Violet, Chris Elroy and Ima Jean
Chris, Violet, Elroy and Ima Jean in Easter, 1953,
Grand Prairie, TX

photo collection of Elroy Christenson

Chris Christenson

Chris M. Christenson History

Father of Elroy Christenson

Christian "Chris" Monroe Christenson

b. Sept 2, 1913 Heinchman Ranch, Jonesboro, Tex.
d. July 26, 1989 Grand Prairie, Tex.
buried Boggy Cem., Cranfills Gap., TX
his father: Pete Legind Christenson b. Denmark
his mother: Cora Rohne b. TX

m. Violet May (Kirkland) Christenson July 17, 1936 Meridian, TX.
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 b. Denmark
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 family alive. 

US Census, Texas, Hamilton County, Justice Precinct One. enum. dist. 97-4, sheet 10A.

Christenson, Pete L.    head    m  w  47  mar 22          Denmark/Nor.      Norway     Norway     general farmer   Naturalized 1898
"                 , Eveline    wife    f   w   30  mar 26           Texas                  Norway     Norway
"                 , Emroy     son      m  w   22  s                    Texas                  Norway     Texas
"                 , Marie      dau      f   w    20  s                    Texas                  Norway     Texas              
"                 , Clarice    dau      f   w    18  s                     Texas                  Norway     Texas
"                 , Chris M.  son      m  w   16  s                     Texas                  Norway     Texas
"                 ,  Ane         dau      f   w   15  s                     Texas                  Norway     Texas
"                 ,  J. B.        son      m  w   12 s                      Texas                  Norway     Texas
"                 , Burton     son      m  w    3yr 6mo              Texas                  Norway     Texas
"                 , Eldon       son      m   w    11 mo                Texas                  Norway     Texas

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 transferable.

            Gap H. S. 1936
Violet Kirkland is the 2nd from the rt. not the left as labeled. I believe that Jake Christenson is the 2nd from the left.
photo collection of Elroy Christenson

They had various occupations.  Ed had a gas station in which Chris also worked.  In the evening periodically they would also bring in silent films they would project on the back wall.  A piano player would fill the action with music.  At one time Chris is a school bus driver, projector operator in the movie house while Violet sold tickets. He also bought a shoe repair store from the old retiring owner.   He mostly repaired farm equipment such as the canvas used as the bottom of trashing machines.   There are not enough shoes to be repaired to make a go of the business.   He puts the equipment in storage and looks for another job.  He goes to Gary, Indiana to the steel mills for the first time.  After a short stay he is laid off and returns to Texas. 

              shoeshop Violet and Chris
              in 1936
Chris in his shoe shop in Cranfills Gap, Texas.
photo in collection of Elroy Christenson
Violet and Chris
at their marriage 1936


                image “branding.72.jpg”
photo in collection of Elroy Christenson

Ranch roundup
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 heavy lifting.

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.         

McElroy Ranch House
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.imajean, elroy

After the war they returned to Cranfills Gap where they built a house near the end of 3rd (Main) Street.   Times were tough but all the family pitched in to frame the house and hand dig the septic tank. Violet put on the wall paper while taking care of two toddlers.

Chris and Bill Johnson used dynamite to bust through the limestone layer to allow the septic tank to drain.   Chris covers the tank with a large plate of steel.   Chris found little work to support his family in this small town.  He goes out to Odessa on his own to check things out and set up the living arrangements. 

Chris with

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 1960. 

schooner watercolor
Schooner by Elroy Christenson
abt 1953 (age of 10 or 11)

Pete Christenson drawing 1960
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."

2003, Sept. 12 - Ima Jean Christenson Perry succumbs to intestinal cancer after a brief but intense illness. Although under going chemo-therapy to no avail she expired very quickly after her birthday in a nursing home in Dallas, Texas. She was a caring mother to her children and grand-children. She stayed regularly for weeks at a time with her mother and called her frequently. She will be deeply missed. She had memorial services in Grand Prairie and Emory, Texas with friends and family including her mother, Violet Christenson; husband, Eugene Perry; son, Glenn Perry, daughter-in-law, Lorie; daughter, Tammy McCoy, grand children, Sadie, Loren, Violet Perry, Justin and Hailey McCoy. She's buried in Emory, Texas a few miles from her home.

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 Chris.  [EC]

Violet in March of 2014
Violet in March 2014, Seattle, WA

Obituary -      Violet Christenson was an active mother of three children, Sunday school teacher, watercolorist, and art instructor.  Violet was born in Hamburg, Arkansas on Aug. 11, 1918 and moved to Dallas, Texas with her commercial artist father, Forrest Kirkland and mother, Sara Sadie Hollaway Kirkland about 1920.  She was raised in Texas where her 96 years saw her graduating from Cranfills Gap High School as Valedictorian, working at selling popcorn in a movie theater, a cook on the McElroy Ranch in Crane County in west Texas,  being  a PTA President in Odessa, selling men’s clothing in Dallas, or an art teacher of youth and senior citizens in Grand Prairie. She was an active member of the First Methodist Church and several art groups around the Dallas area.  Her deceased husband, Chris Christenson, was a certified welder which allowed them to move to Gary, Indiana in WWII but back to Texas where she raised her children and became active in art. Her late blooming art activities fulfilled early dreams and she was a natural teacher.  She showed her works state wide and her works are in many collections. She lived nearly 60 years in Grand Prairie. Her last seven years being with her son and daughter-in-law in Seattle. She was predeceased by her brother, Roy Kirkland, husband, Chris, and daughter Ima Jean Christenson Perry..  Violet died surrounded by her son and daughter-in-law, Cheryl, at the Shoreline Health and Rehabilitation in Shoreline, Washington on September 5th, 2014.  Violet is survived by her son, Elroy Christenson; her daughter Janice Christenson Johnson; eight grandchildren Glenn Perry, Tammy Perry McCoy, Michael Eric Christenson, Tessa Diahann Christenson Nicholas, Leah Renee Christenson Taylor, Jeremy and Thomas Johnson Jr, Jessica Johnson Cowarts; ten great grand children and 2 great great grand children.  Burial of her ashes will be at the Boggy Cemetery, Cranfills Gap, Bosque Co., Texas on Oct. 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

Pete Christenson Image Map | Pete's Ancestors | Pete's Children

Pete Christenson | Emroy Christenson | Marie Christenson | Clarice Christenson | Ane Christenson | Jacob Christenson


Elroy's Family Index || Rohne/Egeberg family reunion ||  Rohne/Egeberg Lineage Map || Ancestor Chart #6


All information and photos included within these pages was developed by the help of hundreds of researchers. The information here is for the express purpose of personal genealogical research and is freely offered as long as this site is listed as a source. It may not be included or used for any commercial purpose or included in any commercial site without the express permission of Elroy Christenson. Copyright Elroy Christenson 1998-2014.

web pages created by Elroy Christenson- - last updated 3/15/17