Norma Jensen

December 24, 1904 - May 14, 1997

 
 


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, Iron, County, 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 hospital.

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 with Morrris 1924


Norma and Morris at Puffer Lake with Marie Pearce


Norma and Ray at Big Flat in 1935


Norma and Ray at Big Flat


Norma and Ray in Las Vages 1937


Norma and Richard 1938


Norma, Ray, Richard and Robert 1939

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This page last updated on April 19, 2012 .