Wedding Picture
Bertha Yancey & Joseph Jensen - 1908

Life Sketch of Bertha Lucretia Yancey Jensen
[See Also: Adam Yancey Family info]

I was born August 21, 1888 in Chesterfield, Bannock County, Idaho, the fifth child and the first daughter of Adam and Alice Tolman Yancey. My parents were born and raised in Bountiful, Davis County, Utah. They were married October 2, 1879 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah. While living in Bountiful they were called, along with several other couples, by Brigham Young in 1880, to pioneer the settling of Chesterfield, Bannock County, Idaho, as this was good grazing country for cattle and there was wild game everywhere.

Father built a large two room house and a pantry of slabs, (unfinished lumber), and plastered it on the outside. In later years he built a two-story frame house in front of these two rooms with a large front porch both upstairs and downstairs. It was considered one of the nicest buildings around at that time. The town was called Chesterfield after the first Bishop, Chester Call. Father also dug two wells on the place from which we had to draw water with a bucket tied to a rope.

Most of the meat for the family was obtained from fishing and hunting. Father and the boys used to take the old white-top buggy and go hunting sage hens, and we children would go with and gather them up as fast as they could shoot them. It seems like we always got a buggy full.

I remember my early school days were in a small log house not far from our home. It seems we went barefoot most of the time and we had slates and pencils to write with. Mother boarded the teachers most of the time and I took a few music lessons from some of them as we were among the first people to have an organ. I also remember the sleigh rides when the snow was so deep we could ride right over the fences. In the spring the meadows would be covered with pink and white flowers that were called "Johnny-jump-ups", and we children would gather bunches of them. I have often wished I could go back and gather some of them if they were still there.

I remember going with the folks to Salt Lake City in the covered wagon at the time that the Malad Highway was being built. It was about all the horses could do to pull the wagon to the top of the hill, as there was about two feet of loose dirt for them to pull through. We always drove a team hitched to a light spring wagon to go to church and Sunday School or anywhere we went. Later on Father bought a white top buggy which was much nicer that the wagon to ride in.

When I was about 11 years old I received a prize of some salt and peppershakers for memorizing the Articles of Faith the best of my class. My baby sister, Mary, died of whooping cough when six weeks old and I can remember Mother working over her when she went into convulsions. Mother said afterwards, that if she had known it was whooping cough she could have saved her life.

About 1900 in Chesterfield, it seemed that our water source had diminished so much that we hardly had enough to raise a garden and we were having more frosts than usual. Some of the neighbors had gone over into the Blackfoot country where it seemed to have a much warmer climate and fruits could be grown there. Father went over and liked the country and bought 360 acres ----- 40 or 50 acres were under cultivation and the rest was sagebrush land and had to be cleared. So Father and the boys would grub sage brush all day, then they would put it in huge piles and at night they would make bonfires and it was a pretty sight to see. The neighbors all around were doing the same thing. In 1901, after the land was cleared, we moved to Blackfoot. Father had two large bobsleighs, but the first two winters in Blackfoot were so mild that he sold them. Then the following winter we had so much snow that he wished he had not sold them. Father laid out a town site and the place was name Groveland after the school district, and when the ward was organized in 1902, Father was put in as Bishop which job he held for 12 years or so.

Father had about 40 milk cows, and although there were my four brothers older than me, sometimes I had to help with the milking and I could straddle a calf and feed it as good as the boys. It was my job to wash the separator although I did not like the job very much. But I liked to wrap the butter as fast as Father could mold it. There was usually about 40 or 50 pounds to a churning as we had a 40-gallon churn to churn the cream in. After it was molded we had to pack it in what was called "refrigerator boxes". They were boxes where the butter was packed in the middle of the box and then had a casing around the box to hold ice to cool the butter. After we got it packed, Father had to haul it to Bancroft, ten miles away from where we lived in Chesterfield, and we were paid ten and fifteen cents a pound for it.

While living in Chesterfield I remember going with the folks to Bancroft one time as I had ten cents to spend. I bought a small mug, which I kept for years. Father went to Bancroft for the groceries and clothing, and once or twice a year he would take a load of wheat to McCammon to have it ground into flour.

In 1907 a group of us consisting of my sister, Alice, and a friend, Effie Cobbley and her brother and nephew, went to Rexburg and took a winter course and during this time I took a few music lessons. I practiced at the neighbor’s place and then when the Sunday School was organized in our ward, they asked me to be the organist. I could only play a hymn or two and a march, but stayed on as organist for years. In the meantime my brother, Emron, had learned to play the violin and for years he and I, along with a Brother Hammond, who played the cornet, played for the dances. Later, this Brother Hammond built a dance hall and we played for the dances until it was demolished. During the years up to 1908 I served as Stake Beehive Leader and one year on the Stake Primary Board. I was married on October 8, 1908 to Joseph Franklin Jensen in the Salt Lake Temple. My brother, James, and his girl, Effie Cobbley, were married the same day. Dad made fun of the big hatboxes we carried with us.

After our marriage, we lived the first winter in a house on the Bond Brothers’ farm for taking care of the place. But in the spring they wanted the place for some of their family. So we bought lumber and with the help of some of the neighbors, along with my father and Joseph’s father, who were both carpenters, they built a house almost in one day on the forty acres which Joseph owned, and it seemed good to be into our own place. Our first child, a girl, whom we named Donetta, was born on July 19, 1909. We were both working in the M.I.A. Joseph was President of the Young Mens and I was a counselor to President Alice Hale. We used to bundle Donetta up and go to Mutual and lay her on the table and she would sleep through it all and we would pick her up after Mutual and bring her home without her ever waking up. I worked in the Mutual for about 15 years—first as secretary and organist and later as a counselor and then President from September 1913 to March 1919. Perhaps I should now mention that at one time when the boys were going to war (World War I) and I was presiding, I felt impressed to tell the boys that none of them would be killed in the war and none of them were, although some of them were wounded like my brother, Cyrus, was. I will never forget the peculiar feeling that came over me at that time.

Bertha's Family about 1916

When the Relief Society was organized in our ward, my mother was asked to be President and in accepting the job, her emotions got the best of her, and I guess I cried too. After the meeting the Stake President spoke to me and told me not to feel bad for I would also be President of the Relief Society some day. I was called to that position in January 1921 and served until December 1926 or about six years. Our twins, Vernon and Vonda, were born January 6, 1927. Then later I served as a counselor to Sister Belnap and as class leader and magazine agent and organist for a number of years. I also joined the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and was historian a number of years and for about 15 years I wrote the Groveland news for the Daily Bulletin along with Hannah Howard for part of the time. While I was living in Salt Lake in the 17th ward I served as a stake missionary for a year or so and later as a Primary organist. I also kept working on my genealogy and went to the temple as much as possible.

This was written by her own hand in 1978, two years before her death 5 Nov 1980, Brigham City, Utah.


Bertha & Joseph Jensen about 1950