Niels Jensen

November 10, 1873 - March 19, 1962


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.

Click Here to hear Niels Tell His Story


This page last updated on April 19, 2012 .