Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tanner 12: Ove Christian Oveson

OVE CHRISTIAN OVESON
b. 31 July 1840 Taars Sogn, Hjørring, Denmark
m. 11 May 1867 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
d. 4 October 1924 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
b. October 1924 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
Wives: (1) Mary Kjerstine Christensen (2) Christine Christensen
Father: Jens Oveson; Mother: Kjersten Pederson

The subject of this sketch was born in Hjørring, near the Northeast coast of Denmark, July 31, 1840. He was the first born child of Jens Andreas Oveson, and his wife Kjersten Maria Pederson.

As a child he was very frail, and many times was near death’s door. His poor health was a detriment in gaining what education was afforded, as he was unable to attend school much of the time.

When he was ten years of age, a wonderful thing occurred, which was destined to change the trend of thought and conditions of life of many thousands of people of his native country. Apostle Erastus Snow and his associates, came with the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and began the work of teaching and preaching, which in less than one year gave a harvest of over 500 converts to the church.

Young Ove was an interested listener to the many stories and incidents, and the excitement that prevailed concerning the “New Religion.” And very soon thereafter, a copy of the Book of Mormon came into his hands, which he read with great interest.

His father was a builder and hired several men, and at the age of 14 years, Ove was set to work with the men, among whom were two “Mormons.”

His Lutheran Sunday School teacher had asked the class to find all they could in the Bible about the Baptism of Jesus. These Mormons helped Ove find passages which showed that baptism of children was not in accord with Bible teachings, and told him to ask his teacher why it was done now. The teacher turned white and did not asnwer, but the children were not allowed to read the Bible anymore.

When he was nineteen Ove had a dream, in which he was impressed with the necessity of joining the Church, which he did a few days later. On finding that he had been baptized his father became angry and sent him from home. He said, “Father I will go, but you will yet become a ‘Mormon’.”

He was soon ordained a Deacon and appointed to sell and distribute books and tracts. One day he was at a meeting where a mob gathered and broke it up and Ove was hit and knocked down because he would not answer their questions. There incidents show his fearlessness when he felt that he was right.

He was soon called to teach a Sunday School class, and a few months later was called on a Mission to the Southern part of Denmark. In starting on this mission he had to walk and was to meet a companion, where a meeting was to be held.

He went to the place, and the house was full of people, but his companion had not come. He asked a man to lead the congregation in singing to entertain them, until the leading elder should arrive, but they wanted him to speak. He got out of the room and went into the dark and prayed that the Lord would give him strength to speak to those people.

He came back and opened the meeting by singing and prayer, then he arose an spoke for over an hour. He says he does not know what he said, but the people were very attentive, and after he had finished the man who had baptized him told the people, that this young man had never before spoken to an audience and had very little education. The words he had said had surely been given him by the spirit of God. Other said he had spoken the truth, and had given a wonderful discourse.

Ove C. Oveson travelled and preached, presided over branches, and worked in the mionistry about four years, walking thousands of miles, through rain sleet and snow, sleeping in barns or wherever night overtook him. Meeting opposition, and also many friends; baptizing and confirming many into the church, until he was released to emigrate to Zion.

During his mission, his parents had been baptized, his father had presided in the branch for some time and the family had already gone to Utah—fulfilling the prediction he had made shortly after his own baptism—and in this he greatly rejoiced.

For ten days just prior to receiving his release, he had been bedfast, and at the time the letter was handed to him, was in a weakened condition, entirely unable to stand alone. The letter of release gave him just two weeks time to be ready to sail with a company of emmigrants for America.

It was necessary for him to travel on foot about 125 miles, and visit a number of places, in preparation of leaving Denmark.

Among other young men who had joined the “Mormons,” he had obtained a temporary release from the compulsory military service that was required of each young man whenever he was needed after the age of 22 years. And at this time the nation was at war and he knew that he might be drafted at any time, and especially that effort would be made to keep him from leaving the Country. These things passed quickly through his mind, and required an immediate plan of action.

He called the man where he was staying and explained to him what the President’s letter contained, and told him he had to leave at once, in order to be ready to go according to the call, and asked this man to administer to him. The man was a recently ordained Elder, but had never officiated in an administration. He said he couldn’t, he didn’t know what to say. Ove said, “You must. I will tell you what to say.” So the man placed his hand on Brother Oveson’s head and repeated the words he told him.

Brother Oveson then got up, put on his clothes, and by holding to a chair, began to walk around the room. In a short time he was able to walk, and soon left the house, walking to the next place he had to go.

Brother Oveson lived to be 84 years old and he related this incident a month before his death, telling his children that he was immediately healed on that occasion and since that time had never to remain in bed a day because of sickness. He said, “My life mission was before me, and I had faith to be healed to enable me to perform it, but now my work is done.”

Ove was a favorite with the ladies and told an amusing incident of the night just before leaving Denmark when he was at the dance and was sitting between two young ladies, when the recruiting officer appeared. One of the girls recognized him and told Ove, and said “let’s leave.” So they hurriedly spoke to the other girl, and they then put a ladies hat and shawl on Ove, and one on each side took him by the arm and they left the hall, passing by the officer, and he was not recognized.

He emmigrated to America in 1864, and was hired at Omaha to drive an ox team loaded with nerchandise across the plains. When they had to cross the Platte River, the quicksand was bad, and the men had to stand in the river to guide the teams away from the bad sand beds.

Ove stood in the cold water so long, that he was unable to walk and drive his oxen, as his legs stiffened. The Captain of the company died and a metallic coffin was procured, and placed in one of the wagons, and Ove was appointed to drive the team bcause he could not walk and drive the oxen. He had to sit on the coffin in the day and sleep on it at night the rest of the trip. He was a poor teamster when he started, but soon learned the art of driving horses.

Arriving in Salt Lake City he proceeded to go to Ephraim, where his parents resided. He and two companions walked for two days and had only one loaf of bread between them.

Then they got a meal and a night’s rest, and Ove was ready to go on the next day.

At Ephraim he worked, saved and prospered. Two years after his arrival a young girl whom he had known before leaving Denmark, Mary K. Christensen and her mother came to town. She had buried her father at Omaha and her sister on the plains, and they had lost their means, or rather, her father had loaned it to help other emmigrants, and at his death the mother knew nothing about his business affairs. Now they were in a strange land without home, a providor, or means, although among many of their own people.

Ove proposed marriage, was accepted, and immediately after the ceremony, took the mother and baby brother also into his home and cared for them until the mother’s death and the boy’s marriage.

They were getting a nice start financially, also a nice young family of five children, when he was again given a call by his church. This time it was to help make a settlement on the Little Colorado River in Arizona. He made immediate preparations to go, greatly to the sorrow of his wife and family, at leaving a comfortable home and a good start. But it was a call from his leaders and Ove never wavered.

They arrived in Brigham City, near the present site of Winslow, Arizona, in 1876 and took part in building the fort, and the various labors of the people there, exploring the country, surveying ditches, laying off land, planning and building dams, etc. Cleer Creek was named by him. He was appointed postmaster and held that position and kept the mail station until the summer of 1880, when he decided to withdraw from the United Order and move up the river to St. Johns, Arizona.

Here he was active in fencing the field, staking off the land into ten and twenty acre plots, surveying the ditches, building reservoirs and dams, and building houses. Being a builder and cabinet maker of splendid workmanship, he built five homes for his family in St. Johns, which were all among the best of their time, and also helped each of his eight married children to get or build a home of their own. He was active in every community enterprise.

Ove and Mary were the parents of twelve children, seven of whom, six sons and a daughter are still living, his posterity to date [1935] number 61 living descendants.

He fought in the Black Hawk Indian War in Utah, and also had some exciting experiences with Indians and outlaws in early Arizona history.

He was a member of the presidency of the high priests quorum, and a member of the high council of the St. Johns Stake for a number of years.

He was known and admired for his thrift, business ability, honesty, resourcefulness, hospitality, and fine sense of humor. He always had a joke and a pleasant word.

His home life was very congenial, and his children always had a happy and comfortable home.

Ove C. Oveson and his brother Peter and their families have given over 35 years of missionary service to the church, besides the many local positions that have been held by the different members.

Genealogy was the absorbing work of the last few years of his life. He sent to Denmark and obtained the records of his own and his wife’s lines, and left a very acceptable pedigree of near 400 names, besides a complete record of all his descendants.

Will his posterity carry on the good work, and emulate the splendid example of their father? We Hope So.

Note: When Ove C. Oveson lived in Brigham City (now Winslow), Arizona, he was Postmaster. He wrote his name “Oveson” and the government officials wrote it “Overson.” Because of that, he adopted the “r.” When his brother visited him, he persuaded Ove that was wrong to make the change, as their father’s name was “Oveson” and in changing they might eventually lose track of the family relationship. Ove then dropped the “r” in his name, and asked his boys to do the same. But all the boys were married and had families and businesses of their own, and all their records carried the “r” and they considered it bad to change. Only one son, David, was willing to make the change. So now, David’s posterity writes their name “Oveson,” and all the others “Overson.”

Ove Christian Oveson, was born 31st July 1840, Taars Sogn, Hjorring, Denmark. He married 11th May 1867, at Salt Lake City, Utah. (Endowment House).

Mary Kjerstine Christensen, daughter of Jens Christensen and Karen Marie Johannesen, born 29th March 1846, Tolne Sogn, Hjorring, Denmark.

Children:
1. Henry Christian Overson, b. 9th July 1868, Ephraim, Sanpete Co., Utah.
2. David Patten Oveson, b. 11th Oct. 1869, Ephraim, Sanpete Co., Utah.
3. Mary Sophia Overson, b. 8th Jan. 1872, Ephraim, Sanpete Co., Utah.
4. John Robert Overson, b. 19th Aug. 1873, Ephraim, Sanpete Co., Utah.
5. George Conrad Overson, b. 6th Feb. 1875, Ephraim, Sanpete Co., Utah.
6. Parker Adolphus Overson, b. 27th July 1877, Brigham City, Apache County, Arizona. Parker died 24th July 1878.
7. Ove Ephraim Overson, born 17th July 1879, Brigham City, Apache County, Arizona.
8. Leander Walter Overson, born 22nd Nov. 1881, St. Johns, Apache County, Arizona. Died June 23rd, 1883, at St. Johns, Apache Co., Arizona.
9. James Nephi Overson, born 26th Feb. 1884, St. Johns, Apache County, Arizona.
10. Lyman Marion Overson, born 26th Nov. 1887, St. Johns, Apache County, Arizona.
11. Leah Anetta Overson, born 14th May 1890, St. Johns, Apache County, Arizona. Died July 16th, 1892, at St. Johns, Apache Co., Arizona.
12. A boy who died at birth, unnamed born 1893 at St. Johns, Apache County, Arizona.

Overson, Margaret Jarvis. "Biography of Ove C. Oveson," July 1935.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Thomas Parkinson and Mary Ann Bryant Parkinson

10 THOMAS PARKINSON
b. 11 December 1830 Farcet, Huntingdonshire, England
c. 12 January 1831
m. 12 June 1854 On a boat from Australia to America
d. 3 March 1906 Beaver, Beaver, Utah
Wife: Mary Ann Bryant
Father: James Parkinson; Mother: Elizabeth Chattle

11 MARY ANN BRYANT PARKINSON
b. 13 May 1826 Rolvenden, Kent, England
m. 12 June 1854 On a boat from Australia to America
d. 6 September 1905 Beaver, Beaver, Utah
b. 9 September 1905 Beaver, Beaver, Utah
Husbands: (1) John Porter; (2) Thomas Parkinson
Father: Samuel Bryant; Mother: Sarai Stapley

England is made up of counties. The county of Huntingdon or “Huntingdonshire” as it was known is now a part of Cambridgeshire. The major towns of Huntingdon are Huntingdon, Ramsey, St. Neots and St. Ives. It is largely a rural area. Reading a history of Huntingdon, it seems to be one of the crossroads of England. It passed from Anglian tribes to Danes to Anglians back to the Danes then to the Normans. One famous person from Huntingdon is Oliver Cromwell.

Our Parkinson ancestors are from the Ramsey area of Huntingdon.

James Parkinson and Elizabeth Chattle (or Chappell) were married in 1827 in Ramsey. They had four children: William, Thomas, Sarah, and Eliza. Thomas is our ancestor. Thomas was born on 11 December 1830 in Farcet, Huntingdon, England. Farcet is about 10 miles away from Ramsey.

James was a farm laborer and Elizabeth was a house servant and both were members of the Church of England when they and their children (ages 11 to 21) immigrated to Australia in 1848, arriving there in 1849.

They settled in Brookfield, Hunter River, New South Wales. Brookfield is 125 miles north from Sydney along the east coast of Australia. It is about 20 miles inland. It is a farming area and much of the travel at the time was done by river.

Not long after arriving, Thomas’ younger sister Sarah was married to a former convict. The marriage did not last long but resulted in two children.

In 1853 Thomas and his sister Sarah joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were very active in the Williams River Branch of the church.

In 1854, just five years after arriving in Australia, Thomas and Sarah sailed for America. They left behind their parents, with whom they corresponded for many years, their brother William, who married and had a large family, the descendents of which still live in Australia, and their sister Eliza who married and went back to England with her husband.

The immigrating Saints chartered a ship, the barque, “Julia Ann.” Unlike the 1855 voyage of the Julia Ann (it was shipwrecked), the 1854 voyage was uneventful, except for the shipboard romances. Thomas married Mary Ann Bryant Porter, a divorced woman with four children, the day they arrived in California. Sarah married Charles Stapley, Jr., a month later.

* * *

Now, I will backtrack and discuss Mary Ann.

Mary Ann Bryant was born May 13, 1826 in Rolvenden, Kent, England. She was the third of twelve children born to Samuel and Sarai Stapley Bryant.

The name of their town was pronounced “Rounden” and it is in the white chalky southeast corner of England, not far from the White Cliffs of Dover. It is a good fruit- and hops-growing area but it was a difficult period for small farmers and farm laborers and a number of them moved to the better opportunities in Australia.

After the Bryants moved to eastern Australia, Mary Ann married John Porter in 1844. Not much is known of John Porter. He was an English butcher and an abusive alcoholic.

May and Ann John Porter had four children: William (1845), Elizabeth (1847), John (1849), and Samuel (1851).

Mary Ann joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and separated from or divorced her husband sometime before leaving for America on the Julia Ann along with her children and other members of her family. Also on the boat was Thomas Parkinson. By the time Mary Ann and Thomas reached America they had decided to get married. The records are unclear on whether they were married on the boat or right after disembarking.

“There is no evidence to suggest that the children suffered by their mother’s decision. When she married Thomas Parkinson on the same day that the Julia Ann docked at San Pedro, they received a kind and honest man as their new father.” (Parkinson, James Parkinson of Ramsey: His Roots and Branches, 66.)

* * *

Thomas and Mary Ann Parkinson and Sarah and Charles Stapley settled in the Mormon colony of San Bernardino where they lived until the settlement was called back to Utah in 1857. The Bryants settled in Beaver, Utah, and the Stapleys settled first in Cedar City and eventually Toquerville, Utah.

Beaver was a two-year-old settlement lying in a fertile valley at 6000 feet above sea level.

“Thomas and Mary Ann began homesteading in the south-east section of Beaver near the abrupt embankment of South Creek that winds its way out of the canyons from the east. Ditches were dug to channel the water for irrigation purposes. Several springs in the area assured the family of sufficient fresh, sparkling water to drink. The rocky land above falls away here to spongy meadows which produced good grazing pastures. With much hard but cheerful work from the growing family, the land was cleared, fences built, and crops planted. Soon, a frame house was built in which the family congregated for more than a century.” (Parkinson, 62.)

When they arrived in Beaver, the Parkinsons had six children, the four Porter children, and their two daughters. By 1868, they had 11 children.

“Mary Ann was a wonderful cook, utilizing her fireplace to its full capacity. One day, a traveling salesman came by and told Thomas that if he would buy a new stove like those that he was selling, that he would save half of his wood. Thomas replied with his quick English humor, ‘Fine, I’ll take two of them and not have to get any wood!’” (Parkinson, 63.)

They had a typical small-town Mormon experience, heavy on farming, a brief attempt at living the United Order, a trip by Thomas to Iowa to help bring pioneers across the plains, a trip to Salt Lake City in 1861 for Thomas and Mary Ann to be sealed in the Endowment House. Thomas served a term as a city councilman, and also as a counselor in the bishopric.

Thomas was promised in his patriarchal blessing that he would do temple work on behalf of his ancestors. He traveled to St. George three times with his sister Sarah to do temple work for their family. He recorded all the ordinance work he did in his journal.

Other things he recorded in his journal included his support for the building of the Manti Temple and his children’s tithing and debts.

When Thomas and Mary Ann reached their mid 60s they left Beaver for the warmer climate in Toquerville. Their son Reuben moved into the family home in Beaver.

Mary Ann died in September 1905 and was buried in Beaver. Mary Ann’s daughter Eliza Ellen Parkinson Tanner wrote a short history of her mother:

Mrs. Mary Ann Bryant Parkinson, wife of Thomas Parkinson of Beaver City, passed over the dark river after a lingering illness on Wednesday, September 6, 1905. Sister Parkinson was born in 1826 in Kent, England. Went to Australia in 1838 where she received the gospel. In 1853 emigrated to America and was married the same year in San Bernardino, California. She and her husband remained in San Bernardino until 1857 when they moved to Beaver where they resided until 1890 when they moved to Toquerville on account of their health, coming back some time ago. Deceased is the mother of eleven children, seven boys and four girls, sixty-two grandchildren and forty-nine great-grandchildren.

Thomas died six months later in March 1906 and was buried next to his wife. The Beaver Press published Thomas’ obituary.

OVER THE DIVIDE
Last Saturday Morning, Thomas Parkinson, one of the early settlers of Beaver, passed over the divide. The immediate cause of his death was catarrh of the stomach. Mr. Parkinson had been in failing health for sometime.
Mr. Parkinson was a man of great responsibility, having been a member of the city council several terms and belonging to the 1st ward bishopric for years.
Mr. Parkinson was born in Cambridgeshire, England Dec. 11, 1830, and from there he came to California in 1854 in which year he was married, moving to Utah in 1858.
He leaves a large progeny, 11 children, 63 grandchildren and 52 great-grandchildren. His wife preceded him less than 6 months, and Mr. Parkinson never recovered from her loss. In his demise the family have lost a kind father and conscientious advisor .


MSS 1565; Thomas Parkinson Family Collection; 19th Century Western and Mormon Americana; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.

Monuments to Courage, A History of Beaver County.

Diane and John Parkinson. James Parkinson of Ramsey: His Roots and His Branches, England—Australia—America. Austin, Texas: The James Parkinson Family Association, 1987.

The photo of the Parkinson grave is from Find a Grave. The photo of the Beaver, Utah Relief Society is from Monuments to Courage: A History of Beaver County. The map of historical Huntingdonshire in England is from wikipedia and has permission granted for use. The picture of Kent (harvested fields) is mine.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tanner 9: Julia Ann Shepherd Tanner

9: Julia Ann Shepherd Tanner
b. 24 March 1829 Chagrin Township, Cuyahoga, Ohio
m. 1 December 1846 Winter Quarters (Florence), Douglas, Nebraska
d. 10 May 1899 Beaver, Beaver, Utah
Husband: Sidney Tanner
Father: Samuel Shepherd; Mother: Roxalana Ray

Julia Ann's parents were from Vermont.

Her father Samuel was a veteran of the War of 1812. He was a prisoner of war in Quebec. After the war he received a land grant in the Western Reserve as payout for his service, which he took in Chagrin Township, Cuyahoga (now Willoughby, Lake), Ohio (near Kirtland and Cleveland by Lake Erie).

Julia's mother was Roxalana Ray. Roxalana's name is a nod to classical history (the original Roxolana was the wife of the Sultan Suleiman the Lawgiver). Roxalana married Samuel in 1820 and they moved to Ohio in 1823. Samuel and Roxalana had eight children.

Living near Kirtland, they soon heard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They joined it and started for Missouri. Roxalana and her infant son William Ray died of cholera while traveling on the Mississippi River.

When Samuel married widow Charity Bates Swarthout the next year he brought six children into the marriage: ages 13 (Sarah), 12 (Lucelia), 11 (Marcus), 8 (Fanny Jane), 6 (Julia Ann), and 5 (Rollins). Charity had seven children, aged 17 (Lucinda), 15 (George), 12 (Nathan), 9 (Truman), 7 (Hamilton), and 4 (twins Charles and Harley).

The Shepherd family followed the movements of the Mormons from Missouri to Illinois to Iowa.

At Winter Quarters in 1846, Julia Ann began helping in the Sidney Tanner family. Within the past year Sidney had lost his young son James in March, his wife Louisa to the "fever" on September 29, and his five-month-old son Mason on November 29. On December 1, Julia Ann and Sidney were married in "an extremely out in the country wedding, it having taken place at the Rushes above Florence, Nebraska," according to her son Henry. Henry also noted that, "though being newly wed and very young her wants were looked after by her husband who was a good provider."

Julia immediately had six step-children, Allen, who was two years younger than her, Lydia (14), Emma (11), Mary (9), Elsie (6), and Sidney C. (4). What an interesting family structure.

Julia's first child, Julia, was born in June 1848, shortly before they left for Utah. While crossing the plains, on July 26, 1848, her step-son Sidney C. fell out of the wagon and was crushed. The wagon train paused long enough to bury him and nail a marker to a tree before heading west again.

Julia and Sidney had eight children. The second was born in Little Cottonwood, Salt Lake, Utah. Their third child, our ancestor Henry Martin, was born in 1852 in San Bernardino. When the Saints were called from San Bernardino back to Utah, Julia once again made a pioneer journey trip with a tiny infant in her arms. She had her last child, Walter Waite, in 1863, at the age of 34.

Sidney and Julia were sealed in the Endowment House on 27 February 1851 before leaving for San Bernardino.

When they returned from San Bernardino to Utah, Julia's father Samuel and step-mother Charity, also returned but then quickly went back to California where they spent the rest of their lives. Other family members, Tanners and Shepherds, also remained in California, but other members of her family lived in Beaver, including her brother Marcus Lafayette Shepherd, who was mayor and stake president in Beaver.

Not much is known of Julia's life separate from that of Sidney. Her husband was married polygamously in 1859, ten days before the birth of their sixth child. Sidney was a very hard worker and was a freighter by profession, so he would have been gone frequently. Julia Ann would have spent many years keeping her own company (and that of all those children, of course). Julia and Sidney were married for 49 years. He died in 1895 and she died four years later in 1899.

The picture of the Kirtland Temple is from wikipedia and is in the public domain.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sidney Tanner Biography


b. 1 April 1809 Greenwich, Washington, New York
m. 1 December 1846 near Florence, Nebraska
d. 5 December 1895 Beaver, Beaver, Utah
Wives: (1) Louisa Conlee, (2) Julia Ann Shepherd, (3) Rachel Neyman, (4) Mary Nickerson
Father: John Tanner; Mother: Lydia Stewart

The material this week is excerpted from Elizabeth DeBrouwer and George S. Tanner's book Sidney Tanner: His Ancestors and Descendants. I also found a good long history of the Tanner family online (click on the link).

A nice portrait of Sidney painted from his photo by Elizabeth DeBrouwer and available in the collections of the San Bernardino Public Library. There is also another picture there which may or may not be Sidney. I've looked at it carefully and can't decide any more than they can.

Little has come down to us of the early years of Sidney Tanner. He was born in Greenwich, New York, a village approximately forty miles southeast of Bolton Landing, the well-known home of the Tanners. His birth date is April 1, 1809 and his p
arents were John and Lydia Stewart Tanner. When the Tanner family moved to Lake George in 1818, Sidney was a boy of nine.

[Sidney had a half brother who was eight years older as well as two older brother and an older sister.
His mother would eventually have eight more children.]

When John moved his large and growing family to the Lake George region, they settled in a wooded area north of Northwest Bay. Whether John acquired all his land at one time is not known, but eventually he owned 2,200 acres of timberland and two large farms.

To speak of John Tanner as a farmer needs some explanation, as the modest fortune he accumulated in a short while came mostly from the forest. We have no detailed information of his lumber operations, but we do know it was quite extensive and that he prospered from it.

...[T]he Tanner family would have been nearly independent for its food and clothing. This combination of a cash income from the sale of lumber products coupled with their own farm products which supplied the needs of the family soon raised them to a position of comparative wealth.

The improved financial condition of the family led to the desire for a larger and better home, and in 1823 John purchased or built the lovely home which is pictured in most publications about the Tanner family.

Sidney, who was nine years of age when the family moved to Northwest Bay in 1818, was fourteen when the home in Bolton Landing was acquired in 1823. In 1830, he would marry a girl from Greenwich which indicated that they were keeping up a correspondence with the home folks in Greenwich. Even after marriage, Sidney as well as other Tanner men would remain a member of the close-knit John Tanner family. A little glimpse into that family is given us by Nathan, a younger brother, in a speech he gave at a Tanner reunion in Payson in 1884.

"We were a hardy family and used to hardships. Our father commenced poor, after settling the affairs of a widowed family. He commenced poor and by hard work and economy accumulated around him the comforts of life. "He had a delightful home on the west side of Lake George. Here he carried on farming extensively; stockraising and dairying on different farms; lumbering in all its branches, as he owned sawmills and planing mills and owned some 2,200 acres of land with homes and barns to accomodate a number of families. He also kept a hotel of some considerable note. "In those days, women turned the wheel by hand or foot that spun our yarn and made our cloth. In this, we were not behind. We were a hardworking and hard-handed family. None of our means was willed to us but earned by hard work and economy."

Sidney chose for his wife Louisa Conlee, daughter of James and Elsie or Alcy (Cole) Conlee. We know very little about Louisa Conlee except a few statistics. She was born 5 February 1811, making her two years younger than Sidney. [They had eight children, the] three youngest of which died in the migration to the West, and she herself lost her life at the Missouri River.

When the Mormon elders, Simeon and Jared Carter, brought the gospel to the Tanner family in the fall of 1832 Sidney and Louisa joined the church along with other Tanner members. This was against the wishes of Louisa’s family in Greenwich, as we learned in a letter written to them by Sidney at the time of Louisa’s death. Louisa and Sidne
y seem to have been happy members of the large John Tanner family. They joined them in the movement of the family from Lake George to Kirtland, Ohio at Christmastime in 1834. The money John Tanner gave to the distressed church in Kirtland and loaned to the prophet and the building committee was money earned by the hardy Tanner family at Lake George. Sidney, John Joshua and Nathan have never been given credit for any of it, but they and the women who ran the spinning wheels and the looms were part owners of the gifts made by the generous John Tanner.

Sidney was present during the building of the Kirtland Temple and was one of those who “partook of the pentecostal outpourings” at the temple. He left with his family for Missouri earlier than John and his younger family in order to assist in building up Far West. Sidney and Nathan were in the Battle of Crooked River with David W. Patten, and he went through the persecutions of Missouri and was driven from that state into Illinois and spent a year at New Liberty. When the Tanners moved to the Nauvoo area, he joined with his father and his brother John Joshua in acquiring a large tract of land near Montrose, Iowa and began raising crops to assist the impoverished saints and to recoup their fortunes. In the six years they were there, they prospered and became “well fixed” again.

Sidney may have performed his greatest service to the church during the trouble in Missouri, the sojourn in Montrose and the trip to Utah. He has been described by one writer as a man “of marvelous constitutional powers.” He needed it during these trying years. He was thirty-one years of age when he came to Montrose and thirty-seven when they left for the West. These were times which tried men’s souls, and the Tanner men were brought up for just such times. They knew horses, mules and oxen and they knew how to keep a wagon and harness in repair. The six-year period of peace at Montrose permitted the whole family—John, Sidney, John Joshua and Nathan—to recover from the severe losses they had sustained in Ohio in rescuing the church from its involvement with the temple and the Kirtland bank. Consequently, when the church members began crossing the Mississippi River in early 1846 to the Iowa side, they found the Tanner larders filled and their hands extended....[Many details given.]

The Tanners were among the last to leave the Mississippi River, as so many needed help and they had so much to give. When they did leave, they had the best teams and the best “outfits.” Sidney is mentioned repeatedly as not being with his outfit, as he is out rescuing someone who is stuck in the mud or who has lost an ox or mule or who is without food.

Because of the compassionate service of John Tanner, Sidney Tanner and John Joshua Tanner, they were designated “bishops” by Brigham Young who had said that, if a man is willing that his property should be disposed of in any way the Lord directed, the Lord was willing he should be a bishop.

The pioneers arrived on the Missouri River too late to plant crops in 1846. But they remained there all of 1847. This was an immensely busy year and good crops of corn and garden truck were produced. When the main body of Saints left Winter Quarters in the spring of 1848 for the Salt Lake Valley, they were better equipped, provisioned and disciplined than they had been two years earlier; and the trip across the plains was less uneventful than the shorter trip across Iowa had been.

The loss of human life from the Mississippi to the Missouri was sobering and even on the plains this was to continue. To add to Sidney’s grief of the loss of two infants in Iowa, he mourned the death of his wife Louisa at Winter Quarters on the Missouri and later of his son Sidney C. in 1848 on the trip to Utah....

Sidney’s name appears more often in the journals and records during the two-year stay at Winter Quarters. “John Tanner, though still not old by present-day standards, is growing weary with he burdens of the outdoor life and is not well.” Sidney, the oldest son, moved in to fill the gap. Sidney is listed as the head of this or that group and in particular he managed the cattle of the camps.

Sidney’s second marriage took place near Florence (Winter Quarters), Nebraska. On December 1, 1846, he married Julia Ann Shepherd, daughter of Samuel and Roxey L. Shepherd. She was
born March 24, 1829 and was twenty years younger than Sidney—moreover she had not yet reached her seventeenth birthday. The marriage turned out well in spite of the difference in their ages and the youthfulness of the bride. Sidney and Julia Ann became the parents of eight children, seven of whom grew to adulthood.

Most of the Tanner family reached the Salt Lake Valley in the autumn of 1848, including Sidney and his family. At the time of their arrival, besides Sidney, who was thirty-nine, and Julia Ann, who was nineteen, there were six children: Allen Benedict, aged seventeen; Lydia, sixteen; Emma, fourteen; Mary Louise, eleven; Elsie Elizabeth, eight; and Julia Ann, one.

Amasa Lyman and his party were assigned a square mile of land between the Cottonwood Creeks, which in present numbering is about [600 South and 1300 East], extending out toward the mountain to the east. It was rocky and sterile and hardly suitable for farming.

After two years in this location, permission came to Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich to lead a colony to a suitable location in California. Three of John’s sons, Albert, Myron and Seth, were already in California; and Sidney with his large family gladly joined the Lyman family and moved to California. By this date, 1851, Sidney’s oldest children were grown; Allen Benedict was twenty and Lydia was married. Sidney’s family was growing up.

Sidney was in the San Bernardino settlement between six and seven years. It was a busy time; because of Indian uneasiness, it was decided to build a fort. Sidney, against his own inclination, left his home and farm, which was some miles away, and united with the Saints in building the fort. When the uneasiness died down, he moved back to his large farm. Like his father before him, he liked lots of elbow room. But, since Sidney Tanner spent most of his time freighting, it would be interesting to know how he managed to run a farm. His son Allen Benedict was the only boy in the family old enough to have done farming, and he married the year they moved to San Bernardino.

Most of the stories about Sidney have to do with his freighting. He, with William Mathews, was on a freighting trip near the Mountain Meadows when the very regrettable massacre took place. Participants in the massacre halted their freight wagons, and they were not permitted to pass the scene in the daylight but were routed away from the scene by night. They carried the frightful news to San Bernardino.

Sidney seems to have been in charge of the large party which moved Apostles Lyman and Rich back to Utah at the time of their recall by Brigham Young. And it was Sidney Tanner who freighted the first pipe organ to Utah which had been donated to the Saints by the church members in Australia.

Sidney was one of the prominent men in the San Bernardino mission and he was usually a member of the County Commissioners and Stake High Council where he lived. But the freighting kept him away from home so much, he would hardly have been an ideal choice for a bishop or stake president.

When the call came from church leaders to vacate San Bernardino, Sidney Tanner dutifully gave up his holdings and returned to Utah, settling in Beaver. No doubt he, along with most of the settlers, did so reluctantly. ...

Beaver was a newly formed community, suitable for grazing, with timber potential. Sidney acquired a considerable acreage ... But his heart was in freighting and his lifestyle seems not to have changed much. His growing boys would have plenty of room for a variety of experiences on the farm, such as milking and caring for dairy cows, growing alfalfa and grain, as well as garden truck, and caring for sheep and hogs.

...Henry M. Tanner, the author’s father, seems never to have commented about his life on the Beaver farm, probably because he was never asked. We wait until those who have the information have passed on and then wish we had inquired more about them. My father did mention a trip he took with his father to California. The thing which impressed him most was a new way of starting a fire. One of the freighters took out his jackknife and shaved some kindling from a dry piece of wood he was carrying for the purpose, then reached into his pocket and pulled out a little box and drew out a match. This was the first match he had ever seen. The Tanners were using the flint and steel with the tinderbox to start their fires. This would have been sometime in the early or middle sixties.

Sidney took a third wife in Beaver in 1859. Her name was Rachel Neyman, daughter of William and Jane Neyman; Sidney was fifty and Rachel twenty-six. Rachel had been married previously. There were six children born to Sidney and Rachel, only two of whom grew to maturity and married.…

Sidney Tanner lived out the rest of his life in Beaver. He was a substantial citizen with financial holdings above average. He had interests in woolen mills, sawmills and cattle herds in addition to his farms. He was a counselor in the Ward Bishopric and later a member of the Stake High Council. In 1884, at a Tanner family gathering in Payson, he was called to be a patriarch to the Tanner family and the people of the Beaver area. He was seventy-five at the time and the apostle promised him he would have an additional ten years of life. He died in 1895 at the age of eighty-six and is buried in Beaver.

Sidney was the father of twenty-two, fourteen sons and eight daughters. Fourteen grew to maturity and married.…their descendants [were] estimated at about five thousand [in 1982].

Elizabeth DeBrouwer with George S. Tanner.
Sidney Tanner: His Ancestors and Descendants. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Sidney Tanner Family Organization, 1982.
The photos are of Lake George, a wagon, San Bernardino in 1852, and the Beaver Courthouse. They were found on wikipedia and are all available for public use.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tanner 7: Margaret Godfrey Jarvis Overson

7 MARGARET GODFREY JARVIS OVERSON
b. 22 November 1878 St. George, Washington, Utah
m. 8 October 1896 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
d. 8 December 1968 Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona
b. 11 December 1968 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
Husband: Henry Christian Overson
Father: Charles Godfrey (DeFriez) Jarvis; Mother: Margaret Jarvis

Margaret Godfrey Jarvis, eldest child of Charles Godfrey DeFriez Jarvis and Margaret Jarvis, was born 22nd of November, 1878, at St. George, Washington Co., Utah, in the home of my grandparents, George and Ann Prior Jarvis. At age one year, my parents were in Snowflake, Arizona, in answer to a call by President Brigham Young, to help in colonizing Northern Arizona. Our home there was a one-room hewn log house with shakes roof. Most of the settlers had similar places.

My grandparents came from St. George to visit us in 1882, and while there Grandpa took us to Holbrook to see the first train that crossed the continent on the Atlantic-Pacific tracks. Father was there working for the Company.

We moved to Nutrioso in February 1883, where father, uncles Sam and Heber engaged in farming, stock raising, and also started a small store. Here our first home was in the old fort, a one-room log, with dirt floor and roof, one small pane of glass set in the logs for light, and a corner fireplace for cooking and warmth. Later father built a larger log room on a lot to ourselves, with a lumber floor and dirt roof, and some grain bins in one end.

We next moved to Woodruff, where father had work in the store. Our first brother was born there in May 1885. When he was two weeks old, father, Annie and the baby all took typhoid fever. It was months before they were all well, and when father was able, he worked a few months to settle his accounts, then went back to Nutrioso. Here an epidemic of scarlet fever was raging. It seemed to be all over the valley, in serious form, and many of the young children died. We all had bad cases except the baby, and it was summer before we were all well again. Thirteen young children died in that small town that winter and spring.

Here I hunted cows in the hills, gleaned wheat in the field, helped mother in the house, sewed quilt blocks and carpet rags, and when school opened, walked three miles each way, morning and night, to school, often in the snow and bitter cold. Here father baptized me in the river near our home, on the 6th day of April, 1887, under the direction of our bishop.

Our next move was to St. Johns, Arizona, where our home was for the next sixty years. I attended district school two winters, then the St. Johns Stake Academy was opened, and I attended part of three seasons, when father took me as his assistant in the Court House, where he was County Recorder. I was taught to record the different documents that came into the office in the proper books, was taught filing, record keeping, accounting, letter writing, etc. Thus ended my school days, and association with schoolmates.

Next father bought a photo outfit and set up a studio, and I was taught photography. This work was pleasing and agreeable, and I took to it with all my heart and energy. I have made it a pleasant and profitable lifelong business and hobby.

When in my teens, mother hired a dressmaker to come to our home two or three weeks each spring and fall to make our clothes for the season. I was always allowed to stay home from the office and help do the sewing, thereby getting a fairly good insight into general sewing and dressmaking. This has been a useful thing in raising my family, and helping in the community. After our marriage I always did all our sewing, and often earned a little by helping others with theirs.

My love and understanding of the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the Latter Day Saints first came when I attended our Academy, and I have worked in the Sunday School, Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association, Relief Society, and the Genealogical Society, and studied our Doctrines all through the years, and have always had joy in performing my duties wherever called to labor. Have become acquainted with many of our Church leaders, and know them to be sincere and God-fearing men and women. I love this Church, and know that is the only true Church on the earth, and that the Priesthood of God is directing it. That Jesus Christ visited the Prophet Joseph Smith and instructed him, and that this Church was organized according to those instructions, and the pattern He gave.

Since all my family are on their own, and my husband was called home, I have moved here to Mesa, and my sons have built me a home on the lot Henry got for me twenty-two years ago. I am thankful for my children and my home, and am hoping to finish this book [George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy], and if it may be a small benefit to any of my kindred, the purpose of the work will be fully realized.

Margaret Jarvis Overson. George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy. Mesa, Arizona: Privately printed, 1957.

Sometime when you're in St. Johns take a visit to the little museum there. Many of the photographs were taken by Margaret Jarvis and her father Charles.

Mormon Trees

This is a picture from St. Johns in 1994. I thought I would share a few lines from Wallace Stegner's Essay "Mormon Trees" from his book Mormon Country (1942).

These are the "Mormon Trees," Lombardy poplars. Wherever they went the Mormons planted them. They grew boldly and fast, without much tending, and they make the landscape of the long valleys of the Mormon Country something special and distinctive....They give a quality to the land so definite that it is almost possible to mark the limits of the Mormon Country by the trees....There are not as many Mormon trees as there used to be...their age and possible heart-rot made them a hazard.

Perhaps it is fanciful to judge a people by its trees....Probably it is pure nonsense to see a reflection of Mormon group life in the fact that the poplars were practically never planted singly, but always in groups...Perhaps it is even more nonsensical to speculate that the straight, tall verticality of the Mormon trees appealed [to the] sense of order of the settlers, and that a marching row of plumed poplars was symbolic, somehow, of the planter's walking with God and his solidarity with his neighbors....

Nonsensical or not, it is not an unpleasant thought. Institutions must have their art forms, their symbolic representations, and if the Heavenward aspirations of medieval Christianity found their expression in cathedrals and spires, the more mundane aspirations of the Latter-day Saints may just as readily be discovered in the widespread plantings of Mormon trees. They look heavenward but their roots are in the earth.

Tanner 6: Henry Christian Overson

6 HENRY CHRISTIAN OVERSON
b. 9 July 1868 Ephraim, Sanpete, Utah
m. 8 October 1896 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
d. 8 March 1947 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
b. 9 March 1947 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
Wife: Margaret Godfrey Jarvis
Father: Ove Christian Oveson
Mother: Mary Kjerstine Christensen

Henry Christian Overson, first child of Ove Christian and Mary K. Christensen Overson, was born July 9th, 1868, in Ephraim, Sanpete County, Utah. The family was called by President Brigham Young to Arizona, to assist in making settlements on the Little Colorado River.

They went first to Brigham City, now Winslow, then on to St. Johns, where Henry helped put shingles on the first house shingled in St. Johns. Ploughing, planting, irrigating, freighting, riding the range and building, all had to be done, and Henry was ever ready to help at anything necessary.

He took up a farm, and planted alfalfa, and did well financially, by having a feed stable for travelers, so that from 1903 to 1905 he was able to go on to a Mission to England, and pay his own expenses. This was the period of his whole life that gave him the most joy and satisfaction, and he never tired of telling his children incidents of that happy time. He later sent three of his sons on Missions and was happy to do so, and gladly paid their expenses, that they might have a similar blessed experience.

During his married life he was a steady and hard worker, preferring to stay where he could be with his family at night, but doing anything he could get to do for a livelihood, or help his neighbors. He was alternately President, Secretary, Water Overseer, and Member of the Board of Directors of the St. Johns Irrigation Company, for more than thirty years, and it was largely due to his foresight and careful planning that all of the permanent improvements in the Company’s system were installed. These included cement dams in the river, blasting in rock to make part of ditches to avoid washing out in flood times, using culvert pipes with built up piers for the old wooden flumes, changing the location of ditches to avoid the run-off of summer rains, installing steel headgates for all main ditches, etc. All this was a blessing to the residents, who most all depended for much of their living on the products of farm, garden and orchard.

Another important thing was piping the water of the McIntosh spring into town, and distributing it to individual homes. Henry Overson had entire charge of installing the pipes from the spring to town, and to each home, and also the upkeep and extension work for several years. W.W. Berry did a great part of the teamwork, digging and covering of trenches, etc.

Henry was a good carpenter and builder, and was overseer of many of the substantial homes, public buildings, business houses, and the Church, Academy Building, etc. all of which were noted for solid construction. He served as secretary of the 104th Quorum of Seventy for many years, and was Counselor in the Bishopric of the Ward for about seven years. He was a kind and indulgent father, a good neighbor and friend, and a loving husband.

Overson, Margaret Jarvis. George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy. Mesa, Arizona: 1957, ii:107–08. The pictures of Henry are from his wife's book. The other pictures are the Overson house in St. Johns in 1994. I just love his woodwork and I would love to have a front door like that! Henry's father was a Danish woodworker and also did beautiful work. Wallace Tanner was born upstairs in the Overson house.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Henry Tanner and the Hashknife Gang

Henry Tanner did not care for farming but he enjoyed working with cattle. In 1880 Henry became superintendent of the stock herd for the United Order in St. Joseph (Joseph City). Under his care the herd increased and was the only profitable business in the St. Joseph United Order.

When the United Order was "reconfigured," the herd was left intact under the direction of Henry Tanner. He received a share of the cattle in return for his work. This went on profitably until the Aztec Land and Cattle Company came to the Little Colorado Region in the mid 1880s. You can read elsewhere about the Aztec Land and Cattle Company, also known as the Hashknife Gang, but in short, it almost killed the settlements along the Little Colorado. Besides the impact on the grazing land, the off-duty cowboys were known to prey upon the horses and cattle of the settlers.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Eliza Ellen Parkinson Tanner

b. 8 September 1857 San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California
m. 25 January 1877 St. George, Washington, Utah
d. 17 August 1930 Joseph City, Navajo, Arizona
b. 18 August 1930 Joseph City, Navajo, Arizona
Husband: Henry Martin Tanner
Father: Thomas Parkinson; Mother: Mary Ann Bryant

Mrs. Mary Ann Bryant Parkinson, wife of Thomas Parkinson of Beaver City, passed over the dark river after a lingering illness on Wednesday, September 6, 1905. Sister Parkinson was born in 1826 in Kent, England. Went to Australia in 1838 where she received the gospel. In 1853 emigrated to America and was married the same year in San Bernardino, California. She and her husband remained in San Bernardino until 1857 when they moved to Beaver where they resided until 1890 when they moved to Toquerville on account of their health, coming back some time ago. Deceased is the mother of eleven children, seven boys and four girls, sixty-two grandchildren and forty-nine great-grandchildren.

Eliza Ellen Parkinson Tanner born September 8, 1857, San Bernardino, California, daughter of Thomas and Mary Ann Bryant Parkinson. My parents were English, went from England to Australia in 1838, emigrated to America 1853 and married the same year in Beaver City, Utah.

My early childhood days were spent in attending school and helping my parents to make a livelihood. We were very poor thus the necessity of all giving a helping hand.

In the year 1877, 25th January was married to Henry Martin Tanner in the St. George Temple. We made Beaver our home until the 21st February, 1877, we left for Arizona in company with John Hunt and family. We went a new route and encountered many hardships on the way such as being short of water and feed and lost several animals during the journey of eleven weeks arriving at Allen Camp (now St. Joseph) 2nd day of May 1877 and decided to make St. Joseph our home.

We have had a great deal of experience since we came here and have had many trials and hardships such as building dams and seeing floods wash them away only to have to build them again but at last succeeded in building a high dry dam which has stood the test since 1893, since which time things have gone along better and all have been more satisfied with their lot and began to prosper in the land. I am a mother of eleven children, seven boys and four girls, forty-three grandchildren.

Two of my sons Arthur and Roy were on the Mexican borders 1916. And also two Roy and George in the world war. One went to France, Roy, and was called to go to the front the night the Armistice was signed 11 November.

September 7, 1877 the St. Joseph Relief Society was organized and I was sustained secretary. (Released Dec. 3, 1885) December 3, 1885, was sustained as counselor in Relief Society to Sister Lois Bushman, released March 2, 1902. Sustained first counselor to Nina M. Porter in Relief Society January 7, 1909, released May 20, 1919.


Eliza Ellen Parkinson Tanner. Genealogical Record Sheet.

The picture of Eliza and Henry with Martin, Thomas, and Julia is from 1883 and was found in Diane and John Parkinson. James Parkinson of Ramsey: His Roots and His Branches, England—Australia—America. Austin, Texas: The James Parkinson Family Association, 1987.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Some of The Wit and Humor of Henry M. Tanner and Stories We Heard Around The Tanner Homes

My Top Twenty from “Some of The Wit and Humor of Henry M. Tanner and Stories We Heard Around The Tanner Homes”

Speaking of a rather egotistical young man, Henry said he would like to buy him for what he was worth and sell him for what he thought he was worth.

Of a child who takes more food on his plate than he will eat, “His eyes are bigger than his stomach.”

Two horsemen were riding their horses in thick brush and trees. The lead man caught hold of a limb of a tree and held on to it as long as he could, then let go. It knocked the other fellow off his horse and also wounded his pride. When he complained, the first man said, “Imagine what it would have done to you if I had not held on as long as I did.”

When one of the neighbors complimented his friend about how fat his horses were, the friend replied, “Yes, they sure are, and I can’t understand it. All I ever feed them is straw and that ain’t half threshed.”

There was a farmer who declared that a cedar post would last 100 years in the ground. Said his father had tried it many a time.

And there was the woman who said she had some stockings which had lasted her twenty years. Every other year she put new feet in them and the opposite years new legs.

One boy is a boy; two boys are half a boy; and three boys are no boy at all.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Henry Martin Tanner


b. 11 June 1852 San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California
m. 25 January 1877 St. George, Washington, Utah
d. 21 March 1935 Gilbert, Maricopa, Arizona
b. 24 March 1935 Joseph City, Navajo, Arizona
Wives: (1) Eliza Ellen Parkinson, (2) Emma Stapley
Father: Sydney Tanner; Mother: Julia Ann Shepherd

Since Henry Tanner took the opportunity to write his own life story, I'll include it in its entirety. He notes that his hearing is poor; how many of us inherited that gene? After this post, I will do a few posts on Henry and Eliza Tanner.


So here is Henry Tanner in his own words...

My grandfather, John Tanner, was born August 15, 1778, Hopkinton, Rhode Island. Was converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Previous to his baptism into the Church he was a cripple and at the time of his baptism he was healed by the power of the Lord. He was very well fixed financially and during the early days of the Church he donated freely to the Church.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Tanner 3: Eva Margaret Overson Tanner

3 EVA MARGARET OVERSON TANNER
b. 14 August 1897 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
m. 26 August 1923 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
d. 30 December 1932 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
b. 1 January 1933 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
Husband: LeRoy Parkinson Tanner
Father: Henry Christian Overson; Mother: Margaret Godfrey Jarvis

Eva Margaret Overson, first child of Henry Christian and Margaret Godfrey Jarvis Overson, was born August 14th, 1897, at St. Johns, Apache County, Arizona. She was married to LeRoy Parkinson Tanner, son of Henry Martin Tanner and Eliza Ellen Parkinson Tanner, August 26th, 1923, at St. Johns, Apache County, Arizona, and left the next day by automobile to go to Salt Lake City, Utah, to have their marriage solemnized in the Temple. President of the St. Johns Stake, President Levi S. Udall, performed the ceremony at the Henry C. Overson Home, in the presence of a large number of relatives and friends of both families, and with the good wishes of all.

LeRoy P. Tanner was the ninth child of his parents, and was born at Joseph City, Navajo County, Arizona, January 12th, 1895.

Eva was the only daughter in a family of nine children. As a child she attended the public schools until graduated, then the St. Johns Stake Academy, from which she graduated at the age of sixteen years, the youngest of the class.

She spent one summer at the Flagstaff College, and then entered into the business world.

She was assistant Postmaster to her Grandfather Charles Jarvis, assistant in the Recorders Office, and then began Clerking in the Cash Store, where she soon was given the Bookkeeping, and much of the ordering and general business to attend to.

After her marriage, and because her husband’s work took him away from home a great deal of the time, she continued to work in the store part time for several years. Her insight into the business and her splendid memory of each detail and each personal account, made her place hard to fill.

During all her life up until the time of her death, she had been active in all Church work. Commencing with the Primary and Sunday School, she was a dependable Secretary and teacher. In the Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association she was Secretary in the Ward for seven years, and only missed one meeting, and then was out of town. Was also Stake Secretary of Y.L.M.I.A. and later Relief Society Secretary for a number of years. Was a member of the Old Folks Committee. A leader in Bee Hive work, and also was in charge of the Flower Club of the University of Arizona Extension work. One summer while directing the Club she had a flower garden of her own raising, numbering seventy different kinds of flowering plants. She would go out in her garden and pick armfuls of flowers and put them in her car and drive around taking a bouquet to the old, the sick, or shutins, and her many friends, and thus spread beauty and happiness to many. There were also flowers of her bringing at church on Sundays, at weddings, at funerals, or on any special occasion. She dearly loved people, and was happiest when doing a good turn.

She did beautiful sewing, embroidering, crochet work, tatting, beading work, etc., as well as being a good cook and housekeeper. A dutiful and loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend and neighbor—one wonders how a life so short, only thirty-five years, could accomplish so much of good. Her many activities gave her such a large circle of acquaintances, business, social, family, Church—but the saying was certainly true in her case, “None knew her, but to love her, or named her, but to praise.”

She had suffered from diabetes for about seven years, but never gave up if it was possible for her to be up. When she was not able to do anything else, she would do her beautiful fancy work.

She passed away suddenly, after two day’s serious illness, the evening of Friday, December 30th, 1932, and was laid to rest on New Year’s Day, 1933, in the Westside Cemetery, St. Johns, Arizona.

Margaret Jarvis Overson. George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy. Mesa, Arizona: Privately printed, 1957. Tatting image from Project Gutenberg, copyright expired from Beeton's Book of Needlework. My picture of roses at St. Johns, 1994.

Tanner 2: Leroy Parkinson Tanner

2 LEROY PARKINSON TANNER
b. 12 January 1895 St. Joseph (Joseph City), Navajo, Arizona
m. 26 August 1923 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
d. 5 November 1944 Grants, New Mexico
b. 9 November 1944 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
Wives: (1) Eva Margaret Overson, (2) Clara Peterson
Father: Henry Martin Tanner; Mother: Eliza Ellen Parkinson Tanner

LeRoy Parkinson Tanner, son of Henry Martin and Eliza Parkinson Tanner, was born January 12, 1895, at Joseph City, Arizona. He attended school in Joseph City and at the Snowflake Stake Academy at Snowflake, and worked on the family farm with his father and brothers.

In 1913 he enlisted in the militia and served with the troops on the Mexican Border in 1916. He was a member of the Citizens Military Training Camp stationed on the border when World War I broke out.


When the U.S. declared war on Germany, Roy, as he was always known, was assigned to a combat division and served in France until the war’s end. He went through the entire conflict without receiving a wound, but almost died as a result of the influenza epidemic in 1918.

He was called to the front in Russia the day that the armistice was signed. After that he served for a time with the occupying forces in Russia. [8.4.09. He was not called to the Russian front. It is questionable if he was ever in Russia. For more on his military service see this post.] [8.25.11 It is indeed possible that he was part of the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. I will continue to try and find information about his military service.] What he heard and saw there prompted him to observe during World War II that the United States would be better off not helping Russia so much and possibly even helping Germany against the Russians, since he felt that Russia was a much greater threat to the United States than Germany would ever be.

He returned to the U.S. in 1920 and was discharged honorably from the army. As did several of his brothers, Roy then went to work on road construction. He became a lane surveyor and construction superintendent.

From 1920 to 1940 he engaged in highway construction work throughout Arizona. Sometimes Roy would have a few days or a week off while his bosses were lining up a new job or moving from one location to another. At such times one of his favorite pursuits was hauling wood. He usually had a large pile on hand, sometimes as much as fifty loads, which was ready to be delivered when a cold spell struck town and he could get a good price per cord for immediate delivery. He would often load up some and take it to a home where there was sickness, or to widows, without cost.

In 1922 while surveying a new highway between St. Johns and Springerville, he met Eva Margaret Overson, the eldest child of Henry Christian and Margaret Jarvis Overson.


They were married in St. Johns on August 26, 1923, and were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple shortly thereafter.

Two sons were born to Roy and Eva: Wallace Ove born August 12, 1924, and Lee Henry, born April 13, 1929. A daughter died at birth.

Eva was loved by everyone who knew her, and her home was a mass of flowers from early spring to late fall. She was not strong, however, having been stricken with diabetes while still a young woman. Eva died December 30, 1932, after an extended illness.

After Eva died their two boys went to live with their grandmother Margaret Overson until he married again and decided to take them with him.


On October 14, 1934, Roy married Clara Peterson, daughter of Brigham and Stella Jarvis Peterson. Clara was born April 25, 1909, in St. Johns. She was Eva’s first cousin.

Clara did not like Roy to be away from home, so in 1940 he purchased a large farm and ranch near St. Johns. He bought machinery and livestock and was working on paying off his mortgage.

Roy was active in civic affairs. He was a member of the Greer-Dewitt Post of the American Legion and served several terms as commander of the post.

He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in many capacities. From 1941 he was a member of the High Council of the St. Johns Stake.

In November 1944 Roy Tanner and his brother-in-law George Peterson went to earn some extra money for cash expenses by taking a bailer and bailing hay in Bluewater and Grants, New Mexico. They were almost through with the job and were going to camp for the night (November 5, 1944), when they started to cross the railroad track and in some unknown way were caught by the evening passenger train, and killed instantly.






The double funeral took place in St. Johns on November 9, 1944. This was a hard blow for the entire family. To add to the sorrow, one of the Peterson sisters had just three days previously received word of her husband's death in World War II Germany. Roy's widow Clara disappeared for a year without letting anyone know where she was.


After Roy’s death, Clara worked for a while as a counselor in the Ogden school system. She subsequently married Joseph Sudweeks, a professor at Brigham Young University.

Wallace Ove Tanner, a graduate of Harvard Law School, had a long career in the legal field. Wallace married Jessie Maxine Morgan, daughter of Harold and Jessie Christensen Morgan. They had six children.

Lee Henry Tanner worked on heavy construction in Arizona until his death in April 1976. He was married and divorced several times. He had four daughters.

From a sketch of the life of Leroy Parkinson Tanner by Wallace Tanner and others with additional information from Margaret Jarvis Overson, George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy (Mesa, Arizona, 1957). (Photo of 1938 and 1939 Ford trucks used by permission.) Leroy P. Tanner stone photo courtesy of JLT.