Saturday, Dec 03, 2022

Clyde Jenson

Clyde and Zella Jenson

Clyde Jenson was born in 1905 to Joseph Christensen Jenson and Alice Girdlestone Smith.  Clyde’s father, Joseph, had been married before, but his first wife died in childbirth with her third child. Because the oldest and youngest children of that union, babies Hazel and Alice, did not survive infanthood (Alice died the same day as her mother), only one son survived from that union – Oliver, born in 1890.

So when Clyde was born to Joseph and his second wife Alice, Clyde was the seventh child of both families, and he was also the fourth child of his father’s second family. His oldest brother Joseph had died before he was year old, so new baby Clyde had two older siblings, Don and Lorene.  Then when Clyde was only three years old and Lorene was four, she was drowned in an irrigation canal in Logan, Utah.

Clyde and Don’s father Joseph Christensen Jenson took up his Arbon homestead about 1909, proving up on it in 1914. They experienced all the hardships of opening a new land. Joseph’s son Clyde remembered the water being frozen solid in the teakettle when the family awoke in their cabin on bitter winter mornings.

Clyde’s father was the first supervisor of the new road called Jenson Pass. Clyde remembers when a new grade of the road was made for the Jenson Pass about 1921, it was his and his brothers’ job to “go up and use rakes to clear the rocks off. The sheep would soon go over and knock the rocks [down onto] the road again and they would have to go back and start all over again clearing the road” (Bannock Valley, p. 237).

However, the family which was no stranger to loss still was not done with tragedies. When Clyde was only eleven years old, while farming in Arbon Valley, Clyde’s little brother Vaughn was killed in a farming accident when the horse team ran away with the eight-year-old, causing the disc plow to run over him, killing him almost immediately.  Clyde and his older brother Don were in the field with Vaughn when he was killed, with their own teams and farm equipment, and the accident happened so fast that there wasn’t anything they could do to prevent the accident.

In the late 1920s, Clyde went to Buffalo, New York to study saxophone. On his return at the completion of his studies, his father got sick. His family took him to Logan for medical help, but he died three days later in 1929 at age sixty-two.  That left Don at age twenty-six and Clyde at age twenty-three, at the beginning of the Depression, with a large farm to run and a widowed mother with teenage children to support. The boys tried their best to apply what they had learned from their father, and to hang onto the homestead he had started, but it couldn’t have been easy.

The Jensons were an extremely musical family. They even had their own dance band that entertained the valley at many dances. Clyde’s father, Joseph, had organized the first brass band in Cache Valley, Utah, and later in Arbon he organized the Jenson Orchestra. He made his own violins and was also a piano tuner, traveling to many communities to tune pianos. An interesting story about Clyde was how when he was growing up, he disliked playing the violin with his father.  But later he was a musician in the Utah Symphony! One time a visitor who knew him from childhood dropped by at Clyde’s Arbon ranch.  “I asked if he ever played the violin anymore.  He just grinned and walked into his bedroom and came back out with his Stradivarius and played beautifully for us! I’m sure he is most grateful for the training from his father” (Bannock Valley, p. 68, memory of Dorothy Lee Spencer).

Clyde married Zella Beuhler on 7 November 1933 in Logan, Utah.  Zella was the daughter of Henry Buehler and Mary Ann Maughan, and had been born in Logan, Cache Valley, Utah. Zella’s mother Mary Ann was the granddaughter of Peter Maughan, the first settler in Cache Valley, Utah.  She had grown up in Daniels, northwest of Malad, Idaho.

Clyde and Zella were the parents of four sons. Joseph Clyde was born in 1935.  Clyde and Zella then lost a baby boy who was born in 1940, but died before the end of the year.  Another son, Ralph Lincoln Jenson, was born in 1946. Finally, another son, Rodney H. Jenson, made the family complete.

Tragedy visited this family again at the loss of Clyde’s mother, Alice, in 1936, when Clyde was only thirty; it had been only seven years since his father had died.

Clyde died in 1983.  Zella died on 17 March 1999. They were both buried in Logan.

Clyde and Zella’s son Joe and his wife Ann Eddy Jenson continued to run the Arbon farm in the Summit area of Arbon Valley. The house there was originally owned by the Hardman family, and Joe and Ann added on and made it into a lovely, modern home.


Ward, Laurie Jean, Bannock Valley (Providence, Utah: Keith Watkins and Sons, 1982).

The links provided here will lead to information on other family members.