Katie Bell (Jensen) Levi
September 12, 1878 - August 17, 1963

 
 

Katie Bell (Jensen) Levi, written by Katie Bell

Now I came on the scene, September 12, 1878. I had a happy childhood because I was one of those lucky children who had two mothers. I had two sisters, one twenty and one seventeen, and six brothers; so among them I was a favored child. Nothing was too good for me. But when I did wrong knowingly, I was spanked on the right place. Well, do I remember one of my growing up experiences. When I was about five years old, I had a faithful dog named Dan, who did as I told him. One afternoon I was with the boys as they picked potatoes, while father plowed. As I played, I would throw my clean blue bonnet and call Dan to get it (which he did, tearing it every time). The boys cheered me on. After father had called me several times and told me not to do that, and I continued, he quietly stopped the horses when near me, turned me over his knee, and for my the screaming! I cannot remember that happening before this hat episode, or after. My sister Nettie came to rescue, but when she found out the cause, she almost gave me another dose. Nettie was my constant companion because my mother worked in the Relief Society and was often busy nursing the sick.

How well I remember the pretty dresses mother made for me, and the parties she prepared. She often fixed nice lunches for me so that I might have my girl friends to play with in place of running off with the boys She always took me to Sunday School and sent me to Primary with Aunt Jane Gillies. I loved to go to Sacrament Meeting on Sunday afternoons, and Fast Meetings on Thursday morning with my mother.

The very month I was eight years old, she took me down to the Beaver River, just above the bridge, to be baptized by William P. Jones (Tinner Jones as we called him, because he sold tins and made tin Pans). John K. Smith, our Bishop, confirmed me. He was a dear man that we all loved.

When I was six years old, I was taken to school. On the way, my mother went into the court house to pay my tuition, which was $2.00 a month. Then we continued north, up the street for half a block to the central School House. Aunt Lue Dalton was my teacher and I remember how sweet she was, so kind, we all loved her.

My school days were happy ones. I loved school. Brother J. T. Tolton was my first man teacher. He was always firm, but loved by all and he was a real favorite. I received several awards of merit from him for outstanding work, but I did not go to college because my father always said that college was for boys. Girls should learn to be home makers, so at an early age I was married. I graduated from High School when I was just past sixteen and at that time I worked in Mutual and Sunday School and enjoyed both.

I was married at home on October 16, 1898 to papa, brother J. T. Tolton performed the ceremony and our marriage was later solemnized in the St. George Temple. We hadn't been married quite a year when Ann Clerynth was born on September 7, 1899. Not long after that we moved to Richfield where Norma was born on December 24, 1904, and then on October 15, 1906, Letty came to our family. I had several lovely friends in Richfield, and although we lived ther for 10 years, it never really was home to me.

We came back to Beaver in the Spring of 1910. On December 10, 1919, Julia Faye was born and then, with our four girls our family was complete. In Beaver I began working in the Primary and Sunday School and I worked with the children until 1921, then I was called as Secretary in the West Ward Relief Society. From then on Relief Society was my work. I was Ward and Stake Relief Society President until September of 1940 when I resigned to go to California with Faye because she was sick. I was there nearly four months, and I attended Relief Society throughout my stay. When I came home in December, I went into the Stake Relief Society as Welfare Leader where I served for five years. When I began my Relief Society work in 1921, I attended General Conference in Salt Lake and I can count the conferences that I have missed since then, on one hand.

"MY MOTHER" (Written by Ann Clerynth Jensen Larson, oldest daughter) (Transcribed by Candy Lish Fowler, oldest great grandchild of Katie Bell Levi Jensen)

My Mother, Katie Bell Levi was born Sept. 12, 1878 in Beaver Utah to David and Ann Gillespie Levi. Her parents were early pioneer settlers in Utah. David's family originated in Gospiel, Essex Co. upper Canada, and when he was a young boy, they moved south into the state of New York where they heard the Gospel and were baptized. In 1847, after a few years, they moved west and settled in Keg Creek, Illinois.

Old records show that David's father owned property adjacent to some owned by the prophet Joseph. In the early 1850's they emigrated to Utah where they settled in North Ogden.

Ann Gillespie was born in Glasgow Scotland. Her father died when she was young. Her Mother, her parents and five of her sisters and their families joined the Church and prepared to immigrate to Utah, but Ann's young brother became seriously ill, making it impossible for him to travel so it was decided that Ann and her brother William who had been baptized should go ahead with the Mother's family and she and the young boy would follow when he recovered. (he died soon after.)

Ann and William had many wonderful experiences on this long journey to the new World. When their ship reached New Orleans, they sailed up the Mississippi to the point where they joined the Smoot Handcart Company for Utah. (Ann's Grandfather, Daniel Sinclair died of Cholera when they reached Mt. Pisgah.) Ann and William walked the whole distance to Salt Lake City. When they began the journey, young Ann wore shoes, but as the journey progressed, she noticed that many of the other children did not have shoes. Although she was young, Ann was concerned about the other children in the company. She did not want them to "feel bad," because she had shoes and they didn't. So . . . little Ann made an important decision. . .she took-off her shoes, tied the laces together and "wore" them over her shoulders instead of on her feet. Ann's long pioneer trek to Utah was made on tiny, bare feet!

Once the children and families finally reached Utah, they were sent to Ogden to settle.

When Ann was almost sixteen, she met and married David Levi in 1858. Soon after they had built their home in this strange new land, two little girls, Julia Ann and Janet were born to them. In 1862, David and Ann were called by Brigham Young to prepare to go to southern Utah to help settle the Beaver area. His brother, Joseph Levi and brother-inlaw Isaac Riddle were to go also with their families. The three men were given the responsibility of caring for the Church cattle in this area. On the long trip they stopped and rested in Kanosh where David's sister Jane Watts had settled. They proceeded south and chose a place to build a cabin in a little cove in the cedars (just off the freeway to our left as we travel today through the Yardley property at Pine Creek.) This was their home until David built a house in Beaver somewhere on 10th St. so that the two girls could attend school in the winter and they would be safe from unfriendly Indians.

Not long after he built one of the first brick homes on the southern outskirts of the town for his family to move into. Two little girls were born there, both of them died of diphtheria when only three or four years of age.

In September of 1878, Katie was born in the new home. Strange and impossible as it may seem during these hard and busy years since they left Ogden, David had been chosen to take a second wife. Consequently, by the time my mother arrived on the scene, she had three brothers, and another one on the way - the mother was Christine Gilles. Grandfather had purchased the little farm house west of Beaver from the Flake family who moved and settled Snowflake, Arizona. (the property is now owned by Kathleen Farnsworth.) This was for the second family which grew to seven boys. Later, Grandfather purchased the property and built the home where Peggy Stapley now lives for "Aunt Tinnie" and her boys. (James, Robert, Fred, Marshall, Orson and Clarence Levi.)

Growing up with so many brothers, Mother must have been quite a tomboy. When she was three years old, her mother presented her with a baby brother named William. She often told how good her brothers were to her how she loved to ride horses and about the days and nights she was permitted to spend on the farm with "Aunt Tinnie" and her brothers and especially did she enjoy the times she would go to the farm with her mother when she went to help Aunt Tinnie make cheese or to help cook for the threshers.

Like so many young girls in those days, Mother was expected to learn the arts of housekeeping from her mother and older sisters. Mother's education was not neglected. In addition to the everyday duties of the homemaker she learned to be a very accomplished seamstress from a lady, Mrs. Hall, who taught a class in dressmaking. As a result, she made her own dresses and dresses for some of her girl friends when a young teenager.

She learned much about caring for the sick from her mother who served as a nurse in many homes. Mother was a faithful member and worker in the Sunday School and Young Lady's Organizations. She loved to dance and she and her friends had many parties and picnics. She was escorted on many of these occasions by one of her older brothers.

On one of these occasions she met her future husband, Niels, who had made an over-night stop on one of his regular trips through Beaver enroute from Richfield to Ely Nevada. and St. George. He had a contract to carry mail and passengers over this route. Kate and Niels were attracted to each other and in less than a year they were married at her home, October 26, 1898 by Brother J. Tolton.

Their first child (me) was born in Sept. 1899 and the happy couple moved to begin housekeeping in Richfield where his father and family lived. When Papa's mail contract expired, he did not try to renew it because it kept him away from home so much and so many new competitors made business less profitable. He owned a fine team of horses so he turned to farming with his father and also made quite frequent trips hauling freight to and from points in the surrounding area.

Life was not easy for Mother but she never complained even when she had spells of homesickness and problems with her heart. She performed her duties well, even feeding and milking the cow - (she had done this at home.) She also had a garden. Caring for the baby was her first priority and she received a large share of help in this from Papa's two grown sisters. She made many friends and enjoyed visits from them.

They lived in Richfield for ten years and during this time they welcomed Norma and Letty into the family circle. Now Mother could use her talent, sewing for her three little girls. She always seemed to have time for that. Mother's father passed away in the winter of 1909 so Papa prepared his team and wagon for the trip to Beaver via Clear Creek Canyon - Mother and her children were dressed their warmest clothing and covered well in bedding for the weather was cold. They reached Bradbury's cabin in the Canyon by nightfall where they received a hot meal and shelter for the night. The hospitality was genuine, the price very reasonable. The next day was a long one and by nightfall they were safe and thankful to be in Beaver and welcomed by family and friends.

An unexpected turn came into their lives now. Grandpa's will provided generously for all of his children. Mother received a large piece of farm and meadow land and Papa was given the opportunity to buy from one of the heirs, the family home where Mother was born. In a very short time the family had made the move and Papa could continue his way of life. Mother was happy to be home with her people again. Papa adjusted well to his familiar work.

Before very many weeks Mother began taking her girls to Primary. It wasn't long before she was called to teach the small children in Primary. Several of the teachers were her longtime friends. Every Saturday she and her neighbor Sister Nora White with their four girls could be seen traveling in the White's buggy to the old Park Hall for Primary.

In 1913 Mother had the misfortune to suffer a badly broken ankle. It did not heal properly and bothered her always - though it never kept her frown walking to her destination if she had no other mode of travel.

In December of 1919, Mother gave birth to a tiny baby girl. She was named Julia Faye - What joy she brought to our home.

In 1921 she was called to be the Secretary of the West Ward Relief Society. She worked in this capacity until she was called in 1927 to be the President of the Ward Relief Society. (I mustn't forget to say that she realized one of her treasured goals when she and Papa had their marriage solemnized in the St. George Temple in October 1928. While she was busy as Ward President of the Relief Society, she received the call from President T. Gunn to serve as Stake Relief Society President. She served from 1931 until 1940. I think these years in the Relief Society were the happiest years for Mother. The 30's were depression years and so many people had problems throughout the County. Papa was County Sheriff and together they worked to help many needy people, both local and transient. Papa often teased Mother by saying: "Well Mother, I guess it's the Relief Society's turn." Mother did love the ladies she worked with and received so much inspiration from them. A special effort was made by all of us to see that she could attend the Relief Society General Conference with her associates. She has said that she never missed a conference while she held office. The Church Welfare Program was put in action during her term and she worked diligently to make a successful beginning. In 1940 she was released from the stake and almost immediately was called to take charge of the Ward Welfare Program. This was her responsibility for five years.

In the meantime, she served with Lew Mar Price on the Governor's Welfare Program in Beaver County when it was in its beginning years. In the late 50's Mother's health began to fail. Her blood pressure was a problem along with painful attacks of arthritis. She was honored by her family on her 80th birthday Sept. 12, 1958.

Her love for the D.U.P. helped her to keep busy during the 1950's, when she joined her fellow members in preparing for Beaver's Centennial. She also helped in the publishing Monuments of Courage ( - Chapter Chairman of Red Cross.)

From 1960 until her death in 1963, her health declined and after a number of strokes, she passed away in her home on Aug. 19, 1963.

While putting this together and thinking of the early hardships of our Mother's life, I can't help but mention the following things:

- She served as a visiting teacher with Sister Lotta Farrer just as long as she was able.
- She gave much compassionate service thru the years
- She had a deep Love of Christ
- One of her many jobs through the years was sewing and caring for the dead
- She spent many hours helping Drs. Fairbanks and Hopkins
- She always made faithful visits to the sick and never forgot the home bound
- Her sewing skills served her family and as well as her neighbors. Many dresses, coats and suits were made over into clothing for her family and friends.

"My Mother" typed by Candy Fowler, February 21, 1991- copied from Aunt Clerynth's personal notes.

These notes were in Aunt Clerynth's genealogy which she personally gave to me before she died. I did not remove the genealogy from her home until several years after Aunt Clerynth's death. Uncle Ed gave the notes to me Saturday February 18, 1991. I am the oldest Great-grandchild of Katie Bell Levi Jensen. Candy Lish Fowler (Mrs. Bill Fowler)
321 W. 550 N. Center St. George, Utah 84770 (628-0300)

Added Notes by Candy Lish Fowler: My mother, Marie Pearce Lish was Katie Bell Levi Jensen's oldest grandchild. I am Katie Bell's oldest great-grandchild and because I was the oldest, as a child, I spent many cherished weeks, days, and hours with my sweet great grandmother. She taught me many things. . . first and foremost was the knowledge that I was a child of God, that Heavenly Father loved me, and my savior, Jesus Christ loved me. She sewed a doll blanket for me when I was about two or three years old. It is now in the possession of my oldest daughter Katie, who is named after Katie Bell. I also have a small pink and yellow satin quilt that she made for me when I was a baby. I used it until some of the edges were thread bare. I have since had it restored and have it to this day. It is a dear treasure. Letter writing was very special to Great Grandmother and I loved receiving any card or letter from her. Upon seeing her beautiful handwriting on the envelope, I knew immediately who had sent the note to me. They were dearly loved treasures. Great Grandmother sewed clothes for me and one special memory is the year I was in the second grade, she sewed all my little shirt-waist dresses, plaid skirts and poodle circle skirts to wear to school. Whenever I stayed with her, I was such a wild sleeper, (I tossed and turned and kicked off the covers) she sewed me several satin sleeping jackets to make sure I stayed warm at night. Great Grandmother read to me, my memory loved to hear her read from an old primer, a section from Hiawatha: "Kababinoka and the North Wind," to this day I can hear her voice as it held the intrigue of the old poem. She told me family stories, took me to church meetings with her, had me give 2 minute talks in the old Sunday School program.

I used to love to sit and listen to her visit with the Beaver High School seminary teacher and neighbor, Brother Kersick. I loved visits with her deaf neighbors, Louie and Harvey White-hearing Harvey's big voice boom "hellooooooooo!"

She never allowed "primping" or looking at oneself in the mirror. "Pretty is as pretty does," was the motto and example she taught me. I had friends in Beaver who I played with and if Great Grandmother ever heard any "gossip or speaking unkindly of someone" she stopped it immediately. Kind words were the rule of her life. She loved to laugh and I loved to laugh with her.

Regarding Aunt Clerynth's mention of her broken ankle. The story I was always told by my grandmother, Letty, and by the other aunts (sisters) as well, was this. Katie Bell was riding in "a horse and buggy outfit" with her cousin Zora Howd. When they stopped in front of Great Grandmother's house, when she got out of the buggy, the horse reared. Without thinking, tiny Katie Bell reached for the horse's reins in an effort to still the horse. There was a struggle, in the end, she sustained a horrible compound fracture of her ankle/foot. When the doctor came to the house to set it, Niels, her husband sent his three little daughters out of the house-to the corner of the pasture out back of the home. Even that far away, they could hear their dear mother scream in pain as the doctor worked to set her foot. Forty years later, when I stayed with her, at bedtime, I well remember helping her rub lineament into her "worrisome" (as she put it) foot. It was a source of pain throughout her life.

Because she was so special too me, I have written some poetry about her and about the influence she had on my life. I am forever grateful for the love Katie Bell Levi Jensen gave my mother and me-she has been a guiding light and bright star in our lives.

Neils Jensen
Katie Bell's
Husband

Janet Sinclair
Katie Bell's
Grandmother

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This page last updated on March 03, 2010 .