the bucks came down to where we were sitting in the wagon back in the willows. They began to talk to Father in their language. I do not know whether Father understood anything of what they said or not; but he got out our grub box and gave it to them. They ate all that we had. Then after chatting among themselves, they rode off and left us. As soon as they were out of sight, Father hitched up the team and went home leaving the hay." David had charge of the Franklin dry herd, which consisted of the young cattle and the dry cows that the people wanted to turn out for the summer. He kept them out on what is now known as Riverdale, and down the river as far as Battle Creek. There was wonderful feed all over these hills between Battle Creek and Riverdale. He also kept quite a bunch of cattle himself after he got the mowing machine to cut the hay with instead of by hand. The family usually had between 10 and 15 head of cows to milk. Serena made a great deal of butter and cheese which they sold. Besides the cattle David usually had from one hundred to three hundred sheep. He had a very good market at Franklin for his mutton. He always butchered the sheep himself for he had wethers that would dress 125 pounds. He also found ready sale for his wool. Quite a number of times, he took the wool down to the woolen mills at Provo and exchanged it for cloth with which to make clothes for his children. On one of these trips to Provo in the fall, it became so cold on his return home that he froze his feet very severely. From Hyrum Jensen's history: "I cannot recall the year, but i remember the circumstances very well, when Father ran out of hay. We had had a dry summer which caused the hay crop to be a little short. As we had to depend at that time upon the native grass for our hay supply, the following winter was long and hard. While the snow was yet very deep here on the flat, Father had fed up almost all of his hay. He had even taken the straw off from the roofs of the stables and fed that to the cattle and sheep to pull them through the winter. It was not only Father, but all of the others that had settled out there on their homesteads. Something had to be done and at once to save their stock from starving to death. Father suggested that the stock be taken out on some of the south slopes of the hills that had become bare. But how to get them there was the question that had to be solved. There was almost three fee of hard crusted snow all over the flat. After some investigations, it was decided they would take the cattle out on the south slope of the mountain just east in Riverdale. It was covered with a heavy growth of dry grass, and there was enough of the mountain that was bare to supply the needs of the cattle until the snow would be gone." "We did not have coal to burn in the early days, but had to go into the canyon and get out wood for the winter. . . . I remember as a small boy I would go with Father to get the winter wood out before the snow came. We would leave home at daylight and would not get home until after dark. One morning Father and Mother had some words over something which I do not remember now what it was. Father became so angry that he would not have family prayer that morning. This was a thing that I had never seen him do before. I do not ever remember of sitting down to the table in the morning to eat breakfast or going to bed in the evening without first having family prayers as long as I remained at home. All went well with us during the day. Father got a very large load of dry quaking aspen wood. We had got down out of the canyon and were crossing the creek on what we called the last crossing, when the front wheel hit a rock that was laying in the creek bed. This caused the wagon to slew off to one side to the extent that it threw Father off the load. He sat down on the rock in almost the same position as he had been sitting on the load. He struck the rock with such a force that it caused him to faint, and he fell backwards right in the course of the hind wheel. He hollered 'whoa' as he was falling, and so did I. The team stopped just as the hind wheel was beginning to pass over his neck. In another six inches, it would have broken his neck. I jumped from the load and ran to get my hat full of water. I began pouring it on his face, and I soon brought him to again. When he opened his eyes and looked up at me he said, 'Hyrum, this has happened because we left home this morning without having family prayer.' I do not ever remember of leaving home again without the family being called together for prayer." "One of the first things that Father did after locating on the creek was to build a canal on each side of the creek. Then he could use the early water on the bottom land that lay along the creek. . . . It was not long until he could see that it was necessary to take water out on the bench land. He put the proposition up to the others, and they built the canal that came out of the creek. . . in Glendale." A water company was formed and stock was bought in labor from digging a portion of the canal. Terms were written up for the amount of stock owned. Each man would take a 'contract' out for the length of canal that he would dig. "Father took a contract on what was called the sandrock point for there was no one that wanted to take that piece of work. We did not know how to use powder in those days as we do today In fact we did not have the money to buy the powder and drills with which to blast it out. I have worked by the side of Father from early in the morning until late at night. We were cutting our way through the solid rock and only completed about three or four feet of the seven foot canal in a day. But I never heard Father complain. He always seemed to see the silver lining of the dark clouds that hung over this part of the valley at that time. I well remember the great time we had when the water was turned into the canal after it was completed. The men followed it down till it flowed over the divide into Worm Creek. We stood on the Divide, took off our hats, and gave three shouts, 'Hosannah! Hosannah! Hosannah!.' Then a large blast of powder was set off." "We who are now enjoying the fruits of the labors and sacrifices of those early pioneers, cannot appreciate the feelings and the joy that filled their souls when they saw the water flowing down into the valley. This water was now to be turned upon their dry and parched lands and make their desert blossom as the rose. We do not, and I don't think we shall ever be able to in the future, appreciate the heritage that has been delivered to us. The sacrifices and hardships of our Fathers and mothers who killed the snakes, built the bridges and canals for us and made the desert to blossom as the rose were greater than we will ever realize." Serena became ill with heart trouble and passed away in 1884. It was not long after her death when the crusade against those who practiced plural marriage began. Hyrum Jensen goes on to say: "It was well known that Father had had two wives, but with the death of my mother it left him with but one. However, the United States Marshall came to his home in the late summer of 1885 and arrested him on a charge of living in polygamy. He was taken from his home to Blackfoot where he was placed in the county jail, and held without bail until his trial. He was not permitted to get any witnesses at all. They had men there that swore that he was then living in polygamy. By this means he was convicted and sent to the penitentiary at Boise for six months. The confinement was very hard on him as he had always been a very active man, always at work on the farm doing something. He was toward the latter part of his confinement permitted to do some work out in the rock quarry. He was to have paid a heavy fine in money; but this was not required of him when he was released because of his good behavior during his confinement." Again from David C Jensen, a grandson, "David believed in doing things by brute strength. By pursuing this method, he did a lot of hard work in his life time. He caused those who worked around him to work hard. He never was afraid of work. The harder the work the better he liked it. In the canyon, he loaded building logs by picking them up and placing them on the wagon. He built all of the buildings on his homestead alone. It was quite a task to put the logs up to the square on the homes built by hand, but David got the logs into place. He was able to do such chores as lifting logs because he was so strong. He could knock a horse down by hitting it with his fist." David was also able to contribute financially to early public buildings in the Preston area. He was the largest donor in the construction of the Old Academy Building which still stands in the Preston City Park. In fact, the Park was created with the intention that 10 men would contribute $10.00 each for the land that the Park would occupy. Only one of the original ten men paid his $10.00 and the other 8 failed to do so. David made up the balance, which was his share and $80.00 more. When the crickets came to the area, a trench was dug around his wheat crop and filled with straw. At daylight the children would drive the crickets toward the wheat and when they had fallen into the straw covered ditch, it would be set on fire. The crickets were destroyed and the wheat crop was saved. After Serena died, David married Lenora Finland. Julia took her children that were left at home and moved to the old 6th Ward in Preston. She never talked badly about David, they just had differences of opinions. David was the father of 23 children, 14 of whom grew to maturity. He was ill with a slight heart ailment for six months before his death in January 1909. He is buried in the Preston Cemetery.

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