Chris, Violet, Elroy and Ima Jean in Easter, 1953,
Grand Prairie, TX
photo collection of Elroy Christenson
Chris M. Christenson HistoryFather of Elroy Christenson
b. August 7, 1918 Portland, Ashley Co., Ark.
d. Sept 5, 2014 Seattle, WA at age 96
buried: ashes interred at the Boggy Cem., Cranfills Gap, TX
her father-Forrest Kirkland, born Mist, Ashley Co., Ark
her mother - Sara "Sadie" Hollaway, born Portland, Ark
|Charles Elroy Christenson||b. Jan 2, 1942 Gary Indiana||.||1m. Dorothy Jean Haskins,
Feb. 14,1962 TX (div.)
2m. Coral Yvette Demar "Barrile"
(mar. 1966 CA - div. Everett, WA 1989)
3m.- Cheryl Grubb on Sat. March 27, 1999
( b. 23 May 1954 WA)
see our photos here
|Ima Jean Christenson||b. Sept. 6, 1945 Gary, Indiana||d. 13 Sept 2003 Arlington, TX.
buried- Emory, TX
|m. Eugene Earl Perry, June 1, 1963|
|Janice Lee Christenson||b. Oct. 28, 1954 Dallas TX||.||m. Thomas Earl Johnson, April 5, 1972|
his father: Pete Legind Christenson
his mother: Cora Rohne b. TX
1913, Sept. 2 - Christian Monroe is born on the Heinchman Ranch,
Hamilton Co., Texas to Peder L. and Cora (Rohne) Christensen. The
crops are prosperous but he is doing well mostly on blacksmithing.
[#30124 Texas Birth and Death Index, 1903-1993]
1922 - Cora, his mother, dies of a hemorrhage during
childbirth. Pete farms out the kids to relatives while
he tries to pull himself together. Eva Johnson, a
niece to Cora, is brought in to help with the kids and the
house. They eventually marry.
Chris attends school through the ninth grade and tries various
trades to make a living.
1930, The Depression caused low prices on products and no one
had money. He sold half the farm to pay the taxes and keep the
US Census, Texas, Hamilton County, Justice Precinct One. enum.
dist. 97-4, sheet 10A.
1930's - The Depression caused everyone to have to work harder. Violet had attended school in Dallas but her mother met and married Ed Johnson who had been from Cranfills Gap. He came to Dallas with his step-mother for treatments of cancer of the jaw. When the Depression hit Ed couldn't get a job in Dallas and he figured he could at least get some work and a cheap place to live in the Gap. They lived in a small three room house on the hill above the town. The kids slept on day cots on the front porch much of the time. They somehow get by. Violet and Roy attend school in the small school and perhaps because of their earlier schooling were some of the best students here. Violet meets Chris in Dallas and their friendship flourishes here.
1935- Violet Kirkland graduates from Cranfills Gap High
School. She is the Valedictorian of the graduating
class. Because of this she receives two scholarships to
continue her education - one of which was to the University of
Texas at Austin. She decided instead to get married
and gave one of the scholarships to a the junior college in
Clifton to a classmate. The other was not
Chris in his shoe shop in Cranfills Gap, Texas.
photo in collection of Elroy Christenson
at their marriage 1936
photo in collection of Elroy Christenson
|During the late 1930's they went to West
Texas to work as a cook for the large McElroy Ranch in Crane
County. The manager from the ranch came to Cranfills Gap and
asked at the bank for Norwegian cook. Since the bank manager
was a relative and knew that Chris and Violet needed work he
recommended them even though she was not Norwegian and did
not really know how to cook. She learned on the job. Here
Violet was the cook for 5 to 7 adults on a daily basis.
Chris was the ranch and kitchen helper by providing firewood
of mesquite wood and roots for the cook stove and doing the
The ranch covered thousands of acres and was populated by mesquite trees, prickley-pear cactus, jack rabbits, rattlesnakes, cattle and oil wells. Roundup time brought in more hands but a chuck-wagon cook was hired to work the roundup. One requirement that they had on the ranch was no children and Violet was getting anxious to start of family. She finally contacted a cousin, Melba and Buck Johnson, to take their place. As the war broke out they moved with other relatives to Gary, Indiana where Chris learned the trade of welding. He worked as a welder for most of his life. Elmer Kelton, the western writer, lived on the McElroy Ranch as a child while Violet and Chris had been here.
The Depression brought even more dust storms to this region. On numerous occasions the sand would blow so thick that they couldn't see across the road. They had to keep themselves and the animals inside.
photo in collection of Elroy Christenson
Chris and Violet early marriage was plagued with issues of
money. They couldn't afford a place of their own so lived
with her parents in the house on the hill in Cranfills Gap,
Texas. The following census was probably done in between the
stays is Gary, Indiana. Chris had already been working in
the steel mill. [Violet C.]
1940- US Census, Cranfills Gap, enum. dist. 18-20, page 8
Johnson, Edd M. head m w 38 mar Texas renter carpenter helper sch. bldg
" , Sadie wife f w 40 mar Arkansas
Kirkland, Roy step son m w 17 s Texas laborer farm
Christenson, Chris M soninlaw m w 26 mar Texas rigger steel mill
" , Violet step dau f w 21 mar Arkansas clerk dept store
Chris and Bradley Witte in front of the steamer.
The family moved back to West Texas to live two room cottage in a trailer park in Odessa. Chris goes to work for Cody and Teague Steam Service in the oil industry which Herman Reesing, his brother in law had already been employed. He frequently would have to stay out days at a time usually in the very coldest weather while Violet took care of the kids. This was typically when the oil would refuse to flow because the parrafin in the oil would coagulate. Steam would be pumped into the ground or lines in order to liquify the oil with heat.
The trailer park is sold. Chris and Violet buy the two room cottage and have it moved to a lot near the airport at 323 Vine Street. They double the size and put up a picket fence. Elroy starts school here at Fannin Elementary. He walks to school frequently and on many occasions through blowing sand storms. A couple of times it was when it rained mud.
In 1950 the family moved to Grand Prairie with other relatives to work in the aircraft industry. Times were good enough to come up with enough money to buy a house on Clarice in which the family lived until 2006. Elroy, Ima Jean and Janice attend Bowie Elementary down the street. The ups and downs of military contracts caused Chris to get laid off and forced changes in his jobs several times
1953- (or about there) Elroy starts his art career. This ship
watercolor is done on construction paper and one of the about five
pieces that my mother saved of my early efforts. The
portrait of my grandfather, Pete Christenson, was done about
Schooner by Elroy Christenson
abt 1953 (age of 10 or 11)
Pete Christenson by Elroy Christenson abt 1960
1966 - Chris gets a position as maintenance welder for TXI, a cement making plant in Medlothion, Texas. He remains here until his retirement. Although Violet had done some drawing most her life she had not spent much time at it until Elroy started his college career toward commercial art. She now started taking art lessons on her own.
1976- Chris retires and they do some expected traveling and fishing for the first two years. Violet and Chris make a trip with Roy and Jo Nell Kirkland, Violet's brother, to Seattle to visit Elroy. During the rest of the year they put together a booth to display Violets paintings at various local arts fairs. She has great success
1975- Chris and Violet return during the summer and help Elroy repair from the flood of Dec. 1975.
1976-1980 - Violet begins care of her mother, who is ill with cancer. Ed and Sadie live with them until her death on 11/2/1980.
1981? - after only a few years of retirement Chris starts to show signs of failing memory. Violet cares for Chris on an almost constant basis for seven years.
1989, July 26 - Chris dies after protracted illness from Alzheimer disease and is buried with proper Mason ceremony in the Boggy Cemetery near Cranfills Gap, Texas.
1993, Feb. 28 - Violet wins the Manager's Award for her "Texas Cattle Barn" in the Images Art show in Grand Prairie, TX. as well as, a 2nd place in the Professional category.
1994, Sept 30- Violet wins first prize for "The Barn with Bluebonnets" watercolor in the ATA Mini Show.
Vi Christenson by the staff photographer, Grand Prairie News
|1997, 21 Aug., Thursday - "Victorian Vocation", article
appears in the Lifestyle section of the Grand Prairie News
featuring Vi Christenson with color photos and a
description of her goals and activities in watercolor and
oil painting. "I've drawn all of my live, but I didn't
really start painting until in the 1960's. .... I started
with oils to learn the colors, because I had always worked
with pencil and pen."
"I'm Proud of what I do. It's not fancy, but I like it," she said. "I've been really lucky to get awards. I really just enter them because I like to show by work."
2006, Aug. - Violet is moved to Seattle to lived with Elroy and
Cheryl for seven years battling with dementia, cataracts, hearing
loss, and mobility issues.
2014, Sept 5, at 7:20 pm - Violet dies at Shoreline Health and
Rehabilitation, Shoreline, WA, after two months of
confinement initially from a bladder infection then later with a
broken arm and leg from trying to get out of bed. She fought
to bitter end surrounded by Cheryl and Elroy. Her ashes will be
buried at the Boggy Cemetery near Cranfills Gap, Texas next to
Violet in March 2014, Seattle, WA
Pete Christenson | Emroy Christenson | Marie Christenson | Clarice Christenson | Ane Christenson | Jacob
Elroy's Family Index || Rohne/Egeberg family reunion
|| Rohne/Egeberg Lineage
Map || Ancestor Chart #6
All information and
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permission of Elroy Christenson. Copyright Elroy