Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Henry Overson Missionary Journal: Introduction

Henry Christian Overson served a mission from 1893 to 1895.

The British Mission newspaper, The Millennial Star, listed the following arrivals on May 7, 1893:
Arrivals.—The Guion steamer Arizona arrived in Liverpool on the morning of May 1, having on board the following named brethren: For the British Mission—James T. Lovett, Robert Aveson, Archibald Freebairn, Stephen H. Winter, Hyrum J. Smith, of Salt Lake City; Miles A. Romney, of Juarez, Mexico; Nephi Peterson, Evan Jones, of Logan; Albert S. Farnsworth, of Beaver; Charles A. Callis, of Coalville; Lorenzo T. Shepherd, of Paris; Heber C. Boden, of Brigham City, and Jos. Ogden, of Richfield. For the Turkish Mission—Frederick A. Huish, of Payson. For the Scandinavian Mission—Chas. J. Gustaveson, of Providence; Andrew N. Kongstrup, of Loa; Carl P. Anderson, of Clarkston; Hans J. Zobell, of Provo; Ole Olson, of Mantua; Christian G. Christiansen, of Richmond; John F. Lundquist, of Snowflake; David Holmgren, of Bear River City; Christian Peterson, of Ferron; Theodore Peterson, of Logan; John Hactor Peterson, of Rabbit Valley; Niels Sandberg, of St. George; Hans A. Thomsen, of Juarez; and Henry C. Overson, of St. Johns. For the Swiss and German Mission—Jonathan J. Toronto, Francis M. Young, of Salt Lake City; O. F. Ursenbach, of Morgan; and Henry Gubler, of Santa Clara. The brethren were well, and reported a pleasant voyage of eight and a half days. Those for the continent proceeded on their journey.
Henry must not have been on the Arizona, because on May 22, 1893, the Millennial Star reported the following:
Arrivals.—The following named brethren arrived in Liverpool, on the Guion steamship Alaska, on Sunday, May 14, after a pleasant voyage of eight days from New York: Henry C. Overson, of St. Johns; Jos. S. Robison, of Montpelier; Chas. E. Carroll, Heber Timothy, and George W. Hislop, of Vernal; John Belliston, Niels Andrew Nielson, John W. McPherson, and William Jones, of Nephi; John H. Squires, of Logan; Peter S. Condie, and George Burt, of Salt Lake City; John J. James, of Paradise; and Joseph H. Turley, of Juarez, Mexico. These brethren will labor in Great Britain, except Elder Squires, who is appointed to the Swiss and German Mission.


Appointment.—Elder H.C. Overson is appointed to labor as traveling Elder in the London Conference.
Was it a delay in travel that caused the change of Henry's mission call from the Scandinavian Mission to the British Mission? Or was his mission call changed before the travel arrangements were made? What did this son of two Danish parents think about the change in his mission call?

Henry served for two years and was released in May 1895. The Millennial Star noted:
Releases and Appointments.—The following Elders have been honorably released from their labors to return home, May 9, 1895:—
Archibald Freebairn, Traveling Elder in the Scottish Conference;
James T. Lovett, Traveling Elder in the Sheffield Conference;
Henry C. Overson, Traveling Elder in the London Conference;...
Elders A. Saxey and Fred. W. Nicholls have been appointed to labor as Traveling Elders in the London Conference...
He traveled home on the ship City of Rome, arriving in New York on May 18, 1895. Henry listed his occupation as "Cattleman" on the passenger list. He was returning to Arizona, but all of the missionaries traveling with him were headed to Utah.

About a year and a half later, the returned missionary married Margaret Godfrey Jarvis, also of St. Johns, Arizona.

Here is what his wife said about his mission:
He took up a farm [in St. Johns], and planted alfalfa, and did well financially, by having a feed stable for travelers, so that from 1903 to 1905 [1893 to 1895] he was able to go on 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.
Henry wrote three journals. I have a digital copy of the one that covers April and May 1895, and will transcribe it in subsequent posts.

Title Page
April 8-13, 1895
April 14-18, 1895
April 19-26, 1895
April 27-May 1, 1895
May 1-3, 1895
May 3-5, 1895
May 5-8, 1895


Lund, Anthon H. Ed. 1893. The Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star. Vol. 55, No. 19, May 7, 1893, London: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, p 310. Emphasis added.

———. 1893. The Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star. Vol. 55, No. 21, May 22, 1893, London: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, p 342. Emphasis added.

———. 1895. The Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star. Vol. 57, No. 18, May 2, 1895, London: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, p 282. Emphasis added.

Overson, Henry C. Mission Journal: April-May 1895. Images courtesy of James L. Tanner.

Overson, Margaret Godfrey Jarvis. 1957. George Jarvis and Joseph George De Friez genealogy. Mesa, Arizona: M.J. Overson.

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