Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Clara J L H C

Clara Jenson Lundberg Henry Chapman
November 11, 1894-October 26, 1972

Anton Jenson and Synneva Vigoren Jenson had ten children.
1894 Clara Jenson
1896 Clarence Oley
1898 Bertha A Jenson
1900 Helmer Martiney Jenson
1903 Nels Johannes Jenson
1906 Alvin M Jenson
1909 Cesel (Cecille) Jenson
1910 Effie Christine Jenson
1912 Esther Jenson

1915 Carl Odin Jenson

They lived on the farm of Anton's parents. Along with farming, they had a saw mill. In 2004, I visited Carl's widow, Viola at the farm. She told me about how they had come to get the farm and saw mill. She stated there was greater than 20 years between her husband Carl and his sister Clara.

In a document sent to me by Sally Constance Mears, (daughter of Viola Lundberg), the Children's Home Society visited Clara. The document is dated April 1936. "Sally's maternal grandmother is forty-one years of age. She was of Norwegian descent. She completed the eighth grade and then worked as a domestic and as a waitress. She married her first husband when she was quite young, but was later divorced from him. She has married again and has a comfortable home. Both she and her husband enjoy a very good reputation in their community.

Sally's maternal grandmother was one of a large family. Her father was born in Norway and was a sailor, (Anton) as a young man. Since coming to this country he has farmed and has run a saw mill. He is sixty-two years of age and still is in excellent health. Her mother, (Synneva), was of Norwegian descent. She had a common school education and worked as a domestic before her marriage. A visitor of the Children's Home Society met her. She is a woman of medium height, quite heavily built, and makes a good appearance. She seems to be of at least average intelligence. The home in which these two people live is very substantial and well kept".

Clara was the oldest. She would marry Phillip Arthur Lundberg the day after her eighteenth birthday, (November 12, 1912). As a couple, Clara and Phillip would have four children

1913 Bootsy
1915 Viola
1920 Cleve
1922 Ella

Clara and Phillip's marriage dissolved when or about when Ella was four. Viola and Ella stayed with their father and moved to Chicago area where Phillip married Mae Johnson Wyncoop. She was known as MAE. They were married in Chicago in the spring of 1930. I do not know what Bootsy was doing; he would have been seventeen. It is possible he was a farm laborer and was boarding out.

No one is really certain, that is, an eye witness to what really happened. The story is that Clara was working at/ or managing a cafe in Thief River Falls and when she came home Phillip and Mae were in bed together. It is hard for me to believe they had a 'housekeeper' but that is the story. There is no census to state her position. Perhaps Phillip was supposed to be working and Mae was acting as a babysitter for Ella.

I do know that the Lundberg's had a cafe in Thief River Falls. For those of you who are familiar with the area, it was a hotel/restaurant where the Starkow Clinic was in the 1950's. It is possible she was working with that group.

We have no knowledge of just when Phillip, Mae, Viola, and Ella returned from Chicago. We do know that Mother finished third grade in Schiller Park. According to the certificate, it was the spring of 1931. We know that she was a student at Northrop in her fifth grade year, or the spring of 1933. How do we know that? We have Pennington County Fair exhibits of writing, (she got first prize), spelling, poetry, and nature study. Information regarding the address could be found in city directory of Thief River Falls. Next time I go to Thief River I will focus on this at the library.

Mother spent time with Clara from as early as March to as late as the end of the school year in the spring of 1934 according to the signature on the back of the report card. Ella Lundberg adored her mother. As stated in an earlier blog, Ella circled her signature on the back of her report card and wrote, "LOVE". Why was Ella with her natural mother?

Clara married again, his name was Joe Henry. The lived near Dent/Downer, MN To this marriage, a daughter, Joanne was born in 1932.

Our family visited Clara and Joe on occasion; mother generally went by herself. In the early to mid fifties, she went to visit her and came home with four hats. I remember one with a pheasant feather that looked like Robin Hood and the other was a tangerine tam with a royal blue tassel. I asked her where she got the hats and she said in Downer. I didn't know Downer was so big, I didn't remember going through any big cities on the way to their farm. It wasn't until recently that a little bell rang, she had bought them in Fargo, of course!

The time I remember being there involves a piano, marbles, and a uneven floor. The house reminded me of a chicken coop, it was dark inside. I remember a big oak table and a piano. Because of the era, I was wearing a dress; it was summer. I had marbles with me and had fun rolling the marbles on the uneven floor and watching them roll under the piano. I had never lived in a house with like that and was fascinated. Clara would move the piano out, gather my marbles for me. Mother set me outside to play. There was no grass and I got to play in the dirt in a dress and white shoes!!!

Mother didn't talk much about her to the family. We knew when she said "Mother", she meant Clara. I am certain Mother was accompanied by Daddy for the service when Clara died as Mrs. Chapman in 1972.

The entire side of the building has blown off in recent emails from CathyLee, who is the second child of Connie, Viola's daughter, who was adopted. I will write more about this when the 'ancestral dust' settles.