Harris and Ingra Van Orden
Colaborador: Carol23 Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Harris Olonzo Van Orden was born to Peter Edmond and Ida Philinda (Merrill) Van Orden, was born in Lewiston, Utah on February 20, 1895. Harris is the maiden name of his Grandmother, and is the name by which he was known all of his life. Ingra Christine Olson was born to Erick and Betty (Peterson) Olson) on May 8, 1893 in Thatcher, Idaho. To this couple the following children were born:
Arva Van Orden, born July 22, 1916, Smithfield, Utah
Harris Olson Van Orden, born October 6, 1917, Smithfield, Utah
Brenda Van Orden, born July 15, 1919, Downey, Idaho
Dale Olson Van Orden, born December 26, 1920, Lewiston, Utah
Aileen Van Orden, born June 21, 1927, Ruth, Nevada
Ross Olson Van Orden, born August 20, 1930, Logan, Utah
The Olsons were both born in Sweden and after joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, they immigrated to Utah. Erick was baptized on June 20, 1880 at the age of fifteen. Erick’s father Olof and his family arrived in Richmond, Utah in June 1882. A couple of months later they settled in Smithfield. Erick married Betty Peterson on October 16, 1890.
Harris’ family lived in Lewiston, Utah and he was born there. His grandfather was one of the four original settlers of Lewiston. His grand father, Everett Van Orden had crossed the plains as a fourteen year old boy in the Heber C. Kimball Company.
It is easy to see, that both Harris and Ingra were raised under the gospel principles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. They would have had similar experiences growing up in a small Mormon area, Cache Valley, at the turn of the century. For both of them, education was emphasized and both ended up with both high school degrees, and also advanced education.
Harris tried his hand at working in retail, but found that he would not be able to support his family as he wished. He returned with his family in Lewiston, apparently due to lack of funds, and took a mail order course, training to become a licensed Pharmacist, which he accomplished. After he finished that training, the family moved to Nevada, where they lived in three separate towns; Ely, McGill, and Ruth. Ingra worked as a school teacher prior to her marriage to Harris. This desire for education was passed on to all of their children as well. Harris was a college professor in Chemistry; Ross a pharmacist; Dale graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy; and Brenda received her B.S. degree in Vocational Home Economics.
The family was raised to be frugal and to work hard and not to waste money. Even though the family would have been considered to be “comfortable” in so far as their finances would indicate, once they settled in Smithfield, his daughter Brenda said ”My father never owned a car but our whole family used one owned by Aunts Elva and Pearl.” Of course life was simpler then. Harris lived within comfortable walking distance to his drug store, but he was not to be ostentatious, and spent money only on things he felt to be necessities.
The oldest daughter, Arva, apparently was born with some physical disability. The explanation I always heard while I was growing up was that “Arva was never quite right.” I would assume that she had a disability that, given the times was not treatable. She died when she was ten years old. “Arva, was injured at birth, could never walk or talk and died from measles.” This was, I am sure difficult for the family, her brother Harris would have been nine, my mother Brenda seven, and Dale would have been six. Surely they loved Arva and missed her. At the turn of the twentieth century, the medical sciences were so primitive compared to now, but the love of parents was no different, and I am certain that Harris and Ingra provided as comfortable and loving home for Arva as possible.
The family returned to their roots when the drug store in Smithfield was sold to Harris. This was great for the family as Ingra’s father Erick Olson lived in Smithfield and the Van Ordens lived just seven or so miles away in Lewiston. The children were able to know their grandparents and many of their cousins. For Harris, it was an opportunity to give back to the community. He served as the President of the Kiwanis Club and was active in the Church. Ingra was also active in the Church and served as Primary President for many years.
Work days were long at that time in the United States. “The drug store was open eight a.m. to ten p.m. and Harris worked all that time, except for lunch and suppertime.” It seems almost unbelievable to me that anyone could (or would) do that. I have lived in a time when I worked Monday through Friday, from eight a.m. and five p.m. and have always thought I was a bit put out by that. I have the greatest admiration for this generation of people who prepared a better life for us. My mother always told me that they had a roast beef every Sunday. I assumed that they ate as we do, with lots of options. A review of the history of daughter, Brenda indicates that the people were content with simple things; “We always had bread and milk for supper.” I remember visiting at my grandparent’s house (Harris and Ingra) very well. Our family would drive from Idaho Falls to Smithfield, and when we got there we always were give bread and milk, canned peaches, and cheddar cheese.
The house I remember as “Grandpa and Grandma Van Orden’s” still stands, although since Ingra died it is no longer in the family. The house was built by Erick Olson, Ingra’s father and was a pretty nice brick home. I remember in the front stoop were the initials “eo”, and was actually owned by Aunt Pearl (Pearl Olson).
Harris and Ingra did not always live in Smithfield. Harris bought a drug store in Beaver, Utah, around 1945 or so. That is where they lived at the end of World War II. Then they eventually moved to Park City, Utah where Harris again ran a drug store. I remember visiting there in about 1956. They lived above the drug store and it stood just about where the ski lift (the first one installed) is located in Park City today. Of course when the Van Ordens lived in Park City, it was a deserted mining town, and there were very few people there. Harris Olonzo Van Orden died on January 17, 1957. He died in his bed, probably of an aneurism.
This left Ingra alone. She lived the next several years in two places. She would live with her sister, Pearl, who never married, during the summers in the house in Smithfield. Pearl was a school teacher in Clearfield, and during the school year, Ingra would live with her youngest daughter Aileen Arnell.
There are great memories for me in Smithfield. Our family went there every Memorial Day while I was growing up. This was a grand Van Orden family reunion, and there were always a lot of cousins there. It was such a delightful time, I loved it. I have the fondest memories of that time in my life.
Ingra was a loving Grandmother. She was always kind and welcoming to us when we visited her. I remember that as she aged, it was hard for her to take care of herself. Her family supported and assisted her, so that her last years were as comfortable as possible.
Ingra died on July 29, 1983. She was living in an assisted care facility in West Salt Lake City, Utah.