Whiteside Biographies 1900
OLIVER D. OLSON, whose fine farm of two hundred and eighty acres is located on section 9, Tampico township, within two miles of the village of that name, has been a resident of Whiteside county since 1854. He is a native of Sweden, born May 21, 1850, and came to the United States with his father, John Olson, in 1853. His father first located in Lee County, near the city of Dixon, and there remained until the following year, when he came to Whiteside county, where he opened, up a farm in Tampico township, there reared his family, and spent his last days, dying in February, 1888.
The subject of this sketch was but four years old when he came with his father to this county. Here the remainder of his life has since been spent. Educated in the common schools of the neighborhood, he attended school at such time as his labor was not needed on the farm. He remained at home, assisting in the labors of the farm, until after he had attained his majority. He was married in Moline, Illinois, January 1, 1870, to Miss Chastine Munson, also a native of Sweden, where she grew to womanhood, after which she came to the United States. By this union six children were born: Matilda Josephine married Burt Morris, but died in July, 1896. Frank Herman is engaged in railroad work, in the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. Joseph Merton is carrying on the home farm. Edward Theodore is now living in Minnesota. He is a well-educated young man and is engaged in teaching. Agnes Caroline is a student in the Normal College at Valparaiso, Indiana. Minnie Dora is the wife of Arthur Aldrich, of Tampico township.
After marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Olson located on the farm where they now reside, but which then consisted of only eight acres, but which was purchased by him in 1869. The land was raw prairie and without improvements of any kind, and Mr. Olson at once went to work to redeem it from its virgin estate. He later bought one hundred and twenty acres additional, and still later another eigthy, giving him his present fine farm. For a time he also owned a farm of one hundred and forty acres in Hahnaman township, but he has since sold the same. On his home place he has built various outbuildings, barns, and his present comfortable residence. The fruit and ornamental trees were all put out by his own hands, and in fact all the improvements now seen is due to him. In addition to the raising of grain, he has given much of his time to stock raising, in which line he has been quite successful. Each year he feeds and fattens several car loads of stock for the markets.
In the public schools Mr. Olson has always shown a commendable interest, and to further the best interests of the schools he has served for some years as a member of the school board. He has given each of his children good educational advantages, and they have shown themselves worthy of it. For several years he served as road commissioner and gave much of his time to the roads in his district. In politics he has always been a Republican, and form Grant in 1872 to McKinley in 1896, he has voted the party ticket.
In religion Mr. and Mrs. Olson are members of the Methodist Episcopal church of Tampico, and take an active interest in the work of the church and the spread of the gospel. Fraternally he is a Master Mason, holding membership with the lodge in Tampico. He and his wife are also members of the Order of the Eastern Star. He is likewise a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and of the Knights of the Globe.As a farmer he has been a success, and while he had a little assistance from his father in beginning the struggle of life,the greater part of his possessions has been acquired by his own industry, assisted by his good wife. For forty-five years he has been a resident of the county, and in that time what vast changes have been made. When he came, there was not a mile of railroad in the county, the country was nearly all in its primitive state, and to his industry, and to the noble band of pioneers, the present condition of the county is largely due.