Bio: John A. Olson, 1850

Contact: stan@wiclarkcountyhistory.org

 

Surnames: OLSON, MICHELSON, DONALDSON, TREAT, MILTON, DELEVAN, STRETE, OLSON, SOLVESON, SWENSON, TUFTE, MATHEISON

----Source: HISTORY OF CLARK CO., WI, Compiled by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge, Chicago and Winona, H. C. Cooper Jr., & Co. in 1918.

 

JOHN A. OLSON, a prominent citizen of Abbotsford, where he has resided for many years, and is highly esteemed, was born in Waukesha County, Wis., Aug. 15, 1850, son of Christian and (Michelson) Olson, natives of Norway, who came to America when quite young. The father was a musician, farmer and gardener, in politics a Democrat, and a member of the Episcopal church, died April 15, 1907, at the age of 86 years; the mother died Feb. 19 ', 1918, at the age of 88 years, 6 months and 26 days, at the home of her daughter Kate, in Hartland, Wis. She and her husband had eleven children: John A., Mary, Sophia, Otto, Minnie, Emma, Frank, Richard, Mabel, Kate and Ida, of whom Emma, Otto, Richard, Sophia and, Frank are now deceased. John A. Olson, at the age of 21 years left home and. went to Michigan, where he worked two winters in the pine woods and sawmills. He then spent two winters on Jump River in Wisconsin at the same kind of work, in the summers being employed on his father's farm. In 1878 he bought a threshing outfit, which he operated for two years. In 1880 he moved to Dorchester, Clark County, and worked for others, but soon bought ninety-five acres of land across the line in Marathon County. However, he did not make his home there, but took a position in the, building department of the Wisconsin Central Railway, and was with that company for ten years. After that he went to Missouri and worked in
the same capacity for the Santa Fe Railroad, on their Lexington Junction-St. Joseph branch. In 1891 Mr. Olson came to Abbotsford and entered the mercantile business with N. E. Denney , under the firm name of Denney & Olson, and in this business he continued for fourteen years, or until 1905, since which time he has been in charge of the public school building. Mr. Olson has taken a prominent part in local affairs. He has been a member of the village council since the incorporation of the village, and for a part of the time has been village treasurer. He is a Mason and Woodman of the World, having been through the chairs of both lodges, and he was the first Master of Abbotsford Lodge No. 298. Religiously he is affiliated as a member with the Episcopal church. In February, 1883, Mr. Olson was united in marriage with Mary Donaldson, who was born in Norway, and came to America with her parents at the age of 9 years. Her father was a shoemaker by trade, died in January, 1886; her mother in October, 1894. They had a family of four children: Caroline, Erick, Trena and Mary. Mr. and Mrs. John A. Olson have had eight children, as follows: Josephine, born Nov. 7, 1882, who is the wife of Albert Strete; Emma, born March 22, 1885, who married R. H. Treat and has one child, Helen J.; Charles Delevan, born July 12, 1887; John Milton, born Feb. 27, 1890, who died Feb. 9, 1891; Mabel Augusta, born Nov. 29, 1891, who died Dec. 9, 1894; James Milton, born Aug. 8, 1894, who married Meta Fuchsgruber, and has one child, James M., Jr.; Effie Augusta, born Aug. 16, 1898; and Mabel Adelaide, born Jan. 21, 1902. The following letter contributed to the Oconomoc Enterprise, was written by Mrs. Johanna Olson, then residing at Nashotah, Wis., and contains interesting reminiscences of her early experiences in this country.


"Editor of the Enterprise: On July 23, 1830, 1 was born in Jarpen, Norway. My parents were Mr. and Mrs. Ole Michelson, and I had two sisters and one brother. Our mother died when I was 11 years of age. We came to America with our father and stepmother in 1847, crossing in a sailing ship, the trip taking nine weeks and four days. From New York we went to Buffalo by canal boat and from Buffalo to Milwaukee by steamboat, there being no railroad of any kind. The trip from Milwaukee to Nashotah (then called Pine Lake Station) was made by wagon and oxen, and we encountered many accidents and unpleasantness. In 1849 I was married to Christian Olson, settling down on the farm where I still reside, two miles north of Nashotah, in the town of Merton. We lived in a small log cabin and had no conveniences. Water had to be carried from Pine Lake, one-half mile distant. Our neighbors were William Schuchardt, Peter Swenson, Jacob Solveson, Hans Rasmusson, Tolaf Waller, Gregerous Tufte, Christian Stave and Andrew Matheison, all of whom have passed away. Indians were plentiful. They begged and took things not belonging to them. The country was thickly wooded and there was much underbrush. Laboring men received about 50 cents per day and hired girls 50 and 75 cents per week. I often walked to Oconomoc, carrying a baby in my arms. I was the mother of eleven children, seven of whom are living. My husband died on April 15, 1907, at the age of 86 years. I have met with many peculiar experiences' but cannot clearly recall them. We were obliged to do all kinds of work in order to obtain a living.--Mrs. Johanna Olson."

 

 


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