Louisa Jensen Wray Aug. 8, 1857-Dec. 28, 1938
Contributor: HonestAbe Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Louisa Jensen Wray Aug. 8. 1857- Dec. 28, 1938
(Mother to Mary Louisa Wray Hansen Feb. 14, 1903 – May 24, 1980)
Louisa Jensen was born August 26, 1857 in Jutland, Denmark – daughter of Jens Christian Jensen and Marianne Jensen. She was a small delicate child – one of a set of twins weighing only 2 ½ pounds at birth. Her twin brother died a few hours after birth.
The family accepted the Gospel in their native land and worked hard and saved to get enough to come to America. They were with a group of Saints in 1869 crossing the plains. One day while they were out on the desert they stopped for their noon rest and lunch. The oxen became frightened and stampeded and the father falling under the wagon was killed. He was buried on the plains, one of the many unmarked graves. All of the wagons were loaded to capacity which left a grief-stricken little widow and a small child alone. One good man came to her and said he would try and haul their things if the mother could walk. So the little girl was put in a wash boiler in the back of the wagon and her mother walked the rest of the way to the Sal Lake Valley. Shortly after reaching Utah the Mother married the man who had befriended them. They settled in Hyrum, facing all the hardships of pioneer life, living in a dugout at first, then in a one room log cabin.
At the age of 15, Grandmother (Louisa) met a young Englishman, who had accepted the Gospel with his family in England and immigrated to Utah. Young Wray was educated to be a minister and was blessed with a gift of speech which made him a very interesting speaker. Several churches offered him money to preach for them, where he could probably have had a good secure life, but he refused, saying, “No, I have joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and I am going to America.” He came to Utah alone, lived and worked for George Ward, Sr. When he left England he was engaged to a young woman by the name of Lizzie Davis. He told Louisa this and she answered, “Then I will be your second wife.”
He wrote Lizzie Davis in England in England that he had picked out his second wife and of course she became very angry. She went to his father, who was still in England. He also became very angry saying, “What is the matter with James, has he gone crazy?” Lizzie wrote breaking the engagement, so Louisa Jensen and James Wray were married December 8, 1873 in the Salt Lake Endowment House in Salt Lake City. They made their home in Hyrum as did the rest of the Wray family, who came shortly after. They made their home at the mouth of Blacksmith Fork Canyon, where they kept the toll gate. Grandmother had just turned 17 when her first child was born; a girl and they named her Martha Ann, after her grandmother Martha Monks Wray.
One of Grandmothers hardest trial was after eight years of marriage, Grandfather married his second wife. She was willing to accept and live any Church order, but it was difficult. He married Sarah Chantrill, a native of Australia in 1881. They had two sons, Joseph Chantrill and David Baston, but David died in infancy. Sarah was a very good woman, always willing to give a helping hand. Her life was short, dying January 1, 1900. Louisa raised Joseph as if he were her own.
James Wray worked as a stone mason, his father’s trade in England. He helped build many of the homes and churches in the locality. He worked on the Logan Temple in 1877 and the Logan Tabernacle in 1878—part of this time given as donation labor.
In 1892 the family moved to Idaho, pioneering again in a desolate place west of Blackfoot which was named Riverside. It was along the banks of the Snake River. Here they helped build a community building homes and working in the church.
James and Louisa Wray were the parents of 13 children, 6 sons and 7 daughters; the 13th child being born after grandmother was 51 years of age. She received a prize at an old folk’s party in Blackfoot Stake for being the oldest mother with the youngest child. This child only lived six months however, but the 12 all lived to be married and have families. Grandmother and Grandfather were true Latter-Day Saints, full of faith and lived in accordance with the teachings of the Church, but they did not accumulate much of this world’s goods. They were proud of their family and they taught them correct principles and how to be good workers. They were unable to give them all of the education they would have liked to.
One daughter said, “We all enjoyed the Priesthood our Father held. I remember many times when we were sick he would place his hands on our head to administer to us. We could feel the Power of the Priesthood. Along with the wonderful faith of our Mother we were made well again.” The family all held many positions in the church. Grandfather was a member of the High Council of Blackfoot Stake for many years and traveled many miles preaching and teaching the gospel.
On the 1st of January, 1912, when they were visiting in Logan, Grandmother said she had a very vivid dream that Grandfather was called on a mission. He looked at her when she told him but said nothing. He died three months later on April 15, 1912, at the age of 58. Grandmother always felt that dream was sort of a warning and that he truly was called on a mission. She stayed in Idaho until all her family was married. She enjoyed temple work very much and did endowments for over a thousand names.
On February 7, 1936 as she was on her way to the Temple she slipped on the ice, fell and broker her leg. She was in the hospital ten days then moved to her daughter Alice’s home. She was bedfast several months, but was able to get around again. She passed away on December 28, 1938 at the age of 80.
I remember her as one of the sweetest kindest people I have ever known. One incident I know of depicts her character. She was invited one Thanksgiving, but before leaving she cooked some soup and made a pie to take to an old lady who was alone. Her name is on the Pioneer Monument on the Hyrum City Square. Her posterity at the present time---13 children, 64 grandchildren, 133 great-grandchildren and 78 great-great grandchildren.
James and Louisa Wray
Contributor: HonestAbe Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE JAMES WRAY FAMILY
Written by their daughter, Alice Wray Skanchy
James Wray, my father, was born at Bedford, Leigh, Lancashire, England, May 16, 1853. He was blessed and named by Thomas Mills in June 1853. His parents were Enos Wray and Martha Monks Wray.
His parents were both members of the church at this time. As a young man in England, Grandfather, Enos, heard about Mormonism from the L.D.S. missionaries. He was converted and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (He was only fourteen and joined within two or three months after missionaries first arrived in England.)
Father had the gift of speech and he became an interesting speaker and was active in preaching the gospel. Other churches offered him money to preach for them, but he refused since he was converted to Mormonism. He had joy in all his life expounding the principles of the gospel and the people enjoyed listening to him.
He immigrated to Utah and located at Hyrum where George Ward, Sr. lived. Father knew Brother Ward as a missionary in England. Brother Ward helped to convert father and influenced him to join the church. (His parents were members of the church and he was raised in the church, so I am not sure about this information. Vesta) Father worked for Brother Ward in Hyrum. About this time he met my mother, Louisa Jensen, a sweet little Danish girl of about fifteen years of age. Father was engaged to an English girl, Lizzie Davis, before he left England. He broke off his engagement with Lizzie. This was not agreeable to his father, Enos Wray, who was still in England. Father and Mother were married in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City, December 8, 1873.
During their married life they were blessed with six sons and seven daughters. All lived to be married except the baby girl, their youngest child, Wanda Valora, who died at the age of six months. The names of the children in their order are: Martha Ann, James Enos, Alice, Orson Nephi, Hyrum Monks, Lydia, Esther, Grover Nathaniel, Cannon Silver, Rachel, Golden Kimball, Mary and Wanda Valora.
Since the practice of polygamy was in full swing in Utah, in the church in those days, Father was induced to take a second wife. In 1881 he married his second wife, Sarah Ann Chantrill. She was born in Australia. She came to America and located at Hyrum. We called her Aunt Sarah. They had two sons, David Baston and Joseph Chantrill. (I believe the name of the one son should be David Bastow. His grandmother’s first husband and his mother’s oldest half-brother were named Joseph Bastow. Joseph Bastow Senior died before Joseph Bastow Junior was born and the mother, Elizabeth Storey, later married James Chantrill, Sarah Ann’s father. Added by Vesta) Aunt Sarah was a very good woman, always willing to give a helping hand. She and mother were Relief Society teachers for many years. Her life was short. She died 1 January 1900.
Father was a stone mason by trade. He worked on the Logan Temple in 1877 and on the Logan Tabernacle in 1878. Part of his time was donation. We are proud of these lasting monuments he helped to build. As a child I thought my father was one of the most wonderful men who lived.
In December 1911 Father and Mother and their two young children, Kimball and Mary came to visit me and my husband, Willard at Logan. On the New Year’s Day, January 1912, Father remarked that not one of us would be here 100 years from now 2012. Mother remarked that she dreamed the night before that Father was called on a mission. He looked at Mother but did not say anything. Three months later, April 15, 1912, he died, at the age of only 59 years. He had been a superintendent of the Sunday School for a number of years and then was called a High Councilman of the Bingham Stake in Idaho. He was serving as a High Councilman at the time of his death.
Mother and Father were true Latter-Day Saints, full of faith and good works. We are happy for the teaching we received from them. We enjoyed the power of the Priesthood Father held. I recall many times when we were sick and he would place his hands on our heads and administer to us. We would feel that power all through our body along with the wonderful faith of Mother and we were made well again. Our parents were proud of their large family but were not able to give them perhaps the education they needed. However, they all grew up knowing how to work and also work in the church. All the daughters have held positions of responsibility in the Relief Society, the Primary and M.I.A. The sons have served as Bishops, Counselors, High Councilman, and various other Church positions. Three of the sons, James Enos, Grover Nathaniel, and Joseph Chantrill have filled missions. Four of the grandsons, Everett Wray, Gerald C. Wray, Kenneth Nelson, and Gene W. Dalton have filled Missions. Two great-granddaughters have filled missions, Mona Hansen, in Old Mexico, 1952-54, and Vesta Davis, in the West Central States Mission, 1952-l954. Robert Allen, a great-grandson, also filled a mission. (Imagine the number of missionary descendants they have today, sixty years later. Vesta)
We are very thankful that our grandparents joined the Church of Jesus Christ in the far off lands and came to this country where we have enjoyed so many blessings.
My mother always remembered the needy. I recall that when she made butter she would take a pound to someone in need. One time when she was coming to our place for Thanksgiving Dinner, she cooked soup and made a pie the day before to take to an old lady who lived alone. She must have a Thanksgiving too, according to Mother. Mother enjoyed working in the Logan Temple. She did endowments for more than a thousand names. Some were our family lines, but many were charity names. February 7, 1936, as she was on her way to the temple, she fell and broke her leg. Her good friend Louisa Romnel, who was with her, called me at once and I called the doctor. She was taken to the hospital and remained there for ten days and then removed to our home. She remained with us until her death, December 28, 1937. She was past eighty years of age.
Mother's youngest child was born after she had passed her fiftieth birthday. She received a special prize at an Old Folks party at Blackfoot, Idaho for the oldest mother having the youngest child. She became a mother at the age of seventeen, a grandmother at the age of thirty-nine and a great grandmother at the age of sixty-five.
I pay tribute to our oldest sister, Martha Ann, who lost her husband in her early married life and was left with four small children to rear alone. She did very well with little outside help. We respect her memory for the example she set for us.
The posterity of James Wray and Louisa Jensen Wray as of the present day totals, thirteen children, sixty four grandchildren, 145 great grandchildren and twenty three great-great grandchildren. We can well say with the Apostle Paul, "Well done, thou good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of your Lord!" (Aunt Alice who wrote this passed away in 1968, so it had to be written before that time. Imagine how many great grandchildren, etc. there are now, more than 40 years later.)