Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tanner 6: Henry Christian Overson

b. 9 July 1868 Ephraim, Sanpete, Utah
m. 8 October 1896 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
d. 8 March 1947 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
b. 9 March 1947 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
Wife: Margaret Godfrey Jarvis
Father: Ove Christian Oveson
Mother: Mary Kjerstine Christensen

Henry Christian Overson, first child of Ove Christian and Mary K. Christensen Overson, was born July 9th, 1868, in Ephraim, Sanpete County, Utah. The family was called by President Brigham Young to Arizona, to assist in making settlements on the Little Colorado River.

They went first to Brigham City, now Winslow, then on to St. Johns, where Henry helped put shingles on the first house shingled in St. Johns. Ploughing, planting, irrigating, freighting, riding the range and building, all had to be done, and Henry was ever ready to help at anything necessary.

He took up a farm, and planted alfalfa, and did well financially, by having a feed stable for travelers, so that from 1903 to 1905 he was able to go on to a Mission to England, and pay his own expenses. This was the period of his whole life that gave him the most joy and satisfaction, and he never tired of telling his children incidents of that happy time. He later sent three of his sons on Missions and was happy to do so, and gladly paid their expenses, that they might have a similar blessed experience.

During his married life he was a steady and hard worker, preferring to stay where he could be with his family at night, but doing anything he could get to do for a livelihood, or help his neighbors. He was alternately President, Secretary, Water Overseer, and Member of the Board of Directors of the St. Johns Irrigation Company, for more than thirty years, and it was largely due to his foresight and careful planning that all of the permanent improvements in the Company’s system were installed. These included cement dams in the river, blasting in rock to make part of ditches to avoid washing out in flood times, using culvert pipes with built up piers for the old wooden flumes, changing the location of ditches to avoid the run-off of summer rains, installing steel headgates for all main ditches, etc. All this was a blessing to the residents, who most all depended for much of their living on the products of farm, garden and orchard.

Another important thing was piping the water of the McIntosh spring into town, and distributing it to individual homes. Henry Overson had entire charge of installing the pipes from the spring to town, and to each home, and also the upkeep and extension work for several years. W.W. Berry did a great part of the teamwork, digging and covering of trenches, etc.

Henry was a good carpenter and builder, and was overseer of many of the substantial homes, public buildings, business houses, and the Church, Academy Building, etc. all of which were noted for solid construction. He served as secretary of the 104th Quorum of Seventy for many years, and was Counselor in the Bishopric of the Ward for about seven years. He was a kind and indulgent father, a good neighbor and friend, and a loving husband.

Overson, Margaret Jarvis. George Jarvis and Joseph George DeFriez Genealogy. Mesa, Arizona: 1957, ii:107–08. The pictures of Henry are from his wife's book. The other pictures are the Overson house in St. Johns in 1994. I just love his woodwork and I would love to have a front door like that! Henry's father was a Danish woodworker and also did beautiful work. Wallace Tanner was born upstairs in the Overson house.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully done family blog, Amy!!

    The upstairs bedroom where Grandpa was born is the one on the right. It is unbelievably small, and @ only 5'4 I felt I had to duck my head w/the slant of the ceiling down towards that window. I couldn't imagine Eva in labor in that hot, cramped upper room. They may have had much better cross-ventilation back in 1924. When we were touring the house it had long before (in the early 70's I think) been remodeled to create an extra bedroom upstairs right across from Eva's room, which interfered with air circulating.

    (Great)Uncle Ross (Overson) always let us in the house whenever we were in town and it was really fun to poke around. He pointed out various features to us many times, including the hand-worked wood you mention, and the former dark-room converted to a tiny 1/2 bathroom directly off the front parlor where her photography studio was. Even as recently as when Little Rossie had the house (2003?), the original Victorian mantel was still intact in that front parlor. It was a magnificent, huge, intricately carved dark wood piece from the floor up almost to the ceiling that somehow survived the 25 some years that Uncle Ross rented the house as a duplex (dividing it straight down the middle). Amy is standing in front of the second apt. created by that division.

    Only a couple years before he died, Uncle Ross let me choose some plates from the upstairs rooms that were just filled with heaps of dusty junk at that time. I wanted to make sure they were plates his mother (Margaret) would have served her family; he confirmed two patterns as the plates he ate from as a boy. One is a red glass, the other a simple white china with pastel floral raised pattern rimming the plate.

    In 1981, Grandpa (Wallace) gave us the very first tour of the house. I had pestered him ever since I joined the family (1975) to show us some of the family places. At the conclusion of our tour, he pointed out a little row of what looked like wild rose bushes just outside the kitchen door, to the rear of the house. He told us at that time that he had a little baby sister (between himself and his little brother Lee) that was stillborn, and buried there. His mother (Eva) had planted the rose bushes to mark the spot.

    When we visited with Little Rossie at Uncle Ross' 90th birthday party, the roses were finally gone; sacrificed for dreadfully over-due plumbing excavation. Rossie was very devoted to the daunting task of saving the house. After he purchased it from his father, he was able to get it on the historic register. I can't remember for sure, but I think it now belongs to the City of St. Johns, as even with the Federal funds through the historic classification, Rossie couldn't give the house the many expensive repairs (especially foundation correction after it was flooded)required. He cried tears talking to us about that beautiful house.

    Aunt Cindi