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

Edward William Sharp

I thought I would write about Edward William Sharp today (some also list him as William Edward Sharp, I am not clear which is correct), known to the family as Uncle Ed.  He has a tender, yet thorny, position in the family.

Ed Sharp and Bob (?) 17 February 1949

Ed Sharp and Bob (?) 17 February 1949

Edward William Sharp was born 25 October 1887 in Plain City, Weber, Utah, the seventh child to Milo and Lilly Sharp.  My Great Grandmother, Ethel, was Ed’s younger sister, number 11 in line.  I have written more of Ethel’s marriage to Jack Ross.  Ed Sharp comes into the family line more closely when Ethel died in 1925.  She left behind five children, namely: June, Milo, Paul, Harold, and Earnest.  The four children were taken back to Paul, Minidoka, Idaho in 1925 to be raised by their Ross grandparents, James and Catherine Ross, while Jack got back on his feet.  As winter came and progressed the family struggled.  Earnest passed away the fall of 1925 in Rupert, Idaho.  Jack was gone for unknown reasons and James and Catherine called Ethel’s family to come get the four children.  Starting that winter of 1925-26, Milo Ross was raised by his Uncle Ed.  June went to live with her paternal grandparents, the Streeters in Ogden.  Paul and Harold were raised by Ed’s siblings, Vic Hunt and Del Sharp respectively.  Sadly, Paul fell from a loft in a barn in 1932, broke his arm, and suffered a concussion that would take his life in 1932.

Edward Sharp met and married Lillie Elva East 13 May 1909 in Plain City.  She was born 16 February 1888 in nearby Warren, Weber, Utah.  Together they had 10 children.

Lillie Elva East Sharp

Lillie Elva East Sharp

Edna Louise Sharp born 11 January 1910 in Plain City.

Florence Evelyn Sharp born 30 June 1911 in Plain City.

Marjorie Lillian Sharp born 23 June 1913 in Plain City.

Ethel Sharp born 8 July 1917 in Plain City.

Ethel Sharp and Wayne McCool

Ethel Sharp and Wayne McCool

Elmer George Sharp born 15 June 1919 in Plain City and died 12 November 1923 in Plain City.

Ruby Elaine Sharp born 13 February 1922 in Plain City.

Ruby Sharp

Ruby Sharp

Milo Riley Sharp born 27 November 1927 in Ogden.

Milo Riley Sharp (1924 - 1955)

Milo Riley Sharp (1924 – 1955)

Josephine Sharp born 18 March 1927 in Ogden.

Edward Junior Sharp born 24 January 1930 in Ogden.

Dean Sharp born 28 April 1935 in Ogden.

Lillie Sharp, Gary Blanch, and Dean Sharp

Lillie Sharp, Gary Blanch, and Dean Sharp

Back (l-r): Steven, Reed, Brent; Front: Lorraine, Lois, Dean, Teresa Sharp

Back (l-r): Steven, Reed, Brent; Front: Lorraine, Lois, Dean, Teresa Sharp

As a reminder, Grandpa, Milo Ross, was born in 1921 in Plain City.  He falls right in the middle of the entire family and became one of the siblings.  To tell the difference between Milo Ross and Milo Sharp, I will use their last name.

Milo James Ross

Milo James Ross

Unfortunately, things were not quite that easy.  Ed farmed a nice little farm in Plain City.  He also had some cows, pigs, and other animals.  The family grew up in the Depression with all the anxieties and difficulties that came with it.  Fortunately the farm was mostly paid for and the farm provided for itself and the family.

Despite technically being blood to Ed, Milo Ross was treated differently than the other children.  Milo Ross was not allowed to eat with the rest of the family.  When the family was done with the meal, then Milo Ross could eat.  Often alone.  Milo Ross was expected to work longer than the rest of the family, into the time while the rest of them ate.  Milo Ross was also expected to arise earlier and get things in order for the day before the rest of the family.  He did not often get to eat with the rest of the family for breakfast and often only got some bread and milk.  He was also given some of the more undesirable jobs around the farm.  For example, it was his job to tend the onions which often left him smelling of them and he found that embarrassing.

L-R: Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp, Howard Hunt, Milo Sharp, Ruby Sharp

L-R: Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp, Howard Hunt, Milo Sharp, Ruby Sharp

Ed also had some drinking issues and had a certain temper.  Of course his family saw the issues that arose as part of the alcohol, but it was Milo Ross who felt it.  He was the one who suffered the wrath of Ed’s drinking bouts at the end of a belt or sometimes worse.  While Milo Ross loved his cousin-siblings, the relationship was not as kindred with Ed.

On Horse l-r: Harold Ross, Howard Hunt, Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp (arm only), Janelle England, Eddie Sharp.  In front l-r: Ruby Sharp, Lucille Maw, and Milo Riley Sharp.

On Horse l-r: Harold Ross, Howard Hunt, Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp (arm only), Janelle England, Eddie Sharp. In front l-r: Ruby Sharp, Lucille Maw, and Milo Riley Sharp.

Ruby Sharp, Lois Robbins, Milo Ross, Milo Sharp

Ruby Sharp, Lois Robbins, Milo Ross, Milo Sharp

Milo Ross was only one year in age from Ruby who he ran around the countryside with.  They were close enough that they would hold hands.  They did quite a bit together.  He was also close to Milo Sharp, but he was still three years behind him in age.  The older siblings, Edna (who went by Louise), Florence, and Ethel were good to him, but were close to each other and did mostly their own thing.  Ed kept Milo Ross busy that he did not get as much time with the younger children but he grew close with Josephine and Edward (known as Eddie in the family).  Dean was young enough that he was around him some, but did not have as close of a relationship.

L-R: Ruby Sharp, Harold Ross, Milo Sharp, Milo Ross, Paul Ross, Ethel Sharp, and Bob Martin.

L-R: Ruby Sharp, Harold Ross, Milo Sharp, Milo Ross, Paul Ross, Ethel Sharp, and Bob Martin.

As I mentioned in the story of Ed’s parents William & Mary Ann Sharp, she also went by Lilly, the Sharp and Stoker families came to Utah as converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  A number of issues arose in Plain City and families left the church.  Ed’s parents followed that suit remaining with the Episcopalian faith.  Ed and Lillie did as well, but were not very active.  The Mormons continued to work on bringing the families back to the church.  The Sharp family started to work through Delwin’s family first and the faith spread through Ed’s nieces and nephews and into his own family.  Only one of Ed’s siblings joined the LDS faith while alive, and that was Vic in 1975.

Edward Sharp, Delwin & Vilate Sharp, 13 August 1957

Edward Sharp, Delwin & Violet Sharp, 13 August 1957

Marjorie, Ethel, and Ruby all joined through the waters of baptism on 12 May 1939.  Milo Ross joined 2 July 1939 (only after 18 as Ed would not give consent otherwise).  Louise, Florence, Milo Sharp, Josephine, and Eddie all joined 3 January 1943.  Dean was the last on 31 October 1943, he was not 8 in January to join with the remainder of his siblings.

As soon as Milo was of age, he looked for opportunities to get out.  He eventually married, moved in with his in-laws, and then the impending war took his services abroad.

Milo Ross did not tell only negative about Uncle Ed.  Grandpa regularly told of how he learned to work hard under Uncle Ed.  While somewhat an outsider, Ed kept in contact with the extended family and Grandpa’s position in the family meant he was regularly tending to his Grandmother, Lilly Sharp mentioned above.  While it was his strict duty to clean out his Grandma’s bedpan, keep the kitchen and house wood split and stocked, and whatever else she needed or wanted.  Grandpa relished those moments in her home and with her.

Lillie East Sharp died 4 September 1942 while separated from her husband.  She had started divorce proceedings but died before they completed.  She was buried in Plain City.  Milo Ross remembered her as a beautiful lady who he sometimes told his woes, but she acknowledged the issues but took no steps to resolve them.

Ed died 24 August 1962 in Othello, Adams, Washington.  The family brought him home and buried him in Plain City too.

William E Sharp Obit