Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tanner 24 & 25: Jens & Kjersten Pederson Oveson

I'm always amazed at this picture of Ove and his brother Lars Peter. In August and September 1922 Ove took a road trip to visit his brother in Utah. Ove was 82 years old and Peter was 69.

Here's Ove's account of the trip, edited for clarity.
Trip by Auto to Utah in 1922

Left St. Johns on August 23 with D.P. Oveson Jr.

Went through Gallup, Shiprock, Cortez, Monticello, Moab, Green River, Price, Huntington, and arrived at Castle Dale on the 27 of August.

Found my brother and his family all well. Traveled 527.6 miles. It cost $12. 68¢ for gas and oil and repairs. $1.15 for food.

Stayed there until September 23 then Peter took me to Ephraim. We visited with relatives and friends in Emery County. Was in Huntington, Cleveland, Elmo and Orangeville and visited Niels Oveson, brother, Jens Oveson, brother, Caroline L. Oliver, sister, and families and of my brothers’ children, Lew P. Oveson and family, Nora Ovesons (dead) husband Joseph Larson, Bishop of Cleveland, Clarence D. Oveson and family, Moroni Oveson and family. Geneva Oveson and husband Peter Johnson, eight friends Erick Larson, Cleveland, O. Sorenson Castle Dale, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, Orangeville and many others, but my main stay was with my brother L.P. Oveson and family and they treated me fine.

On the 23 of September Peter took me to Ephraim, Sanpete County, fifty miles in his auto. We arrived there in the evening and stopped at our cousin’s A.C. Nielson and family.

The 24 and 25 visited old relations and friends, Mother Oveson, our father’s third wife, Christian Hald and wife, friends from Denmark, Maria, a sister and her husband, Lars and Christian Hansen widowers, Martin Isaacson, some of Poulson’s sons, Peter Peterson (Davie) one of Lars Anderson’s sons (he is married to one of Mariane Oveson’s daughters). Niels Peterson (Postmaster) Orson Poulson, Peter Larson and wife Sophia, and many more.

On the 26 I went to the temple in Manti where I was sealed to my father and mother.

I added some additional information and photos to the previous Oveson post. Here are some links that I saw today:
  • Here is a partial transcription of the autobiography of Jens and Kjersten's son Lars Peter Oveson. The entire history can be found in the BYU library.
  • Here is a general conference talk by Jens and Kjersten's great-grandson, Stephen B. Oveson. He mentions his grandfather, Lars Peter.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tanner 24 & 25: Jens & Kjersten Pederson Oveson

24 Jens Andreas Oveson
b. 17 September 1816 Mossberg Sogn, Hjørring, Denmark
m. abt 1839 Tårs, Hjørring, Denmark
d. 11 January 1905 Ephraim, Sanpete, Utah
Wives: (1) Kjersten Maria Pederson, (2) Anne Nielsine Carlson, (3) Marian Iverson Nielson
Father: Ove Andersen; Mother: Anne Marie Jensen

25 Kjersten Maria Pederson Oveson
b. 7 September 1813 Mojen (or Udelt Sogn), Hjørring, Denmark
d. 30 January 1874 Ephraim, Sanpete, Utah
b. 1874 Ephraim, Sanpete, Utah
Husband: Jens Andreas Oveson
Father: Peder Nielsen; Mother: Kirsten Christensen

Jens was born in 1816 in Mossberg, Hjørring, Denmark. He was a twin. His father Ove Andersen was married previously and had one or two children from his first marriage. After the first wife died, he remarried Jen's mother and adopted a child (probably hers) and had five subsequent children, including the twins.

The Danish way of creating names back then was to add -sen to the father
's name for a son and -dotter to the father's name for a daughter.

Jens' father's name was Ove Andersen, so the son's name was Jens Ovesen. When the family came to the United States, they Americanized the name to Oveson and our branch even added an "r" to the middle of the name, resulting in "Overson." However, Jens' gravestone reads "Jens Ovesen."

Jens and his family joined the church in Denmark, as you can read about in his sons' histories. Of course, you can read Ove Overson's history on this site and I will link to a partial copy of his son Lars' history on a separate post.

Jens Andreas Oveson, our ancestor, came to Utah in 1863, sixteen years after the earliest pioneers reached Salt Lake Valley. He was one of the earliest pioneers in Sanpete County, making his home in Ephraim. He was a builder, and therefore much in demand in planning and making homes and a meetinghouse—and later stores and other public buildings. He also made furniture… The work was beautifully done by hand (no machinery in those days), from timber obtained in the nearby mountains.…

Brother Oveson was the official casket (coffin) maker for those who died in that vicinity and often worked all or most all night, to get the work ready in time for the burial. There was no way of keeping a corpse in those early days. They had to be buried as soon as possible.

His own home was neat and comfortable, and his garden and orchard well kept. He raised a goodly supply of choice apples, and had plenty put by for winter, and to share with relatives and neighbors, especially the children.

He also did much work on the Manti Temple, during the early years of its construction.

To a person viewing this beautiful edifice today it is a great marvel because of its exact and exquisite workmanship, all of which was done under pioneer conditions of poverty and sacrifice, and with primitive tools and materials.

Jens Andreas Oveson raised a large family, worked hard, was a good neighbor, genial and pleasant, willing and helpful. He kept his strength and agility to the last. He lived to be past 88 years of age, and was able to work at his bench until a day or two before his death, when he complained of being tired. Rest came to him January 11th, 1905.…

When Jens Andreas Oveson’s first wife, Kjersten Maria Pederson Oveson died, January 30th, 1874, their two older children (Ove Christian and Anne Kjersten) were married and had homes and families of their own, their third child, Eliza, had died in Denmark, and their youngest son, Lars Peter, was a grown man, twenty-one years old.

The following year Jens Oveson and Anne Nielsine Carlson took the trip to Salt Lake City in the Endowment House there, on May 18th, 1874.

This wife was a single woman from Copenhagen, Denmark, who was a refined and rather delicate, dainty and artistic woman of thirty years, who had been raised in a large city, and was a dressmaker by trade (all young people in Denmark must learn a trade by the time they are mature), and not accustomed to the hardships of a pioneer country. She bore two little girls, not quite two years apart, but died March 14, 1877, leaving a three months old baby, and the older sister just two years old.

Brother Oveson was now past sixty and must work to support his family. He was now in dire need of help to take care of the little ones, and keep his home. He found a widow from Denmark who had four children, and was in need of a home and some means of support. She offered to take care of his little ones, and after a time, they later had four more, making eight children for her, and his two little girls, quite a family for a man his age to support. Their last child was born the year he was seventy, and his two little girls were ten and twelve years old, but his life was prolonged until he was in his eighty-ninth year, and he was well and able to work until his last week.

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

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tanner 22 & 23: Samuel Bryant & Sarai Stapley Bryant

22 Samuel Charles Bryant
b. 8 August 1799 Rolvenden, Kent, England
c. 15 September 1799 Rolvenden, Kent, England
m. 20 October 1822 Rolvenden, Kent, England
d. 15 September 1863 San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California
Wife: Sarai Stapley
Father: John Bryant Jr.; Mother: Jane (Jenny) Watson

23 Sarai Stapley
b. 1 October 1803 Rolvenden, Kent, England

c. 3 November 1803 Rolvenden, Kent, England
d. 15 November 1857 San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California or Beaver, Beaver, Utah
Husband: Samuel Bryant
Father: Henry Stapley; Mother: Elizabeth Tarbutt

The Bryant family lived in the County of Kent as far back as can be traced. When historical records began, the Bryants were located in the parish of Tenterden. In the mid 18th century they moved to the parish of Rolvenden where three generations of Bryants were born and christened. The Bryants remained in Rolvenden until they emigrated to Australia in the late 1830s.

The county of Kent is in southeast England. The Bryants came from an area called the “Weald” in south-central Kent. The Weald was a great forest region covered with wild oak. When the Romans occupied Britain, they avoided the region. After the Romans left, the British did not move onto the land until pastoral people began to move into the Weald.

The family name of Bryant was written as Briant in the records u
ntil the late 1700s and early 1800s.

First Generation

The first Bryants recorded were Thomas and Elizabeth Bryant of Tenterden. Almost nothing is known of this couple, except that records exist for the christening of three of their children in Tenterden: Elizabeth in 1727, John in 1730, and Rebecca in 1734.

Second Generation

John Bryant, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth, was married in the pale sandstone Church of St. George in Benenden in 1756 by Vicar John Williams. Benenden is a small town in the Hundred of Rolvenden about two and a half miles from the town of Rolvenden. John married Sarah Pankhurst, the daughter of William and Sarah Pankhurst whose records begin and end in Benenden. Desc
riptions of Benenden consistently include the one interesting event in its history:
On December 30, 1672, a bolt of lightning set fire to the steeple of St. George’s. The blaze melted the church’s five large bells, razed five houses adjoining the churchyard and left the interior of the church in ruins. Fortunately, many of the best 15th-century features were saved, particularly the north porch with its gargoyles and stone-vaulted ceiling.
As a note of interest, when John and Sarah were married, over 3000 Frenchmen were being held prisoner from the Seven Years War just a few mi
les away at Sissinghurst Castle.

John and Sarah continued living in Rolvenden hundred. They had three children. Richard, the oldest, was christened in 1757 but died less than two years later. John was born 25 May 1760 and christened the next month at the Church of St. Mary in Rolvenden by Daniel Chadsley, Vicar.

The father of the family, John Bryant, died at the age of 31. His burial record reads, “1762. January 3. John Briant, Labourer. [Burial service
by] Daniel Chadsley, Vicar.” Five months later a third child of this family was christened, a daughter Sarah. The Widow Bryant died four years later. It is not known who took care of the two orphans: six year old John and four year old Sarah (assuming Sarah lived past infancy and childhood—no records have been found to the contrary).

Third Generation

The orphan John (now a 22 year old farm laborer) married Jenny Watson in 1783. Jenny was one of twelve children of Stephen Watson and Ann Kadwell (the Kadwells were an old respectable landowning family in Rolvenden). One of Jenny’s sisters was born in 1777 and given the name Philadelphia. There were at least five other girls born in the parish at this time named Philadelphia. Benjamin Franklin had spent time in the next parish over (had gone to church two and a half miles away in Tenterden) three years before.

John and Jenny had seven children between the years of 1783 and 1802.

Fourth Generation

The two youngest children of John and Jenny Bryant married into the Henry and Elizabeth Stapley family: our ancestor Samuel married Sarai Stapley (1821) and Sarah married Charles Stapley (1822).

There was such a large exodus of people from Rolvenden in the 1820s and the 1830s that it was mentioned in the British census records. In the parish register, “America” was penciled next to every second or third marriage entry.

Our ancestors left Rolvenden to find a better life as farmers in Australia. In 1839 Samuel Bryant and Sarai Stapley Bryant had a son, James, born 14 December 1839 in Rolvenden. On 5 July 1842 another son was born, George, in Wi
tham, New South Wales, Australia.

Diane Parkinson wrote a history of the Parkinson family and included some notes about the Bryants which I quote here:
About 1837, the families of Charles Stapley, Sr. and Samuel Bryant of Rolvenden, Kent, England, began an adventure that would ultimately culminate in the colonizing and taming of a desert waste.

Like the Parkinsons who came later, the route that the Stapleys and Bryants took to America was somewhat circuitous.

Many opportunities for farmers, tradesmen and skilled workers were being offered in the far off land of Australia. The crown was eager to assist those who wished to start a new life and contribute to the upbuilding of the colony that had received its infamous start as a notorious dumping ground for England’s felons.

Each of these families was skilled in the art of farming; Australia was in dire need of farmers to produce the crops that would feed her swelling population.

Charles Stapley, Sr. had married Sarah Bryant, the sister of Samuel Bryant, and this same Samuel Bryant had married Sarai Stapley, the sister of Charles Stapley, Sr....

The Bryant’s daughter, Mary Ann would marry Thomas Parkinson, and the Stapley’s son, Charles Stapley, Jr. would marry Thomas’s sister, Sarah…

They had lived in close proximity in the small farming community of Rolvenden. Each couple had seven children between 1823 and 1836. Only a few months separate the births of double cousins, and although we do not have evidence that they went to Australia on the same vessel, it would only be natural that they would undertake this adventure as a family team.…

Birth records of the subsequent children born into these families indicate that they immigrated to the fertile Hunter River district in New South Wales where work as tenant farmers was easily obtained. Each couple added five more children to their already large families.

They pursued agriculture in this area for sixteen years when a dramatic change then entered their lives.

In 1853, missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opened a new mission in the Hunter River District. It was a fruitful place to preach. The Stapley and Bryant families were numbered among some seventy souls to align themselves with the Church that year.
Elder William Hyde mentioned the Bryant family a number of times in his missionary journal.
April 22nd [1853]. I preached at the house of Brother Samuel Bryant and the Lord blessed me with great liberty in speaking.

[May 8] I preached at Brother Bryant's at 11 a.m. and at 3 p.m. and administered the Sacrament. Had a comfortable day.

The 18th [May]. Preached at Brother Bryant's. Had a good time.

The 12th [June]. Preached at Brother Bryant's. After meeting went to Brother Stapley's. Rained very hard.

Sunday 26th [June]. Preached at Brother Bryants. At 11 a.m. the weather was rainy and disagreeable.

Tuesday 28th...After baptism of [Hannah Stapley Rawlings] returned to Brother Bryants and met with the saints agreeable to appointment...

Tuesday [also 28th]...I returned to Brother Bryants.

Thursday [4 August] I attended a fast meeting which I had previously appointed at the house of Brother Bryant. I spoke to some length, giving such instructions as were dictated to me by the holy spirit, after which the brethren spoke round, and we had a very interesting time.

Sunday, the 7th [August]. Preached at Brother Bryant's. Had a full house and the Lord gave me great liberty in speaking.

Sunday, the 4th [September]. I preached twice at the house of Brother Bryant, on Williams River.
There are several more such entries.

A history of the Stapley family gives the following information:
Presumably Samuel and Sari or Sarah (Stapley) Bryant sailed on the Julia Ann for California, for Toquerville's John Steele, before leaving on a mission to England, noted some of the Stapley English relatives. He wrote that "Samuel Bryant and wife died in San Barnerdino [sic]."

Fifth Generation

The third child and second daughter of Samuel and Sarai Bryant was Mary Ann Bryant, born in Rolvenden in 1826.

In Australia she married John Porter and had three children. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and separated from or divorced her husband. Mary Ann went to America on the Julia Ann along with other members of her family. Also on the boat was Thomas Parkinson formerly of England and Australia. 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. Family tradition holds that they were married while on the boat.

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.

The picture of Kent is mine, 2006. The picture of the San Bernardino mountains is from If you would like footnotes and sources and tables and appendixes and the section describing the area of Kent where the Bryants lived, please contact me.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Life in the Dark Ages

The other day in a conversation, a friend used the expression "it was as dark as the inside of a cow." Following so closely my dad's post on walking in the dark, it brought to mind the following anecdote, probably told by Granny. I wish I could tell things in as funny a way as she did. I also don't remember the identity of the people in the story, but they were relatives of some sort. I'll call them Bert and Ethel.

Bert and Ethel were walking home from a dance late one night in St. Johns. It was, as they say, as dark as the inside of a cow. As they came down Main Street and turned the corner by the Overson home, they tripped over a cow.

They argued with the Oversons for years about whose cow it was and why it was in the road.

(Oh boy, the explanation was longer than the story itself!)

An upcoming post on the Bryant family is currently in production. It is taken mostly from a paper I did in college, but I have some interesting additional details to add from a Stapley family history. Look for it in a week or two.

Photo of the cow from with permission granted for use. I found the photo of the Overson house online but neglected to save the link. Let me know if it's yours so I can provide attribution.