Clarence Peter Jensen (1892 - 1949)

Rebecca Elnora Hermansen and Clarence Peter Jensen

Rebecca Elnora Hermansen was born in Elsinore, Utah on March 4, 1896.  She was the daughter of Christian Hermansen and Karen Pederson.  Her parents left Denmark and came to America in 1879.  She lived in Elsinore, Utah until she was about six years of age when the family moved to Lane City, Nevada.  She attended school in Lane City for three years.  Her father worked as a blacksmith while living in Lane City.  The family moved back to Utah, and it was there in Elsinore, Utah that she was baptized in the Elsinore canal by Brother D.W. Woodard on October 22, 1904.  Her sister, Carrie, was baptized the same day. 

The family later moved back to Ely, Nevada and lived there when it was just a tent city.  Her father was in the real estate business at that time.  She saw the first train come into Ely in 1907.  She attended school at Ely for a while until the family moved to White River in Nevada.  Her father bought the Barnes Ranch, and the family lived there for seven years.  It was while they were living there that she met Clarence Peter Jensen.

Clarence Peter Jensen was the son of Niels Peter Jensen and Ida Lauritzen.  He was their first child and was born in Moroni, Utah on October 4, 1892.  He came to Preston, Nevada with his family when he was six years old.  The journey was slow because they were driving their cattle and pulling a heavily laden wagon with their possessions.  His family was one of the first to help settle this area.  He attended school in Preston, Nevada and later attended Snow Academy in Utah for a while.  He took vocal lessons from his mother and learned to play the violin from Brother George Morley.  He had two sisters: Devona Marie and Ida Matilda.  His mother passed away in May 1905.  He helped his father on the farm and later operated the farm, with the help of his uncles, while his father filled a mission to Denmark.  While his father was on his mission, he met Jensine Marie Jensen.  Following his mission, she came to America, and Niels and she were married.  They had three children:  James George, Ida Margaret, and Elsa Kirsten.  This is the grandmother that we grew up knowing.  She ran the little Preston Cash Store for many years.

Clarence and Rebecca were married in the Salt Lake Temple on August 18, 1915.  They made their home in Preston, Nevada and earned their living farming.

Their marriage was blessed with seven living children:  Hope Jensen Prince, Clarence Dee Jensen, Fae Jensen Anderson, Clair H. Jensen, Norma June Jensen Simon, Richard Christian Jensen, and Donna Gay Jensen Clark.  One son, Bernard, only lived a few hours after birth.

When they moved to Ely in 1926, Clarence went to work for a time for Levi Zentner in the produce business.  Later he started his own trucking business and operated that for many years.  He was badly burned while burning weeds at the golf course early one morning.  This affected his health and sight for the rest of his life.  In his own quiet way, he helped those he saw in need, and I am sure we will never know of all the good he did.

Becky worked hard to help with the family expenses too.  She took in washing and ironing to do in her home.  Becky served in several different positions in the church.  She served as Primary President and as counselor in the Relief Society and then as President of the Relief Society.  She loved the work and the association with the sisters.  She loved to quilt and crochet and made many beautiful things.  Becky suffered with arthritis, and it in turn affected her heart.

In 1941 Clarence and Becky moved to Roseburg, Oregon and bought a small farm.  They lived there until 1943 when they returned to make their home in Ruth, Nevada.  They bought a little home in East Ely, Nevada and were fixing it up when Clarence died on April 5, 1949.  Becky followed him in death on February 28, 1961.

Their home was always open to friends and relatives, and quite often there were extra people at the dinner table, and a place was always available for them to sleep.  They made a happy home for their family and were loved by all.

Life Story of Clarence Peter Jensen
(written by his son Richard Christian Jensen on November 1, 1976)

My father was born in Moroni, Sanpete County, Utah on October 4, 1892.  He was the oldest child of Niels Peter Jensen and Ida Lauritzen Jensen.  Two sisters were also born in Moroni, Devona Marie on January 15, 1985, and Ida Matilda on July 28, 1897.  His early years were spent in Moroni where his father engaged in farming.  In 1898 his father, Granddad, heard that the church had acquired land in Lund, Preston, and Georgetown.  Granddad decided that this would be an opportunity for his family to own a farm, so he made arrangements for land in Preston. He rode by horseback to Nevada to check on the land and make the final arrangements.  The family gathered their belongings with what livestock and equipment they had and headed for Nevada with other friends and relatives who were also going to settle in the White River Valley.  Relatives included in the group were brothers of Granddad, Andrew Jensen, James Hans Jensen, Christian Weaver Jensen, and a half brother, John Sorensen.

Granddad had started building a log home for his family when in Nevada earlier, and when the family arrived, they lived with John Sorensen until their home was finished.

The journey from Moroni took two weeks.  The journey was slow and dirty driving the livestock, and pulling the laden wagon slowed the travel.  At some of the watering holes on the way the people were charged for watering their stock.

As the community settled in and farming got under way, a close-knit community grew into being.  The mining booms of Lane City, Hamilton, Ward Mountain, Taylor, Osceola, Cherry Creek, and other small mining towns were feeding into history.  As the mines played out, most of the people moved on to other places.  Ely was a small town with a few shacks.  The county seat was still in Hamilton.

Until the mining of copper developed in 1906 and the advent of the Nevada Northern Railroad, the closest railroad was on the Union Pacific Railroad at Modena, Utah.  Each year the settlers in both Lund and Preston would order carloads of supplies and would organize wagon trains.  The men of the community would join together and wagon freight the supplies from Modena home XE "Jensen, Clarence Peter:annual food drive" .  Molasses by the barrel, five-gallon cans of honey, flour, coal oil for the lamps, and all the staples and supplies for the coming year would be freighted in usually once a year.

My father said it was a great event to be included on those trips.

Dad went to school in Preston and was taking vocal lessons from his mother.  He also attended Snow Academy in Ephraim, Utah for a short time.  He also learned to play the violin from Brother George F. Morley, and during his young manhood later on played with many dance bands at the many dances that were held in Lund, Preston, and at the Gardner Ranch.

After arriving in Preston my grandmother lost two children at birth and died of a third childbirth May 20, 1905.

Dadís education ended when his mother died, and he helped Granddad with the farm. 

Grandfather was called on an L.D.S. mission to Denmark and served a full mission from 1909 to 1911.  The three children stayed with their uncles who helped to run the farm to support the family and to keep grandfather on a mission.

While in Denmark, Granddad met Jensine Marie Jensen.  Following his mission she came to America, and she and Granddad were married in the Manti Temple on February 9, 1912.  They had three children:  James George, Ida Margaret, and Elsa Kirsten.

Dad worked with Granddad a short time after he returned from his mission and then went to work at the smelter in McGill, Nevada for a short time but did not particularly care for the smelter gas, sulfur dioxide, and left to ride herd for the Adams McGill Livestock Company.  It wasnít uncommon for a United States Marshall to slip in to the camp to pick up one of the cowboys who was wanted for some crime somewhere.  For a short time Jack Dempsey rode with the group.  The Adams McGill Company controlled a great deal of land in Eastern Nevada and livestock in both cattle and sheep numbered in the thousands.

I remember hearing many stories while sitting quietly listening to the adults during family gatherings.  In those days we were taught that children were to be seen and not heard. I remember him telling about camping in the charcoal ovens at Willow Creek while riding herd on a roundup.  Dad awakened to feel a strange bed companion and after a seemingly long moment, a rattlesnake slithered away from his bed.

Dad always had the desire to farm in Preston, and when the Hermansens moved to the Barnes ranch, Dad courted my mother, Rebecca Elnora Hermansen, and they were married in the Salt Lake Temple on August 18, 1915.  Dad had saved some money to start their married life.  About that time the Madsen family, who had joined the church in Denmark, desired to come to America, so Dad took the money he had saved and used it to help bring them to America.  After the Madsens arrived in Preston, Brother Madsen, who was an excellent carpenter, more than repaid Dad by making furniture for their first home.  The folks lived in Preston on various farms.  Dad always prided himself in having good teams to work with and good livestock. 

Their marriage was blessed with eight children.  Hope Jensen was born April 17, 1916.  She married Rawson Mendis Prince.  They had four children, three of which are presently living. 

Hope died January 1, 1971, in East Ely, Nevada. 

Clarence Dee Jensen was born September 20, 1918.  He married Elizabeth Yvonne Horton .  They had five children.  Clarence died April 30, 1989.

Bernard Jensen was born on March 16, 1920.  He died March 17, 1920. 

Fae Jensen married Harold Clifford Anderson .  They had eight children.  Fae lives presently in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Clair H. Jensen was born June 23, 1923.  He married Etta Maria Fowler.  Clair died May 20, 2001.

Norma June Jensen was born June 10, 1925.  She married Robert Vernon Simon.  They had three children.  She died September 14, 1989.

Richard Christian Jensen married Georgia Joann Jennings.  They had five children and presently live in Lancaster, California. 

Donna Gay Jensen was born November 19, 1935.  She married Donald D. Clark.  They had five children.  Donna died August 23, 1969 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

After Dee was born, Dad purchased a herd of dairy cows  from Wisconsin.  When they arrived, they were diseased and didnít do well, and Dad lost considerable money.  Discouraged, Dad moved to Ely and worked at various jobs.

A couple of interesting things happened that I remember him telling.  He was driving a truck, an old Nash quad or four-wheel drive, loaded with steel over Connors Pass.  When going down grade in the old canyon road, the brakes failed, and Dad rode the truck miraculously out of the canyon on faith and a prayer.  The truck was in the middle of Spring Valley before it came to a stop.

While working there at that time he was contacted by the underworld who offered him a job smuggling dope in from Mexico which Dad turned down immediately.

During their stay in Ely, their third child was born.  This was the only child that my mother bore and was not attended by Sister Windows.  It was during the flu epidemic at the end of World War I, and Bernard caught the flu and died at only a day old.  It was the only time that she had been attended by a doctor.

The folks then returned to Preston and engaged in farming.  They lived in the apple orchard where Fae was born and were living in the Lee Roup place in 1926 when they decided that they should return to Ely. 

While living in Preston, Dad had delivered a wagonload of hay to a livery stable in Ely.  While returning and driving the team through the thick cedars, he tied the reins and laid back on the rack and went to sleep. He awoke sometime later as if by premonition and looked back on the rack and saw a man crawling towards him with a knife.  He jumped off the wagon and the man started chasing him.  Each time Dad ran by the team he managed to unhitch the horse.  He finally got one horse free and rode for help.  When they returned, they found the man dead with a self-inflicted wound.  They later found out that the man was mentally unstable and had a history of mental sickness.

Dad worked some in the church.  As a young man he was secretary in the M.I.A.  He worked with the 4H boys and had taken them to Lake Tahoe on an annual outing and was on that trip when I was born. 

Dad got a job with the Levi Zentner Produce Company in East Ely, and they bought a home at 1328 Avenue F.  Dad was working there when the depression hit.  Levi Zentner continued in business during that period and besides wages those working were given produce that hadnít moved which helped a great deal.  Even with a big family we seemed to do very well.  Dee worked for Levi Zentner also for a while keeping books while he was going to school.

In 1932 Dad left Levi Zentner and went into the trucking business XE "Jensen, Clarence Peter:trucking business" .  The Nevada Northern Railroad gave Dad contracts to do their general hauling, which included hauling mail, freight, express, coal, and general hauling.  Because of the interstate nature of the hauling it required an ICC permit.  Dad received one of the earliest permits in the area.  When Dad thought of expanding in his trucking business, the railroad reminded him of his primary obligation and suggested that he not enter into competition.  The truck business was growing and cutting into the railroad business. 

The hauling meant meeting the train schedule morning and night to put mail and express on and take incoming mail and express off the train and delivering it to East Ely, Ruth, and Kimberly.  The express company took care of Ely.  Family activity soon became oriented around these train schedules.  Hauling freight and coal constituted a large portion of the work and often kept the whole family busy.

Dad did other hauling for the oil companies to Minerva and other outlying areas.  When the CCC camps were organized, Dad had the contracts to haul coal to them.   The trips to Sunnyside in the winter were always a chore.

Hauling soil and peat moss to the residents was a continual source of income and paying of doctor, dental, and eyeglass bills.  Hauling soil was common during the depression years.

There was a sand green golf course in East Ely that had been organized by a group of local men.  These men had an attendant to take care of the course by the name of Frank Bellamy.

Dad had contracted to pull an oil burner behind the truck to burn the weeds out of the fairway.  In 1932 they were in the process of burning the weeds when the oil burner exploded.  Frank Bellamy was in back and received the brunt of the explosion.  Dad had some preliminary burns, and his clothes were burning, but he quickly put out the flames when he noticed Frank running wild.  He tackled Frank and rolled him in the dirt until the flames were out.  Both were severely burned.  It was days before we knew if either would survive.  They both did, but it had taken a severe toll on Dadís health.  The pores on much of his body had been permanently closed and his eyes received a lot of damage.

While Dad recuperated in the hospital for many months, my mother kept the family by taking in washing and ironing, and the rest of the family worked at keeping the contracts going.  Most of the Kennecott doctors were members of the golf club and gave free hospital and doctor care for both Frank and Dad until they were well.  They were really generous with their time and worked many long hours to save the lives of both men.  Needless to say, the process of removing weeds from the course was changed.  It was during one of these sessions while Dad was working on the number one fairway when a group of golfers he knew came to the first tee.  Dad quit working so he wouldnít disturb them.  When they were through teeing off, Dad made a  comment, so one of them put a ball on a tee and asked Dad to try it.  He approached the ball and drove, to his dismay as well as all the others, clear to the green.  They asked him to try again, but he quit while he was ahead.  This was Dadís first and only attempt at golf.  He was husky, 5í10Ē and weighing about 220 pounds.  He was really robust.  He had blue eyes and brown hair but had gone bald fairly early.  His skin was as white as any skin as I have ever seen.

The hills were full of wood and the whole family hauled in wood, which we sawed into firewood for our kitchen stove and for fireplace wood to be sold.  The saw was driven by a long belt and a pulley adapted to the rear axle of an old Model T.

Those were hard years for everyone.  One thing the whole family learned to do was to work, which we all appreciated.  We used to haul coal to the Steptoe Valley Hospital.  We would all get up early, eat a big breakfast and go to work until we had emptied a seventy-ton car.  Dad would say just fill the back of the shovel and the front will take care of itself.

I remember riding with Dad to Ruth on the mail express run one day during the time when the government was recalling the gold.  I donít know how much gold was in the truck but the government had two men with ďtommy gunsĒ riding on the truck.  The one riding in the cab asked Dad what he would do if someone tried to force them to stop.  Dad replied that he would stop and leave the security of the gold up to the guards.

Another job that I uniquely remember was when the government shipped carloads of grain into the farmers during a stress period.  Dad helped to haul the grain to the ranchers.

I can also remember the early floods in Ely when the snow would melt too fast in Robinson Canyon and flood downtown Ely.  Dad helped by hauling sand and sand bags to prevent stores from flooding.

Everyone worked hard in those years, but there were good times too.  We all worked hard, but when we played, we played just as hard.  It was common to get the whole neighborhood in the back of the truck and head for the hills with mountains of good food.  Reese Holman always managed to pack along five gallons of ice cream in the old steel container.  There was singing, stories, and fun times that will long be remembered.

With money being short, the favorite eveningís pastime was to ride to downtown Ely and visit with everyone else doing the same thing or to attend the softball games.  All the communities had teams as well as the CCC camps.

Dad was usually quite quiet.  I always thought it was a Jensen trait, but he had a lot of sage sayings that I will probably always remember.  Though his formal education was limited, he was always sharp with numbers and spent fascinating evenings showing the kids math tricks as well as other things.

I was always amazed at his agility for as large a man as he was.  Often he would lie on the floor for a short nap at noon.  When it was time to go to work, he would flip from his back to his feet, a trick that none of his kids ever mastered.

One of the highlight trips of their career was when Lynn Bound, a friend of the family and a close friend of Deeís, chauffeured the Sorensen family, Uncle John and Aunt Drewey (no relation but just close friends) and Dad and Mother through the northwest.

Like good horses Dad always appreciated good cars, and when he could, he usually got a new one every year.  It was always a great treat for the family to go to Preston and visit relatives.  The food was always superb, and we would always return with fresh milk.  In fact, as the towns of Preston and Lund developed, a flourmill was built in Lund in which Granddad owned stock, and each fall when the wheat was harvested, Granddad always saw that Dad got some of the flour.  Trips were always a treat for the family but were generally to visit relatives in Utah.  Occasionally a trip to Zion, Bryce, Oregon or Yellowstone would be made.  Iíll never forget the old Essex.  Iím sure it was bought with just as much pride as any of the other cars, but it had a dual carburetor system that was constantly giving problems and made it doubtful whether any trip would be successful.  The Essex finally gave way to the Plymouth.  On all the trips each child had a place in the car.

Dad always said that mother fed all the bums XE "Hermansen, Rebecca:feeds homeless"  and bought fruit from all the peddlers.  It was certainly true.  We lived on a main highway, and every morning one of the kids would take the marks that were left by those who were fed from off the front yard gate.  Dad usually had some work, and most of the men were more than willing to work, and Dad helped many along the way.

Dad always helped mother can the fruit, and our basement was always filled with abundance.  There always was something to feed the passerby.  When people from out of town dropped by, they were always offered a place to sleep and something to eat.  It was always a question as to where the kids would sleep, and the boys would quite often sleep in the basement with the stores.  I remember one night Clair, Dee, and I woke with a start thinking a battle was going on.  The folks had made root beer and used too much yeast, and the caps were popping off, completely emptying the bottles.

The table was always crowded at meals, and we soon learned to place Dee and Fae on the appropriate corners because they were the only left-handed ones in the family.  It was quite common having relatives staying with us as there were jobs available at the railroad and mine while the depression was harder on people in the farming area in Utah.

One of Dadís philosophies was that you should always leave a community better than you found it.  He sincerely believed this and was continually having work done on his home.  He eventually owned a number of homes in Ely, which he rented.

Mother worked in the Relief Society during the depression, and Dad always supported her one hundred percent.  During those years it is hard to remember our front room without quilting frames and the sisters there making quilts.

Mother contracted arthritis, and her heart was affected.  She had a difficult time, and for a period of time could not lift her arms.  Dad attended her and tried everything available to relieve her of her agony.

The trucks began to make serious inroads in the railroad business, and the passenger and express train quit running in the early part of 1941.  This seriously affected Dadís business, and with the doctors advising the folks to leave for a lower climate, Dad sold out his house and business and moved to a farm in Roseburg, Oregon XE "Jensen, Clarence Peter:moves to Oregon for health" .  Things were still difficult for farming, but Dad put in a flock of chickens and sold eggs and had a small dairy herd plus about twenty acres of fruit and nut trees.  Dad also worked in a feed mill and packing plant in Roseburg.

The war broke out while Dad and Mother and the three younger children lived in Roseburg.  Mother recuperated from arthritis to the extent she could move her arms fairly freely in spite of the wet weather, and they left the farm and returned to Ruth and worked for Ross Prince, their son-in-law.  Dee, who had moved with his family to Oregon, stayed at the farm and worked in the timber and later in the stores.  The folks returned to Oregon but sold out in 1943 and returned to Ruth where Dad worked until his death on April 5, 1949.

Dad always dreamed of returning to the farm and in 1944 purchased a small farm in Jerome, Idaho, but later sold it with never living there.

Donna Gay was born in Ely on November 19, 1935.  Mother was attended by Sister Windows.

Dad always felt he lived in a choice time.  He witnessed the horses disappearing from the farms and being replaced by the mechanical equipment.  It was a great treat when the old ice box was taken out, the ice card removed from the window and the brand new electric ice box with the cooling coils on the top moved inóthe first in the neighborhood.  The old ice wagon disappeared, and the kids no longer stole ice to have a cool drink.  Fred Farnsworth always made sure a few small chunks were available in the back of the wagon. Bill Dyerís horse wagon sleigh gradually gave way to the trucks, and the full 20th Century progress came in when the telephone was hung on the wall, and one of the favorite family pastimes was to listen to the hit parade every Saturday night.

Because of the effect of the fire on Dadís eyes, he didnít go out much at night, but he never missed seeing a Will Rogers movie.

It was always a treat, as a young boy, to sit with my father in the depot waiting for the train to arrive, listening to the regulator clock tick away and listening to the men discussing the new social security act, the unemployment problem, Mussoliniís Ethiopian, the rising of the Hitler regime in Germany, and the dreadnaught assignment of the Japanese navy.  Iím not sure it helped solve any national problems, but it did bring out the real love that these men had for their country.

One of Dadís philosophies was that you should always be on your best behavior in your home.  He was generally soft-spoken at home and never used profane language around his children.  While living in Ruth Dad served in the Sunday School presidency.  While in Oregon that mission was opened, and Dad served in many capacities as all of the members did because of the shortage of people.

Dad bought a home in Ruth and later sold it to George Smith and moved into a company home. When he realized his health was failing, he bought a home in East Ely and was in the process of remodeling it when he passed away.

Family get togethers were always choice.  These seemed to be held as long as Dad was alive.  Dad never realized the ambition he had of owning a farm in the White River Valley.

At the time of Dadís death, Molly Cooper, a well-known black woman in the community, said, ďYou will never know how much your dad did to help others and widows.Ē

Last updated Saturday, November 21, 2009