September 2000, No. 10
A Periodic Publication of the Blixt and Kristina Olson Family Branches
Note From The Publisher: The e-Chronicles will be a continuous publication. When new articles come in, they will be posted and everyone on our e-mail address list will be notified via e-mail that a new article has been added. We welcome articles from any family member who wishes to contribute.
The e-Chronicles will likely evolve over time. Please let us know what you like about the newsletter, what you don't like, and what is missing that you'd like us to add by sending an e-mail to Kevin E. Olson.
Read and enjoy!
From The Editor
|In Memoriam: Dean Olson - William
& Mary Alumni Magazine - Spring 2000
Born Again Chronicles by Joe Olson
Karl "Charles" Olaf Olson Branch
|No articles submitted|
Ernest Andreas Olson Branch
|No articles submitted|
Anna Elvira Olson Branch
|No articles submitted|
Esther Suzanna Olson Branch
|Brissenden Family Update by Constance Brissenden and Scott Brissenden|
David Leonard Olson Branch
|Grandpa's Loan Seeds Grandson's Success by Mary Olson-Boyd|
Samuel Erick Olson Branch
|Let's Get Acquainted by Anita Cook|
Christina Elizabeth Olson Branch
|Mildred's Family History by Mildred
Hales' Family Update by Kristina Hales
Relatives in Sweden
|News From Sweden by Annika Thomsson Lundgren|
|Midsummer in Sweden by Don C. Olson
and Collin Olson
Stories of the Past by Don C. Olson and Lennart Mårding
Delights of Dalarna by Don C. Olson
Interesting Sites to Visit by Don C. Olson
Vital Family Statistics
IN MEMORIAM: DEAN OLSON
Family Loses Creator of Olson Chronicles
Many in our extended family are already aware of the loss of our brother, Dean Olson to melanoma cancer last October. Some, however, may not have heard the tragic news.
As you know, Dean was the creator of the Olson Chronicles, which was probably the most important factor in the success of our 1997 Family Reunion at Port Ludlow. Without the Olson Chronicles to generate interest in the reunion, we would not have had the outstanding attendance we experienced. Subsequent to the reunion, he maintained our extended family contact with the Chronicles.
For many years, Dean was editor of the William and Mary Magazine and subsequently named Director of Publications for the College. During his final illness, Anita, Miriam, Don and Joe spent a great deal of time with him in Williamsburg. We were overwhelmed by the number of dedicated friends he had at William & Mary College. One friend and colleague, Sara Piccini, wrote an outstanding article :"In Memoriam: Dean Olson" in the Spring, 2000 issue of the William & Mary Magazine. We are including it in this first issue of the "Reborn Chronicles" as a tribute to his life of dedication to others. Because of his humble nature, we were unaware of many of the honors he achieved during his lifetime. Sara mentions some of them.
We wish to express our grateful thanks to Sara Pinccini for her outstanding article and to the William & Mary College Society of the Alumni for permission to publish this article in our Olson Chronicles.
William & Mary Alumni Magazine - Spring 2000
|After more than 25 years, a name is absent from the masthead of this magazine - that of Samuel Dean Olson, editor emeritus and director of publications for the College. Dean passed away on Oct. 22, 1999, following a courageous battle with cancer. In her eulogy, Vice President for Public Affairs Stewart Gamage '72 said of Dean, "He was a man of iron with a heart of gold who loved life - and his family - and who cared deeply about this place - William and Mary - as very few have or ever will." The Alumni Society Board of Directors has created a lasting tribute to his career, directing that a memorial plaque be placed in the Society's Office of Alumni Communications. Hired as news director at William and Mary in 1967, Dean was soon named assistant to President Davis Y. Paschall '32, M.A. '37 and continued to serve in that role for President Thomas Graves Jr. Dr. Paschall has called him "my 'second self'" as conservator of the College's heritage and traditions. In 1974, Dean was named director of publications. The Society also appointed him editor of the Alumni Gazette and William & Mary Magazine. During the next quarter-century, he won almost every regional and national award presented by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. He developed and edited a range of publications for the College's Tercentenary celebration and was instrumental in the production of numerous books about the College, including Hark Upon the Gale, Traditions, Myths and Memories, Goal to Goal: 100 Seasons of Football at William and Mary and The College of William and Mary: A History, a scholarly history of the College's first 300 years. As devoted to the Williamsburg community as he was to the College, Dean served as past president of the Williamsburg Kiwanis and as a board member for the Hospice of Williamsburg. (Few escaped his office without buying a sack of peanuts or Shrimp Feast tickets to benefit the Kiwanis' charitable causes.) Possessed of a sharp wit and blunt manner, Dean set high standards for himself and others. "For so many of us he was our mentor, our tormentor, our conscience, often our critic - and always our friend," said James Kelly '51, assistant to the president. At commencement in May 1999, Dean received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for service to the College, calling it "the greatest honor I have received in my life." The award citation aptly summed up his contributions: "To thousands of students, potential students, alumni, friends and donors, Dean has been the unseen voice of William and Mary, shaping their impressions of the College and always reflecting his deep affection for its legacy and for its future." - Sara Piccini||
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BORN AGAIN CHRONICLES
How It Came To Be
by Joe Olson
|Late this winter I was relaxing on our Maui condo lanai watching three shapely wahines
saunter by on the beach below, gracefully switching their okoles, when my cell phone rang.
I tore myself from the fascinating scene to hear, "Joe, Joe, are you there? This is
Miriam! I need to talk to you! What are you doing?" "Well", I slowly
replied, "I'm sort of preoccupied at the moment." "Get unpreoccupied,
then", she commanded, "I have an idea I need to discuss with you." Just
then a canoeful of Hawaiian lovelies paddled by. Again, my mind locked on to the scene at
hand and I failed to respond. After a minute, I was jolted back to reality with the shout,
"Joe are you listening to me?" Reluctantly I replied, "Miriam, I'm terribly
busy right now. Can I call you back in a few minutes?. "No, you cannot! You listen to
what I have to say! It's a very important and can't wait. Now listen!" Conditioned
from early childhood to obey my older sister, I complied. "OK, what's on your
mind?," I growled.
Miriam quickly responded. "Joe, The Olson Chronicles are what kept our family in touch since the Reunion. It has died since we lost Dean. This has been bothering me for some time. It was equally important to Dean. He had a strong sense of family. We've got to re-establish contact with a newsletter, or something like that. Now I want you to figure out what to do. We can begin with a newsletter and mail it out to everyone. Dean left us his address list. You can start with that." Sensing that this was going to cost me, my early Olson training and genes, compelled me to reply, "Now Miriam, that will cost us a lot of money!" "So what! You can afford it, and it's important to the family" Attempting to defend myself, yet compelled to obey, I responded, "Now Miriam, I really can't. And besides, would we have to include the non-blood kin?" Her sharp response was, "Of course, we must include everyone. Once an Olson, always an Olson! We must keep this family together. Now, you get with it and figure out how you can do it." Obediently, I replied, "Yes, Miriam. I'll see what I can do."
After hanging up, I turned to my wife Joann, who had just returned from her hair dresser. Cheerfully, she inquired, "What have you been up to?" Unwilling to confess the full extent of my activities, I said, "I've been talking to my sister, Miriam." "Oh, what did she have to say?" was the inquiry, so I related my costly dilemma, lamenting that I didn't know what to do. I had to obey Miriam's command, but I couldn't afford to undertake a project like that. Her immediate reaction was "Call Donny. He's the smartest one in the family, a Ph.D. and he's almost as tight as you are, not quite, but close enough. He'll know what to do." "Good idea", I thought, "I'll do that this evening after the long distance rates change. They are five cents a minute after 9 PM."
So, at 9 PM, I called my brother, Don, in Gig Harbor, WA. After several rings, a groggy voice responded, "Yes?". Sensing that I had made a timing error, I cheerfully exclaimed, "Donny, this is Joe! Miriam called me this afternoon with an idea that I need to discuss with you! What are you doing?" His snarly reply came over the line, "What the hell do you think I'm doing? It's midnight here. I'm trying to sleep. Call me in the morning!", and the phone went dead.
Somewhat chagrined, I decided to go to bed, but not before I set my alarm for 4:30AM. I calculated that would be 7:30 AM Gig Harbor time, and still within the five cent a minute time frame. So, early in the morning, I again called my brother, Don. This time he was in a much better mood, having just finished breakfast. I explained my problem and after a moment of thought, he said, "Joe, that's a simple one. Just revive The Olson Chronicles on the internet. My son Kevin, in Houston, already maintains a Home Page. We'll just add a section entitled THE OLSON CHRONICLES, and publish our family news there. I'm sure Kevin will be happy to do that. That way it won't cost you anything, it will be available instantly and family members on the internet can print it off for those who are not on the internet. Kevin already has a directory of email addresses for many family members. You can contact him for additional addresses. Give Kevin a call and see if he will do it."
I emailed my inquiry to Kevin. He responded immediately stating that he would be happy to help in any way he could, but reminding me that he was a computer tech, not a journalist. He could accommodate the publishing requirements to place each issue on his Home Page, but I would need to provide the finished "copy" to be published. It could be done at no cost. I emailed my thanks and pondered my new problem, now that I had the cost problem solved. How could I get copy with a journalistic flair so it would be interesting reading. Again, I consulted with my wife. Her kindly response was, "Dummy, do I have to do all your thinking for you? Call Anita. She's creative and has plenty of common sense."
So I phoned my sister, Anita Cook, in Seattle. Her cheerful voice brightened my day with "Joe, it's so nice to hear your voice. What prompted you to spend the money on a long distance call?" I explained Miriam's idea and Don's solution to begin publishing The Olson Chronicles on Kevin's Home Page. "But", I lamented, "we need someone with journalistic skills to approach the quality Dean achieved with the Chronicles. "Have you thought of Dean's son, Poul Olson?" she asked. "You know he graduated from the University Of Virginia in that field and was editor of the William and Mary College faculty newspaper for several years. Why don't you give him a call?" I thanked Anita and proceeded to follow her suggestion.
I emailed Poul. He readily agreed.
Happily, I called my sister, Miriam, and reported my progress. "Good boy! Good boy!" she exclaimed, as she verbally patted me on my cheek.
And so THE OLSON CHRONICLES WAS REBORN!! We hope you all enjoy it. Please send us your family news through your branch reporter.
Publisher: Kevin Olson
Editor: Poul Olson
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MIDSUMMER IN SWEDEN
by Don C. Olson and Collin Olson
|"It is a special pleasure for us to celebrate Midsummer in Sweden today with our Swedish cousins and our Texas cousins. While driving up here from Stockholm , the thought came to mind that we all have a common ancestor, Östhols Anders Andersson, who was born here in Dalarna in 1834. I don't believe he would ever have imagined that two of the lines of descendents that he created would end up an ocean apart, or that members of these two branches would one day, a century later, come together again to celebrate Midsummer in Mora, Dalarna."|
So spoke Don Olson in proposing a toast at a dinner hosted by Lyndon and Kay Olson at a resort deep in the forest in Dalarna near the farms where the Olson and Östhol ancestors once lived. As part of the toast, Don spoke briefly in Swedish, much to the surprise of both the Swedes and the Americans. Don has been taking evening classes in Swedish for several months.
This was but one of the many highlights of the Scandinavian trip made by several members of the Sam Olson branch of the Olson clan. This is an account of their trip.
|The trip began on June 21, 1999 when we (Don Olson, Sandra Ward, and Kevin Olson) flew out of Seattle, WA on SAS bound for Stockholm. We arrived on the morning of the 22nd in the 700 year old capital city honored in 1998 as the cultural capital of Europe. During the next two days, we visited Lyndon, toured the American Embassy, visited with a Swedish cousin, Lennart Mårding who invited us to lunch at his home, took walking tours of the city, enjoyed coffee and lunch in the sun at sidewalk cafes, and recovered from jet lag. Stockholm is a unique city, often called "Beauty on Water" due to its many canals and magnificent archipelago made up of 24,000 islands. It is a city steeped in tradition and history, with its narrow passageways, cobbled streets, museums, and splendid palaces. In the first two days, we got a taste of Stockholm, but saw only a fraction of what it has to offer. We then headed north to the province of Dalarna, knowing with anticipation that we would return to Stockholm for several more days of fun and exploring. The lure of Dalarna was many-fold. First, it is where our ancestors came from. Second, many of our Swedish cousins live there. And third, it is where the best Midsummer celebration in Sweden is held.|
|Midsummer is one of Sweden's favorite holidays, when it celebrates the longest day of the year, and Dalarna, where it never gets completely dark on Midsummer Night, is one of the Swedes favorite places to spend Midsummer.||
||The province of Dalarna lies about 60 miles northwest of Stockholm, and in the southeast region of the province lies Lake Siljan. It is around Lake Siljan that our ancestors lived, primarily on small farms. The drive from Stockholm to Siljan was very scenic, and fortunately nature smiled on us with a warm, sunny day. We drove through a landscape of rolling, forested hills, tidy farms, cozy villages, and traditional red and yellow houses and barns. The crowning sight is at the end of the journey, when you come over the top of a hill and suddenly are presented with a panoramic view of the lake in a valley below.|
We checked in at the Gardebygården, a colorful yellow country hotel on a slope overlooking Lake Siljan. Ellen and Styrbjörn Backman, our Swedish cousins whom we have had the pleasure of knowing for many years, met us there to welcome us to Dalarna. That evening, Don's son Collin Olson arrived by train from Copenhagen, Denmark, where he had spent a month conducting a workshop at the Danish Ministry of Business and Industry and attending the Second Annual Conference on Global Economic Affairs. The next day, Sherry Olson, daughter of Joe and Joann Olson, arrived by train from Stockholm. Our party was growing by the day. The following day, Chris Dahlstrom, daughter of Miriam Lee, arrived with husband Steve and his daughter, Britta.
|Lyndon Jr. and Kay Olson, accompanied by Lyndon's brother, Charlie and family, as well as the Ambassador's Secret Service detail, had also driven up from Stockholm and were staying at the neighboring town of Tällberg on the shores of Lake Siljan. Plans had been laid earlier for all of the Olsons and Swedish cousins to gather together for a Midsummer celebration in the neighboring town of Mora. Mora has one of the biggest and best-known Midsummer celebrations in Sweden, and is a festival that is truly a sight to behold. It has been organized for many years by our cousin, Erik Östhols, who is Ellen Backman's brother. Erik is a retired building contractor and a prominent figure in Dalarna, and is known for his kind and caring nature. Erik had arranged an "honored guests" table for us at the Midsummer celebration, so we had a front row view of all of the ceremonies and performances that filled the afternoon. Groups from the surrounding area dressed in their traditional native costumes perform folkdances, deliver speeches, and raise a giant maypole. One of the dancers stood out - she was Miss South Korea,and a camera crew from the South Korean National TV was there filming her performance in the folkdancing.||
The Mora Midsummer celebration was a very unique and memorable experience, but there was more to come.
That evening, we attended the dinner mentioned earlier where Don took a shot at delivering a toast in Swedish. The dinner was held at a resort called Tomteland, or Santa World, which is believed to be the year round residence of Santa Claus. "Tomte" means troll, and we actually saw one with a long tail as we drove through the deep forest to reach the resort. Erik Östhol's company built the resort, and its many beautiful log buildings are a mark of the high quality of his design and construction. The resort was actually closed for the summer, but Erik had arranged with Mr. Claus to open it exclusively for the Östhols-Olson family dinner. It was a wonderful evening, with great food, fine wine, aquavit (a Swedish snaps), and the best Swedish coffee I've tasted. This, together with the feeling of family closeness and warmth made the evening one that I'm sure will be long remembered by all who attended.
||The Midsummer celebration was but one of many memorable events that our Swedish cousins had arranged for the Olsons during our visit to Dalarna. The next was a dinner party given by Erik Östhol at his elegant home overlooking Lake Siljan. There must have been close to 100 guests, including many of Erik's friends, and this gave us the opportunity to meet and chat with a lot of different Swedes. Among the guests we met were many distinguished Swedes, e.g. the former Chief Justice. The dining room was one of Erik's unique designs. The floor was a thick sheet of plexiglass which was the cover for an indoor pool. The floor could be raised or lowered along 4 pillars to provide either a swimming pool or a dining hall. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening with a delicious multi-course dinner, engaging conversations with the guests, welcome speeches by Lyndon and others, and live music by a local folkmusic group. If any of you ever have the opportunity to attend one of Erik's Midsummer dinner parties, jump at the chance without hesitation.|
||Next day Ellen and Styrbjörn Backman, treated us to a concert in a quarry called Dalhalla. The province of Dalarna has converted an abandoned limestone quarry into what has been called "perhaps the most beautiful open air stage in the world" (Ingemar Olander). The natural amphitheater has exceptional acoustic qualities. The aesthetic of Dalhalla was unique and provided an impressive backdrop to a large, all-male chorus that performed in the concert we attended. Several soulful numbers, including Amazing Grace, were led in turn by a mezzo-soprano, Melena Ernman, and a baritone, Karl-Magnus Fredrikssson. Malena stole the show with her exceptional range and artistry.|
The next event on our itinerary was one that we had been looking forward to, a family history day. In the neighborhood where Ellen and Styrbjörn live is a farm called Pellasgården, which means "the farm of Pellas". Pellas Olof Hansson was one of our ancestors (Blixt Olson's father) who lived from 1826 to 1896, and he was the original owner of Pellasgården. However, in 1854 he sold the farm to his sister, Margareta. The current owner of the farm is Margareta's great-grandson, Lars Bäckström. This would make Lars my 3rd cousin, and on this day we were to meet him and visit our ancestral farm, Pellasgården.
Lars is a well-known person in Sweden because he is Parliament Chairman for the Left Party, the 3rd largest of 7 political parties in Sweden and a member of the ruling coalition. Lars and his family, with two teen age sons, use Pellasgården as a summer home. It is no longer a working farm, but its used as a summer home by the Bäckströms. It consists of a cluster of buildings including a house, barn, and storage sheds arranged in a U-shape on a small portion of the land from the old farm, with a gorgeous view of Lake Siljan. We spent nearly a half-day with the Bäckströms', and their hospitality, friendliness, and warmth made this a very pleasant and memorable visit.
||After a tour of the buildings filled with antiques and documents dating back to days before the U.S. was a country, we gathered around a table for an open-air lunch. While we savored open-faced sandwiches and Swedish pastry, and sipped akvavit and coffee, Lars entertained us with priceless tales and anecdotes about our ancestors who had lived in this community. He also showed us the ancestral family apple tree, planted by Pellas over 150 years ago. The knarled, old tree is still alive and thriving. It was somewhat of a moving experience to stand by the tree and cast your imagination back in time. If only the tree could talk!|
Even with our short but event filled stay in Dalarna, we had come to feel at home, but the time had arrived for us to return to Stockholm. We took a new route, through the historic city of Uppsula, arrived at the outskirts of Stockholm, and immediately got lost, ending up on the wrong side of the city. I must say, the highway signage in Sweden leaves much to be desired. However, we recovered and finally found the Hasselbacken Hotel where Lyndon had kindly made reservations for us. The attractive rooms reminded us of the great sense of space and aesthetic, both in public spaces and private spaces, that the Swedes have.
||We had time for a bit of sightseeing before some events Lyndon had scheduled came up. We visited Stockholm's famed Skansen Park, conveniently located next to our hotel, which is an attraction much in the flavor of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, in which merchants and tradespeople ply ancient trades such as glassblowing, silversmithing, and weaving. We then took a ferry past some of the most picturesque views of Stockholm to Gamla Stan, which means Old Town. When Gamla Stan, which is a favorite haunt of both tourists and Stockholm's inhabitants, is described as Old World Charm in tourist brochures, they aren't kidding. It is where Stockholm had its genesis in the 13th century, and is now a unique cultural treasure. It is located on a small island, with amazingly well preserved, centuries old buildings, narrow cobblestone streets brimming with merchants, quaint boutiques, pubs, coffee-shops, cafes, and the world's oldest bank (1636). A strong sense of history, plus Swedish common sense, has helped preserve the medieval streets much as they have existed for hundreds of years.|
|About this time Chris Dahlstrom and family departed to visit her daughter in the Netherlands, and Ron Cook and family arrived in Stockholm from Seattle. Coming up was a dinner held by Lyndon and Kay at their stately Ambassador's residence for "family". The house was magnificent, sporting a burnished oak foyer, an indoor swimming pool, and an indoor basketball court. Kay had added a personal touch to the décor of the residence, which provided just enough of an American (or more specifically Southern) look and feel that, together with Lyndon and Kay's hospitality, charm, and aplomb, we all felt right at home.||
About this time Chris Dahlstrom and family departed to visit her daughter in the Netherlands, and Ron Cook and family arrived in Stockholm from Seattle. Coming up was a dinner held by Lyndon and Kay at their stately Ambassador's residence for "family". The house was magnificent, sporting a burnished oak foyer, an indoor swimming pool, and an indoor basketball court. Kay had added a personal touch to the décor of the residence, which provided just enough of an American (or more specifically Southern) look and feel that, together with Lyndon and Kay's hospitality, charm, and aplomb, we all felt right at home.
There were several tables of guests. At our table, which included Kay, the conversation was lively and engaging. We learned from Kay about the difficulties of adapting the spicy, richly varied cuisine of the South to Swedish tastes. Lyndon had earlier explained to me that the chef was the most important person at the Embassy.
This very pleasant and memorable evening ended with a group photo of our branch of the Olson family with Lyndon.
The next morning we gathered again at the Ambassador's residence for the next event that Lyndon had planned - a cruise in the Embassy yacht through the Stockholm archipelago mentioned earlier in this report. With a picnic lunch prepared and packed by Lyndon's chef, we set out with the Secret Service escort to a yacht club.
|There we boarded the sleek 40 foot yacht with all the comforts of home. With Lyndon at the helm, we took a leisurely cruise through the harbor with some of the best views of Stockholm, and then out into the archipelago. We threaded our way through numerous channels between dozens of scenic islands, large and small, to a remote swimming nook. There we anchored for a tasty lunch which was a welcome repast of Americana, while some of the more daring youth leaped into the clear, nippy waters for a swim. Soon they were joined by a family of mamma and baby swans. Following lunch, we basked in the sun, sipped cool drinks, chatted, and enjoyed the natural beauty surrounding us. The time to weigh anchor and head back came all too soon.||
The 4th of July was approaching, and with it the biggest Independence Day "blow-out" (Lyndon's description) any of us had ever attended. Each year Lyndon holds a July 4th party at the American Embassy with nearly 1500 guests in attendance. This year it was held on July 2, because July 4 fell on a Sunday, and in the summer city Swedes like to head for the country. Catered by the Texas Longhorn Restaurant, with entertainment by the Go-Getters Country Western band, and the Marine Honor Guard, the celebration was as authentic American as you can get overseas. The Bar-B-Q was finger-lickin good and the pecan pie delicious. There was one tense moment, when the MC introduced Lyndon as Lyndon B. Johnson. However, Lyndon skillfully transformed the embarrassment into a moment of humor. He then delivered a moving speech which made one appreciate being American. This is a special feeling you generally don't get until you travel abroad..
|There were some sad moments at the end of the celebration as it was then that we had to say our good-byes to Lyndon and Kay.||
|The following evening, we were invited to dinner at Gunilla Östhol's home. Her house, called Villa China, is located in a unique, parkland setting on grounds in the outskirts of Stockholm which are owned by the Royal Family of Sweden. Her father, Erik, lives nearby in a house called Villa Japan. The names reminded me of some history I once read about the major role Sweden played in Asian trade in the 18th century. Asian goods became the rage in Sweden and over 25 million pieces of China porcelain was imported into Sweden during this period. Sweden was highly successful in this trade, for one reason because they designed ships for speed and mobility which could outrun the notorious pirates who haunted the waters off Madagascar along the shipping lanes to Asia. The pirates so admired the Swedes that some of those who "retired" wanted to settle in Sweden. However, Sweden would have none of it.||
We had a wonderful, enjoyable evening with the three generations of Östhols - Erik, his daughters Gunilla and Eva, and Gunilla's children and spouses.
Our last big event in Sweden was a tour of the Swedish Parliament building, or Riksdag, courtesy of Lars Bäckström. The building is an immense, richly appointed edifice, and with Lars leading us through doors that would otherwise be locked and providing a true insider's perspective, the once-of-a-lifetime tour was something we will all long remember. We visited the committee rooms whose walls were painted with colorful frescoes depicting the history and people of Sweden, several galleries in which Lars alluded to controversies that still surround ancient portraits, underground passages which showed detailed cross-sections of several hundred years of history in the layers of their walls, and a passageway that led to underground bunkers to be used in case of nuclear bombardment. In the Parliament chamber, we had the opportunity to sit in the leaders' chairs for a first-hand view of the floor from their perspective.
The time to leave Sweden came all too soon. We were grateful to all of our relatives and friends who showed us such gracious hospitality and who went to such great lengths to give us a glimpse of Sweden which we would never have had otherwise. Sweden impressed us as a country rich in heritage and culture for which we will have a lifelong appreciation.
On July 3, we boarded a train for the Numedal valley in Norway to visit for the first time relatives on the Emma Dahlgren side of the family. But that is another story.
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BRISSENDEN FAMILY UPDATE
by Constance Brissenden and her visiting nephew Scott Brissenden, 18 years
The Canadian Brissendens are the children, grandchildren and great-children of Esther Olson and William Brissenden. We are scattered from Vancouver, B.C. to Ottawa, Ontario. Stephen Brissenden, Esthers grandson and Barrys middle son married Diane Cook (granddaughter of Sam Olson and daughter of Anita Cook). They live in Seattle and are covered in the Cook family news.
Starting with the easternmost Brissendens, David Brissenden (youngest son of Esther) is on his way to the Santa Rosa, CA, senior hockey tournament in mid-July. This was Charles Schultzs favorite activity (after cartooning) and he was one of the founders of the annual event, now in its 25th year. David plays centre in an over-70s league. He recommends hockey to everyone as a way to stay young. His wife, Daphne, is staying in Ottawa with their new baby that is, their new bichon frise dog they adopted from the city pound
Readers may recall the farm, where Esther and family lived from the early 1940s on. Grandsons Chris and Peter still farm the 400-acre farm in the Ottawa Valley. The big news here is that Pat (Esthers son) and wife Bea moved from the farm into an apartment in nearby Ottawa after the Great Ice Storm. Since then, younger son Peter got engaged to a nurse from Newfoundland (now living in Ontario). Peter will be meeting Pams family this summer at a family reunion in her home province. Pat and Bea are enjoying their new apartment, although Pat had a diabetic complication which resulted in a partial toe amputation. All is well again now.
Moving to the Toronto, Ontario area the story is about young people on the move. Esthers great-granddaughter Bryn (daughter of Julie Brissenden Mercer and Joel Mercer) completed teachers college and moved to Paris to join her French beau Nic. Brother Griff got engaged to longtime girlfriend Audrey. Both are physiotherapists and Griff, like Audrey, is fluent in French as well as English. Scott (grandson of Barry and son of Barry and Elizabeth) made his first trip to the West Coast on July 4 and is helping his Auntie Constance write this epistle. Scott will also spend a week with cousins Erica and Thomas Brissenden in Seattle. Heather, Scotts sister, 17 years, is working for a second year at Paramount Canadas Wonderland as a singer/dancer in a swing musical revue.
On the West Coast as well, Constance edited and contributed to a new Vancouver guidebook which will be out later in the summer. This spring, she traveled with her partner, Larry Loyie, to Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Banff, Alberta, giving writing workshops.
Have a wonderful summer. Until next time,
Constance and Scott
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
July 4, 2000
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GRANDPA'S LOAN SEEDS GRANDSON'S
by Mary Olson-Boyd
When the many "younger" members of the family compare their lives to those of the generations before them, they may become a little overwhelmed and wonder if they too will be able to follow in their forefathers "successful" foot steps. It is hard for them to imagine, that the successful "older" relatives they admire today had their share of troubles during their younger years, and they didn't always know what they were to do with their lives. Like the "younger" Olsons, the "older" Olsons often needed the guidance of their senior relatives, and can credit part of their current success to the help they received. Lee Olson (son of David Olson), owes much of his current success to Grandfather Blixt!
In the spring of 1937, the young Lee Olson graduated from Curlew High School. That summer, he landed his first job as a packer for the U.S. Forest Service. The work was hard, but he loved the time he spent in the woods with the pack team. He would haul supplies to remote areas of the Forest, and wondered if this may be a permanent career opportunity for him. He was 18 years old and liked the paycheck he received for a job that he loved! His parents had other ideas, and convinced Lee that he should go to college and get an education. September arrived, and Lee's dream job came to an end. Reluctantly he packed his bags and headed off for Washington State University in Pullman.
Within the first week of College, Lee knew academia and life at Pullman was not for him! He packed his bags, and with hat in hand returned home to Ferry County. He worked in his parents store in Malo, WA, and did a variety of other things to occupy his time until the spring of 1938.
Lee's father David, was a very successful business man in his own right, and no doubt was worried about his son's future. Times were beginning to get hard for many folks and a lot of people were unable to pay their property taxes, losing their land to the county. Being the enterprising businessman he was, David purchased a lot of this repossessed timber land from Ferry County. David decided to start selling the timber off of these lands to Bowe Logging Company, who would log it.
Hearing of his father's plans to log the property, young Lee had a great idea! What if he logged the area for his dad, instead of contracting it out to Bowe Logging Company? This would solve all of his problems, and could be the start of a great career! He would be working for himself in an environment he loved, and he was sure loggers made very good money! He approached his father with the idea, and his father said, "Okay, if you can get a truck!" Well, he might as well have said "Okay, if you can get a million dollars!"
|Lee was a energetic young man, and was not about to let this career opportunity pass
him by! He would figure a way to purchase a truck and go to work as a Ferry County logger.
He did his homework, and decided he could probably purchase a good logging outfit for
about $1200.00. This was a lot of money for an 18, soon to be 19 year old with no credit!
Who would lend a young man this kind of money during the depression? Lee racked his brain
and the answer came to him.
There was one person Lee loved and admired, and who thought Lee was one great kid too! He thought about it for a while and decided his only chance to borrow the money was to go to Grandpa Blixt. Lee and his Grandpa were good friends. They spent many an hour together, as Grandpa Blixt and Grandma Christine lived with Lee's parents from 1937 until Grandpa's death in 1941. Lee knew Grandpa was an honest man and a good Christian person, and if he asked him for the money, he was sure to at least give it some consideration. Knowing this, he asked Blixt for a loan of $1,200.00 to purchase a logging truck. Blixt was no doubt impressed with his Grandson Lee's plans, because after some thought, he agreed to the loan! The one stipulation was that the loan must be paid off within one year!
With the $1200.00 in his pocket, Lee headed for Spokane in the summer of 1938, to purchase his very own logging truck and trailer. The excitement he felt as he shopped for just the right truck! He found the truck of his dreams, a 1937 heavy duty Ford. He took his new truck to the Union Ironworks and bought a trailer and bunk, total cost for all was $1,180.00! With $20.00 left over, Lee returned to Malo with his new truck and a determination to succeed as a logger!
As planned, Lee hauled logs for his Dad. Within the first year, he had paid his Grandfather back and purchased himself a used Model A car! He continued his logging career until 1940. In the spring of 1940, the country was talking of war and the draft. Lee decided it would probably be a good idea to get a more secure job, so he returned to the Forest Service and his former packer job. This job eventually lead to a lifelong career with the Forest Service. Lee retired from the Forest Service as a Job Corp Center Director.
The loan Blixt made to his Grandson Lee has made a deep impression on this whole branch of the Olson family. Lee took that loving experience he had with his Grandfather, and has shared it many times over with his own three Daughters and Grandchildren. The faith and generosity Blixt showed to Lee, is a legacy that we can hope to pass on to the future generations in their quest for successful and happy lives.
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LET'S GET ACQUAINTED
by Anita Cook
|We have had a lot of "press" about our heritage which has created a
wonderful sense of being connected for our extended Olson family. The time at our last
reunion passed so quickly it seems we barely had time to greet each other, let alone
exchange much about our lives so I thought I would take this opportunity to write
something about our branch, the Sam Olson branch, to sort of get acquainted.
Sam, born April 29, 1896 and next to the youngest of Blixt and Christina's seven children, fortunately was a very strong and determined person because he had some unusual challenges in his life.
Drafted into the U.S. army in his early 20's to train for duty in WW1 he was sent to a military camp in California where he contacted spinal meningitis and came very close to losing his life. During his illness his sense of hearing suddenly and totally ended. After his recovery (which took several months) the army sent him to an agricultural school at Davis University in California. I asked him how he got there and how he managed without being able to hear.
Being before the days of consideration for people with physical handicaps the army just gave him a note that said "I am deaf" and put him on the train for Davis, California. He never had any formal training for the deaf but learned to communicate in spite of his loss of hearing. I have had people say to me, "My it is wonderful how your Father can manage with such a handicap" and I would think to my self "What handicap?"
Sam returned to Malo after he left Davis, married Emma Dahlgren, a beautiful young teacher from Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. They bought a farm five miles beyond the Malo store at the end of the north fork of St. Peter's Creek road. I don't think it was every bride's dream home! There was a partially finished, two story log home heated by a wood stove and without running water or electricity. This was not unusual, however, in rural America of the early 1920's.The water had to be carried into the house in buckets and then heated on the stove for everything where hot water was needed from washing dishes to bathing in the round galvanized tub. Thanks to Sam's ingenuity by piping spring water from the mountains they eventually did have running water and generated electricity from the power of the water. We had running water in our house and electric lights which no one else had until the REA electrified the rural areas and that was about 20 years later.
Five children were born to Sam and Emma while they lived on their farm at Malo, Miriam the oldest, then Joe, Anita, Don and Dean. Sam expanded his ranch by buying neighboring farms and took began raising Registered Shorthorn cattle, both a great source of pride for him. There was a lot of work for all of us to do. The summers were spent stockpiling everything for our family as well as for the cattle and horses so we could eat and stay warm during the winter months. The alfalfa had to be brought into the barn, the grain had to be threshed (this took a lot of hired help and my mother had to cook for all the hired help during the summer harvest) the garden had to be harvested, the wood had to be stockpiled so we could stay warm in the winter, etc. just to mention a few activities.
We did manage some time out for a bit of fun. There were sleigh rides and bon fires in the winter. We rode horses and made our own ice cream, which was a great activity of stirring the cream, eggs, vanilla and sugar for hours in the freezer, adding ice that we got from Uncle David's ice house at the Malo store, tasting often to see if the ice cream had frozen yet! One of my favorite memories was the aroma of freshly baked bread when we got home from school in the late afternoon, which our Mother baked every week. Sam had played the violin before he lost his hearing and Emma loved music, too. A traveling salesman was touring the country side with pianos for sale. They purchased a piano so there was the opportunity for music lessons. They both felt education was very important and paid strict attention and encouraged our performance at school.
During 1943 we moved away from the farm on the rocky hillside where our Mother had worried constantly that the horses would run away with the mower or hay rake attached to them (and they some times did) or the tractor would tip over on the rocky hillside with our Dad aboard, or he might get gored by our huge bull because he would walk without caution through the corral. He was attacked once by a boar when he entered the pen to feed the pigs. It was after dark and he lost his balance and fell (impaired balance was a part of the meningitis and hearing loss). The hired man used a pitch fork to chase the boar off but not before he ripped a big gash in his forearm. Our new farm was closer to Spokane, much closer to civilization than Malo!
World War II was nearing an end. Miriam had been away from home working in the shipyards in Portland, Oregon, Joe soon went into the Navy leaving Donny, Dean and me at home with Mom and Daddy. Again there were many challenges. Part of the land had timber on it and Sam as always, looking for bigger and better, started clearing the trees to make more area for growing crops and of course we all had to participate. Joe would come home to help whenever he could. After the war was over Miriam started school at the University of Washington. Joe finished his time in the Navy and enrolled at Gonzaga University in Spokane, taking time out from school to work in the merchant marines on ships sailing to world wide ports.
The farm in Deer Park, near Spokane, was level, subirrigated, productive land and much easier to manage than the Malo farm. Our home was warm, cozy and nice. We had an electric stove, hot water, and a refrigerator!! The herd of Registered Shorthorn cattle grew and much to Sam's delight they won many blue ribbons from the County and State Fairs where Sam, Donny and Dean showed them. We three youngest children, Donny, Dean and I, were in elementary school when we moved to Deer Park. We finished school there, Sam and Emma remained there for a few years after we all left home to embark on our own lives.
In the early 60's Sam and Emma retired from their many years of hard work and moved to Spokane until they visited Miriam in Phoenix, Arizona where she had recently moved. Sam loved the warm, sunny, winter days there, contrasted to the near zero weather and snow in Spokane so he decided they would move to Phoenix! He told Miriam to call Joe in Spokane and tell him to sell their home in Spokane, they wouldn't be back. They bought another home in Phoenix and spent some wonderful years there, before they passed away, Emma in 1981 and Sam in 1983.
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MILDRED'S FAMILY HISTORY
by Mildred Kachold
It was about 100 years ago that my grandmother Anna Kukull immigrated from Severin, Yugoslavia with her two young sons, Stephen, age 7 (my father) and Anthony, age 2. They came across on a boat in about the year 1903 to Ellis Island in New York City. Grandma's husband, Stephen Kukull, Sr. who was a policeman in Severin, Yugoslavia, had passed away at an early age in 1897, thus her desire to immigrate to the United States to live, so she and her sons could have a better life.
She had to have a sponsor--they lived in Northport, WA, so they traveled across country to Northport where they lived. Grandma did housecleaning, cooking and sewing to support her sons. In the next year or so they moved to Grand Forks, B.C. and it was there she met and eventually married Nick Alovanick.
In the spring of 1908 grandma Anna & grampa Nick with Anna's children Steve & Tony, now with two small children, born of the marriage, Frank, 2 1/2 years old and Anne, 11 months old, left Grand Forks and took a homestead on the South Fork of St. Peters Creek about 5 miles from Malo. Coincidentally it appears they moved to St. Peters' Creek and became neighbors of Blixt & Kristina Olson and family who had homesteaded in that area in 1900. Most homesteaders generally did farming for a living, as they did, but grampa Nick, being a miner, worked in the mines part-time.
||The years passed and when one lives in the country, neighbors become friends, children
grow up and sometimes 'love blooms' as in the case of Christina and my dad. When they
became young adults, Christina went to business school in Texas where she stayed with her
brother & family for a time, while in school. My dad went to work for the Great
Northern railway--then somewhere in there World War I began. Dad was called to enlist
--and he served in the Army with the Medical Det. 58th Infantry in France--he was involved
in skirmishes in the Toulon Sector, St. Mihiel offensive, Meuse Argonne, he was 'missing
in action' for many months, but finally turned up unscathed. He was honorably discharged
from the Army on August 1/1919. His family had a 'BIG' celebration when he came home!
He resumed his life as a civilian, going back to work with the GN railway, and Christina was through business school and now working for a business firm in Waco, Texas. Dad went to Waco and they were married there in December, 1920, came home in time for Christmas celebration with family. They started married life moving several times due to dad's work. A year later my brother, Don was born in Dec./21 and three years later I was born in Jan. 25.
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HALES' FAMILY UPDATE
by Kristina Hales
Drew Eleanor Hales will 2 on 9/11. She brightens our day. She likes Teletubbies and trying on jewelry. She is beginning to really talk with us and enjoyed the lions at the MGM Grand on our last vacation in Las Vegas. Jason, my husband works as a software engineer at Raytheon Missiles Group here in Tucson AZ and I have just started substitute teaching within the AZ school system on a year-round school system. We love our new house in the desert and hope to have a new backyard installed by the winter's end.
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NEWS FROM SWEDEN
by Annika Thomsson Lundgren
I got married on the 6th of March 1999 to Mattias Lundgren. I'm the manager of the Hotel Oden i Stockholm. He is a controller for one of the largest construction companies in Sweden and originally part from Småland, part from Norrland (a mix of the southern and northern parts of Sweden).
My sister Malin Thomsson and her fiancé Patrick Bromming bought a house in November last year and have been working on it since. They are both pilots for Scandinavian Airlines.
My brother Peter Thomsson got engaged on 29th of April 2000 to Christina Malmberg. He is studying at the Stockholm School of Business and Economics, doing his third year of four. He is also a naval officer in the reserve. She is about to graduate from law school and currently working as a customer financial adviser for SEB one of the largest banks in Sweden.
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STORIES FROM THE PAST
Don C. Olson - Family Historian
Lennart Mårding - Family Genealogist
Most of us would like to know more about our ancestors. However, when we look back more than 2 or 3 generations, this can be difficult because there is no one still alive who knew our distant ancestors. Then we must rely on records, and a skilled genealogist can often dig out a wealth of information about our distant ancestors. That is what we have endeavored to do, and we will relate what we have found in our column, "Stories From The Past"
Family Tragedies In The 1800s
This is a story about the tragic deaths of the grandfather of Kristina Olson, who is from the Östhols family line, and the grandfather of Blixt Olof Olson, who is from the Olson family line.
Kristina's grandfather was named Knåp Olof Andersson. He would have been called Olof, since Knåp was the name of his farm . Olof was born in 1801, and his farm was in the village of Utanåker in the province of Dalarna. They had 3 daughters, Anna, Britta, and Margreta, and a son, Anders. Anna was the oldest.
In 1846, Olof died a tragic death by drowning at the age of 46 near the town of Falun, about 25 miles from his home. The records indicate that he committed suicide. At the time, his child Anna was only 11 yrs. old. Olof was survived by a sister, Kerstin, who was married to a man named Östhols Anders Andersson and they lived in the neighboring village of Bäck. It seems that Kerstin took Anna into her family to help out her brother's widow.
One of Anders Andersson's children was a son who had the same name as his father. He was also 11 yrs. old when Anna joined the family, so Anna and Anders grew up together. Somewhere along the line they fell in love, and when Anna was 21 she gave birth to a child fathered by Anders. However, since they were first cousins, they could not marry by Swedish law. A few years later, both married other partners; however, Anders provided financial support for his child until she reached the age of 18..
Anders and Anna's child was named Kristina, who grew up in Anna's family. At the age of 28, Kristina married Blixt Olof Olson , and they emigrated to America and gave rise to the Olson clan.
Ander's descendents later changed their name to Östhol, and gave rise to our Swedish cousins whom many of you met at the last family reunion. Östhols was a farm name, and the use of farm names in Dalarna went out during the 20th century. As a result, many families then took the old farmnames as their surname.
Turning to the Olson family line, Blixt Olof Olson's grandfather was named Pellas Hans Ersson. Hans was born in 1799, and lived on a farm named Pellas, which was a neighboring farm to the Östhols farm. According to Swedish records, Hans died accidentally in 1847 at the age of 48. He was on his way to Falun hauling a load of hay in the winter month of Feb. Somewhere near Falun, the wagon overturned and landed on top of him, crushing him to death.
Thus, both Blixt's grandfather and Kristina's grandfather, who were neighbors, died tragic deaths at about the same age only a year apart. Both died near Falun, which in those days was a rather long way from their homes.
We can also see from this story that the common ancestor of the Olsons and the Östhols was Östhols Anders Andersson, who was born in 1834 and died in 1917.
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DELIGHTS OF DALARNA
by Don C. Olson
As most of you know, our ancestors Blixt and Kristina Olson came from the province of Dalarna in Sweden. Located in central Sweden, it is a beautiful province favored by Swedes as a tourist destination. It is famous for many different things. One of them is the most stubborn people in Sweden , but we won't dwell on that. In this column, we will focus on the many delights of Dalarna. Periodically, we will select a new delight and write a description of it.
What the heck is a falukorv? Sounds a bit weird doesn't it, at least to an American. Well, the falukorv happens to be one of Sweden's favorite foods. It is a tasty, mildly smoked sausage, and falukorv dishes are No. 1 on the list of the top ten most common meals eaten in Swedish households. And, it comes from Dalarna, with its origin in the town of Falun. It's easy to understand the derivation of the sausage's name when you know that the word for sausage in Swedish is korv.
|Falukorv is served in an endless variety of dishes , e,g, with mashed potatoes, pasta
or rice, in vegetable stew, or sliced on sandwiches. It can be served hot or cold.
The falukorv has an interesting history. Falun has long been a copper mining center, dating back to the 11th century- in fact, 300 years ago, when two-thirds of the world's copper supply came from the Falun mines, it was the copper mining center of the world. (Blixt once worked in the Falun copper mines, and probably ate a lot of falukorv.) In the 16th century, the use of strong rope made from oxhide to draw the copper mineral from the deep mines became common. This required a lot of oxen - 200 head for a single line of rope. But what did they do with all that surplus, perishable ox meat, especially in the summer? On advice from German mining engineers (the Germans are great sausage lovers) working in the mines, the locals decided to preserve the meat in a sausage, and thus the falukorv was born. In later years, when oxhide rope went out of fashion, pork was substituted for ox meat in the falukorv.
One might expect the falukorv, like most pork sausages, to contain a lot of fat. However, it is lower in fat than most would guess. A sausage cannot be called a falukorv in Sweden unless it has less than 23 grams of fat per 100 grams. It must also contain at least 40 grams of meat. Other common ingredients include potato flour and spices.
Would you like to try a falukorv? You can purchase them on the internet at http://www.swedishfoods.com/. You will find recipes at http://www.falukorv.com/.
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INTERESTING SITES TO VISIT
by Don C. Olson
Embassy Stockholm Home Page Previous News Flash Banners
SR P6 International - Virtual Sweden - Dalarna
The Sweden Information Smorgasbord - Dalarna
Siljan-Dalarna - Welcome to Siljan
Stockholm - The Official Visitor's Guide
FAMILY VITAL STATISTICS
Karl "Charles" Olaf Olson Branch - None reported
Ernest Andreas Olson Branch - None reported
Anna Elvira Olson Branch - None reported
Esther Suzanna Olson Branch - None reported
David Leonard Olson Branch - None reported
Samuel Erick Olson Branch -
Devyn Jo Bird
BORN: Devyn Jo Bird, girl, 8lbs. 12oz., on November 14, 1999 in Portland, OR to Courtney Payne and A. J. Bird. Devyn is the granddaughter of Sherry Olson and great granddaughter of Joann and Joe Olson.
S. Dean Olson
DIED: S. Dean Olson on October 22, 1999 at Williamsburg, VA. (picture) Dean was born May 7, 1938 at Malo, WA. He is survived by his wife, Annelise in Williamsburg, VA, his son Poul in Atlanta, GA, sisters Miriam Lee and Anita Cook, and brothers Don Olson and Joe Olson.
DIED: Stanley Loucks on October 4, 1999 at Payson, AZ. Stanley was born March 26, 1946 at Grand Coulee, WA. He is survived by his wife, Denise, and daughters Ninette and Chelsee in Payson, AZ, sons Alex in Payson, AZ and Ryan in Anchorage, AK, daughter Abby in Hilo, HI, two grandchildren Naomi and Caleb in Hilo, HI, his mother Miriam Olson Lee in Scottsdale, AZ and sister Christine Dahlstrom in Spokane, WA. Stanley was a graduate of DeVry Institute of Technology in Phoenix, AZ.
Christina Elizabeth Olson Branch - None reported
Relatives in Sweden - None reported
We ask that all branches report births and deaths by sending an e-mail to Joe B. Olson.
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