Jonas Olson family papers, 1831-1979  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Olson, Gilbert R.
Jonas Olson family papers
1831-1979 (inclusive)
1 file (1 folder), ( )  :   ; 
Collection Number
OPVSIEmss_11 (collection)
The Olson family papers tell the story of Jonas Olson who emigrated to America in 1861 and in 1864 homesteaded in Alfsborg Township, Sibley County, Minnesota. Here he me his wife Anna Britta Hed and the family history tells the story of their life and of their descendants. The family history also includes the story of John Olson who married Josephine, daughter of Jonas and Anna Britta. The story was researched and written by Gilbert R. Olson and family begun in 1977 and ended in 1979.
Pacific Lutheran University, Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Pacific Lutheran University
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, Washington
Telephone: 253-535-7586
Fax: 253-535-7315
Access Restrictions

The biography is available for research.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Jonas Olson was born at Skaraborgs Län Westergötland, Sweden, on 27 November 1831. He immigrated to America in 1861 and in 1864 homesteaded in Alfsborg Township, Sibley County, Minnesota. Here he met and married Anna Britta Hed, born in 1835 to Mr. and Mrs. Johannes Hed. They farmed on their homestead, planting, cultivating, and harvesting with hand tools, usually homemade. The only fuel available was wood.

Jonas helped organized the first school and was elected to its first Board of Directors. The family lived on their homestead until 1908 when they retired and moved to Winthrop. They had nine children by this time. The children were all raised as devout Christians and abstained from alcohol. They were also all born without medically trained help, as the closest doctor was many miles away. Jonas’s and Anna’s daughter, Josephine, married John Olson Josephine . .

John Olson, son-in-law to Jonas and Anna Britta, was born on 30 October 1859 in Åsa in the province of Halland Sweden. John was married to Josehine,daughter of Jnas and Anna Britte, she was born on 31 October 1861 and died in 1926. John left Åsa at age eighteen in 1877 to go to America, first landing at Redwing, Minnesota. He had two brothers who immigrated to America, as well. John’s first job in America was working for an Irish farmer in Goodhue County just outside of Redwing. He then worked building a spillway on the Mississippi River for Pillsbury Flour Mills and then at a cabinet factory. He did this until moving to the farm in 1887. He met Josephine Olson in 1883, who had come to the city to work as a house maid for wealthy families. They were married and had their first child in 1885. They were able to purchase land in Gibbon, Minnesota. Here they had eight more children. To make a living they farmed (hand cultivating with the help of horses) and sold eggs, butter, hogs, and wheat. All the children graduated from Knox College at grade eight. Two of the children went on to high school, and Olive was the only child to graduate from college. Two of the boys, Harry and Leonard, were called into service during World War I. died in 1938

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of a manuscript describing the Olson family’s history beginning with Jonas (born 1831) and his wife Anna Britta Hed (born 1835). The manuscript talks about their lives as immigrants and pioneers in Minnesota. History about their daughter Josephine and her husband John Olson and their personalities and their children is also discussed.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with Archives and Special Collections Department at Pacific Lutheran University. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish or quote from (the collection) must be submitted to the University Archivist. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Jonas Olson family history, The Scandinavian Immigrant Experience, OPVSIEmss_11, Archives and Special Collections, Pacific Lutheran University, 12180 Park Avenue South, Tacoma, WA 98447

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Lutheran Church--Minnesota
  • Frontier and pioneer life
  • Gold mines and mining--Alaska.
  • Sweden--Emigration and immigration
  • Swedish Americans
  • World War, 1914-1918.
  • Personal Names :
  • Hed, Anna Britta
  • Olson, Gilbert R.--Archives
  • Olson, John
  • Olson, Jonas
  • Olson, Josephine
  • Corporate Names :
  • Bernadotte Lutheran Church
  • Clear Lake Swedish Lutheran Church
  • Cornish Township Board
  • Gibbon Co-op Creamery
  • Pillsbury Flour Mills Company
  • Family Names :
  • Olson Family
  • Geographical Names :
  • Åsa, Halland (Sweden)
  • New Ulm (Minn.)
  • Nicollet County (Minn.)
  • Seattle (Wash.)
  • Ulm (Germany)
  • Freedom (Minn.)
  • Gibbon (Minn.)
  • Herman (Minn.)
  • Minneapolis (Minn.)
  • Redwing (Minn.)
  • Sibley County (Minn.)
  • Skaraborgs Län (Sweden)
  • Sweden
  • Winthrop (Minn.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Family history
  • Occupations :
  • Agriculture
  • Farmers