This is a brief history of Norma Jensen Easton written by
her in the later years of her life:
I was born in Richfield, Sevier County, Utah on December 24, 1904. My mother
Katie Bell Levi Jensen (Born September 12, 1878, Beaver, Utah to David and Ann
Gillespie Levi) and my father Niels Jensen (Born November 10, 1878 in Parowan,
Utah to Peter and Marie Jensen) had one other daughter, my five-year-old sister
Clerynth. Clerynth was born in Richfield, Utah on September 7, 1899. Two years
later, 1906, Letty Marie was born in Richfield, Utah and 15 years later, 1919,
Julia Faye was born in Beaver, Utah. Our home in Richfield was next door to my
grandfather, Peter Jensen, a widower who spent most of his time with our
family. Peter’s wife was also a Jensen (Boudid Marie) who died October 19, 1882.
Papa, as he was called by all of us was a farmer and both he and mother worked
hard for their income.
When I was about four years old we moved to Beaver, Utah where my grandfather David
Levi and his family lived in the home now owned by Clerynth and Ed Larson. I
can’t remember my grandmother Ann, but we lived in their home and the only
memory I have of my grandfather was that he was a medium sized kindly person,
wearing a well cared for beard. He tried to make up with me by offering me a
big apple. We stayed on in the home after they passed away, Grandmother Levi in
1905 and grandfather in 1909. In later years, Papa bought the home from Uncle
Will Levi, mother’s brother. The pasture behind the house was mother’s share of
the property. Uncle Will lived with us for some time, until he went into the
service. Clerynth was 15, I was eight, and Letty was six years old when we left
Richfield. Faye was born in Beaver completing our family circle.
My early memories are of my Dad hauling wood and farming. We also had a few milk
cows, which Clerynth and I learned to milk. Letty would agree to running and
washing the separator or anything else to keep out of the corral and milking
the cows. I can remember hauling hay from down the creek bed farm. The farm was
land left to mother and was south of the home down the Beaver River across from
the Taylor Farnsworth farm. Papa traded this farmland for farmland up on
Jackson County Hill. Here we helped Papa clear the land, burning sagebrush, picking
rocks, and later planting potatoes and harvesting them. We also raised some hay
and grain. We had no brothers so we tried to help out as much as possible.
Mother always had us attend Primary and Sunday school, which was held in the old Park
Hotel. The new elementary school has taken its place now. In cold weather we
sometimes rode with our neighbor, Sister Nora White, in a covered buggy pulled
by a big gray horse. Most of the time we walked and it was over a mile to our
school. The old Belknap building north of the new elementary was a good long
walk five days a week. It seemed that there was more snow in those days,
sometimes up to our knees before the paths were cleared.
Papa had a homemade sleigh that he hitched the team to and we would ride down to
Aunt Julia Ann Howd’s for our Thanksgiving dinner. Pete Griffith now owns this
home. As I remember we always had snow for Thanksgiving and for Christmas.
When I was 15 years old, mother kept me out of school all winter. I had my tonsils
out and then stayed home to help mother. Julia Faye arrived the 10th
of December and I mixed my first batch of bread and cleaned my first chicken
(with the help of Papa). Clerynth was away to the University of Utah to school
and I managed with a special promotion to catch up with my group and graduate
from the eighth grade.
I attended two years of high school at the Murdock Academy (1921-1922) and lived
one winter in one of the dormitories with Ella Nowers who later married Ray’s
brother Martell Easton. Many times I walked to school at the Academy, which was
located, where the Beaver golf course is now resides. The new high school was
built and I started my third year there but lost interest and quit to go to
work for Glen Gillies in his market. Brother Claude Cornwall was my seminary
teacher and he insisted that I finish my seminary course. I graduated from
seminary and gave one of the talks at the graduation exercises. I am very
thankful to him for his interest in me. By this time, Clerynth was teaching and
offered to help me go to college if I would continue school, to no avail.
In 1924, I married Morris Thompson. He worked with his dad in the meat market and
drove the school bus. In 1927, in partners with my dad who was sheriff at that
time, bought Puffer Lake cabins and lodge. We ran this resort until Morris was
stricken with a ruptured appendix and died in 1930. I thought I’d never live
again but after five years I met Ray and my life changed again.
For the next five years, after Morris died, I worked in many places: the Brooklawn
Creamery for Morrell Warr, Emils Café for Emil Nowers when he first opened,
Shady’s Café for Shady Lowder, and the Beaver Drug Store for Ken Barton. I also
worked in Salt Lake City for Mode-O-Day Factory, sewing, and lived with Aunt Diane
and Uncle Will Levi. I got homesick shortly after starting the job and went
back to Beaver.
I met Ray Easton in 1935 while working in the drug store. We were married May 11,
1937 in Parowan, Utah. Roy and Gail Morris stood up with us (he was teaching in
Parowan). We had borrowed Papa’s car and went on to Las Vagas for a few days
where we purchased some of our house keeping necessities. Arriving home, we
rented two upstairs rooms in the Riley Apartments, then owned by Bishop W.
Farrer. This is also where Vona and Martel lived. I worked in the meat and
groceries for Warren Thompson and Ray was working for Uncle John and Uncle Ken
Barton on the ranch. We didn’t stay long in the two rooms, soon moving up to a
room in the Mansfield Hotel and then to an apartment in the Glenn Gillies home
that is now owned by the Terry Anderson family. It was once called the Jensen
House, then a boarding house for traveling salesmen. It was later purchased by
Uncle Jode and Aunt Clara Murcock and then by Glenn and Grace Gillies.
LaMar and Eva (Ray’s sister) Pearce talked us into going to Oregon with them thinking
Ray could get steady work there. Mother Easton (Eva), Connie (LaMar and Eva’s
daughter), Ray and I drove LaMar’s car to Oregon. Ray found work with LaMar, so
I came home on the bus to give Warren notice that I was quiting and to start
getting our things together. Ray didn’t like the work and so he came home on
the next bus with his mother. It was a long hard trip because his mother was
car sick most of the way home. Ray got employment in a service station/garage
so we moved to the Woolsey home now owned by Don Brinkerhoff west of the
Our happiness was made complete when on July 12, 1938 Richard was born. Grandmother
Williams (John Williams’ grandmother) who lived through the block, helped Dr.
Mcquarrie deliver Richard and also Robert who was born on October 2, 1939. She
was the best of neighbors. Work was scarce and Ray was then working on the
P.W.A. A dollar went further then than ten dollars does now. We had a Model T.
Ford, a milk cow and a huge garden. The house was to be sold so we had to move
again to an apartment upstairs in the J. M. Murdock house. This is the house
where Morrell Nowers lived when Richard and Robert were growing up and is now
owned and has been remodeled by Pat Yardley.
When Richard was 10 months old he had a bowel obstruction. Dr. McQuarrie with
Martell (Ray’s brother) driving, rushed him to Richfield to a specialist. Dr.
McQuarrie turned to us every so often to ask if he was still breathing. It was
a frightening experience. Ray and I stayed with Aunt Nettie and Donna while he
was hospitalized in Richfield. When Robert was about four or five months old,
Richard again became very sick. Dr. McQuarrie rushed us to Cedar City and
Mother Easton and Clerynth moved in to take care of Robert. They put him on a
bottle as I had been nursing him. It was touch and go with Richard for
sometime. Finally a new drug sulpha (penicillin) saved him. I stayed with him
day and night for about two weeks.
In 194? we moved to the farm in the mouth of the Beaver Canyon. It was owned by Uncle
John Barton as he owned all of the land east of the present Beaver Golf Course
including the land where the Utah Power and Light substation is now located.
There was a little four-room house and a beautiful apple orchard. We had cows,
pigs, chickens, rabbits, and a large garden. Ray broke up a lot of the ground
and raised potatoes, hav and corn. He also leased the city property by the
racetrack (now the city golf course) and had a beautiful stand of alfalfa.
We had a lot of experiences, some good and some bad, but my memories are happy
ones. Ray started work on the railroad in 194_ so that it left me alone every
night. The boys and I irrigated, milked the cows, and tried to keep things
going. It wasn’t all work as the Pearce cousins and Clare Williams spent a lot
of time with us. The grandstand at the racetrack made an ideal spot to play
Cowboys and Indians, etc. I could write volumes about our good times, picnics
in the fields, horseback riding, hunting night crawlers for the many fishermen
that stopped on their way to Puffer Lake. We spent many vacations there with
Clerynth and Ed Larson. Richard, Robert and I would ride up horseback while Ray
drove the team with a wagonload of supplies. It was 22 miles from Beaver City
to the Puffer Lake lodge.
My dad helped Ray haul logs from the mountains around Puffer Lake to the
Hutchings’ sawmill to have sawed into lumber. The lumber was used to build the
big red barn that is west of my home. It was built in 195?. We also cut many
poles for the barn and fences at the farm at the Jensen home. We raised hay on
the Barton farm to feed our cows and horses during the winter. I can remember
Richard crying because he had to haul hay and Robert crying because he couldn’t
since he had hay fever. At the Jensen farm, we pastured the cows in the pasture
behind the home. Later mother and dad sold the pastureland to Ray and I for a
great deal. It was less than what they could have received from other sources,
but they wanted to keep the land in the family. Ray was the only son-in-law
interested in farming and cows. The one condition with the sale that was that
if we ever sold it we could not sell it to the Yardleys. Hopefully, it will
always remain with some member of the family. To date, we are the only family
in Beaver County owning land that was settled by their pioneer grandfather.
Grandfather David Levi homesteaded the seven acres of land, planted the pasture
and built the brick home where Ed and Clerynth now live. He also owned the
farmland now in the possession of Kathleen Farnsworth down the creek bed.
I taught in primary for many years with Mother Easton. She had been an active
member for years so we spent many happy hours working with the children. I had
the scout class and so had the pleasure of working with Richard and Robert.
Ray, working on the railroad in Milford, was unable to attend many of the
church meetings. The boys were faithful attendees and also boy scouts until
they were old enough to prefer going with friends. The boys paid tithing from
the money they earned selling night crawlers and also had enough to buy each of
them a bicycle. We had dozens of cats left with us by kindly people. We also
had many dogs. Boots was one that we had while we lived on the farm in the
mouth of the canyon. He was very close to the boys and was always with them. He
was black with four white feet.
Norma at age 18
Picture in front of the Beaver High School
School torn down in 1996
Ray Easton in 1937.
Ray on his honeymoon.
Car was borrowed from Neils Jensen
Norma on her honeymoon.
Picture taken at the top of Bolder Dam.
Norma and Richard at 2 months old.
Richard weighed 10 lbs and 3 ozs.
Ray and Richard at 2 months old.