James ''Jim" Bernsen was born and raised in Spanish Fork, Utah. In 1898 he married Agnes Horsley. They lived in Spanish Fork for a few years and then they too got the pioneer spirit and decided to come west and take part in colonizing and building a community in Preston, Nevada.
They made their first home in a dugout in the swale just west of town. They found this to be a poor choice as the White River water flooded them in the spring. They then built a home on higher ground closer to town. Here they lived and raised their family.
Along about 1911 there was another area being colonized and volunteers were welcomed to build a community in a place called Metropolis, north of Wells, Nevada. This impressed Jim a great deal and after much deliberation they decided to make the move as Jim was looking for a better place to live and raise his family.
Much time was spent in preparation for the trip, as all their machinery, household furniture, tools, etc. had to be loaded to their wagons. Their livestock was to be driven. The day finally arrived for their departure and they took leave and started their journey to their new place to live. Trouble plagued them it seemed from the start. They had only gotten to the big reservoir, two miles out of Preston, when their big sow pig, which they were depending on for raising pigs, got in the water and in trying to swim cut her own throat with her front hooves.
They arrived in Metropolis and after one year of failure and disappointment they returned to Preston. Metropolis was certainly a misnomer. It turned out to be just the opposite. They took up where they left off and went back to farming, glad to be back with the people they had left.
Jim Bernsen was never considered an active leader in the community but was considered a real good member and neighbor by all. He always took an active part in helping to better the community and was always ready and willing to do his share and more when voluntary help was needed by the community or by a neighbor.
Jim and his wife worked hard and as the children grew up they became a big help with the farming. During their time living in Preston they had eight children, six of which grew up and went to school in Preston.
Elizabeth (Lizzie) was born May 23, 1899. She married Santa Yutriaga. They lived on a ranch in Spring Valley. To them four children were born: Ervil James, John Robert, Clayton and Darrell Ralph. Santa died suddenly of a heart attack and Lizzie later married Frank Garrett. They lived for years in Fallon and had two children, Everett and Frank. Lizzie now lives in a rest home in Reno.
Florence married Lorin Hendrix and they lived on a ranch between Preston and Lund. Here their three children were born: Guy L., Melba and Roy. The children all live in Western Nevada. Some years later Florence and Lorin sold the ranch and moved to Yerington, then to Panaca and back to Yerington where Florence died and is buried.
Bertha married Frank Tanfield. They moved to Idaho where they raised eight children and Bertha still lives in Burley. Frank died a few years ago.
Ruby was born March 7, 1907. After completing school in Preston she helped her father with the farming. After his death she operated the farm for many years. In the "60's" she started going to Idaho and working in a potato chip plant. This she did for fifteen seasons. She is now retired and lives with her brother Ralph in Preston.
Maida was born August 26, 1911. She grew up and attended school in Preston and high school in Lund. She married Randall Bradley and spent her entire life helping Randall with their farm and rearing their two children, Elmo and Peggy. Maida always took an active part in helping to improve the community and home to make them a better place to live and raise their family. Elmo is married and with their daughter lives in Wrightwood, California. Peggy is married and lives with her husband, daughter and twin boys in Highland, California.
Ralph was born August 25, 1914. After growing up he helped his family on the farm. In August 1942 he went in the Service (Air Force), here he served until February 1946. Upon returning he married Ann Sutton and went to work for Kennecott. Shortly afterward he divorced and bought a farm in Preston. He continued to farm and work for Kennecott. He married Eva Martin in 1957, and was divorced later. He now leases his farm and is retired and lives in Preston with his sister Ruby.
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