(Editorial Note: Part 92 of a series of further development in the early days that impacted the settlement of Franklin County Sources: Cache Valley Newletters by Newell Hart; Preston Citizen, issues from 1976 and 1981; US Census, 1930, 1940; History of Oxford, ID, compiled by Orthea Cox Moser.)
Blacksmiths adjusted their trade as the “Roaring Twenties” descended upon our county. Some retired. Weston’s Martin and Frank Olsen’s shop was still in operation. Preston’s Pete Jorgensen was still in business and was a mentor for a number of the younger smiths interested in the skills needed.
Following in their father’s footsteps, two of the Jorgensen sons were blacksmith apprentices. Victor had been born in 1906 in Denmark before the family’s immigration to America. Rudy was the first child in the family born in Preston, in 1912. Both boys took an active part in the family business as is evidenced by the pictures of various activities in the Hometown Album.
Vic married Sabina Woodward, a young lady from Franklin. He later set up shop in his father’s North Main St. location, the sign advertising “welding and repair.”In his later years Vic specialized in ornamental iron work. He collected some choice pieces blacksmith work over his years from bellows , a tie-weight for horses and an old dashboard from a buggy. Vic and Sabina and their family moved to the area around Rupert, ID in the late 1930’s but later returned to Franklin county. He passed away the spring of 1984 and is buried in Preston.
Rudy found his wife in Lewiston, UT, Ada May Wheeler and they were married in 1933. Working with family for several years, Rudy set up his own shop in 1953. It was a bit back of the main road. Rudy and May were an active part of the Danish families in Preston. Rudy passed away in August of 1996, resting now in the Preston Cemetery.
Junno Kjar came to America in 1920, passing through Ellis Island that September in New York City’s harbor. He was a young man who had started his training as a blacksmith in 1910, in“the old country,“ Denmark. He yearned for a better life and immigrated. He was pleased with the quiet life of Idaho as compared to the city of Copenhagen.
In his first few years in Franklin County he worked for other smiths, Pete Jorgensen and Rasmus Jensen. Junno met Mary Hoefler of Whitney and they were married in 1936 in Salt Lake City. They lived in the Preston 2nd ward, raised four children and spent their entire married life in the county.
About 1947 Junno set up his own shop behind the business district and was still going strong in the business at age 79. He recognized that the need for blacksmith skills was becoming less and less, mainly working on farming implements and custom jobs. At age 85, Kjar sold his shop and retired, getting a few years for fishing and hobbies before passing away in 1984. He is buried in the Whitney Cemetery.
Another active blacksmith at this time was Ernest Olson with a shop in Oxford, ID. Ernest was born in Oxford in 1894, the fifth child of early settlers in the region, Olof and Betty Olson.
He married an Oxford girl, Clara Hatch in 1917. There were eight children in this Olson family. Census records indicate that his talents were many. He owned a garage, had a blacksmith shop and worked as a machinist. He also had a blacksmith shop in Swan Lake to accommodate the landowners to the north of Oxford, making it less distance for the repair of their farm equipment.
He was active in community affairs and gave many hours to the scouting program of the Oxford youth. One source mentioned a Candy Kitchen in connection with the Garage business. Most likely it was Clara cooking up the sweets that so appealed to Oxford's youth. Ernest passed away in 1981, buried in the Oxford Cemetery.
The names of two other men in the blacksmith trade have come to my attention, but I have been unable to find any information to share in this column. They are Chris Gundesen, which may be Gundersen and Rasmus Jensen. With only the names the search has not produced any reliable information.