My name is Mary Ann Whitehead Overson and this blog is dedicated to all the amazing men and women who came before me: my ancestors. I also want to acknowledge my father, Armand Toyn Whitehead, who is the person responsible for a lot of the content in this blog; my dad has spent countless hours collecting and preserving photos and histories, and preserving them on the computer so that they can be handed down for generations. Thank you, Dad!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mary Ann Wardle Bale Letter, 1868

Mary Ann Wardle Bale

Here is a letter that I found as part of a Bale Family History from the DUP (see below for more info) which I will post in full this week - a tasty tidbit meant to make your mouth water for more!  Mary Ann Wardle Bale is my 3rd Great Grandmother on my mother's side.  She was married to Thomas Bale.  By the time  she wrote this letter all but two of her children had emigrated to Utah, and she had suffered the recent loss of her daughter, Mary Ann Bale, only 23 when she died, who left behind a daughter, Emma Hannah - a story in and of itself, but one that will have to wait!  When Mary Ann W. Bale mentions "Mary Ann's little girl" Emma Hannah is who she is referring to.  Thomas and Mary Ann W. Bale, along with Emma Hannah, did not emigrate until 1869, the following year.  

The main person she is writing to is Israel Bale, her firstborn, and the first to emigrate.  She has not seen him for 6 years at this point.
Israel Bale 1835-1912

Letter from Mary Ann Wardle Bale to her children in Utah, dated July 6, 1868.

6 Jul 1868
Silver Street, Whitwick, England

Dear Sons and Daughter,
            I now take the pleasure of writing these few lines unto you hopeing they will find you all well as it leaves us at this time;  excepting your father, I cannot say he is well as he has to stay home from work verry often through illness.  Dear son [Israel], I often think that you have quite forgot us.  And the old saying is out of sight out of mind, but if you have forgotten your mother she cannot forget you.  If you can’t do anything for me you might let me know how you are getting along.
            Dear son, I have to inform you that Mother Goddard and your sister Caroline set sail on the 24th June in company with Bro. James Welch and his wife and your Uncle William, your aunt Hannah’s son William.  The name of the ship is ‘Constitution’.  The first ship that started was ‘John Bright.’  Your aunt Hannah and you Uncle William Grice and your Aunt Lidya’s daughter Mary and her husband and seven children sailed in the same.  Now my son, I have prayed for many years that the Lord would deliver me from this wicked generation.  Now me and your Father are left by ourselves except Mary Ann’s little girl, sometimes I take it verry hard to think that I have two sons in a land where there’s peace and plenty and we are pining in the midst of poverty.  But I thank my God that I am still alive.  I often think my case is hard, but our God has promised that he will never forsake his saints.  I’ve found him true to his promise.  I feel thankful that He has opened up a way for my daughter to go [to Utah].  You know when the Lord works non can hinder.  I hope either you or Hyrum will please rite back as quick as possible and let me know how you are all getting along.  And then I shall know that you have got it [the letter].  Give a Father’s and Mother’s best love to Hyrum.  Tell him that I hope he is doing the best he can towards getting his poor Father and Mother out of old Babylon.  Tell him he sent so much love and respect in the last letter that I could not see it.  Give our loves to David and I hope the time will soon come when I shall meet you all and when we meet no tongue can tell how great our joys will be.  Bro T. Ball [Thomas Ball, a neighbor] send his love to you all , also Joseph Ball send his love to David and Hyrum and all of you.  So now my son I must conclude, so goodbye and God bless you all.
                                                                                    Thomas and Mary Bale.

*transcribed from a typed transcription of original letter by Mary Ann Whitehead Overson, 27 Apr 2012 (from History of the Bale Family, author unknown [Alan Kendall may be the original copy owner], typed history submitted 2007 to the DUP by Verna Wilson Motes of Idaho Falls, Idaho.)  No corrections were made to spelling or grammar and items in brackets are for clarification by MAO.

Silver Street, Whitwick, England circa 1900.  Photo courtesy http://www.goleicestershire.com/see-and-do/Whitwick-Historical-Group-SpecialProject.aspx

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Patriarchal Blessing for Elizabeth Brierley Simister

NOTE!!!  I have decided not to post this blessing online) please see my post on "Patriarchal Blessings" for the reason why.)  If you would like a copy of this blessing there are two ways to go about getting it:
  1. You can ask me for a copy - just send me a message, or leave a comment, (if I don't know you, please let me know how you are related to our common ancestor!) and leave me contact information so that I can send it to you.
  2. If you are a member of the LDS church, and a "direct line descendant" (meaning that you are a child/grandchild/ great grandchild, etc.) then you can go to lds.org and order a patriarchal blessing directly from the church.  If you are not a direct line descendant, then you will need to contact me for a copy.

John William and Elizabeth Brierley Simister
Elizabeth Brierley Simister is my Great Great Grandmother - she and her husband, John W. Simister, had many children, one of them being Hannah Simister Bale, who was the mother of Emma Louisa Bale Jensen, who was the mother of Rose Afton Jensen Whitehead, my mother.  She died from contracting pneumonia January 28, 1912, at age 66, a little more than a month after receiving her blessing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Obituary: Louisa Bale Bowles

Louisa Bale Bowles
NOTE:  As I mentioned in my previous post, Bowles, Bales and Jensens, this obituary states that her husband, Thomas Edward Bowles, died in 1915.  He, in fact, did not die until 1942, but Louisa separated from him and moved from Nephi, Utah, where they were living, to live with her children and family in Idaho, and they divorced in 1922.  Because Thomas Edward had been excommunicated from the church around the same time that she moved, in her mind she probably felt that he was dead.  Divorce was totally frowned upon back then, and I think the family supported the story that Thomas Edward died in 1915 to save their mother from ridicule and gossip, for evidence suggests that they knew he was not dead. 

Louisa B. Bowles Funeral Held 
[No photo accompanied obituary] 

Louisa Bale Bowles, 84, died Friday morning at the home of her son, S. C. Bowles of Rigby, after a long illness. Mrs. Bowles had been an invalid for the past 13 years and bedfast for the past month.
Louisa Bale was born September 28, 1864, in Whitwick, England, the daughter of Richard and Sarah Miller Bowles. The family soon came to America and settled at Nephi, Utah. She married Thomas Bowles who died in 1915, and the family moved to Rigby in 1918, and bought a residence in the southwest part of the city.
Neighbors and friends will remember Mrs. Bowles with affection for her kindliness and charity.
Surviving are four sons and two daughters: W. T. Bowles, S. C. Bowles, Rigby, A. R. Bowles, Nephi, Utah, and A. L. Bowles, Salt Lake City; Mrs. Retta Crowther, Tule Lake, Calif., and Mrs. Vivian Field, Rigby; 47 grandchildren, 72 great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild, making a total posterity of 126. Surviving brothers and sisters are Clifford Bale, Payson, Utah; Thomas Bale, Nephi, Utah; Mrs. Mary E. Goble, and Mrs. Sadie Ca-zier of Nephi, Utah.
Funeral services were conducted Tuesday afternoon from the Eckersell funeral home with Bishop Jesse Call officiating.
Opening song was "Rock of Ages" sung by the Rigby Stake quartet; invocation, Bishop Horace L. Baird; speaker, Wm. J. Sperry; vocal solo, "Face to Face," by Thomas Andrus.
The second speaker was President Thomas D. Reese; vocal solo, Thomas Andrus, "When I Take My Vacation in Heaven," and the closing speaker was Richard R. Sudweeks. The closing song, from the Rigby Stake Quartet was "Not Dead, but Sleepeth." The benediction was by Bishop Elgin R. Garrett.
Burial was in Rigby Pioneer Cemetery with dedication of the grave by S. C. Bowles.
Pallbearers were: Wilford Bowles, Melvin Bowles, Lyman Bowles, Clifford J. Bowles, J. L. Bowles, and Allen A. Bowles.
Flowers were under direction of Rigby Third Ward Relief Society.

The Rigby Star, Mar 10, 1949
Buried in Rigby Pioneer Cemetery, Idaho.  Photo courtesy Find A Grave online.

The Bowles, the Bales, and the Jensens

Edward Bowles 1805-1895
These past couple of days while doing some research, I felt drawn to the Bowles family for some reason.  To set up who the Bowles are to the Jensens, there are two ways in which we are "connected":  once by marriage, and once through good old fashioned charity.

BY MARRIAGE:  In May, 1856, the Bowles family immigrated from England to Utah after accepting the gospel and being baptized into the LDS church.  The Bowles family who immigrated consisted of Edward, age 50 (1805-1895), and his wife Ann Bolton, age 52 (1803-1882), and their sons Thomas, age 19 (1836-1927), and Enoch, age 12 (1844-1934).  The family eventually settled in Nephi, Juab, Utah, just a few years after the town of Nephi was settled and became a prominent family in that town.  The Bowles family's full story can be found, along with many others, at the Wilding/Bowles Family History Blog: http://wildingbowles.blogspot.com/search/label/Bowles

Louisa Bale and Thomas Edward Bale, wedding photo
To Thomas and Susannah Bowles was born Thomas Edward Bowles (1860-1942).  Thomas Edward's full story can also be found by clicking on the Wilding/Bowles link above.  Thomas Edward Bowles married Louisa Bale, whom my grandmother, Emma Louisa Bale Pitt Jensen, was named after.  Louisa is my great grand aunt, daughter of Richard and Sarah Miller Bale.  This is how we are related by marriage to the Bowles.

BY GOOD, OLD FASHIONED CHARITY:  Thomas Bowles married a woman by the name of Susannah Washburn (1843-1917) and they had 7 (one was adopted) children, but two of the children died during childhood.  The family thrived in Nephi, despite their hardships (their full stories can be found at the Wilding/Bowles family history blog link above).  Thomas, at one time, was one of the largest land owners in Nephi, and earned money doing many various trades, one of them being a butcher.  He was a stalwart in the church; President Wilford Woodruff himself ordained him to be a High Priest.  He was known to be generous with all that God had blessed him with, often opening his home to any who was in need, be they white, red, poor or rich, and this would become very important to a young boy who eventually settled on the name of Charles Christopher Jensen - my grandfather.
Thomas Bowles 1836-1927

My grandfather, born Ole Christian Jensen Jr., left his home in Richfield, Utah at the tender age of 9, after his father had died and his mother remarried, and somehow ended up in Nephi, 75 miles to the North (his full story can be found in this blog).  He somehow ended up going to the home of a Mr. Bowles, who was a butcher in Nephi, who fed the runaway and took him in.  We aren't sure how long he lived at Thomas Bowles Sr.'s house, but we do know that for a while he changed his name to Charlie or Chris Bowles.  Eventually he decided to change his name to Charles Christopher Jensen.

Two connections to the Bowles Family:  Charles C. Jensen, my grandfather, being taken in by Thomas Bowles; and Thomas Bowles son Thomas Edward Bowles marrying my great grand aunt, the aunt of my grandmother, Emma Louisa Bale, who eventually married Charles C. Jensen.  I have no doubt as I think about these connections that the Bowles family are the reason why Charles C. Jensen met and married Emma Louisa Bale Pitt, after both of them suffered the loss of their first spouses and were both left with young children to raise.  As the Bowles family contemplated the plight of their friend on one side, and their niece on the other, I can just picture them saying, "you know, we should set these two up to get together, because they'd be perfect for each other!"

Emma Louisa Bale Pitt Jensen
Charles Christopher Jensen
It turned out that they were perfect for each other, and Charles married Emma in 1913.  He already had three children with his first wife, and she had two from her first husband.  Both of them, I've been told, married for convenience: he gained a housekeeper, wife, and mother for his children, and she gained a provider, husband, and a father for her children.  But there had to have been love, because the two eventually had nine children together!  Charlie and Emma were sealed to each other in the Temple after being married for 3 years.  They stayed married for 36 years when they were separated by Charlie's death in 1949.  Grandma often complained about Grandpa, and said that he was the biggest mistake she ever made in her life, and yet a spark would come into her eyes, and a lilt in her voice whenever she talked about him.  I think her bitterness was the result of having to take care of him after he had a stroke.  Charlie was much older than Emma, and I know that she would have loved to have gone out with him on the town, while he would rather stay home and read his paper.  I also think she resented him dying and leaving her alone; she lived to be nearly 96 years old, and died in 1987.  Emma could have remarried in the 38 years after Charlie passed away, but she didn't, further making me believe that she loved him.

Young Louisa Bale Bowles
Unfortunately, Emma's namesake, Aunt Louisa Bale didn't fare so well in her marriage.  Thomas Edward Bowles, when he was young, did not always behave himself, despite his LDS upbringing.  He was excommunicated from the church not once, but twice for adultery.  Louisa left Thomas Edward, after having 9 children with him, in 1918 and went to live with her sons in Idaho, shortly after Thomas Edward's first excommunication.

Thomas Edward went on to have a son out of wedlock with a woman, Sarah Jane Beagley (who had herself been married twice before and already had several children).  Sarah was in her 40's when she became pregnant with Thomas Edward Bowles' child, and, as can happen with babies born to older women, David Edward Bowles was born in 1921 with Downs Syndrome, or Mongoloid Defective Disorder, as they called it back then.  Thomas Edward did the honorable thing, though, and as soon as his divorce to Louisa was final, he married Sarah Jane in 1922, just months after being excommunicated the second time.  Thomas Edward was 64, and Sarah was 43.  They had another boy together in 1925, named James William, and in 1928 Thomas Edward was baptized into the LDS church again.  This time he was determined to improve his standing with the church and get his life back on track.  This he did, gaining the full priesthood in time.  In 1932 Thomas Edward and Sarah Jane's second son, James William, died of pneumonia, and then in 1937 his first son, David, died of pneumonia as well.  Thomas Edward eventually reconciled with some of the children from his marriage to Louisa, and died in 1942, a full fellow of the church, having done all he could to make up for his early shortcomings.
Louisa Bale Bowles

Louisa Bale never remarried, and her divorce from Thomas Edward was kept quite secret from society in Idaho - not surprisingly, since divorce was so frowned upon.  In her obituary it states that Thomas Edward died in 1915 and that is why she moved to Idaho in 1918, but certainly the family knew this to be untrue.  I can see, however, from her point of view how she could feel in her heart that Thomas Edward was dead to her.  1915 must have been somehow significant to her, perhaps because it was when Thomas had cheated on her, or when he was excommunicated the first time.  This is only speculation on my part, of course, because I don't know.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Obituary: Walter Aschel Pitt

Buried in the Vine Bluff Cemetery at Nephi, Utah

Walter Ashel* Pitt Obituary
Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Sep 1938

GOSHEN- Walter Ashel Pitt, 25, died at a Payson hospital late Friday. Time for services had not been set Saturday, but Interment will be at Vine Bluff cemetery at Nephi, directed by Anderson funeral Bale Pitt.
Mr. Pitt was born at Nephi, October 30, 1912, a son of Leonard N. and Emma L. Pitt. He married Donna Kirgan and had since resided in Goshen.
Donna Mae Kirgan Pitt
Surviving are his widow, Donna Kirgan Pitt, two daughters, Della and Joyce Marie Pitt of Goshen; his mother, Mrs. Emma L. Jensen of Provo; his grandmother, Mrs. Mary Pitt and Mrs. Hannah Bale of Nephi, and a brother, Leonard Pitt of Payson.

*actually spelled “Aschel”

Walter Aschel Pitt was the second son of Emma Louisa Bale and Lenard N. Pitt, Emma's first husband.  He was my mother's half brother.  He died very suddenly, leaving behind his young widow, Donna Mae Kirgan, and daughters Della Lou, age 3, and Joyce Marie, age 1.  

Donna Mae married a man from Texas in 1949, Clifton H. Pennington, apparently taking the two girls with her to Texas, and had several more children with him, but they divorced in 1972.  She died 27 Sep 1998 having never married again.  
Death Record courtesy Utah State Archives and Records office, online.