Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Overson Postcard Collection

After a year-long hiatus from my blog, for personal reasons, I AM BACK!  

There is a treasure in the museum archives that I over-looked for quite some time.  One day I decided to take a closer look and found a veritable treasure in these antique postcards!  It is a two-fold treasure.  Number 1:  The artwork and value of the postcards themselves;  Number 2: The communications from a young Mormon missionary in the field to his older sister back home.

Overson family - photograph courtesy of SueAn Stradling-Collins
 Mary Sophia Overson was the second child born to Ove Christian Ovesen and Mary Kjerstina Christensen.  She was born in 1872 in Ephriam, Utah, but by the time her baby brother Lyman Marion Overson was born in 1887 the family had moved to St. Johns, Arizona.

In December of 1894 Sophia married William O. Gibbons in Springerville, Arizona, however William passed away  6 January 1906.  A family story has been told that he was killed trying to save a woman in a runaway stagecoach.

In March of 1908 Lyman left to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Indiana area.  
St. Johns Herald & Apache News-March 26, 1908

St. Johns Herald & Apache News-August 13, 1908

 During 1908-1909 while he was serving his mission he corresponded often with his "big sister" back home.  Sophia kept the postcards that Lyman sent, and also other postcards from people he was teaching the gospel to.   (Those postcards were donated to the Apache County Historical Society Museum in St. Johns.)  Here are just a couple of the postcards.  I am in the process of scanning them; 120 so far.  I hope to add them as a collection to the historical database I am helping to create via the Apache County Library District:  the Apache County Digital History Alliance


Sophia remarried to James Omer Smith in December of 1912.

After his mission Lyman married Viola May Forrest in 1911.  They had a son, Wesley Ellsworth in 1912, and a daughter Bernice in 1916. (The only two children I found.) Sadly, Lyman was a victim of the Spanish Flu epidemic and passed away in 1918.

St. Johns Herald, December 26, 1918

Lyman's widow Viola ran for and was elected as the Apache County Recorder in 1920. The Oveson/Overson family left a great heritage and many Overson descendants still live in the St. Johns area.

St. Johns Herald - 25 November 1920

All newspaper article available online through the Arizona Digital Newspaper Program.