Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy 136th Birthday, Sarah Jane Hooper Jensen (1875-1942)!

Gayle's grandmother

Sarah Jane was the daughter of UK immigrants Louisa and James Hooper, and had one older brother who died when she was a teenager. We were recently in Park City, where she grew up, and heard the 10 PM mining horn sound, signaling that all the miners were safe.  I imagine she listened for that every night, and rejoiced for her father's safety. 

She was blessed in the Church in Pennsylvania, although not baptized until a teenager; her mother was a Church member and her father joined after Sarah Jane’s marriage. Her father was a miner, and so the Hooper family settled in Park City when Sarah Jane was a young girl. There she attended St. Mary’s Catholic school, where she received an honorable mention for a handwriting award when she was eight, and a good conduct award the following year.  

William and Sarah Jane Hooper

Sarah was very involved in the social scene as a young adult, referred to in the newspaper as the “mover” behind a party, and serving as the financial secretary in the Daughters of Rebecca organization of the Odd Fellows Silver Leaf Lodge, a fraternal order similar to the Masons. At age twenty-four, she starred in an LDS production of the mythological comic opera “Lovely Galatea” in the part of Aurora, where she sang all the obligatos in the chorus.  

Her musical talents led to love: Sarah met Sigvart Jensen at church, where she was the Sunday School pianist and he was the chorister. They married in Park City and then took the train to Salt Lake where they took out their endowments and were sealed in the temple the next day.  

The newspaper reported that it was one of the prettiest weddings that had taken place in the area: “The parlor had been tastefully decorated with autumn leaves…about sixty guests of the happy couple were assembled and Bishop Fred Rasband pronounced the words that bound the twain for life.  The bride wore a rich gown of brocaded cream silk with corsage bouquet of bridal roses; the bridesmaid was dressed in pale blue silk, carnation adornment. The groom and best man were neatly attired in conventional black.  The popularity of the young couple was evidenced by the large number of exceptionally handsome and valuable presents that were received, all of which were well-chosen and useful. The quantity, in fact was such as to almost suffice for housekeeping without further additions. After the ceremony a reception was held until train time and all joined in the hearty and sincere wish of a long and happy life. The newly married couple drove to the depot accompanied by a large number of friends anxious to bid them a happy journey, and they took the afternoon train for the city where the honeymoon was spent. The parents of the groom who came up from Salt Lake for the wedding accompanied them back to the city. The bride is one of Park City’s most highly esteemed young ladies. She has grown from infancy into womanhood here and is loved by all for her excellent qualities of mind and heart. The groom is an exemplary young man who has resided in the Park about two years following his trade that of a barber. He has a nicely fixed up cottage for his bride.”

Sigvart and Sarah Jane Jensen
Sarah had a job playing the organ for the Catholic church in Park City, and Gayle Wells possesses some of her old music books and psalmodies. Sarah was an excellent quilter and also crocheted doilies to cover armchairs. She was active in the Relief Society. She raised three daughters and a son, and must have grieved the deaths of her two infant boys.

I would bring her to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas concert! As we carol tonight, we will remember her as well as the Bethlehem Baby.

1 comment:

  1. I love her hair! I'd give her some of those glitter strings.