Beautiful Astoria

View from Astoria Column

View from Astoria Column

I wanted to share this picture because it is very captivating to me.  This is a view from the Astoria Column parking lot, we did not have time to climb the Column.

Astoria, Clatsop, Oregon is a place one needs to visit.  We did not do it justice with our short drive through and little stop in the morning.  Some day hopefully we can return.


Constance Josephine Eliza Jorgensen Christiansen

As if the name is not enough in and of itself!  She is my Great Great Great Grandmother and since we stopped at her grave in Portland, Multnomah, Oregon this past week, I thought it fitting to write about her.

Constance was born 23 April 1857 in Drammen, Buskerud, Norway to Olaves Jorgensen and Hanna Mathea Christensen.  According to the 1875 Norwegian Census, her name was Konstanse Elise Olavesen, but when she immigrated to the United States she was given her father’s last name, Jorgensen.  Actually according to the 1875 Norwegian Census, however correct it is, the last name is Jørgensen, but Americans don’t use that extra letter in our alphabet, so it dropped to the regular ‘o’.  I don’t know where she picked up the Josephine, if she ever really did.

She married Ole Christiansen about 1874, I have yet to find that date and location.  The two of them immigrated in 1889 through New York, New York, New York.  However, they both took the long way to America.  Walborg and Martha, their daughters, were born in Fredrikstad, Ostfold, Norway in 1875 and 1879 respectively.  Martha is my Great Great Grandmother.  Eivelda and Constance was born in 1881 and 1883 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.  Then Henry was born back in Fredrikstad in 1887!  Then, the remaining six children were all born in Cache County, Utah starting in 1890.

Her parents later emigrated and lived nearby in Richmond, Cache, Utah.  Two of her sisters, Matilda and Amanda, also emigrated and lived in Cache Valley.

Constance Jorgensen Christiansen

Constance Jorgensen Christiansen (heads up, there is argument this might be Constance Christiansen Clawson/Huff, trying to get other photos to compare)

Her husband Ole passed away 27 February 1900 in Richmond, Cache, Utah and is buried there.  She passed away 10 December 1932 in Portland while staying with her daughter Jennie.  She had stayed for some time with Jennie as she was listed as living with her on the 1930 census.  I don’t even know what she died of for certain.  I was told at one point she stepped off a trolley in Portland, slipped and hit her head, and she later died from those injuries, but I cannot confirm that lore.

I knew she is buried was Multnomah Park Cemetery in Portland and while driving through made it a point to stop and visit her grave this past Wednesday.  I knew she had passed away and was buried there, I am not aware of another single relative in the entire cemetery.  Not that the cemetery is that large.  But I knew she was there, that she has an empty grave in Richmond so the circumstances were such that her body was not brought home for burial beside her husband.

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It struck me how solitary her grave is.  She does have two daughters buried or interred in Portland, but neither of them are in this cemetery.

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It even took me a while just to find it, it is near one of the roadways in the cemetery.

I cannot help but think of how far away she is from her parents and husband, even though she does have two daughters at least in Portland.  But for some reason her location disturbs me.  I don’t know why, I obviously had nothing to do with the decision 80+ years ago to bury her in Oregon.  Any person who might have known is long gone.  A death certificate might tell me more about her death, but not the reasons for her burial in Multnomah Park.  Some things we will likely never know in this life.

The Old Man and the Sea

I thought I would share these two photos from our visit to the Pacific Ocean today.  I have not been on beach in Oregon since 1994 when Dad and I traveled through.

I kept thinking of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, although I am sure that the sea in the Caribbean is much different from the beach in Oregon.

Pacific at Yachats, Oregon

Pacific at Yachats, Oregon

This is the trail heading to the beach not far from our little abode.

Beach at Heceta Head, Oregon

Beach at Heceta Head, Oregon

This is the beach within view of the Heceta Head Lighthouse.

Not too bad for a Sabbath Day trip to the sea.


Todd Truck

Many of you know I continue to roam the country looking for family photographs.  I often whisk a photo album away from an owner for a week or two so I can hopefully preserve the photos digitally.  As I do so, often those photo albums contain photos of other families not linked to my own, but linked to the individual who often begrudgingly allowed me to borrow a sacred treasure with a high degree of trust.

I borrowed an album from Colleen Coley Todd of Buhl, Twin Falls, Idaho.  I have written of her parents, Ivan and Clara Coley and her relationship to me.  Found within her photo albums are pictures of her husband, Melvin “Mel” George Todd, and his family.

This photo is of Mel’s grandfather AW Todd, Albert W (William?) Todd, born 8 October 1875 in Clarkrange, Fentress, Tennessee and died 27 September 1962 in Walla Walla, Walla Walla, Washington.

AW Todd

AW Todd

Click on the picture, I scanned it at a higher resolution.  This photo tells us so very much, yet we know so little.  That is a cow tied in the trailer, not just tied, but somehow loosely tied down.  As if the cow was going to bounce out.  A truck with a wagon behind it, extra length tongue.  What model is the truck?  Did he work for a dairy?

The back of the photo has this written, “George Todd, 441 Teton Drive, Jerome, ID  83338,  Man by truck is AW Todd.”  At least we know that was written after the early 1960s since that was when zip codes were put in place.  George Todd is AW’s son.

At any rate, a fascinating find.  Whether taken in Idaho or Washington, it tells its own story.  I can saw that AW Todd lived in Tennessee in 1910 and in Twin Falls County in 1920 and 1930, which is the likely location of the photo.

Aliza’s Name

Repeatedly people ask us why we spell Aliza’s name the way we do.  Some ask why we don’t spell it the ‘Mormon’ way like Eliza Roxbury Snow or some of the others in church history.  It is very popular in Utah and is mostly confined to the intermountain west.  As we found out in Oklahoma, not many people even knew how to say the name who did not know LDS history.

Truth be told, we first stumbled upon the name at St. John the Baptist, a church in Halesowen, Worcestershire, England.  Here is a picture of the tombstone that caught our attention.


Joseph Willetts (1842 – 1903) is the son of Samuel Willetts (1800 – ?), Samuel Willetts (1800 – ?) is the son of Samuel Willetts (1769 – ?) and Mary Crumpton (1773 – 1787).  Samuel Willetts (1800 – ?) is the brother to my Letitia Willetts (1795 – 1875).  Letitia is my 4th great-grandmother who married James Coley (1795 – 1875).

I have written of James and Letitia before.

At any rate, Aliza is the wife of Joseph Willetts.  I don’t even know her maiden name.  But once we saw the name, we both knew that we liked it and wanted to name our daughter after this Aliza Willetts (1844 – 1915) buried at St. John the Baptist in Halesowen, England.

Halesowen and nearby Hasbury and Lutley are strongholds of my Coley, Willetts, Parish, and Lea lines.  Hopefully I will get to visit again some day when the heavens have not opened to unleash rains upon us.  I also hope that maybe Aliza might be able to visit the grave of this namesake, maybe even with us.

Lillie, Dean, and Gary

This is another photo sent to me by Nelda Clontz Lemburg, whose mother is a Sharp.  This is a better copy of the photo than the one I had.

Lillie Sharp, Gary Blanch, and Dean Sharp

Gary Blanch, Lillie Sharp, and Dean Sharp

I have previously written of “Uncle Ed” and included this photo.

This is Lillie Elva East Sharp with her son, Dean Sharp, and grandson, Gary Eugene Blanch.

Lillie Elva East was born 16 February 1888 in Warren, Weber, Utah to Louisa Calder East and Joseph Uriah East.

She and Edward William Sharp married 19 May 1909 in Plain City, Weber, Utah.

As I mentioned in the article about Uncle Ed, together they had 10 children, nine of which lived to adulthood.

Grandpa, Milo James Ross, said that his Aunt Lillie, who quintessentially became his mother, was a beautiful woman.  He loved her but his life was dominated enough by Uncle Ed that he did not get to spend as much time with her as he wished.

Theophilus and Martha France

In an odd twist of fate, I thought I might share my latest story in search of the family of Theophilus and Martha France.  I stumbled on this photograph when scanning the photos of my Great Great Grandmother.  She married Herbert Coley, whose sister, Martha Ann, is shown above.  This photo was in the collection, likely from Martha France herself, to my Great Great Grandfather Herbert.  The photo just had the two names written on the back of the photo.

Since, I have tried to track down the family with little or no success.  I will give some of the limited history I know at this point and then close with my latest little find.

Theophilus was born 26 December 1863 in Dudley, Staffordshire, England.  He married Martha Ann Coley 4 November 1891 in Logan, Cache, Utah in the Logan LDS Temple.  Martha was born 18 August 1860 in Lutley, Worcestershire, England to Stephen and Hannah Maria Rogers Coley.

Theophilus was a musician that took the family to various places chasing performing and music instructions.  Mostly in Cache Valley, but also taking in a jaunt to Salina, Sevier, Utah.

Theophilus France, in the middle, nicknamed Foghorn

Theophilus France, in the middle, nicknamed Foghorn

Born to the family were 5 children.

Ada France born 1 April 1893 in Franklin, Franklin, Idaho and died 14 February 1957 in Caldwell, Canyon, Idaho.  She married Henry James Flippence.

Marguerite France born 19 October 1894 in Franklin and died 20 Mar 1936 in Logan.  She married George Bright.

Franklin Bank, circa 1895

Franklin Band, circa 1895, Theophilus France is sitting second from the right, supposedly as the leader

Wilford France born 25 Mar 1897 in Lewiston, Cache, Utah and died 28 August 1986 in Los Angeles County, California.  He married Elsie Arvilla Brown.

John France born 22 May 1899 in Lewiston and died 18 June 1953 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  He married Meryln Burton.

Beatrice France born 16 October 1901 in Lewiston and died 14 October 1997 in Salt Lake City.  She married Robert Wallace Ekenstam.

From the census records, it appears Martha may have had a son (maybe a brother) named Frank.  He appears and then disappears.  He may be a cousin who came over from England with Martha and then died, married, or just moved away.  I cannot trace him down again, so this is one question I have always wanted to answer.  But finding a member of this family has not proved easy.

I knew Theophilus and Martha are buried in the Lewiston Cemetery.  Her brother, George, and their parents, Stephen and Hannah, my Great Great Great Grandparents are also buried there.  Theophilus died 30 October 1923 in Lewiston.  Martha died 18 July 1949 in Parma, Canyon, Idaho.

George Bright and Marguerite Coley had at least 8 children, but only one of them lived to marry.  I knew her name was Gennevieve Bright and that she had married a man by the name of Elvon Monson Jensen 22 April 1947.  He died in 1990 and trying to track down a lady Monson in Utah or Idaho, especially where she could have remarried, seemed an impossible task.  I left it there and tried some of the other lines.

In 2011, I was in my office and visiting with the wife of the other attorney from who I rent office space.  I knew Kent was from Preston and in a lull of the conversation asked the name of Kent’s parents.  She mentioned Elvon and Gennevieve.  I could not tell where, but I knew that Elvon Jensen was in my family history.  That night I looked him up and sure enough, there he was.  I rent office space in Burley, Idaho from my 3rd cousin, once removed!  Kent’s children are my 4th cousins.

It was with some sweet satisfaction that I was able to provide a copy of the photograph of Theophilus and Martha above to him.  He had not seen a picture of them before.  I asked that he put me in contact with the member of his family who does the family history on the France/Coley line.  Maybe I can help bridge some of the divide and flesh out more fully the Coley line in Utah and Idaho.

The picture above of Theophilus and Martha was scanned in 2006.  Who knew that I would be providing a photo of ancestors to a line who did not have a photograph.  Maybe there will be more such stories in the future with all the photos I have and continue to make available.  We can only hope.  Here is a photo of Martha later in life, I don’t know how old she was at the time.

Martha Coley

Martha Coley