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OLSEN, Lawrence Adolph

OLSEN, SYSE, LARSON, WILLIAMS, JOHNSON, GAST, KETELSEN

Posted By: Deidre Badker (email)
Date: 2/10/2015 at 17:39:56

Lawrence Adolph Olsen was born November 30, 1892 in a farmhouse at Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa to Lars Iver Syse Olsen (b March 2, 1850 at Syse, Ulvik, Hordaland, Norway, d March 24, 1936 Osage, Mitchell, Iowa) and Anna Regina Larson (b March 2, 1863 rural St Ansgar, Mitchell, Iowa, d July 9, 1900 Osage, Mitchell, Iowa), the fifth of their seven children.

Lawrence was baptized on January 22, 1893 at the Rock Creek Lutheran Church at Meroa, Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa. His baptismal sponsors were: Mr & Mrs Nels O. Nelson and Mr & Mrs Lars Bastian Larson. Lawrence was confirmed at RCLC on June 14, 1908.

He received his education at Osage, at Walnut #7, a rural school in Meroa and attended the St. Ansgar, Iowa Seminary for two years.

Found in the 1900 census living at Osage, Mitchell, Iowa: Lars I Olson 50, Anna R Olson 37, Ida Olson 16, Clara Olson 13, Matilda Olson 10, Lawrence Olson 7.

Lawrence's mother died in July of 1900 when he was just eight years old, so he was raised by his sisters and father. He was a lifelong member of the Rock Creek Lutheran Church. His good friend that he played with while living on Free Street in Osage, (across from the Press News), was Lumberman Smith's son. They played in the buildings at the lumberyard and sometimes walked the top rafters.

Lawrence lived with his sister, Ida and husband Carl Norby, on a farm about 3 miles south of St. Ansgar. He helped with chores while attending the St. Ansgar Seminary. His friend there was Lawrence Ask. Years later, Lawrence bought a painting of the " Lord's Prayer" (printed in Norwegian) from the St. Ansgar Seminary, painted by Professor Odegaard. That picture still remains in the family. Lawrence and his father first farmed with horsepower but over the years, he switched to using tractors, mostly Fords. He learned to drive and had several cars, usually Chevys.

Found in the 1910 census at Rock, Mitchell, Iowa: Carl Norby, 35, Ida 26, Rosella 2, Herbert L. 9 mos, Lawrence Adolph Olsen age 17.

Lawrence married Laura Clarissa (Clarice) Williams on September 1, 1921 at the Rock Creek Lutheran Church in Meroa. They established their home at Meroa on the farm just south of the church. Lawrence's father, Lars Iver Olsen, sold the farmsite and land to them in 1935.

The couple had three children who were all born at Meroa:
Beatrice Ruth (b March 8, 1922, married Clyndon Gast, d November 18, 1981 Rochester, Olmsted, Minnesota);

Lowell Marvin (b March 10, 1925, married Margaret Johnson, d December 26, 2012 at West Burlington, Des Moines, Iowa) and

LaVerne Russell (b March 10, 1931, married Daisie Ann Ketelsen, d January 6, 2007 Osage, Iowa).

As was customary, Lawrence employed men to help with the farming, some were new emigrants from Norway who would live with the family. They were: Chris Brenden, Rudy Anderson, Kenneth Berkvam, the Finsand Brothers, Haakon Rohne, Pete Erickson, Lloyd Gillerman, Marshall, Andrew and Bud Betts, and Melvin Lindley. Lawrence owned wooded land along Rock Creek and would have his hired men cut and stack wood. Then he would sell it to the store in Rudd, Iowa as they were always needing wood to sell to customers. Beatrice and Lowell remembered that during the depression years they would trade wood for groceries, usually with Sam Melson, the grocer on West Main St. in Osage, Iowa. They traded for a Monarch cook stove and a Maytag washing machine in Rudd, Iowa.

Lawrence (and later his descendants) gave land to the Rock Creek Church Lutheran Church to expand their grounds and cemetery. Since he owned the land that Walnut Grove #7 sat on and lived nearby, the family often took care of getting water to the school, making sure it had firewood and often teachers would stay with the family.

About 1950, a new house was built north of the original home, where Lawrence and Clarice moved to. Lowell and Margaret lived in the older home next and later, LaVerne and Daisie Olsen lived there after LaVerne came home from the service.

Found in the 1910 - 1940 censuses at Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa:
1910: L I Olson 60, Clara Olson 23, Matilda Olson 20, Laurence Olson 17. (counted twice in 1910)

1920: Lawrence A Olsen 27, Lars Iver Olsen 69, retired, Clara A Olsen 33.

1925: Lawrence A Olson 32, Clarice L Olson 26, Bernice Olson 2.

1930: Lawrence A Olsen 37, L Clarice Olsen 31, Beatrice R Olsen 8, Lowell M Olsen 5, Kenneth G Berkvam 18.

1940: Lawrence A Olsen 47, Clarice Olsen 41, Beatrice Olsen 18, Lowell Olsen 15, Laverne Olsen 9.

May 5, 1965: While living in the newer home just south of the Rock Creek Lutheran Church, Lawrence's farm was in the path of a very destructive tornado that traveled over three counties. He lost livestock and buildings but their homes were still standing in the aftermath and no one was injured.

Lawrence loved his grandchildren, loved to tell jokes and Norwegian stories, and play solitaire. He taught the kids how to catch and clean fish and play "Rummy". He enjoyed spearing Red Horse Carp in the ripples of Rock Creek, throwing them up on the creek bank. He enjoyed watching television after a hard day's work and in the summer, would load up the family and head to the drive in for a root beer and ice cream cone. He and the other farmers in the neighborhood would help each other when it was time to "make hay" or "pick corn". This common practice meant extra work for Clarice who would have to feed the men lunch and dinner.

Over the years, Lawrence went on trips to Wisconsin or Minnesota, to visit relatives or go fishing. Like the other farmers, he wore Osk Kosh Bib Overalls during the week, a straw hat and a suit on Sunday. He lived through the depression, World Wars and saw the development of Mitchell County with better roads, electricity and telephone service.

Mitchell County Press News Obituary:

Funeral services for a Rock Creek resident, Lawrence Adolph Olsen, 81, who died December 6, 1973 were held Saturday afternoon. He died at the Mitchell County Memorial Hospital in Osage, Iowa after a short illness. The Rev. Paul Metzger, church pastor, was in charge of the rites at the Rock Creek Lutheran Church and burial was in the Rock Creek cemetery. Arrangements were by C.R. Champion and Sons.

Survivors include daughter, Mrs. Clyndon (Beatrice) Gast; two sons, Lowell and LaVerne, all of Osage; fifteen grandchildren and one sister, Clara Olsen of Osage,

Preceding him in death were his wife, his parents, four sisters and two brothers.


 

Mitchell Biographies maintained by Kermit L. Kittleson.
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