Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tanner 12: 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.


  1. He is my great great great great grandfather

  2. As one of the three "living" Grandson's of Marinus Christensen and family representative I fill duty bound to correct a few things put in to print by well meaning people e.g. Maggie Oveson’s and others. My Grandfather was born in (Horby) Torslev, Hjorring, and Jutland Denmark (June 6, 1861). He was baptized (sprinkled) in the Torslev Lutheran Church that dates back to the 1500s – If you travel there you will find the names of all Lutheran Ministers that served etched in the stone masonry, if memory serves me correctly the list is located in the new portion of the church.

    The small community where Marinus was born is now mostly open fields. The Torslev (pronounced tor-slu) Church (Kirke) is now a national monument as are other early Christian Church sites. In addition, you just might want to look stroll through the Church cemetery, you may be interested in the Many Jensen’s and Christensen’s interned there – yes, I did say Jensen. All of the historical church records are located in a central location in Copenhagen, Denmark. If you want to examine the records, please be proficient in Danish (Dansk) or pay someone to help you locate the Torslev Dansk kirke bøger and, relevant information you seek or, you may wish to visit with the local caretaker – he lives just down the road from the church (Du kan tale Dansk?). Moreover, just read the Kenilworth’s Ship’s Manifest if Kan ' taler Dansk.

    My Grandfather was not an Oveson! Marinus’ mother Karen Marie Johannesen Christensen died on 6 December 1878. Mary, Karen Marie Johannesen Christensen’s crippled daughter, had already married a man named Ove Oveson. Marinus occasionally stayed with his sister at times but he had no use for the Oveson’s.
    The Oveson’s were very disappointed when he married. He told the gathering that he was not an Oveson and his name was not Oveson! He and his wife were married under his Christian name: They were to be known as Marinus and Frances Ann Thomas Christensen (June 6, 1883).

    As has been stated, my Grandfather’s main vocation was that of being a Blacksmith in St. Johns, Arizona (He learned to be a “Smithy” from his Father-in-Law David Nathan Thomas (1820-18880 – not, an Oveson.). Levi Udall, a Superior Court Judge (Apache County, Arizona) related the reasonableness of his charges as a blacksmith. Marinus would charge ten or fifteen cents for a job that any other workman would be asking fifty-cents or a dollar.

    My Father, Joseph L. Christensen, shared many stories with me painting a strong picture of Marinus as a father. One of my favorite snippets is that My Grandfather’s favorite breakfast meal was “bread and beer.” Marinus passed on July 23rd, 1927. He died of what was then apoplexy now called a stroke. Following the funeral Marinus’s internment took place at the city or Westside cemetery. My Grandmother was a wonderful petite lady, her hair was long. I spent most of my summers living in the old Christensen home in St. Johns. As did my sister, older and younger brother. My father enjoyed “fixing up the place” during the summer months (Joe L. Christensen, was a school coach/teacher in Salt Lake City during this time period). “Grandma Fanny” visited Salt Lake on several occasion prior to her passing - staying with us at the Christensen home. “Grandma Fanny” died at the age of 86 years. She was visiting Elmer and Hilda Christensen (her son and daughter-in-law) in Flagstaff, Arizona when she passed.

    In passing, you say Overson, I say Oveson – check the derivation on “son” in the language of Scandinavia.

    L. Brent Christensen
    One of the last three living Grandsons of Marinus and Frances Ann Thomas Christensen

    1. Thanks for commenting, Brent, and for the additional information. So glad you could visit Denmark. If you'd like to write up a bit about your visit and include pictures, I'd love to post that here at TheAncestorFiles.

      I'm descended from both Ove and Marinus, so there are plenty of materials on this blog about both of them and their wives and families -- I'm sure we have some pictures of your father on the blog.

      You would undoubtedly enjoy reading through the information about Marinus, Frances, David Nathan Thomas, Adeline Springthorpe Sparks Thomas, and all the others.

      Within a month or two I will start posting a well-researched series about David Nathan Thomas and his families written by a Thomas cousin, Helen Rigby.

      And, since you mentioned the Overson name, don't miss this post:

      Ove Oveson, or Ovesen or Overson or Oversen or Jensen?

      Or this great discussion about the beer that the Danish pioneers brewed:

      “Barley … for mild drinks”: Danish Beer

      Thanks again for your comment, and please feel free to email me at amyancestorfiles at gmail dot com.