Olson Family



Descendants of
John A. OLSON and Mathilda BREDBERG


Johann August Ossian OLSON was born February 3, 1871 at a farm known as Askelunda #3, in Alböke Parish on the island of Öland, off the southeast coast of Sweden. His father, Ole Magnusson, was a tenant farmer, so the family moved from place to place on a yearly basis, wherever work could be found - in a province where too many people crowded a small amount of usable agricultural land. (See Swedish Roots.) Johann was the youngest of five children who lived to adulthood. When their father Ole died in 1878, their mother Christina Marie remarried and the family began to unravel. Sisters Alma Marie and Anna Julia married and moved away to other Swedish towns. Elder brother Nels Alfred emigrated to Minnesota and was followed by the eldest sister Emma Christine. In 1887 or 1888, teenaged Johann August also made the journey to the U.S. He may have met up with Nels Alfred in Minnesota at first, but all three of the siblings soon settled on Chicago's Southeast Side.

Mathilda Eulalia Christine BREDBERG was born on February 12, 1877 in Åsle, a village near the town of Tidaholm in Västergotland, Sweden. She was the youngest of six children of Anna Stina Johannsdotter and the tenant farmer Karl Bredberg. When she was old enough, she worked some time as a piga or farm maid; she also worked at the Swedish safety match factory, which had become Tidaholm's biggest industry. In her later years she recalled the hard times at home. Particularly painful were memories of her father whom she sometimes accompanied as he staggered home from town in a drunken state. One time she recalled he threw himself onto the railroad tracks in a suicidal depression, and the young girl struggled to drag him safely home.

The family lived and worked at several farms in the area - Nolgården, Ekedalen, and Torpet Backen among others. Two of Mathilda's siblings had emigrated to the U.S.A.: first sister Anne Sophia, before 1890, and later brother Axel Adolph Bredberg. In 1893, Mathilda emigrated as well, following them to the Southeast Side of Chicago. She must have marvelled at her New World as she strolled the Midway and gaped at the White City of the Columbian Exposition.

The East Side was so-called because it had grown up east of the Calumet River, from south of Hyde Park and the Chicago city limits to the Indiana state line. For decades much of the Southeast Side retained a rural feel, with plenty of open space, prairie stretching out to the south and west. Yards and vacant lots had big gardens and even livestock. On side streets cottages were often built at the back of a narrow city lot, with a long green front yard stretching out to the dirt road. (The Olson home at 10127 Avenue L was like that, originally.) The East Side became an important center of industry when the Calumet Harbor was developed and several railroads extended into the area. In the 1870's and 1880's - by the time Johann Olson arrived - there were several steel mills operating there. It was a hard-working community bustling with new immigrants - many Swedes among the Germans, Irish and others looking for work. Although there was great promise for ambitious immigrants, Chicago in these times was very much in the throes of labor unrest, with strikes and demonstrations regularly disrupting the workingman's days. The year John Olson arrived, protests continued with the hanging of the 4 men convicted for their part in the Haymarket Square Riot.

The East Side was officially annexed to Chicago along with Hyde Park in 1889, and the population the following year was tallied at 1,098. The 1890 Census counted 1.1 million people in the city of Chicago. Over the years Italians, Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes would also throng to the steel mills, foundries, and docks of the East Side. Johann Olausson, who had now become the American John Olson, entered this work force young and without skills - he'd been raised on a farm in an agricultural backwater on Öland. He worked in the area as a helper, laborer and smelter at several steel mills and machine shops. He learned the millwright's trade and spent about 5 years at the Illinois Sled Co. Subsequently he settled in for a long career as a machinist at the Burnside Nickel Foundry.

John Olson and Mathilda Bredberg met at a Swedish picnic and they were married in 1895. Within a few years, they had a daughter, Ruth, and then their first son Rudolph was born 23 December of 1898. In spite of the Long Depression that hurt workers after the Panic of 1893, and the closing of the steel mills, John had managed to buy and hold onto his own home. The young family lived in a house at 9709 Avenue K (Ewing Avenue) in 1900. Their young daughter Ruth died in February of that year. But the Olson Family grew as the world changed: President McKinley was assasinated and Teddy Roosevelt presided over the U.S. as a new world power. Engineers opened the gates to the Sanitary and Ship Canal, reversing the flow of the Chicago River. Our grandmother Edith was born on April 11, 1901, the year the Victorian Era ended with the death of the British Monarch. Mabel was born June 27 of 1903, when the Wright Brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk. Another daughter was born in June of 1906, and Mathilda named her Ruth after her departed sister. The name seems to have been ill-fated, though, as the child died in August of the same year. The next daughter was named Alice, born 16 November 1908, when the first Ford Model T's began to rattle and clatter over the dirt roads of the East Side. Another son, Luther, was born 17 October, 1910. One more daughter, christened Agnes, was born in January of 1914, but died at four years of age in April of 1918.

Throughout this time, John worked hard in the steel mills and foundries of the East Side. He was known as a tough customer, and once survived a head injury on the job - but fainted at the sight of his own blood. John's hard work and frugality made it possible for him to buy a house at 10127 Avenue L, a cottage at the back of the lot. Another house was later built at the street.) Eventually, he bought the house next door as well, and the family moved into that building. For Mathilda, her own domestic tragedies were assuaged by her faith; worship at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, conveniently a few doors from their home, was very important to her. Everyday life in those days was somewhat austere, and Mathilda would tolerate no alcohol or heavy drinkers in her home. Although the Olsons frowned on card playing, John was quick to bring out the dominoes, and enjoyed many a game with friends, neighbors and grandchildren. The couple continued to speak Swedish at home (especially when they wanted to keep something from the ears of the children), and Mathilda cooked Swedish dishes to the delight of the family. For a special treat, she would serve Öland-style kroppkakors just the way John remembered them from his childhood. As far as we know, John never maintained any connection to relatives back in Sweden, but he did keep in touch with his two American siblings. His older brother Alfred OLSON and sister Emma (ECKLUND) both lived in Chicago for a while, before moving up to try farming in Charlevoix, Michigan. The Olson family made regular trips up there to visit. Even after Alfred became a Colorado homesteader, (SEE "Colorado Olsons") he came back to Chicago to see John, and Emma ECKLUND too, after she had moved back to the Chicago area. (SEE "Ecklund Family")

Mathilda also had family living nearby. Her elder sister Anne had married - to another Swede named Martin Johnson - in 1890 and lived in nearby Hegewisch or Calumet City. It seems Mathilda didn't see her much, though, possibly because Anne was known as a drinker. Their elder brother Axel BREDBERG lived close by with his wife Selma and family, until his death in 1901. Thereafter the Olsons stayed close to Axel's daughters Lillie and particularly Edna. Another relative on the South Side was Edith Bredberg Lidman, the daughter of Mathilda's sister Augusta. Edith had emigrated in 1905, and lived with her husband Gustav, a steel mill worker, at 7917 Escanaba. They had a son, Gustav, and a daughter Edith Dorothy (later AKA Dorothy King).

It's likely that the Olsons were in some measure affected by the Chicago Race Riots of 1919, which began that hot summer with the killing of a young black man at a South Side beach. To control the violence, streetcar lines were shut down and many businesses temporarily shuttered their doors. On Feb.15, 1920, Bethlehem Lutheran Church burned down, and the congregation decided to rebuild at 103rd and Avenue H. Disappointed and unhappy with the changes, Mathilda switched to the nearby Swedish Mission Church, later the Swedish Covenant Church. It was a momentous change for the whole family.

A bigger tragedy, in 1921, was the death of Rudolph from tuberculosis. Mathilda saw her surviving children - Edith, Mabel, Alice, and Luther - marry and make their own homes in the area. She had raised not only her own children but also tended to her oldest grandchild, Edith's daughter Alice Radovan. But Mathilda's trials would continue, with the death of her youngest daughter Alice in 1933.
Mathilda's health was failing. From at least the beginning of 1934, she was finding it difficult to take care of her granddaughter or to keep up with household chores. John owned a nice brick house in the Roseland neighborhood to the west, whichhe had been renting out. Now he decided they would move. John may have thought it was time to get away from the East Side, which had changed so much in their lifetime there - more and more new immigrants were moving in, crowding the neighborhood that had been roomy and relaxed before the turn of the century. Labor problems were ever more commonplace. Mathilda wasn't too happy about moving from the East Side, but John said it was a much nicer house, and eventually he got his way. Meanwhile Mathilda's health became worse, and she soon required a nurse's care at home. Diabetes and its complications finally took Mathilda's life on Feb. 1, 1937.

John, at the age of 66, married Adeline, the widowed nurse who had been caring for Mathilda in her last months. It was that same year, 1937, that striking steel workers looking for a union contract were attacked by police, who killed ten, wounded fifty and clubbed hundreds in what came to be known as the Memorial Day Massacre, one of Chicago's more notorious labor moments. John and Adeline continued to live in the Roseland house and settled into retirement through the years of World War II. Some time in the '40's they moved into a home at 7214 South Parkway (Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive). Richard Olson fondly remembers playing dominos with his grandfather in the parlor, and Grandma Adeline's home-made buns (buller) with Sunday dinners in the dining room. John Olson's health was declining at this time, and he died on June 9, 1950. He is buried beside Mathilda at Oak Woods Cemetery on the South Side. Adeline spent her last years with the Clowers family in Milwaukee.

Olson Family Album

Chicago Album

Rudolph OLSON, the eldest son, was born in 1898 when the family lived at 9709 Avenue K (Ewing). He was diagnosed with tuberculosis as a young man, after the family had moved to the house at 10129 Avenue L. Typical of the treatment in those days, Rudolph slept on the screened porch of the house where he could benefit from the evening air. He was also sent for the sake of his health to the fresh air of Colorado, where he lived with cousin Alice Ecklund Smith and her husband Leroy; he spent at least a summer working with Leroy Smith in a ranching venture before returning to Chicago. His sister Edith had an Albuquerque address for him around 1917. The 1920 Census lists him back at home in the house at 10129 Avenue L, his occupation "Chemist" in the mining industry. He never married and died of TB in June of 1921, at the age of 22.

Rudolph Olson Album

Edith Mathilda Eugenia OLSON, Edith Olson 12/15/1932born April 11, 1901, was christened at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. The family were still living on Ewing Avenue at that time. She went to the Gallistel School at 103rd and Ewing Avenue, which was the first school on the East Side, graduating in 1913. Bowen High School had opened in 1910 at 2710 East 89th St. Edith graduated after a two-year business course from Bowen High School in September 1919. Edith was a social girl, enjoying the company of many girlfriends in her school years. Her photo albums depict good times at nearby Calumet Park and the lakefront beach there, as well as picnics in Thatcher Woods and woodsy spots in Indiana. One of her closest friends was her cousin Edna Bredberg, the daughter of her maternal uncle Axel Bredberg. Another close friend was Florence Bjork. After graduation, Edith went through a succession of jobs. At one time (1920) Edith worked as a bookkeeper for a tailor shop; for a time she took the train from the Pennsylvania Railroad station at 100th and Ewing downtown to work at Illinois Bell downtown.

Edith met Louis Radovan, a steel mill worker of Slovenian descent who lived with his brother and his family at 10069 Avenue N. Their mother had run a boarding house there near the Calumet River docks. When she died, Louis spent his inheritance on a Hutmobile car. No doubt he made a good impression on fun-loving Edith and they were married in 1922. At first the couple lived at the boarding house on Avenue N. Their only daughter Alice Marie was born February 10, 1923 at St. Bernard's Hospital. After living in an apartment at 9905 S. Ewing, the Radovans had their own bungalow built at 9719 Avenue J. They took several road trips, visiting the Ecklund cousins and other friends in Michigan. Meanwhile, Louis worked hard, sometimes on night shifts at the steel mill. When work slowed down, he liked to spend time - perhaps too much time -- at the local pool hall. Edith wasn't used to spending time alone at home or tending to a baby girl. She made the acquaintance of a strapping Swedish neighbor named Melker "Mike" Franson, who worked at the shipyards in Whiting, Indiana. (Coincidentally, Mike hailed from the area of Tidaholm, Mathilda Bredberg Olson's home district.) Romance bloomed between the two, and Edith's marriage was ruined. Young Alice was caught in the middle of the marital strife, seeing her father and Mike fighting in the street outside the bungalow. Edith left Louis (1931)and went to live with Mike Franson. Alice was eight years old when her mother brought her back to the Olson home, where she stayed with her grandparents for three years.

During this time, Edith found work as a housemaid for wealthier families. Some of those jobs were live-in, and far up on the North Side; but she ended up with Mike at an apartment in the Englewood neighborhood. Early in 1934, John Olson met with Louis Radovan and told him that he would have to come and get Alice. Mathilda's health had deteriorated, and she couldn't take care of the grandchild any more. Louis by that time had moved into an East Side apartment and was renting out the bungalow, but he evicted the tenants - they may have been behind in the rent anyway - and moved back in after reclaiming Alice that summer. That was when he met Dorothy Brennan, a young divorcee with a 2-year old son of her own. Dot moved into the bungalow and took care of Alice while Louis went to work. That seemed like a good arrangement, but when the Olsons (and Edith) found out about it, Edith was motivated to come back for her daughter.

Edith and Mike were married June 6, 1934, and Edith went to court to gain legal custody of Alice. By 1935, Alice was back with her mother, in an apartment at 63rd and Morgan in Englewood. Edith, Mike, and Alice moved around to a succession of flats in that area. They stayed in the Englewood district throughout Alice's high school years. (There, of course, she met our father Ray Ziemer and they married in 1941.) Mike was a "mucker" during construction of the first Chicago subway tunnels, and a rough carpenter with a concrete crew. He worked on many big construction projects, including one of the first "shopping centers" in 1950's America, Evergreen Plaza at 95th and Western. He worked for big construction companies, notably Ragnar Benson, who liked to hire Swedes. One project brought Mike out to Southern California, which he found a much more temperate climate for construction workers. Eventually the couple moved to Los Angeles where they enjoyed the lifestyle and lived out their days in a pleasant little hillside cottage at 538 Oleander Drive near the Pasadena Hills. Edith spent time tending the flowers and fruit trees that surrounded their home. She was a meticulous housekeeper but had her hands full with Mike. He was known to sit down in the kitchen with a six-pack of beer to watch "Divorce Court" on TV and cry like a baby. He enjoyed hunting and fishing, but his most famous exploit was the shooting of a wailing stray cat off the peak of his own garage roof. Edith died 14 March, 1975. She was survived by Mike until his death July 14, 1978.

Alice and Raymond ZIEMER had three children: Barbara (McCAFFREY), the author Raymond Gene ZIEMER, and Susan (BOUMA). Raymond and Dawn MISCH have two sons, Thomas Parker and Matthew Lawrence; Susan and Robert BOUMA have two children, Allison and Trevor.

Edith Olson Album

Mabel OLSON was born June 27, 1903. She attended Gallistel School and then Bowen High School, where she took the 2-year business course. She got a job as a secretary for Commonwealth Edison. She enjoyed excursions with her friends to places such as Lake Geneva, and sometimes played tennis on Sunday mornings before church. The family’s move to the Swedish Mission Church, after the fire at Bethlehem, had a significant effect on Mabel, as it was there that she met Stanley ANDERSON, her future husband.

Stanley was born in Chicago Feb 25, 1896, but had moved to a farm in Kent City, MI, at age 14. He was a cousin of the Anderson brothers* who owned and operated a number of grocery stores in the area, and Stanley had worked and learned the grocer's trade at stores in Valparaiso and Gary, IN. He was visiting his cousins on the East Side, and met Mabel OLSON at their Swedish Covenant Church. They were married in 1927, when Mabel was 24 and Stanley was 31, running the Gary store he had bought from his cousins. (He planned to expand and build or buy a bigger building with parking, having purchased a block of property, but couldn't get the necessary zoning changes.) Mabel and Stanley started a family with Melvin, born in 1928; Kenneth, 1929; and Stanley, Jr. Throughout the Depression and then WWII, Stanley worked with the Anderson cousins (including Henry Anderson, who worked in Stanley's store), struggling to make a living in spite of food stamps and rationing. ( *Stanley was also a cousin of Ralph Anderson, the husband of Alice OLSON, his sister-in-law.)

On Memorial Day, 1946, the family left the city for Charlotte, MI. Stanley thought conditions were ideal for a family farm, with 4 sons now including John, born that same year. The boys were involved with the farming while also pursuing higher education. They raised corn oats, wheat and alfalfa, and at one time had as many as 90 dairy cows. Stanley was killed in a farming accident in 1950. (The plow had caught on a tree root and the tractor overturned, crushing him.)

Melvin Anderson married Dorothy LUCAS of Kalamazoo, MI, in 1952. Melvin took a 2-year agriculture course at Michigan State University, and after his father died in 1950 continued farming, until he got a job as a tool and die maker working for General Motors. Melvin and Dorothy stayed on at the farm in Charlotte, however, and raised their family there: Carl married Catherine Hart and their children are Rachel and Garrett. Rachel has a son Landen. Karen married Curtis KECK, and their boys are Cory, Chad, Branden and Spencer. Gary married Kelly Wolever and their chldren are Jennifer, Gary and Trent. Jennifer has two children of her own, Damon and Dakota. Brian married Vicky Darling and their children are Kayla, Ashley, and Sammie.

Kenneth Anderson worked for a Chicago corporation and bought a home in Oak Brook, IL. He and his wife Velma have three sons: Kenneth, the eldest, married Linnea Johnson and they have a daughter Lianne; James, born in 1958; and David, who married Laura Noelken, has a son Matthew and a daughter Emma.

Stanley Anderson married Ruth SHRANTZ. A professor, he teaches at a college in Minnesota. Their children are Mark, Melanie, and Melinda.

John Anderson married Avice DIRKSEN. John became an accountant and raised four sons: Phillip, Peter, Paul, and John. They continue to live in Michigan.

Anderson Family Album

Alice OLSON was born November 16, 1908. She was christened at Bethlehem Lutheran Church and graduated from public schools. She graduated from the nursing school at South Shore Hospital. The 1930 census notes she was employed as a private nurse at that time, still living at home at 10129 Avenue L.

Alice married Ralph Anderson (a cousin of brother-in-law Stanley Anderson) in 1933 and they lived at 78th and Bennett in South Shore. Sadly, Alice died of kidney disease before she was married a year; she was buried in her wedding dress at Oak Woods Cemetery.

Alice Olson Album

Luther OLSON was born October 17, 1910, and baptized in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church. He grew up on Avenue L, and his summers were frequently spent visiting the Ecklund relatives on their farm near Charlevoix, Michigan. It was there he learned to drive (at about age 13), and he recalled that the truck sometimes had a hard time going up the hills because the gas tank in the rear had gravity feed to the engine in the front. Luther went to high school for 2 years, presumably Bowen High School since that was the public school that served the East Side. He cited three reasons for dropping out: 1) According to his daughter Joan, the broken collarbone he sustained playing football meant he couldn’t play on the high school team, so he lost interest. 2) As told to his son Richard, he frequently missed classes because his family was one of the few in church that owned a car, and every time there was a funeral (or other event) that required a car, he had to drive. (John Olson couldn’t drive because an automobile steering wheel turned in the opposite direction from that of the steel mill crane he was used to from his job, so he was not a safe driver at corners.) 3) Also in Luther's own view, he had a hard time with geometry because his teacher had written the book and answered any questions by saying that the book explained things sufficiently.

After high school he presumably had one or more jobs, but at age 18 he decided to apply for a job at Commonwealth Edison as a lineman in the Overhead Department. Since there was an age requirement, he claimed to be 21, and got the job. One notable event around this time was the arrival in the Olson household of Alice Radovan (daughter of Edith Olson Radovan), who spent several years living with her grandparents and Uncle Luther. Luther was in many ways the primary caretaker, buying her clothes and even allowing her to tag along on some of his dates. At the time, Luther’s sister Alice Olson was in nurse’s training at South Shore Hospital. One of her classmates was an older girl from Holland, Michigan, Luwiena SCHADELEE (born 1905). At some point, after Luther broke up with a girl friend, he began dating Luwiena.

In the early 1930s, Luther was laid off at Edison because of the Depression. Seniority was not an issue, rather the fact that he was single and had no family responsibilities made him a good candidate. He was able to find a job with Shell Oil and worked for them for about 18 months, scouting Wisconsin for sites for future Shell gas stations. On June 12th, 1935 he married Luwiena. At about this time he returned to Edison. He transferred to the Revenue Protection Department because there he could make extra money on commissions earned by catching people stealing electricity. Also, it was not as dangerous on a day-to-day basis (as a high-wire lineman's work). The job did have its moments over the years. He was in effect a private policeman/guard/ambulance driver for Edison from this point until a job change in 1960. The job involved rotating through 3 shifts and 7 days a week, until some point in the 1950s. He wore a uniform, carried a gun, and had a badge (number 714, the same as Joe Friday of "Dragnet"). He had to enter people’s homes or businesses where the meters were. This involved fighting off guard dogs, forcing doors open, and in one case dropping through a sky-light while his partner diverted the business owner at the front door. Apparently the legal environment was a bit different back then. In April(?) of 1936, Luwiena had a still-born son (he would have been named Roger). The other major event of 1936 was the correction of Luther’s age on the Edison records. Social Security had been passed, and he didn’t want to lie to the government. Much later he commented that if it weren’t for that correction, he could have retired 3 years earlier. In 1937 Mathilda died, and John soon married Adeline, the nurse who had been caring for her. On June 15th, Luther and Luwiena became parents with the birth of Joan Lee Olson. In late 1937 or in 1938 they bought a house in the Roseland area of Chicago at 501 W. 104th St. They became members of the Fourth Christian Reformed Church of Roseland, Luther having joined the Christian Reformed Church when he married Luwiena. In the summer of 1938 they took a vacation, driving to Colorado to visit Luther’s cousin John. They drove up Pike’s Peak. At some point on the vacation baby Joan threw the car keys out the window. On January 17th, 1939 a second daughter was born, Sharon Lou.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Luther did not go in the service. I believe that at first, they took younger men. Later he was exempt from the draft because of his critical occupation. Late in the war he turned down an offer to become head of maintenance at a candy factory owned by Cornelius Voogt, a member of the church. The other major family event during the war was their son Richard Olson's birth on August 20th, 1943. In 1950 Luwiena’s parents and John Olson died. This meant that vacation time was no longer dedicated to visiting and caring for elderly parents. Luther received a modest inheritance and invested it in some needed home improvements and in stock, as he began serious retirement planning. During the 1950s the job ceased to be a rotating shift. Other highlights were the marriages of his two daughters and the arrival of the first three grandchildren. In the late 50s and early 60s vacations became a couple of weeks in the summer in Minnesota and a couple of weeks in the winter in Florida. The Florida trips also served as research for a retirement home. Five more grandchildren arrived in the 60s. Beginning in 1960 Luther had a new job at Edison. He was assigned to cut off the electricity to delinquent accounts on the South Side of Chicago (or sign someone up to be responsible for the bill). This led to a few stories somewhat like those of the depression. In June of 1969 the house in Roseland was sold; Luther and Luwiena moved to an apartment in Oak Lawn for about a year. There were three major family events in 1970. Richard got married in June, Luther retired and they moved to Florida in the fall, and a granddaughter was born in November. In Florida Luther and Luwiena moved into a new condominium in Clearwater. This began a twenty year period where Luther was either treasurer or president of the association most of the time. Luther’s natural but untrained mathematical ability came in handy in dealing with those finances. Summer vacations were now longer and included visiting the children, but Minnesota was still part of the vacation. Other possible trips were limited because of Luwiena’s health. They came north for only one Christmas. In Florida they attended the Christian Reformed church in Pinellas Park. In December of 1976 grandchild number 10 was born. On April 8, 1977 Luwiena died. They had been married for almost 42 years. When Luther came north for Christmas that year, it was clear (to Richard's wife, Elaine, at least) that he had a romantic interest. In January, 1978, the family received word that there was going to be a wedding March 1st. The bride was Gertrude (Trudy) Krottje Mutzberg, a member of the church, who had been widowed in January of 1976. Thus began a loving marriage of 12 ½ years. The difference between this part of the retirement and the earlier part was that vacations could now include cruises and also included more trips to New York and New Jersey, where Trudy had friends and relatives. In 1985 the last grandchild was born, and sadly a grandson, Robert Aardsma, died in 1986 at the age of 20. Meanwhile, numerous great grandchildren were also born in the 80s. On December 8, 1990, while in a rehab center after a stroke, Luther suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 80.

Joan OLSON (died 9/18/2010) and John AARDSMA had 5 children: Walter married Karen Nordmeyer (now divorced) and their children are Jason and Danielle. Jason has a daughter Phoenix, and a daughter Savannah Rose, whose mother is Megean Blair. Richard married Ellen Ficht and their children are Ashley and Brian. John married Lynnae (now divorced) and they have two sons, Justin and James. John is now married to Patty. Robert (1966-1986) died without issue. Sharon married Dan Lendman and their children are Nathan, Caden, and Adam.

Sharon OLSON married Henry IPEMA in 1957. They had 4 children: Benjamin married Lorna VendenBrink (now divorced) and their children are Jacquelyn and Benjamin. Denise married Timothy Tamminga and their children are Brooke, Heather, and Zachary. Jeffrey (1961-2007) married Tracy Smith and their son is Greg. Diane married Brian Bartels and they have a daughter Krissie and a son Bradley. After Henry Ipema's death in 1991, Sharon married Wilbur Lettinga.

Richard OLSON married Elaine Geelhood in 1970, and they have two sons, Erik and Dirk. Eric married Shannon Wynstra and they have a daughter Madeline and a son Duncan.

Luther Olson Family Album


Click HERE for a complete gallery of Olson Family Photo Albums and Slide Shows

Research Notes and Acknowlegements

Research into our own family line has been ongoing for many years. Much of my information came from our mother, Alice RADOVAN ZIEMER, who kept her ears open as a young girl living with her grandparents, and remembered a wealth of details even years later when we took several trips back to the East Side. Some of her reminiscences were recorded on audio and videotape. Our mother kept everything, including her mother Edith OLSON FRANSON's photo albums. She had a tight bond with her uncle Luther over the years, and I thank Luther's son, cousin Richard OLSON for the biographical information. Likewise, our thanks go out to cousin Melvin ANDERSON for his memories of his parents Mabel and Stanley. On the subject of the East Side, in addition to the web sites listed below, important factual information and photos were borrowed from Chicago's Southeast Side by Rod Sellers and Dominic A. Pacyga.


1900 Census
Olsons Family
On Ewing Avenue
1910 Census
Olson Family
On Avenue L
1920 Census
Olson Family
On Avenue L
1930 Census
Olson Family
On Avenue L
Axel Bredberg's
WWI Draft Registration
1900 Census
Axel Bredberg Family
1920 Census
Selma Bredberg Family
1930 Census
Selma Bredberg Family
Edith Olson's
Address Pages (1)
Edith Olson's
Address pages (2)
Anne Bredberg Johnson
Passport Application (p.1)
Anne Bredberg Johnson
Passport Application (p.2)

Tour of the Southeast Side
The East Side Map
Bethlehem Lutheran Church
Journey Through Calumet (Field Museum Article)
East Side (Chicago Encyclopedia Entry)
1897 Chicago Street Map
Roseland (Chicago Encyclopedia Entry)
Interactive East Side Map and Guide
Interactive Roseland Map and Guide

View the complete Family Tree of Ole Magnusson and his descendants in Rootsweb.

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