Jay Christensen Personal History
Contributor: kevsha Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Jay Christensen- A Personal History
In the first week of May, in the year of our Lord, 1927, I was born in a little shanty in Monticello, Utah, the fifth child of Ray Christensen and Olive Melissa Jarvis.
We moved around somewhat in my early days, living in the coal camps of Carbon and Emery counties, then when I was about four years old we moved back to Monticello. This trip was quite a thing, taking about nine days in a covered wagon. Our horses were a black and a white being named Mert and Bess. We went to live down on the creek, as it was called, a place owned by my grandfather Jarvis about a mile south of the town.
Soon after, the ground was sold for back taxes, so dad and uncle Walter went up on the mountain and cut enough logs and build us a house which lasted until after my marriage.
One of our yearly tasks was mixing mud using sand and straw to ***** up the house early fall. Many a time as a young boy, I woke up with snow covering my bed. We never had electric lights or water in the house, and twice daily it was one of my first duties to carry out water from a spring one third of a mile away.
Saturday, wash day, we would spend the day getting water and wood and heating wash water. This was all done in a fifty gallon barrel out of doors, weather permitting.
As I grew older, I learned to milk cows and do other chores. My older brother and my younger brother never did learn to milk a cow--they just couldn't do it.
As I grew older, I took care of all the outside chores to do with stock and my younger brothers would carry in the wood, which I would cut, and help with the inside work. They learned to herd sheep and I learned to herd cattle and these jobs we would do each summer. I learned to run heavy farm equipment, and as a result, at the age of fifteen, I was pinned under an overturned tractor, and received an injury to my back, hip and ribs, and my back is still bothered at times due to this accident.
At a very early age, I used to dream of flying, and so as I grew, my love for flying also grew. Whenever and airoplaine flew over our town, I would follow it as far as possible and if it happened to land in some farmer's field, I would run all the way out to it. I remember leaving school out of a window when a red airplane landed in a field about two miles south of town. I ran all the way there just to get there in time to see the plane take off again.
My education was mostly in Monticello public schools. Mother said I was a good student until I got in the seventh grade. There, I learned more than the teachers and so I quit studying. I know now that I should have studied more and played less.
World War II came along and with it, more jobs and bigger interests. I worked in construction work helping to build the Vanadium Mill in Monticello, the town of Dragerton in Carbon County, then I went to work out in Tooele at the D.C.W. Depot. While working there in the poison gas area, I learned some of the dangers of gases. I was sprayed twice with mustard gas. They cut my clothes away and put me in a kerosene shower. A kerosene shower is a must. If you haven't taken one, you should. It dries your skin out real bad and as a result I got big raw cracks in my fingers and they would bleed whenever I touched anything.
One other time I had my gloves burned off with smoke gas. This happened so fast that my gloves just disappeared.
The next summer, I got a job for United Airlines in Salt Lake City, but my father became ill and I was called home. He died at the age of 50, leaving mother partially blind and with nine children at home. I was the oldest.
Time passed quickly and I was called up for the army, but was turned down four times because of my eyes. So I went roaming around the country. I was picked up for "riding the rails", but the sheriff let me go. After this, I done most of my traveling with my thumb. It was a little less irritating to the law.
During the summer of 1944, I took my first airplane ride while at Utah Central Airport on 21st South in Salt Lake City. All that summer, I spent all my money on flying. Some of my companions made fun of me because of my eyes, but I didn't know they were so bad until I was turned down for the Army the following year.
In the summer of 1946, I was hitch hiking when Floyd Stewart picked my up. We became pretty good buddies, going out together most of the time. A few days later, I met his sister. A courtship began and on the fifth day of April, 1947, we were married in Clearfield, Utah.
"My Life's Story," by LaReta Stewart Christensen (Written after 1956, but before Stewart was born) Retyped by Jeanette C. Allen; Edited by Lisa C. Jackson; Granddaughters
Contributor: kevsha Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
I was born 24 August 1927 in Milburn, Utah. Although I was the 8th baby born to Cyrus and Mary Elizabeth (Bessie) Stewart, I was the first girl after 4 brothers and was spoiled by everyone. Milburn in Sanpete County was a pretty little farming area 7 miles from the nearest town. With the exception of two new families who moved into the place, all the other families were related. There was no electricity and neighbors were blocks apart with only two or three telephones to use. Good times were had at get-togethers held in the 2-room School House, which was also the church house. Our family birthdays never went by without a birthday cake and when ever possible we had homemade ice cream. As the years went by and 12 children Arlis, Fred, Verda, Velma, Floyd, Oran, Morris, LaReta, Arlo, Betty Jean, Annona, and Karma Lu were born, these celebrations came around quite often. My most memorable one was my 8th birthday when my baby sister Karma Lu made her arrival. To take the place of a birthday cake I was a allowed to hold and rock the baby that night, before going to bed.
Tragedy struck our family in 1930 when my brother Fred, who was then 14, sat on a thumb tack placed on his school desk seat as a prank by a classmate. This caused Blood poison of a rare type and prayers or medicines were no match for it. For two weeks, he lay in a coma. Then he died without regaining consciousness. He joined his oldest brother Arlis who had died at the age of 4 during the terrible Flu Epidemic of 1918. Throughout our lives we always attended Sunday School and Sacrament meeting on Sunday. It was a standing joke that if “Uncle Cy and Aunt Bessie” were not there they did not hold Church.
One of my fondest memories is of getting up early one morning and traveling with our most loved neighbor and Bishop Otis L. Stewart and his wife, Hannah, to the Manti Temple where I was baptized not only for myself, but 32 times for the dead.
During my grade school days we would walk the mile to the main road where the bus picked us up and took us the 7 miles to school in Fairview. The winters were bitter cold and much more severe than we now have. We usually rode a horse and dragged our feet in the snow along the way, or rode a dog-pulled sled to reach the bus. In those days I was very small and I remember sitting on the little red chair which the bus driver had waiting for me. I always sat in front of the small bus heater wrapped in a little Indian blanket. I would often be nearly frozen despite those terrible itchy woolens we had to wear. At one time my brother, Floyd, froze his ears while waiting for the bus, and there was great fear that he would loose them, but he didn’t.
I learned quickly and could memorize easily so I got along well in school. At one time in the 2nd. grade I had a big part in a dutch play. My Mother made a typical Dutch costume-making my shoes of cardboard and sewing the curled toes. When the teacher saw them, she asked my Mother to make all 32 pairs needed for the other children.
In the 6th grade I was chosen to give a speech at the Armistice day public meeting-an honor that usually came to the mayor or some other important man of the community.
When I was 12 years old, we decided to move to Mt. Pleasant to take care of Grand-Ma Hughes who was ill. How good it seemed to have running water right in the house, electric lights, and even a radio! We kids could hardly believe it, and how much easier it was for Mother and Daddy who had worked so hard on the farm. The older girls were now married and when the war broke out, the 2 older boys went into the service.
This left me as the oldest at home to do the housework and care for the family. My Mother had always had a bad heart and with the worry about the boys, she suffered a stroke and became a semi-invalid, unable to do anything without the help of either me, or daddy, who was with her constantly.
My high school days were very limited as far as study and attendance were concerned. If I spent one day a week in school I was lucky. My teachers were very considerate and I was Graduated from North Sanpete High School in 1945. I have never regretted the time I spent with my Mother and I know it was appreciated by Mother and Daddy. Maybe it pays up for my younger years when I read a book, and the boys did the housework.
Soon after graduation I was offered a job in Johnson-Bro’s grocery store. Since Daddy was unable to work anymore and we needed whatever money was possible, I accepted the job. Although I only earned 50 dollars a month it seemed like a thousand to us all. This gave me a chance to still live at home and care for Mother. I worked at the store for 2 years, then I quit to take on a bigger job with even less pay——Marriage.
On 5 April 1947, I said "I DO" with Jay Christensen, the son of Ray and Olive Melissa (Jarvis) Christensen at Clearfield, Utah. We lived in a government housing project at Sahara Village. There we became active in the Branch and progressed until we were able to go to the Salt Lake Temple and have our 2 children, Mary Elaine and Steven Jay sealed to us. Steven Jay was only 3 weeks old when we went with 4 other couples to the Temple on 28 June 1950. After the session, everyone was crying with joy. I was very happy, but I was crying because I was sick. The session had lasted from 7:30 till 3:15.
Very soon after this, my husband went with the National Guard to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. We spent one year there and had one son, Gary Arlis, born there. Just 2 weeks before Gary was born I was bitten by a poisonous snake (pit viper) however, I did not see or hear it and thought it was a Bee sting. We packed mud on the bite, and treated it as a bee sting. The pain was terrific, and during the night I had to take 2 pain pills to relieve it. The next morning in the light, we could see my arm was black and swelled clear to my shoulder. We lost very little time in getting to a Doctor. After one look at it he asked “Did you kill the snake?” I assured him I didn’t know that that was what bit me, or I would have died from fright, and he agreed. He prescribed 32 pills a day, and finally, after 2 weeks. I was back to normal again. Our landlord teased me and said if I wasn’t a “Morman”, I would have died. We came home when Gary was only 5 weeks old.
Throughout our year there, it was our constant prayer that our folks would be able to live until we came home again. Our prayers were answered. Just 3 days after we arrived, my mother suffered another stroke and died. Her doctor told us that he had given her pain pills to ease the pain but a power greater than his had kept her alive for the past year.
Daddy lived 2 years to the month but each time we visited him we could see him failing in health.
During the next year our last son, Roger DeWayne was born in Verdeland Park. We were hoping for a girl and when he was born, an ugly little red-headed boy, I said “Get that ugly boy away from me, I don’t want him”. I soon changed my mind and decided to keep him.
We have always been kept busy in whatever ward we lived and made many lasting friendships. In July 1956, we bought our home on at 142 Dawson Street in Layton. To us it seems to be an ideal location with stores, doctor clinic, school, and Post Office all within 2 blocks of us. Our chapel, a very modern one, is almost in our back yard. In fact, we now have a trail from our kitchen door to the door of the chapel.
I now have 13 years in the Primary teaching all ages of boys and girls and in the Presidency for a short
time. I have been a Home Visiting Teacher in Relief Society since 1956.
"My Life Story" by Olive Melissa Jarvis, Edited by Great-Granddaughter, Lisa Christensen Jackson
Contributor: kevsha Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
"My Life Story" by Olive Melissa Jarvis, Edited by Great-Granddaughter, Lisa Christensen Jackson
I, Olive Melissa Jarvis, was born January 11, 1902, at Colonia Morales, Sonora, México; the oldest child of Samuel Walter Jarvis, Jr. and Olive McNeil. My father usually bossed a bunch of natives on roadwork, as he spoke the lingo fluently, also Spanish very well. My early memories are traveling in a covered wagon from place to place, wherever dad was making road.
It must have been just when I was 5 that we moved back to Morales again, as my sister, Bertha, was born there in 1907. My brother was born before we moved back there someplace along the line. A baby sister, Francis, was born and died but I don't remember her.
That summer I had the measles. I suppose that others did also, but I had to have my head shaved, as there were big sores in my head. Why I remember this so well is that mother got me a white and blue sailor suit with a cap and I was allowed to keep my cap on in church even, as I was so bald.
After that time, I stared a small fire on the south side of the hay stack where the wheat straw was piled after thrashing. It was just a play fire but it destroyed everything we had in the line of feed for the stock and made it necessary for the horses and cows to whither out and most of them were either killed or died. (Because of those things happening,) the next spring we moved to (Colonia) Dublán, (México) where later a baby brother, Charles, was born. Later, we moved to (Colonia) Juarez (México) where Charles died. We lived there until we left in 1912.
All of these towns I mentioned were church colonies or small towns not too far apart. I imagine they were between Monticello and Bluff, except, with travel as it was at that time, it was as much as a week between towns.
In the winter of 1911 and spring of 1912, a lot of talk reached us of the Rebels and the Federalists (Federalistas) fighting, but not much was thought of it. But in early July of 1912, my grandfather Jarvis (Samuel Walter Jarvis, Sr., 1855-1923) came in early one morning and told the folks that it was necessary to get all women and children out immediately, that most of the places south of us were already vacated and the last train would leave in a short time. It was about 9 miles to Pearson where we could get the train. While dad harnessed the team, mother grabbed a few clothes and blankets and what food was already cooked and we left 'pronto'. I remember that a large pan of butter that I had just churned, two buckets of milk and a pan of bread dough were left on the table. We were told it would be a week or less that we would be gone. That was 1912 and I have never been back. My sister, Ada, was about nine months old then and none of us, as far as I know, have been back; Except my father, who, after my mother's death, went to Texas with his mother and made some visits back.
We landed in El Paso, Texas, where, along with other refugees, we were permitted to live in lumber yards for about 3 weeks, if I remember right. The men had stayed in México to help harvest the crops. Along with others, my father started for Texas with a load of fruit and vegetables for food. But the train was blown up and dad always said a bottle of whiskey saved his life. He gave the whiskey to the engineers of the train and he rode as far as the train went and walked on into El Paso to join us. Soon after that, the men arrived.
The church and other charitable organizations arranged for people to go wherever they had friends or relations to help out. Grandpa Jarvis had not seen his parents (George Jarvis, 1823-1913 and Ann Prior, 1829-1913) for (many) years, so we all went to Saint George. There, all the folks treated us grand and helped in any way they could. There, we went into the home of Uncle Brig and Aunt Mary Jarvis, and they shared everything they had with us. We lived in three different places in Saint George for about a year, but dad was unable to find anything to make a living at, so he started out to hunt work and landed in Salt Lake City, where he worked making harnesses and collars for horses in a large shop. in late November of 1915, mother and we children joined him there.
I had two years of school in Old México and 5 years in Salt Lake where I graduated from the ninth grade, which was my education.
By May, 1918, with World War I on, dad decided he couldn't make a living in Salt Lake City and, as he really was a farmer at heart, we moved to Monticello, Utah, where he was foreman on the Greyson Dry Farm, about 16 miles east of Monticello. Later he filed on a homestead and that was why we lived in San Juan County, Utah.
On July 5, 1918, I went to a dance in Blanding, Utah, for men going to war, where I met Ray Christensen (1895-1945). He left soon after for the Army and I didn't see him again until he returned in the Spring of 1919. We soon started going steady and on January 7, 1920, we were married by my Uncle George Jarvis, Bishop of Monticello. Five years later we went to the Salt Lake Temple. Soon after we were married, we went to Carbon County, where Ray got work in the coal mines. We lived in Wattis about two years and Ray Leon was born there on November 24, 1920. We were thrilled to have a baby boy. Later we moved to Storrs (Spring Canyon) and there, Walter Kent was born June 6, 1922. Now we had two boys to love.
As long as the mines worked good, we were satisfied with that life, but nearly every summer, the mine closed down two and three days a week. That made it rough and hard to make a living, so we would always go back to Monticello and then back to the mines in the fall again. I don't know how many times we made that trip.
Perry Eldon was born in Storrs on April 25, 1924, and died a month later and was buried in Cleveland, where Grandpa and Grandma Christensen lived. Eileen was born June 10, 1925, in Storrs, so now with two boys and a baby girl, we were really proud. But in 1926, the mine in Storrs shut down, so we moved back to Monticello and decided to make a home there, but Ray had no formal training or education, so it was just plain hard labor for him all of the time. Farming was just that—HARD WORK!
(Jay was born May 6, 1927 in Monticello.)
In the summer of 1928, Ray was working down at Indian Creek when he came down with a bad case of rheumatism and had to have his tonsils removed. The doctors told him to go to Arizona, Mesa or Phoenix, and just sit in the sun for two years. That was easily said but impossible to do. He bucked snow all winter in Monticello to try to make a living.
On February 14, 1929, Neldon J. was born and a few weeks later, Grandpa Christensen died (Niels Christian Christensen, 1859-1929). We went to Cleveland and dad farmed that place and worked in the coal mines each winter for two years. By then his heart was giving him a lot of trouble.
In the Spring of 1931, Grandma Christensen (Elizabeth Ann Petty, 1862-1931) died, so back to Monticello we came. I said that was that—I was going to stay put now! My dad gave us a lot south of Monticello, on the creek, and daddy and Walter, my brother, got quakies (quaking aspen trees) and built us a log house. It wasn't much, but it was ours, and we lived in it for about 14 years. Norma, Sam, Cleo and Dennis were born there and the years passed and out family grew. Leon and Kent graduated from High School and went into the C.C.C.'s (Civilian Conservation Corps). Then along came Marion, Judy and Janis. They were born in the Moab Hospital. World War II came. Leon and Kent married and later went into the service. Kent was sent overseas to the Aleutians but Leon stayed in the states, mostly in Hobbs, New Mexico.
After about three years, Peace again came and heartbreak came to our family with the death of our father and husband, on October 8, 1945, in the Vet Hospital in Salt Lake City. That left me with Janis, who wasn't two months old, Judy, about 8 years, and the others, up to Jay, who had just graduated from High School. By then, Eileen had also married and had one child. I was left with 9 children at home and a small pension from the government. I got a chance to go into the Post Office as part-time clerk. By now, Jay had left to get work at Hill Field, so Neldon came home each day from school at 2:00 p.m. and I would start work at 3:00 p.m. until we were through, sometimes at 6:00 and sometimes 12:00. Norma would get supper and put the babies to bed and we managed very nicely, although sometimes I thought I couldn't take it. but with nine reasons to keep on the ball, I just had to keep going.
With the help of friends and the Elders Quorum, I borrowed money and bought two of the two-room houses the milk company was selling and the church let me use some property and I built a house and was able to live in town, which was easier for all of us. We didn't have so far to walk to school and to work. Through the years, we managed to get the place built up and a bathroom put in, so we were quite comfortable.
Neldon graduated as Valedictorian of his class and left to work at Hill Field. Norma graduated from school and married Jack Majors. Sammy left school in his senior year and joined the Marines. After training in California, he went to Korea for one year. Neldon went on a mission to Virginia for two years. (Jay married LaReta Stewart in 1945).
In 1950, my eyes got so bad I quit the Post Office and had surgery on one eye. I was not supposed to do strenuous work for some time, so I took school kids to live in, took in washing and baby-sitting and anything else I could do. Later I worked in the restaurant (Out West Café) but that was too hard. I heard that a place was vacant for a bookkeeper in the City Office. In the Spring of 1956, I applied for it and was hired. Mr. Jukes told me if I would stay with him, he would train me, as I had no experience in that kind of work.
It seemed like no time until Sammy came home, got married and then Cleo got married. My family was growing up. Dennis graduated, went part of two years to College, as much as he could manage, and in 1959, went on a mission to Finland. Marion married before she was out of school, but continued in school and graduated with her class. Then her husband was drafted. Later went to France, where Marion later joined him for two years. Judy graduated from High School and then Janis married before she finished High School. And along about then, I fell and had quite a time in the hospital and lost my position in the City Office. This was the early fall of 1961.
For 15 years, I had been going with Glen Black, his wife having died in 1946. I had known Glen since 1918. Our kids had gone to school together and it seemed natural for us to like each other. He had a car and would take all of us for drives and picnics, which was good for all of us. We talked at times of getting married sometime but I just couldn't seem to find time to do anything about it, until I found myself without a job and too old and crippled to get another, and almost alone, so on Dec. 28, 1961, we went to New Mexico and got married. I moved into his place and the kids stayed in my old place off and on.
Dennis came home from his mission. Judy got married. Now Dennis is going to school, working for a time, and trying to get an education. He has a nice girl friend. He has had others, but nothing came of any of his love affairs. Now he seems to be serious. I'll have to wait and see what develops.
For two years, Glen and I have gone to Bluff for the winter, so last fall (1964), we purchased a trailer and went to Bluff to get out of the cold and snow. Now we spend some time between the two places. We have a nice place here, but like Bluff best, most of the time. Maybe we will sell the place in Monticello or maybe the one in Bluff. Only time will tell.
Now maybe I should say something about the Church and what I have done in it (or haven't done). I have a very sincere and strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel. There has never been any doubt in my mind of the divinity of it. I was born and raised in the Church and most of the time have worked in some part of it. From 1948-50, I was a Stake Missionary. Again, in 1959-61, I was also a missionary.
I have worked always in the Relief Society, Primary, Sunday School, or other places in the Ward. I was an active member of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers until we moved to Bluff and I still belong to the Monticello camp of the D.U.P.'s. At present, I am a visiting teacher leader in the Bluff Relief Society Branch and enjoy it very much.
For about 15 years, whenever I got a chance, I would go to the Temple and do work for the dead. I really enjoy this work very much, but I suppose those days are over. I have been in the Saint George, Manti, and Salt Lake Temples. I have quite a bundle of work that I did work for.
I think this should do for now. I love every one of you: children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and in-laws!
Bye for now!