Niels Christian Jensen
Niels Christian Jensen was born September 17, 1884 at Spanish Fork, Utah. His parents were Hans Peter Jensen and Karen Marie Nielsen. In his boyhood he worked very hard with his parents to help sustain the family and lived on the west side of the bench.
Chris met Ovilla Whiting of Mapleton and they were married after a period of courtship on June 28, 1905 and they settled in Mapleton, Utah. When their first child was born they were living in a small house that had been used for a tithing office at about 300 West 600 North. Chris and Ovilla soon bought a farm where Frank Jensen had his farm and where his wife, Ovanda, still lives. Later, they moved to Lost River, Idaho and bought 160 acres of unbroken land. After three years of hard work they found that they could not make a living there so they moved back to Utah and settled in Bingham Canyon. Here, Chris worked in the Highland Boy Mine.
In 1920 the Jensen family moved back to Mapleton and Chris and the older children made a living by farming and contracting to thin, hoe, and harvest sugar beets. At one time they had fifty acres contracted for this work and made fairly good wages.
Chris Jensen was an ardent sports fan. He especially liked baseball and all of his boys shared his enthusiasm. Chris played for many years and his sons followed in his footsteps. In later years, he followed each play of World Series games by writing each player’s name in a notebook and recording each play as it was broadcast over the radio. At this time, no one dared interrupt the games by word or deed. Ovilla even served meals by the radio—and this was before T.V. trays or dinners. Hunting was also an important hobby. Chris and his sons, and a certain group of friends went together every year to hunt in the mountains. At first, they traveled by team, but later, they went by car. Months of planning and preparation went into these hunting trips, and the cold winter evenings were made more pleasant by recounting the events of the World Series or the deer hunting expeditions.
Chris was active in community affairs and served as road supervisor for one term. At that time the grader was pulled by two teams of horses and one man stood up front on the machine to drive the animals. Chris stood on the back and by means of two wheels, one on each side of the grader, controlled the pressure of the blade on the dirt and gravel roads.
Starting in 1934 Chris served as town marshall, and during his term of office was respected by young and old alike. They all knew he was strict and firm, but they also knew he was fair and kind in his enforcement of the law.
Chris and his wife, Ovilla, and family have been stalwarts of the Mapleton community and helpful to their church. After the death of his wife, Chris lived at home and was helped by his daughter Irene and her husband Earl Freeman. He died October 19, 1964 an honored and respected citizen of his community.
Ovilla Whiting Jensen
Ovilla Whiting was born January 19, 1884 at Mapleton, Utah. She was a daughter of Edwin Lucius and Anna Mary Bulkley Whiting. She was the sixth of eleven children and had four brothers and six sisters. One sister, Jane, died in infancy.
As a young girl she was very helpful to her mother and father. Her father was the first Bishop of Mapleton ward and prior to that was the Presiding Elder of the Union Bench Branch. Her father died when she was only twelve years of age and it became necessary for Ovilla to help her mother with the home and the younger brothers and sisters, while her mother made the living for the family. She thus learned about economy and hard work in her early years.
She married Chris Jensen of Spanish Fork on June 28, 1905 and they were later sealed in the Salt Lake Temple. They were the parents of seven children: Ruel Whiting, Gladys, Deles, Bernell, Verl, Irene and Kelly. A granddaughter, Glenna Mae, and her mother shared their home also for a few years.
Orvilla loved the Gospel and was a very faithful member of the L.D.S. Church. She was a Relief Society visiting teacher for almost forty years and seldom missed making her monthly visits to the homes in her district. In the early thirties she visited from the Pate home down to the home then occupied by William T. and Clara Tew. Many times in the winter the only way to go was on foot and this she did, sometimes wading in snow up to her knees to reach the Pate and Allred homes that were so far down their narrow lanes. She also traveled up to the Gillen’s place on the southeast of the district. To these people she was an angel of mercy faithfully performing the work she was called to do.
Orvilla was a devoted wife and mother. She was frugal and made good use of everything she could for food and clothing. When a pig was killed for the winter’s meat supply, she made use of everything. She salted the side meat or bacon, processed head cheese, manufactured soap from the drippings that were too brown to use for lard, and made cookies from the cracklings. Old worn clothing was made into quilts of carpet rags that were woven into strips and spread over fresh clean straw and made nice warm floor coverings.
Ovilla was a quiet hardworking mother who took great pride in her children, and though she was shy and retiring, she was loved by all who had the privilege of getting to know her well. She died March 15, 1948 leaving a posterity that she has every reason to be proud of. She also left a legacy of hard work, thrift, and true good citizenship.