50th Wedding Anniversary

THE BEAVER PRESS Thursday, February 22, 1979

Around Town
with Marge


November was the month of his birth. The topaz his birthstone, the chrysanthemum his flower. Niels Jensen, a long time citizen of Beaver, was born in Parowan in 1873, a son of Peter and Boudild Marie Jensen. His life began when much of the old west was still with us, when men and horses were the motive power. Boys of twelve years of age were already good teamsters and helped much to provide for the family needs. In those days, making a living was a difficult and full time job. Mr. Jensen was the same type of man as those who helped to bring the wagon trains across the prairies, who blazed the trails and felled the tall timbers, who cut the great slabs of granite, who made and laid the brick for homes, schools, and churches, who turned the soil and planted grain, who kept silent vigil over the herds at night while watching with sharp eyes and listening with keen ears for the tricky Indian

When about 12 years old, Niels lost his mother. To him this was one of the saddest moments of his life. He had turned to her with all of his youthful problems and shortcomings. He had sought her wisdom, council and helpful decisions at all times. She had been his guiding star. At her death, he was like a little boy lost. The earth had suddenly been pulled from under his feet. The sorrowing family had been drawn closer together. The father kept him close, taking him along on many freighting trips. His two older sisters tried to keep him in school, but there were interruptions when there were jobs to do. He soon learned the ways, means and responsibilities of caring for a team and wagon loaded with freight.

Soon after his mother died, the family moved to Richfield. They went by way of Little Creek Canyon. The weather was bad, but it took a turn for the worse with sleet, snow and a north wind. While going over a dugway, the wheels of the wagon bogged down in the deep mud. For a while they were stranded, wet, hungry and tired. Wood was water soaked. The father went back to the wagon, pulled out the old wooden bed and chopped it up for firewood. After a good warm meal their strength and courage were somewhat restored. After working furiously to get the wagon out of the mire, they resumed their journey and camped for the night in Bear Valley.

After reaching Richfield, Niels soon found a job herding cows for five cents each, per day. He managed to get five cows and felt very fortunate to be making 25 cents a day. It wasn't long, however, before he was driving his father's freight wagon from Richfield to such points as Pioche and Ely, Nevada, Milford and De Lamor, Utah and other places where their produce could be sold.

From Richfield, Utah to Pioche, Nevada and back was about a 300 mile trip; a big undertaking for a boy of 14. When he was about 15 years old, he accepted a contract to haul mail from Taylor, Utah, a mining town, to Ely, Nevada. He worked steadily at this job for four years. Later in years, he received a contract to drive the mail from Milford to St. George. On one of these trips, he was caught in a heavy snowstorm. While trying to make it to the Buckhorn flat, he was almost lost in the blinding snow, and so he decided to return as far as the Beaver Ridge and wait. He cleared away the snow from around the white topped buggy, tied up the team, made a fire and waited for daylight. He moved on about 7 a. m. and reached Parowan, cold, tired and hungry. His young days were filled with experiences of this kind. He never turned down work if he could make an honest dollar.

While still living in Richfield, his sisters heard that Beaver was paying good wages for good cooks, so they decided to move to Beaver. They brought with them the family organ which the girls loved. They were fine singers and many was the evening they gathered around the organ with neighbors and friends to sing and play. Niels was their driver and all went well until they reached Pine Creek Hill. Here the horses balked and refused to move. Niels tried every known method to start them, but to no avail; so the three sat down by the roadside to wait. Someone may come along who could help them. They waited a long time, told stories and sang songs, but no sound came from the road. No one was coming their way on that day. Soon there was complete silence. Suddenly, like a flash from the blue, the horses bolted up the hill as fast as they could go with such a load. Neils leaped to his feet and ran after them. The girls screamed out, "Oh, our organ, our lovely organ. It will be smashed to pieces!" Niels shouted back, "The devil take the old organ, run! Let's get in the wagon. If the horses have decided to go on, we may make Beaver by night fall." At the top of the hill, the team had come to a stop and was all out of wind. The travelers took advantage of this opportunity to climb into the wagon. They reached town in safety, organ and all. Thus began their life in Beaver.

Niels Jensen has always been a hard worker. He was never without a good team of horses and a good wagon. He treated them with kindness and a steady hand. Many men still remember one of his favorites, a span of big and powerful buckskins, pulling huge loads of the best wood obtainable. When Niels brought in wood from the hills, you got your money's worth. For years, he was the champion of all haulers. He was a man of great strength, stability, courage and with a big understanding heart. His parents, being Pioneers, he was called upon, even as a boy, to endure many hardships and make many sacrifices which in turn prepared him for the years ahead.

In the early days of the west, God needed leaders of every profession. He called them all. He also needed, and in great numbers, the brave rugged men of the out-of-doors. Side by side they struggled, conquering and subduing this wild and uncharted land. In his day, Niels Jensen did his share.

In 1928, Niels Jensen was elected Sheriff of Beaver County. He served in this capacity for many years, receiving as his monthly salary $114, which, he said, "is somewhat different than they pay today, and we had a heck of a lot more to do." It was back in the year 1898 that he married one of Beaver's fine young women, Kate Bell Levi. To this union were born four lovely daughters, Clerynth, Norma, Letty, and Faye. Mr. and Mrs. Jensen loved their home in Beaver and had many friends throughout the entire County.

From D.U.P.(Daughters of Utah Pioneers) files. NOTE: It seems a long time since I called at the home of Niels Jensen, retired. I was writing his history for the records of the D.U.P. Organization. It was a lovely afternoon and we sat out on the front porch. He was very kind and cooperative and seemed to enjoy telling of his past. We laughed together at the weird and comic versions that came unexpectedly into some of the dull and heartless days. When he spoke of his mother and his boyhood days of long ago, his eyes filled with tears. Such moments are not uncommon even to the strong and rugged men of the great open spaces. My thoughts flashed to the words of the poet Dryden, "I have not wept these 40 years, but now my mother comes afresh into my eyes."

This story of Katie Bell (Levi) Jensen is taken from notes written by her daughter Norma about 1960.

Sister Kate Jensen was born in Beaver, Utah on September 12, 1878. She was one of six children born to David and Ann (Gillispie) Levi, pioneers and early settlers of Utah. Her brothers and sisters consisted of two girls who died young, a sister Julia Ann Howd, a sister Nettie Yardley, and a brother William D. Her father David had two wives, his second wife was Christine (Gillies) Levi. This second family consisted of six boys, Robert, James, Fred, Karl, Marshall and Orson. Their home was right across the street.

David Levi, being a cattle man and farmer, owned the home and pasture land which is now the Jensen home. He also owned the pasture land surrounding the Taylor Farnsworth milk barn.

Loving out door life, Sister Kate spent a happy childhood riding horses, skating, dancing and picnicking with her brothers and many friends. She remembers her first teacher, Lucinda Dalton, whom they all called Auntie Low. She went to school at the old Central School House and in order to enter school, she and her mother stopped in at the court house to buy a permit that cost $2.00 for one term. Sister Kate was a faithful attendant of Primary, Sunday School and Mutual. At the age of eight, she was taken by her sister Nettie down to the Beaver River to be baptized.

Brother J. F. Tolton taught Sister Jensen in the grade schools and she received several awards of merit for her outstanding work.

She graduated from high school at the age of sixteen and her school days ended. College was for boys - house making for girls was her fathers belief. Therefore, she continued her work in the Mutual and Sunday School. Many of her school friends, Hilda Lessing, Nell Wilden and Dr. Warren Sheppard grew to be life long friends.

At the age of 20, Sister Kate married Niels Jensen, born in Parowan. They were married, in the home that they are now living in, by Brother J. F. Tolton on the 26th of October, 1898. They were later sealed in the St. George temple. On October 26, 1958, they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Their early married life was spent in Richfield, Utah. Three children, Clerynth, Norma and Letty were born to them. Many friends were made but there are no friends like old friends, so that in 1909 they moved back to Beaver. They settled in the old Levi home, her parents having passed away.

Home again, she began by working in the Primary, which was held in the old Park Hall. Sister's Mary Goodwin, Grace Jones, Kathy Muir, Nora While and Nell Morgan were some of the sisters she worked with. Each Saturday, Sister Nora White, driving her buggy, would stop for the Jensen's and regardless of the weather, Ellen, Erma, Norma and Letty were taken to Primary. In 1919, another daughter, Julia Faye, was born. In 1921, Sister Kate was called as secretary in the West Ward Relief Society, by Bishop George Paice. for four years she worked with Sister Hattie Bohn as President, in a labor of love, caring for the sick and preparing the dead for burial. Many homes knew the touch of their loving hands in sickness or food and clothes, if there was need.

In 1927, she was chosen by Bishop Wesly Farrer, as President of the West Ward Relief Society. Working with her counselors, she walked many a mile from her home to the Relief Society Building, located by the Belknap School, to attend her meetings and fulfill many errands of mercy. Not being a trained nurse, she voluntarily assisted Dr. Fairbanks and Dr. Hopkins in many cases when help was unavailable.

In 1931, under the leadership of President Thomas W. Gunn, sister Kate was made Stake Relief Society President. This office she filled for nine years. Her trips to the General Conference and her Temple Excursions were numerous.

In 1940, she was chosen as the Stake Relief Society Welfare Leader and served for five years. Sister Jensen still serves her church as a Relief Society Teacher and each month goes with Sister Lottie Farrer on her district visits. On September 12, 1958, she celebrated her 80th birthday. She is a cherished friend of many in the community, the mother of four daughters, grandmother of 12, and great grandmother of many.

Photo taken in 1898

Grandpa Niels at the time of his marriage

Photo taken in 1898

Grandma Katie Bell Levi at the time of her marriage.

Photo taken about 1882

Katie Bell and her brother William David Levi

Photo taken 1940

Grandpa Niels and Richard on the Jensen front lawn.

Picture taken about 1941?

Robert, Grandpa Niels, and Richard

Photo taken about 1937

Grandma Katie Bell (Levi) Jensen

Photo taken 1939

Grandma Kate and Richard Easton
on her front lawn.


This page last updated on February 14, 2010 .