John 0. Olsen and Rebecca E. Crawford were united in marriage on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1902, by Rev. H. C. Bradbury, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, Lincoln, Kansas, at a large home wedding. Rebecca was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel J. Crawford. He was a Civil War Veteran. Mr. Crawford was an attorney in Lincoln County and later city attorney at Kansas City, Kansas.
John was the oldest child of Otto and Mary Jensen Olsen. Otto Olsen, a shoe and bootmaker by trade, came from Christiana, (now Oslo), Norway, to the United States in 1870 and established his business in Memphis, Tenn. Mary Jensen, of Christiana, joined him there and they were married in Memphis. They had five sons and five daughters; three sons were born in Memphis. They then moved to Lincoln, Kansas, where he continued his trade.
John, after completing a business course at Kansas Wesleyan College, Salina, engaged in farming 10 miles south of Lincoln, Kansas. It was here that John and Rebecca started their married life together.
In 1905, John Olsen came to Trego County to buy ranchland for cattle raising. He bought the E'/z of Sec. 32-14-23, which included the Wilcox Homestead, and all of Sec. 33 (960 acres). Later, two quarter sections were added to the ranch. He immediately built a tenant house on Sec. 33, '/z miles south and '/z miles east of the Wilcox Schoolhouse. This tenant house was later moved close to the large house. Joe Curd of Lincoln, a tenant, took care of the ranch until the family home was built, '/z mile south of Wilcox Schoolhouse on Sec. 32. John brought C. A. Rand, a contractor and builder of Kansas City to construct a large ranch home, complete with bath, furnace and carbide lights. This was the first allmodern ranch home in Trego County. The home was completed in 1910, and Mr. Olsen moved his family here from Lincoln.
John Olsen served on the draft board for registration of young men for World War I and sold liberty bonds. He was elected to the school board in 1910 and served continously until the spring before his death on November 19, 1946. He took an active part in politics, serving as Republican Precinct Committeeman.
Rebecca Olsen was active in Sunday School and church services at Wilcox. Having had elocution lessons, she is well remembered for her many "readings." She helped with literary programs where young people took part with their talents of debate, music and many others. She was a member of Margaret Chapter #f249 O.E.S. and a charter member of Southdowner Club. She continued to attend services at Wilcox until her husband's death. She bought lots on the corner of 4th and Warren Ave. in WaKeeney. Deines Construction built her a new home there. She attended the WaKeeney Presbyterian Church until her death, February 2, 1951.
John and Rebecca Olsen had seven children. The three oldest attended high school in WaKeeney, boarding and rooming in town. The next three attended Ransom High School, driving from home. Alan, the youngest child, chose to attend Hebron Lutheran Academy, Hebron, Nebraska. All except one attended schools of higher learning. Emerson, chose to be a farmer and bought farm land directly north and east of Wilcox School. He farmed there until his death, March 5, 1942. Ruth, Mary and Alan were schoolteachers. Gladys went into nursing. Blanche was employed by Beachcraft at Wichita, and Orville established a mining business of his own at Silverton, Colorado.
On January 21, 1917, John 0. Olsen, Rebecca E. Olsen and children, Ruth Olive, Mary Marie, Gladys Irene and John Emerson became members of the WaKeeney Presbyterian Church. Although they owned a Hudson automobile, (roads were not suitable for cars), they came the seventeen miles to the church in WaKeeney, with two driving. horses and a surrey, (with a fringe on top).
Gayle M. Garrett ....WaKeeney, KS