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!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

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.

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