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The Holyoak-Jensen Legacy of Phyllis Holyoak Blauer

Jorgen Peder Jensen and Ane Jacobsen Jensen in Star
Jorgen Peder Jensen and Ane Jacobsen were acquainted with each other in Denmark but came to Spanish Fork, Utah, separately. In 1870 they married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. All of their 9 children were born in Parowan. They lived in Circleville for quite some time where Jorgen was the Bishop of the ward for eight years. They were in Provo a short time and then moved to Burley in about 1913 when they bought a farm next to the farm of their daughter and her husband, George James Holyoak. They always wanted to live close to their daughter and her children. Jorgen Peder died in 1919 and Ane in 1926. They are buried in the Pleasant View Cemetery in Burley.

George James Holyoak and Anne Kerstine Jensen Holyoak in Star
George James Holyoak and Anne Kerstine Jensen purchased an 80-acre farm in the Starrh’s Ferry area 3 miles west of Burley in 1913. They moved into a small house that had been built for homestead purposes. This consisted of two small rooms with a dirt floor. There was a cellar near the house that provided sleeping quarters for some of the family of nine for some time. George constructed a six room house as soon as he could. It was hard to get coal, so George would have his boys go every Saturday and gather enough sagebrush to last a week for heat and cooking. In the summer time they would go up in the hills and get cedar for winter fuel. Lovell records that after working hard all day he and his brothers would go down to the Snake River to swim over and back. Alma wrote: “It was with James that we would skate on the frozen river in winter. We would skate to Milner, which was 8 miles and back, coming back home feeling cold but happy and warm inside. Each winter we would go with Dad to the river cut ice and take it to the house. We would harvest enough ice to last all summer. The ice would be 20 inches thick. Dozens of times I have ridden a horse across that river.”

They had to walk down to the corner at 100 South to get their mail. John tells when we had to walk past houses that had the flu in 1918, we would walk way out in the field. We would hold our nose and hold our breath as we walked past these places where the flu was or where people had died from the flu. He remembered the old horse drawn hearse that came and got the people who had died.

In 1929 when the depression came and banks closed their doors, George lost his farm and later bought the adjoining farm at 60 South 300 West. It was at this farm that he and Anne spent the rest of their lives. They raised a few sheep and cattle in addition to farming. They loved living close to the families of Joe and Albert.

Their grand daughter, Phyllis, who lived across the street remembers that her grand- parents always had a pretty flower garden and all kinds of fruit bushes and trees. She wrote: ‘I particularly remember Grandpa riding his horse down to his other place to check on the sheep. We loved to go over and ride Grandpa’s horse. I understand now how hard that must have been for him to put the saddle on for us all the time, but he never complained. For years he rode his horse in the 24th of July parade at Star. It was a sure thing that if you attended the monthly fast meeting in the Star Ward, you would hear Grandpa bare his testimony to the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel and his love for the Church and his family.

James wrote of his mother: She seldom complained and her dearest desires were mostly that she might be a worthy wife and mother and that her children might grow up to be honest and honorable members of society.

All of the children developed as their mother expected. James worked for various companies but mostly for the Burley School District as custodian and carpenter. As he was a good carpenter he did much of the carpentry work in all of the five schools in Burley. Belle taught school in Utah, She always came home summers and during the Holiday Season. She married Fred Knight and helped take care of her father in his declining years. Joe is covered elsewhere in this Legacy. Joe, James and Belle attended the Oakley Academy in 1916. Alma had two good farms and a beautiful home in Burley at the corner of Overland Avenue and 21st Street. He sang in a community quartette for many years. Lovell was considered a great famer of three farms in the Star Area. He served on several boards including 27 years in the Burley Irrigation District Board. Francis attended school at Albion, taught school in Burley and was principal of the Southwest School. He taught mainly in California. John loved to farm and raise cattle. However, we know him best at a teacher in Burley and Minidoka County and as principal of the Declo, Southwest, Miller and Burley Junior High Schools. He also sang in community quartettes. He and Clea had a beautiful home across the street from the Overland shopping center. Albert, John and Francis attended Albion State Normal School for their teaching certificates. Albert will always be remembered for the many solos he sang at funerals. He bought his folks farm and was a super, dedicated teacher at Burley Junior High School for 40 years.

The children of George James Holyoak and Anne Kerstine Jensen Holyoak (from left to right starting with the bottom row): James, Belle, Joseph, (back) Albert, John, Frances, Alma, Lovell


Joseph Jensen Holyoak and Vonetta Jones Holyoak in Star

Joe came to Burley from Provo with his father in February of 1912. They sometimes covered 20 miles a day with their team of horses and wagon. When they arrived in Burley the population was about 1000 people. They lived in their wagon which was parked about where the Times News Building is located. Joe’s Dad worked on the Burley canals and for the Bureau of Reclamation in the Burley area. In the spring of 1913 Joe and his brother James came with their Dad to Burley again in a covered wagon. His mother and the rest of the family came on the train. Joe attended the old Starrhs Ferry School his first year and then rode the bus to attend the Miller School in Burley. In the fall of 1916 and 1917 he with his sister, Belle, and Brother James, attended the Oakley Academy in Oakley.

He was stationed at Moscow, Idaho, while he served in the U.S. Army during World War I. After the war ended he served a mission to the Northern States with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. After his mission he attended the LDS Business College in Salt Lake City. For the next several years he worked in the Salt Lake City Area. He started to date Vonetta Jones in 1925. One of the things they did while dating was to join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They sang in the April and October Conference in 1925 and the April Conference in 1926. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on September 7, 1926 Vonetta and Joe continued to work in the Salt Lake area. Then in the summer of 1927 Joe took Vonetta and her parents to Burley. The couple talked of moving to Burley and farming some ground. They finally bought a 40 acre farm at 150 East on 200 South. Joe remodeled an old rickety two-story house as their dwelling.

In his history he wrote: “We had no electricity in the house so we had to use the old coal oil lamps for lights. We had to carry all our water into the home from a well that we had to pump by hand. Then it had to be carried out and dumped in the yard as we used it. We bought a pretty Monarch range that we burned wood to cook on. We had no washer and so we had to scrub our clothes on a wash board in an old galvanized tub. Then we had an old iron that was heated on the stove from the fire that we ironed with. We didn’t know what coal was for so we burned wood in the stoves. Every Summer I would go to the hills and get a load of wood. We kept comfortable even when it got 28 degrees below zero weather in the winter time….

In the fall of 1928 to spring of 1929, I drove the school bus. It was on April 16th of 1929 that we were blessed with the birth of a daughter whom we named Phyllis.

“We lived in the house for 8 years from June 1928 to January 1936. We had a struggle making a living for we bought the farm just before the depression hit us and it was hard to make ends meet. There was no price for potatoes, 20 cents a hundred for number ones, wheat was sold for 20 cents a hundred and the white fly was bad for three years which took the beet crop. I had 18 acres and only got 13 tons….
“During the 1930-32 period I worked in the sugar factory during the campaign. Our second daughter, Doris, came to bless our home 23 October 1931….January 29th of 1936 we gave up our place and moved into the Wilcox home in Starrh’s Ferry. Phyllis was in the first grade…There was no well on this place and I had to haul all our water and put it in a cistern. We had an endless chain of small cups that brought the water up from the cistern. As we turned it by hand they would fill the bucket and then we could carry the water in the house for our use. We had no drain and so we had to carry all the water we used outside. We had a cook stove which we burned wood in. We would have to heat all our water in a tea kettle to wash the dishes, etc.

Joseph Jensen and Vonetta Jones Holyoak home in Star at 50 South 300 West. My wife, Phyllis Holyoak Blauer, moved into this home when she was 6 years old in 1935 and lived here until her marriage.


“In 1937, I dug a well using a derrick and post hole logger and a horse. In April of 1938 I piped the water to the house from the well and put a tap in the house so we could use the water….. On the 28th March 1938, we were blessed with another daughter, Clara Marie.

“During the years of 1941-43 and part of 1944, food was rationed; we had books with stamps in them that we could use to buy groceries, sugar, meat, and cheese. Clothes were also rationed. When the stores would get yardage and hose in, people would stand in line two or three hours to buy material. Gas was rationed and clothes and shoes were hard to get. All electrical appliances were frozen. On September 13, 1944, our ration books were surrendered and we didn’t need them any more.”

Joe did very well farming his forty acres but as time passed he rented 40 more acres and then later another 80. During this time he had 320 acres of dry ground that was just east of the Milner Low Lift pumps. Sometimes he had a few head of cattle on the pasture in the early summer months, but usually he rented the pasture out to other including myself. Finally he sold the land to a sheep man in Oakley who traded the land to the BLM for land he wanted in Oakley. This is where the Oregon Trail Historical Site is located at the present time.

Joe and Vonetta held Stake positions in the LDS Church for 15 or 16 years each, Vonetta as the Stake Primary President, and Joe as a member of the Stake High Council. They did many sessions in the Idaho Fall Temple in their later years. While staying in their trailer parked in the parking lot.

Vonetta was well known for the beautiful flower garden and bounteous vegetable garden and two mile walks she loved to take. Joe was known by all, especially his grandkids, for his jokes and stories. His knowledge of the scriptures was one of the best ever.

Doris married Rex West from Springdale. Rex worked with Lee’s Furniture as one of the area best carpet layers and drapery installers. Marie married Alan Jacobs from Declo. They lived in Bountiful, Utah, where Alan worked for the government at Hill Air Force Base. Phyllis married Harold Woodbury Blauer from View. They lived in Burley, Idaho, where Harold worked as an educator for 35 years.

For more information for the Legacy of Harold and Phyllis Blauer refer to the Blauer Legacy of Wayne Harold Blauer.