Olesen Oral Histories

compiled by Marvin Oleson in the late '90s

C. P. OLESEN (1866-1929)

Christian Peter Olesen was born in Hvidberg, Thisted, Denmark on October 28, 1866 where he was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Church. We have no information on his family except that his mother's given name was Marne (Marian) Christine, and that he had one full sister, one half sister, and one half brother. The sisters never came to America, but the half brother, Ole came here and later died and was buried at Ebenzer, Colorado. Christian Peter Olesen came to America, coming directly to Erwin, Kingsbury County, South Dakota in April 1890. He worked on farms for friends and acquaintances who had settled there some years earlier. Three years later in the spring of 1893 his bride-to-be Petrine Nielsen came here. She was born in Hoidbern, Thisted Denmark; April 28, 1871, the daughter of Anders Nielsen and Ane Marie Mikkalsen. She was baptized May 10, 1871 and confirmed April 12, 1885 in the Danish Lutheran Church at Hvidberg, Denmark. She had 3 brothers and 3 sisters. The brothers; Martin, Nels Anton and Andrew C. and one sister Carrie (Mrs. Chris Jensen) also emigrated to America. The oldest sister remained in Denmark, but five of her sons; Kmite, Andrew, Soren, Martin and Oscar Jensen came to America as they became old enough. One sister passed away in Denmark at an early age. On August 2, 1893 Christian Peter Olesen and Petrine Nielsen were married by their pastor, Rev. Knutesen in the Lutheran parsonage east of Erwin, South Dakota. They farmed near Erwin for a number of years before moving to a farm east of Badger near Lake Thisted. Three years later they moved to a farm a few miles northwest of Arlington known as the Frank Storley farm. In the fall of 1905 they rented the C. C. Chandler farm one half mile south of Arlington where they farmed for 9 years and then purchased the Corothers farm one mile east from there, moving there October 1, 1914 where they lived and farmed the remainder of their life time. Petrine passed away November 23, 1922. C. P. Christian Peter died May 15, 1929. They are both buried in the Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, South Dakota. All nine of their children were born in Kingsbury County, S.D. The 4 oldest were baptized in the Danish Lutheran Church near Erwin and the five younger were baptized in the Danish Lutheran Church near Lake Thisted, east of Badger, S.D. After moving to near Arlington, the family attended church and Sunday school in the Methodist Church and later became members of it. There was no Lutheran church in Arlington at that time, and the distance to travel with horses to the Lake Thisted church where they were members was too far.


by Clifford Dahl

According to the Government Archives of Norway, "Helene, 27, and Jacob Peder Larson, 31, and their children, Mathea Emile, 4, Lars Jorgen, 3, and Zachaeus, 1/2 year, left Norway for America on April 20, 1868 aboard a sailing vessel." The entire sea voyage took about two months. Arriving in New York City, they apparently took a train or river boat to Lansing, Iowa, where they remained for a period of eleven years. While crossing the ocean, Zachaeus died and was buried at sea. Two other infants were born in Lansing, and they too, died. Their names are unknown. At Lansing, three additional children were born, namely Elisa (Lizzie), Hilda, and Zacheus (Sam) - the latter named for the baby who died at sea. During the summer of 1879, Jacob and daughter Lizzie went west in search of a homestead. Arriving in Lake Sinai Township of Brookings County, South Dakota, they camped on the East shore of Lake Sinai on what was formerly the Clarence Bolte farm. A few trees still mark the exact spot, south of the present farm buildings. It is reported that they came by covered wagon pulled by one horse and one ox. Finding a suitable homestead about a half-mile east of the lake, Jacob put in a crop, harvested it, then returned to Lansing that fall to bring back the rest of the family, which included sons Lars and Zacheus, and daughters Mathea, Lizzie and Hilda. His wife, Helene, remained for a while in Lansing because of her late pregnancy and later came to Volga by train. Their son, Julius Dahl, was born shortly thereafter, on December 25, 1879. On his second trip, Jacob and children spent their first night in a grove of trees between the old Severt Hoffdal and Martin Olson farms. A few recall the exact spot. Shortly thereafter Jacob built a sod house on the new homestead. For those who are familiar with the Dahl farm north of Sinai, the site is located a few steps east of the old road entrance. A large tree marks the spot. Some time later Jacob had a wood frame house built. (The original house with later additions still stands.) Although Jacob Larson settled in Lake Sinai township in the fall of 1879, his homestead entry is listed as follows: S.W. 1/4, Section 2 - Jacob P. Larson November 23, 1881 - F. C. 12-17-1885. Patented July 6, 1883. The Homestead Act, passed May 20, 1862, gave to a citizen, or prospective citizen, of age, 160 acres of land provided the settler lived on the land at least part of each year, for five years and cultivated this land. Upon the proper proof and the payment of $10 in fees for registry, he obtained a patent to said land. In this instance, $14 had to be paid for filing. The Northwestern Railroad came through Brookings County as far as Volga the same year that Jacob settled in Sinai Township in 1879. That same fall the company laid out in order the towns of Elkton, Volga, Aurora and Brookings. Bruce was laid out in 1881, White and Bushnell in 1884 and Sinai in 1907. During these early days of deep concern, hardship, sickness and death, there was an eternal struggle for existence, bounded by a simple and strong faith that kept them going from one day to another, plus a good sense of humor. A familiar expression in those days was, "If it be God's will." And so they believed that it was God's will that bought them through such perilous times and into a reality of a farm of their own, a family and many true and noble friends in the new world. While Jacob Larson was returning to Lansing on his second trip, the first church service was held in that vicinity on Sunday Aug. 24, 1879, in the basement of the home of John Jackson. Jacob was, however, a charter member of the later organized Blom congregation. (See history of Sinai.) The terrible blizzard of '88 took a heavy toll of livestock for those early pioneers. Likewise, the blizzard took many human lives of those who became lost in the storm. Without advance forecasts such as we have today, the storm hit with all its fury, quickly, deadly and savagely. It has been said that many took notice of the snowbirds who flitted about excitedly in search of food with which to tide themselves over. It was somehow an indication of what was about to happen, yet, of course, no one heeded this simple alarm. The birds also scurried near windows as if seeking a safe and secure hiding place. Although some mentioned this odd coincidence, most scoffed at such nonsense and merely took the usual precautions for a normal winter day. On the Jacob Larson farm it was customary for their herd of cattle to go down to Lake Sinai for water, going and coming in a single file. On the day of the blizzard, January 12, 1888, Sam Dahl had gone to the lake to chop a hole in the ice for the animals to drink. Returning home, his father, Jacob Larson, remarked to him about the beauty of the day. If our recollections on the storm are correct, it had been snowing quite heavily two or three days prior. Then came a break in the weather and some sunshine. Shortly thereafter the blizzard struck with all its fury, swiftly and violently. Hurrying to make the last preparations for the storm, fuel was brought into the house and piled near the stove. There were anxious moments as the wind howled and show came down in a veritable cloudburst of flakes. Not realizing the severity of the storm, or its duration, no one dared go outside in search of the cattle, their thought being that they would find their way home. When the fierce storm abated, Jacob's first concern was to go out and find his herd, which was soon ready for market. Since no animal was about the premises, he made his way west towards Lake Sinai. The deadliness of the storm was revealed as he found one animal after another that had suffocated and frozen to death in the deluge of snow and the fierce winds. There they were, some still on their feet and embedded in the deep snow, victims of a storm unequalled in the annals of history. In attempting to return to the security of the farm buildings, they had fallen to their death in a single file. All that was saved was a team of oxen and an old cow which had remained near the outbuildings. Jacob's loss - 24 head of cattle. And so another pioneer, along with thousands of others, had suffered a drastic set-back in their attempts to gain a foothold. Most of us are prone to fret and complain when some mild misfortune hampers us, whether it be in business or farming, yet these small problems seem minor when we stop to think of these staunch souls who braved a two-month ocean voyage in a small sailing vessel, lost three members of their family, then found their way hundreds of miles across prairies only to be met with one misfortune after another. And so it was with these pioneer kinfolk of ours. They were a sturdy people, visibly shaken by one setback after another, yet more determined than ever to build a future in this chosen land. The cattle were now gone, as was the money with which they hoped to purchase equipment for their home. It was now all erased and time to start over. They left for their coming generations a priceless heritage that can't be taken away. Jacob Larson had a small physical handicap that a few may recall. This was the result of an injury to one of his feet and happened when he was a young boy in Norway. He had been carving on a stick when he somehow slipped and fell on the sharp blade of the knife. Although not severely handicapped, he walked with a limp the rest of his life. For a number of years before his death in 1921, he was often seen riding about in a single buggy pulled by his horse, Jim. Seated beside Jacob was his constant companion, a dog named Pug. Miss Annie Dahl of Arlington comments on how "us children used to play the reed organ to get old Pug to 'cry'. When he did, Grandpa would get after us with his cane." Jacob lived at the Sam Dahl farm near Arlington until his death in 1921. In the year 1906 Jacob sold the home farm to his youngest son, Julius. Jacob and Helene then moved into Volga where they bought a house in the south part of town, and on the west side of the street. The house still stands and can be easily recognized although it has been remodeled. In 1915, when "Grandma" Larson passed away, Jacob sold his house in Volga and moved in with his son-in-law, Andrew Thompson, and daughter, Lizzie, near Sinai, So. Dak. When Mrs. Thompson died, Feb. 17, 1920, he spent his time with another daughter, Mrs. Albert Hillestad, and later with his son, Sam Dahl, near Arlington. Mrs. Fred (Edith) Thompson, who has been the most helpful in providing bits of information, adds an additional note to that which already appears in these pages, concerning Jacob Larson's encampment on the east bank of Lake Sinai in the year 1879. She states, "As there were no posts or wire available for fences, an enclosure was made to hold the livestock in at night. This was done by digging a deep trench around a plot of ground, and therefore the animals would not jump over this ditch and were safe." Edith adds, "With a little effort, I feel certain that we might still find evidence of this ditch." She further comments, "During the summer days, the children of the settlers herded cattle in the head high grass of the prairies near Lake Sinai, so that the animals had ample water. The Halvorsen, Simonson, and Dahl children often herded their cattle together. They would then go to a high point south of the lake so that they could keep a watchful eye on the cattle. The children made house tunnels and "towns" in the tall grass and invented games as only children of that era knew how." The new Dakota Central Railroad was built in 1907 through the west part of the Jacob Larson homestead. It ran between Sioux Falls and Watertown, South Dakota, and saved farmers of that area may long hours of livestock and grain hauling as elevators were built along the track. "One time," Edith recalls, "Jacob Larson got stalled on the track with a load of grain and the train had to stop. After much swearing and stomping of feet, the train crew had to help him push his wagon off the track the train moved on, much to Jacobs amusement. Grandpa Larson often told this story, chuckling as he did, and loved a joke even if it was on himself." Another true and amusing story comes to us, also from Fred and Edith Thompson, and which concerns his habit of sitting in one particular spot in church in Sinai. When he arrived, and if someone else was seated in his spot in the pew, he would use his cane to poke the party in the ribs to either move over or find some other place to sit. Annie Dahl of Arlington writes, that "Grandpa Larson always carried loaf sugar in his pockets to give to us children. One time he tried to give one to my brother Emil, but he refused it and began to cry. Between sobs he said in the Norwegian language, "It is so little and so dirty." We cannot close out this brief chapter in the life of Jacob Larson without mentioning the time the first automobile made its appearance on Main Street in Volga. Jacob, who had been in town with a load of grain, was standing on a street corner visiting with some acquaintences, when this evil looking iron monster roared down the street at the insane speed of 10 to 15 miles an hour. Clouds of dust filled the air, and the horses which were hitched to wagons and buggies, leaped from side to side, struck with terror. When the horseless carriage had disappeared down the street and some semblance of order prevailed once again, he looked in the direction of the disappearing car, then to the ground, and said slowly in Norwegian, "Someday we will pay for our sins."

ANDREW N OLESON (1895-1952)

Andrew, the eldest son of C. P. and Petrine Olesen, was born February 6, 1895 on a farm one and one half miles east of Erwin, S.D. He was baptized in the Lutheran Church near Erwin. He moved with his family to a farm in the Badger area (Doug Converse farm). Later they moved to the Frank Storley farm two miles west and one and one half miles north of Arlington. In 1905 his family rented the C. C. Chandler (Ben Steensland) farm one fourth mile south of Arlington. On October 1, 1914 his parents purchased the Corothers farm one fourth mile south and one mile east of Arlington where his brother Julius still lives. Andrew was inducted into the army in 1917. He served in France and later served in the Army of Occupation until his discharge August 24, 1919. On February 28, 1923 Andrew married Florence Marvina Dahl in Bangor Township on the Z. J. (Sam) Dahl farm three miles south and one half mile east of Arlington (Alfred and Alvina Dahl's farm). As there were no Holiday Inns in those days their wedding night was spent at the Jacob Peterson home one mile east of the Z. J. Dahl farm (Marvin and Lowell Dahl's farm). Andrew and Florence rented what is now the Leigh Wheeler farm two and one half miles east of Arlington for a year until they purchased two hundred forty acres three miles west and two and one half miles south of Arlington from Clifford and Minnie (Hommersand) Reisback. This land had previously belonged to Alfred Hommersand. There was a new house on this farm, but a barn was needed. There were two barns at Arlington owned by Alfred Hommersand (Leonard and Minnie's father). These barns were located west of Ken Kortuems where the West Side motel is now. The story I've been told is that they moved the big barns across country with a team of horses and a "dead man" block and tackle. The big hip roof barn is still standing; the other barn was used for hogs and was torn down by Chris Ohlsen and boys. Four children were born to Florence and Andrew; Gladys (Mrs. John VanderWal) of Brookings, SD; Mildred (Mrs. Norman Telkamp) of Sioux Falls; Marvin of Arlington, and Donald of Albuquerque, NM. All of the children were born at home. A neighbor lady, Mrs. Alfred (Minnie) Lange would come to help out until it was time to call Dr. Hopkins, and Gannet Mannerud was then called to help take care of the mother and baby. I remember we always had quite a few turkeys around the farm. Florence had borrowed a turkey gobbler form her parents, and when it was time to return him, she proceeded to catch the gobbler, tie a rope around his legs, shut the turkey in the trunk of their 1930 Chevrolet, and take off for her folks farm six miles away. When she arrived she discovered the trunk had opened up, the turkey had fallen out but the rope was hooked to the car, so all she had left of that turkey was the rope still tied to two legs. In the fall of 1941 Andrew and Florence purchased the Minnie Murphy farm four miles north of Arlington in Brookings County for the price of $6000.00. After they had lost their land south of Arlington it was a big decision to try owning land again. The buildings on this farm, with the exception of the house, were in poor shape, so Andrew tore them down and proceeded to rebuild. He built a garage, granary, hog house, and hen house. In 1948 and 1949 the hip roof barn was completed. This is one of the last hip roof barns around. It is being used now for storage. Andrew enjoyed working with lumber and carpentry. He helped many neighbors and friends doing carpenter work. When Andrew and Florence moved to this farm there were only a few trees near the buildings, so they planted trees - lots of trees. Roy Dahl, Florence's brother, helped them. This was in the spring of 1942, which was a very wet spring. The shelterbelt running east and west was planted a couple of years earlier. Andrew spent many hours helping remodel when the Bangor Lutheran Church was moved into Arlington and annexed to the Trinity Lutheran Church building in 1936. He was instrumental in promoting a building fund and working toward the goal of a new building for Trinity Lutheran Church. He didn't live to see the new church. In February of 1952 he developed a heart condition and passed away May 16, 1952 in his farmyard. In October of 1958 his wife, Florence moved into Arlington. For a number of years she worked as a baker at the City Cafe for Hart Erickson and Sonny Papaniau. She enjoyed quilting and knitting, and made many sweaters for her grandchildren and others. In 1969 she, too, developed a heart condition and after surgery, she passed away April 23, 1970. Marvin and Grace Oleson still live on the same farm.

Julius Olesen (1898-1989)

Julius Olesen was born near Erwin, S.D. in Kingsbury County on November 8, 1898 to Christian Peter and Petrine Nielson Olesen. He was baptized in the Danish Lutheran Church near Erwin. He, along with his eight brothers and sisters, lived on several farmsteads in the Badger and Arlington area. Julius recalls when he was five years old, he and his parents lived on the Frank Storley farm northwest of Arlington. Laura Bennett (Mrs. Harry Liebsch) sent him a Thanksgiving card inviting him to visit school and another card inviting him to the school Christmas party. He still has these cards. The school was near the Thompson brothers farm. Julius's folks moved to the Ben Steensland farm one half mile south of Arlington about 1905. He recalls herding cows at the cemetery. There were not many grave stones there then. He attended school in Arlington. School was quite hard for Julius, coming from the country, and all he could talk was Dane. Some of his schoolmates were Ed Hommersand and his sister and the Stark family (whose family built the Tilford Nelson house). He remembers that Mrs. Rollo Jack was his teacher in the sixth or seventh grade. He has his eighth grade report card, which was very respectable, although arithmetic was not his best subject. When Julius was twelve years old, he trapped and sold pigeons to the town kids - he got ten cents or fifteen cents for a pair. He trapped many pocket gophers, as many as eighteen in one day. There was a ten cent bounty on each pocket gopher, five cents on each gray gopher, and three cents on a striped gopher. He had to take them to Brookings to collect the bounty. On October 1, 1914, Julius and his family moved to the J. W. Corothers farm one fourth mile south and one mile east of Arlington, which had been purchased by his father. Julius still lives on this farm. When Julius was eighteen years old, he joined the Modern Woodmen Lodge. In 1924 he joined the Masonic Lodge and is still an active member of this organization. He has been a member of the Methodist Church since he was young. After Julius's mother died in 1922 there were several hired girls through the years who helped with the housework and cooking. Some who worked there were Dolly Henrickson (Merrifield), Stella Newton, Marie Pedersen (Kjellsen), and Gannet Mannerud. In the absence of a hired girl, brother Lewie was the mainstay in the kitchen. Marie Kjellsen remembers that each boy had his assigned job and did it promptly and well. A surprise birthday party was arranged for her with brother Lewie baking the cake and all of the boys pitching in to do the work. When his father died in 1929 the brothers continued running the farm with Julius being the oldest one still at home. When brother Tony married Mazie Bracken in 1936, Tony helped with the farming and Mazie did the housework. As Julius's brothers left for 'greener pastures' he was again in need of a housekeeper. Word was sent to Minnesota to ask Stella Newton to return. She came back and was employed by Julius until her death in the mid-forties. Julius nearly always had hired men because he had a large amount of chores. Some of these were Marvin Nelson, Gilbert Henrikson, Charles Hagen, Floyd Pedersen, Gilmore Ulvestad, Frank Storley, Ben Johnson, Carl Moe, and Ed Dahl. Ben Johnson (Arden's father) was probably the last man who did fieldwork for Julius. In about 1940 he seeded the half section down to hay and pasture. Bill Rumple helped him put up alfalfa hay for one half share of the raked and baled hay. In about 1943, Edwin Dahl started working for Julius. He and his wife Mearl (Buller) lived in the house west of the main house. When Stella Newton died, Ed and Mearl moved into the main house and Mearl cooked for the men and kept house. Some time later Carl Moe retired and moved to town to live with his mother. In the middle fifties, Mearl started working in town and again Julius was looking for a housekeeper. Gib and Joanne (Kjellsen) Moe worked for him for a while, Joanne doing the housework. When Ed and Mearl Dahl moved to town in 1956, Julius didn't hire anyone else. He had quit milking cows and only had his stock cows and some pigs on the farm. He rented his land out to be broken up and farmed. Julius recalls that in the forties he had about four hundred fifty head of cattle. He ran about two hundred to two hundred fifty hogs 'behind' the cattle to glean the manure. He sold this bunch of hogs to Bill Holman who in turn sold them to Swift in Watertown. They averaged five hundred fifty pounds each and people were taking pictures of the large hogs. When everyone was starting to use tractors and wanted to get rid of their horses, Julius would buy horses for five dollars each, skin them, and feed the carcasses to the hogs. This was a cheap source of protein. Julius bought iron, hides, and furs of all kinds - everything except paper and glass. In 1925 skunks brought twenty five cents to forty cents, muskrats thirty five cents to one dollar, horse hides one to two dollars, cow hides two cents per pound, rags one cent per pound, rubbers and overshoes five cents per pound, and copper and brass five cents per pound. He had piles and piles of iron northwest of his house. Julius bought a lot of jackrabbits. He paid seven cents each from a hunt that originated in Volga. There were may organized rabbit hunts - he recalls buying seven thousand rabbits in one week. The highest price he remembers paying was one dollar each. This was when the legion had a hunt and the rabbits were sold on bids. Shells cost seventy five cents per box then. Tracy Produce was also buying rabbits at that time. They skinned them and stretched the skins and Julius got the carcasses for his hogs. Julius remembers men coming from Nebraska with two truck loads of rabbits. He couldn't buy them because they were 'showshoe' rabbits; they were smaller and had poorer skins. The family was always worried that Julius might be robbed. He carried a large roll of bills because he bought many furs, some from strangers, and always paid cash. He remembers selling seventeen hundred skunks, nineteen thousand muskrats, and one thousand weasels, all skinned and stretched, that he had bought from hunters and trappers. Julius has always been an avid trapper himself, continuing until just a few years ago. Marvin Oleson, his nephew, remembers when Julius used to buy many thousand bales of hay for his feed lot cattle and his milk cows. In the early fifties he bought truckload after truckload of ear corn and piled it for later use. Marvin's brother Donald Oleson and Clifford Sundberg worked for Al Oleson (no relation) trucking at the time. As there were no hoists on the trucks it was all manual labor to load and unload the grain. Lloyd Nielsen had a portable feed mill (later owned by Dwayne Kjellsen) and he was hired to grind the corn into wagons. Julius never had a tractor or loader so everything was done by hand. Chores were never a 'fifteen minute a day' job! Along with his cattle and hogs he had about twenty to thirty milk cows that were milked by hand twice a day. Julius was always available to a friend or neighbor in need of help. Although he wasn't accustomed to the newer machinery he would oblige by hauling loads of hay or silage whenever they were in need of a hand.

LEWIE OLESEN (1905-2001)

by Lewie Olesen

I, Lewie Olesen, was born on a farm five miles north west of Arlington, SD on February 18, 1905 to Christian Peter and Petrine (Nielsen) Olesen, the sixth child in their family. It was a cold snowy day and evening (so I've been told). Dr. Schoonmaker of Arlington was slow after being called and getting his sleigh and horses rigged up for the trip out there. I just couldn't wait to get to see the outside world, so I arrived before the Doctor did. A neighbor lady had come over to assist but without a Doctor she could do nothing, so my father took over and took care of me and mother and gave us first aid. In the spring - I was baptized in the Lake Thisted Danish Lutheran Church, a few miles north of where we lived. They named me Lauritz after a baby brother who had passed away a year before I was born. In the Fall of the same year my parents and family moved to a farm one-half mile south of Arlington, where we lived and farmed for nine years. On or about Sept. 1, 1911, I started school in the Arlington Public School, where they enrolled me as Lewie (not Lauritz). Lewie was more the American way of spelling and my birth certificate is now made out with the name of Lewie. In the Fall of 1914 my folks bought a farm one mile east known as the Crothers farm where our family lived from then on. I completed my grade schooling in the Spring of 1919. From then on I helped on the farm. After the death of my mother in 1922 and my sister married and left, I took over the housework, cooked, baked, clothes washing, etc., whenever we didn't have a housekeeper. Father passed away in 1929. In 1931, I thought it was time to take a wife and get out for myself, so on Dec. 11, Mae Christine Johnson and I were married at Presho, SD. We rented the Seth Hewett farm eight miles north of Arlington where we lived and farmed for three years. Our first child, Marjorie Ann was born Jan. 19, 1933 in the maternity home in Arlington. On March 1, 1935, we rented and moved on to the farm three miles NW of Madison, owned by the Hattleberg sisters. While farming here our two oldest boys were born in the Madison Hospital. LeRue - March 8, 1936 and LeRoy on June 28, 1938. In the Fall of 1940 we rented the Ross farm, one mile east of Arlington, where we moved to in November. There we lived and farmed until we purchased Mae's homeplace in 1943. Our youngest son Loren was born in the Volga Hospital Nov. 11, and we moved to the home farm on Dec. 14 of that year. Here we have made many changes, improvements and added more land to the original homestead, making a total of 400 acres. We celebrated the Centennial observance in the summer of 1983 by entertaining about 100 friends and relatives at a P.M. outdoor luncheon on Sunday, July 10. Mae and I are still on the farm, rented out our land, but still keep busy, raising a few cattle, chickens, guinea, peacocks, and have a big flower garden and yard work. Our kids are all married and have families of their own, and we are enjoying life with our grand children and we keep busy.

ROY OLESEN (1914-2002?)

Roy Olesen, the youngest child of C.P. (Pete) and Petrine Olesen, was born March 8, 1914, on the Chandler farm, southeast of Arlington, Kingsbury County, South Dakota. He moved with his parents to the Crothers farm, one mile east in the fall of 1914. Roy attended the Arlington Public Schools, beginning in the fall of 1920,and graduating from high school in May of 1931. In the fall of 1931 he went to St. Joseph, Missouri to live with his two married sisters while attending St. Joseph Junior College, (now Missouri Western State College). He graduated in 1933 with an A.A. degree. After graduation he returned to the farm near Arlington where he lived with his brothers until March 1936. In March 1936, Roy went to work for the First National Bank in Arlington. He served as bookkeeper, teller, and assistant cashier, until May 1939 when he accepted a position as assistant cashier at the Postville State Bank, Postville, Iowa. In December 1942, Roy enlisted in the Naval Construction Battalion (CB's) with a rating of yeoman 3rd class. He was called to active duty in March 1943, and reported to boot camp at Camp Peary, Williamsburg, Virginia. After 6 weeks boot training, he attended a 3-week yeoman training school, also at Camp Peary. He was then assigned to the Stevedore Training School where he served as the yeoman in the office. While serving here, he was promoted to 2nd class. In December 1943, Roy was transferred to the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts in Cleveland, Ohio, where he had various assignments, including work for Admiral Millen. In August 1944, Roy was commissioned ensign (line officer) in the USNR. He was transferred to Naval Officers Training School at Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey for three months training. Upon graduation his Navy orders read to proceed to San Francisco and further shore based assignment in the Pacific. After a three week layover in San Francisco he sailed in November of '44 for points unknown. A stopover at Pearl Harbor and then a three week "Cruise" to Manus Island in the Admiralties followed. This being wartime the course zigzagged, with blackouts every night. Awaiting further transportation, Christmas was spent in Manus. This being the staging area for the Manila invasion, thousands of ships of all sizes were anchored in the harbor. Early in January 1945, he arrived at Hollandia (now Jayapura) in New Guinea. After a 30 mile jeep ride into the New Guinea mountains he arrived for duty in the personnel office of the Com-7th fleet. Due to the movement of troops toward the Philippines, the assignment was short-lived. He then was transferred back to Hollandia where he was assigned office duty. This lasted until August 1945, when he returned to the supply base at Manus where his assignment was Ship's Secretary, serving under Commodore Martin. In March 1946, Roy returned to the States where he was placed on inactive duty in May. In 1954 he received his final honorable discharge from the service. Roy returned to his former job in Postville for 6 months. He then moved to California and from November 1946 to December 1948 worked at the Santa Clara branch of the American Trust Co., which was later bought by Wells Fargo. In January 1949 he accepted an offer to work for Owens-Corning Fiberglass as Cashier and Financial Accountant. He continued with OCF until July 1, 1978 when he took retirement. These retirement years have been spent very enjoyably, living in his townhouse in Santa Clara. He sold the townhouse in April of 1990 and moved into the "Atrium", a retirement community in South San Jose, where he is enjoying life and good health at this writing.


The oldest son of Andrew N. and Florence Dahl Oleson, I was born November 15, 1930 on the Minnie Riesbeck farm S.E. quarter Section 16-110-53 in Kingsbury County, three miles west and two and one half miles south of Arlington, S.D. My first six years of school were spent at District #40 school on Dale Manley's land. My first grade teacher was Mrs. Lila Rapp. Other teachers I remember were Mrs. Prussmen, Beatrice (Vedvei) Krahn, Miss Beulah Olson of Lake Preston, Miss Lorene Anderson, and Ada Dahm (Mrs. Chet Brown). As I remember some of the teachers stayed at our home, at least in the winter months, if her home wasn't close by. Lucille Teller (Mrs. Adolph Quail) was one who boarded with us. I still have fond memories of the first years in school. The Manleys, the Halver Lees, the Christensens (Betty and Dick), the Blums (Charles), Jensens (Carol and Leslie), Henrys, Groots, Aarons, the Sundbergs, the Schlacks, the Lloyds (Donna), the Rapps, the Jones ... many are good friends and are still living in the Arlington Community. My first passenger train ride was to Lake Preston with Miss Beulah Olson where I stayed overnight with her at her parents home. The next day we went to DeSmet where I participated in a speaking contest. I remember the times when the county nurse came to the school and sent bottles of cod liver oil home with is. Oh how I hated the stuff! I also remember having to use brown salve all over our bodies to get rid of the "seven year itch". I remember Dick and Betty Christiansen driving a horse drawn buggy to school. There was a barn for horses, and no one was allowed to drive the horse and buggy during school. The old shed and the school building are still there. We used to play anti-i-over using the old shed. I remember the whist parties our folks used go to -- we children went along -- we didn't have a baby sitter -- the kerosene lamps -- the cold upstairs with hot sad irons wrapped in towels to keep our feet warm at night -- the frozen water in the reservoir of the kitchen stove on cold mornings -- the walk of a mile and a half to school at -20 degree temperature and my sister Mildred wouldn't wait for me -- snaring gophers in Buck's pasture in the spring -- the school picnics and the ball games in the same pasture. I remember going to Alfred Langes twenty fifth anniversary party in 1936. It was a very cold bad winter. A group of neighbors came to our house and the roads were blocked to the Lange's house so we went with bob sled and hay rack. I don't know if it was a surprise party or not but it was a surprise to me when the bob sled tipped over and I ended up with Clara MaGee on top of me! Clara was a short, heavy, jolly lady whom we kids dearly loved. She was Ludwig Lee's housekeeper. They lived three quarters of a mile west of the school house. We would stop after school and she would give us fresh home made bread. After Ludvig and Clara made a trip to Iowa, my dad and Ferdie Peterson got up a shivaree for them; thinking they had gotten married while they were in Iowa. As it turned out they hadn't -- so the joke was on Dad and Ferdie. They just wanted a party in the first place! As I remember, my folks then they were very old people -- and not being capable of having fun. As I remember now, they were only about 35-40 years old. Time is a relative thing!! On March 1, 1942 the family moved to the Minnie Murphy farm four miles north of Arlington. The only teacher I had at District 17 was Milly Welsh (Nelson). This school was located on Section 17-111-52 Brooking County. Bob Haufschild lives on this quarter section now. The school was located about twenty rods east of Lody Cihak's farm. When the new road, 'County 6' was built in about 1965 the school house was too close to the road. The county commissioners were willing to move it south or relocate it. As the school had been closed in 1948 the school board decided to sell it. Tom Liebsch bought the building and he and Merlyn Iverson gutted it and moved it to Tom's farm one mile north of Arlington. It is now being used as a granary. When Tom moved to town he gave my wife the old brass school bell. When I started high school my sister Mildred and I rode the "Badger Bus". It was a wooden homemade truck, painted red, white, and blue, and built by Casey Phelps. This bus transported the high school kids from Badger to the Arlington School. As we lived along the way we were allowed to ride. I believe it cost ten dollars per month. The bus was owned by Casey and had nothing to do with the school. After graduating from high school in 1948 I helped my dad farm and also worked for my Uncle Emil Dahl's and Jack Callahan's carpenter crew. We built several homes in Arlington. In 1951 two of them were Axel Bachs and Clark Andis homes. Chris Oveson's was built in 1956-57 by Melstad's crew. I helped with his too. On October 10, 1952 Grace Elaine Morris from Britton, S.D. and I were married in the Methodist Church in Watertown, S.D., where she was attending Bartron Hospital School of Nursing. We have three children: Douglas Andrew (Born 6-10-53) married Sandra (Crutchfield), and lives in Brookings, SD. Susan Renae (Born 6-28-58) married Michael Barker. They live in Bryant, S.D. and have three children -- Joshua Michael, born 3-28-78, Kelly Sue, born 6-24-80, and Adam Jonathan born 7-15-84. Roger Kristian (Born 2-27-63) married Paulette (Holzwarth). They live in Brandon, SD and have three children - Allison Elaine, born 4-1-89, Taylor Elizabeth, born 1-17-93, and Courtney Ann, born 5-13-94.