Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Lena Elaine Olson (1860-1938) who emigrated from Norway

Lena Elaine Olson (1860-1938) aka Hannah Eline Olsdatter, aka Lina Olson; Cleaning Lady and Housewife; Emigrated from Farsund to Chicago around 1881 (b. February 13, 1860, Vanse, Farsund, Vest-Agder, Norway - d. January 23, 1938, 8:06 am, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA) US Passport Number 137560.

Lena was born in 1860 in Norway to Ole Mattias Pedersen (1820-c1914) and Tea Johanne Torstensdatter (1825-1865). She may have been born on Vestre Vatne farm.

Lena was christened on June 03, 1860 in Vanse parish under the name "Hannah Eline Olsdatter".

Lena's siblings include: Peder Mathias Olsen (1851-?); Theodore Johan Olsen (1852-?); Sopie Marie Olsdatter (1852-aft1908) who may have married a Nilsen; Josette Theresa Olsdatter (1855-?); Otto Olson (1858-1921) who emigrated to Chicago in the US and married Hannah Hansen (1864-1936); and the youngest was Salmine Pedersen (1862-1914) aka Salmine Sophia Severine Olsdatter, who married John Edward Winblad (1856-1914) and emigrated to the US, and later died while visiting Norway. Lena's mother, Thea, died at a young age and Ole raised the seven surviving children himself and never remarried.

Farsund, Norway:
The family was listed in the 1865 Norway Census as living at 39 and 40 Kirkegaden Street in Farsund with Ole working as a baker.

Emigration and Marriage:
Lena came to the US around 1881 and she married Andrew Havig Jensen (1861-1930) on May 12, 1883 in Chicago. Lena and Andrew's Illinois marriage certificate was number "71512" and she was listed as "Lena Olsen" and he was listed as "Andreas Jensen".

Together they had 8 children and all 8 lived to adulthood. Having all your children live to adulthood was very rare in the period of 1880-1900. For comparison, her sister, Salmine Pedersen was living in lower Manhattan had 7 children and only 3 lived to adulthood. Lena and Andrew's children are as follows: Mary Marie Jensen (1883-1969) aka Marie Jensen, who married Albert Rath (1881-1950) and later married Nels Hemwall (1875-1965); Thea Jensen (1885-1910) who married Max Caro (1882-c1920); Leif Jensen (1886-1955) who married Agnes Hansen (1890-1965); Leonard A. Jensen (1887-1979) who married Gertrude Louise Brock (1892-1944); Josetta Dorothy Jensen (1889-1940) aka Dolly Jensen, who married William J. Gogerty (1893-1939); Margerite Jensen (1891-1986) aka Daisy Jensen, who married Francis Joseph Woods (1891-1972) aka Frank Woods; Sally Jensen (1893-1965) aka Goldie Jensen, who married William Holm (1891-1983); Eleanore Margaret Jensen (1897-1987) who married Mahlon Edward Shanahan (1900-1993); and the youngest was Alvin Jensen (1900-1986) who married Helen Mae Baldwin (1907-1998).

Lena raised her four grandchildren after her daughter, Thea, died in 1910.

Sopie Marie Olsdatter:
Around 1910-1914, Sopie Marie Olsdatter (1852-aft1910), Lena's sister in Farsund in Norway wrote to Salmine Pedersen, who was their sister in Jersey City in New Jersey the following in Norwegian which has been translated into English: "A little post to you from your sister, stay well. Our most beloved dear Salmine and family, now when Sofie shall travel on Saturday, she will be kind and go to you and bring regards from your dear father and sister, I have no address, as I get the letters in return, got a letter from Lena 8 days ago, she is good and sound and has visited you, sister, and she said you were in good mood and happy, yes God helps you and your people, so that you still may come to see your old father, he is pretty well and was glad he heard that Lena thinks about a trip home together with you, if everything goes well, with the help of God, we live well, have no suffer ... Dear be careful so that you once again can see old Norway, Lena wrote that she had a good time by Inga it was so nice, we have had a cold Summer so we have had a fire in the stove all the time, you shall get letters when I get [home], love from father [and] sister."

Death of Father:
Her father died on August 24, 1914. Attending the funeral in Norway were: Salmine Pedersen with her husband, John Edward Winblad, and their son Otto Perry Winblad (1902-1977); and Lena Olson with her son Alvin Jensen. On this same trip John Edward Winblad, Salmine's husband died on September 24, 1914 in Farsund, and Salmine died December 18, 1914, also in Farsund. Mary Virgilious Geary (1918- ) confirmed that Lena visited Norway with her son Alvin and the ship manifest shows they returned from Christiansand, Vest-Agder, Norway to Chicago via New York on September 30, 1914, just 6 days after John Winblad died. Lena is listed as "Lina Jensen" on the ship manifest. Otto Winblad (1902-1977) stayed in Farsund until July 06, 1915 and was met in New York by his brother Anton Julius Winblad (1886-1975) who was returning to New York from Cuba to pick him up.

Second Trip to Norway:
The Jensens appear in the 1920 US Census living at 4940 Austin Avenue in Chicago. Lena made another trip to Norway in 1922 under the name "Lena Jensen" and returned on June 20, 1922. She listed her address as 4940 Austin Avenue. This manifest lists her passport number as "137560" and says it was issued April 01, 1922 in Washington, DC.

Memories of Lena Olson:
Hazel Wintrone (1916- ) says the following about Lena Olson: "Otto [Olson] had another sister and she was named Lena and was married and had children in Chicago. We stood in awe of her because she was overbearing and bossy and after we moved to Rockford we didn't see her anymore. She was on the heavy side, very stately and looked down on us as the poor relatives. When we knew her, her husband was already dead, but she would stop by once in a while when I was young. I'm almost sure that she had children but they never came over. They might have been at the 1921 funeral for Otto Olson, her brother, but I never met them. I can still picture her in her hat, her black shiny dress, white blouse and a stole she wore. She was very buxom. She visited us three or four times that I can remember."

Selma Louise Freudenberg (1921- ) remembers a trip to Chicago with her uncle, Otto Perry Winblad (1891-1977); and her mother, Maria Winblad (1895-1987); and her sister, Naida Muriel Freudenberg (1915-1998) in 1929. On the same trip they visited with Osborne Titaman Olsen, who owned a shop where they decorated china with gold trim. Selma remembered that one of the men at the house was called "Leif Jensen". That same trip was written into a fictional story called "Westward Bound" and published by Naida on March 08, 1930 in the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, New Jersey and photographs of that trip to Chicago and Lake Geneva are included in her photo album. Lena and Andrew owned a house in the town of Williams Bay, which is near Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. They moved there from Chicago around 1925.

Lena's death certificate incorrectly lists her birth year as 1859 but has her correct birth day. She died under the name "Lena Jensen".

Her obituary appeared in the January 24, 1938 Chicago Tribune and reads as follows: "Lena Jensen of 48 North Menard Avenue and Williams Bay, January 23, 1938, wife of the late Andrew Jensen, fond mother of Mrs. Mary Marie Hemwall, Mrs. Dolly Gogerty, Mrs. Daisy Woods, Mrs. Goldie Holm, Mrs. Eleanor Shanahan, Leif Leonard Jensen, Alvin Jensen, and the late Mrs. Theo Caro; twenty two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Resting at funeral home 318-320 North Central Avenue, Austin until Wednesday noon. Funeral Wednesday, 2 p.m. at Moreland Lutheran Church, corner Lotus Avenue and Huron Street. Interment Mount Olive Cemetery".

Lena had two cousins that came over from Farsund: Jakob E. Willumsen (1853-1928) who settled in Minnesota; and Inga Pedersen (1885-1927) who married Emil Schneider (1884-1955) and lived in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Lena Elaine Olson (1860-1938) was the great-grandaunt of Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ).