Ellen Olson and son, Bruce
Ellen Olson and son, Bruce
One day while working at the Ballard House, I had a visit from a man from a neighboring town. I was eating my lunch so he sat down and started visiting.

He told his life story in a nutshell, so to speak. He had lived in the Brownsville and Hokah vicinities and in La Crosse, Wis.

His mother became ill, and so he had returned to his hometown to take care of her. She had now passed away, and because he liked this part of the United States, he came back.

As his money allows, he now visits all the towns he can to see what they have to offer. He said the towns along the Mississippi have an entirely different story to tell than any of the inland towns in Minnesota, and even this region around Spring Grove has a different story than the towns to the west.

We live in the un-glaciated area of Minnesota, while glaciers once covered the western part of Fillmore County and beyond. He also said that he wished he had some Scandinavian heritage as he thought Spring Grove has a lot going for it, and if he could find the right accommodations, he would like to live here. I told him, we welcome all nationalities.

This, in my opinion, was a great compliment to our town and to this area that other people really seem to appreciate what we have.

I guess where this is leading is I am wondering why, in days gone by, did so many people come back to live in Spring Grove, especially those whose parents or grandparents had moved west to the Dakotas, Montana, etc.?

Some of you probably still remember Bennie Olson who operated Olson's Jewelry store where Hair Affair is located today.

His parents were Ingeman Olson and Thea Larsdatter Torstad. Ingeman was born March 4, 1865, in Waukon, Iowa, and Thea was born April 11, 1873, in Tretten, Gudbrandsdalen, Norway. Somehow they both ended up in Trail, N.D., as they were married there March 16, 1892. In 1900, they were living in Bagley, Minn., where Bennie was born July 8, 1902.

On Sept. 26, 1925, Bennie married Mabel G. Nelson, daughter of Niels Peter Nielson, born 1874 in Denmark, and his wife Hanna Peterson, born May 25, 1879, in Minnesota.

In the 1930 census, Bennie and Mabel were living in Clearbrook, Clearwater County, Minnesota, but in the 1940 census, they were living in Spring Grove, where Bennie has the jewelry store.

Before coming to Spring Grove, Bennie and Mabel had two children, Betty Lou who was born 1926 and died the same year, and a stillborn boy in 1929.

Mabel died in January of 1941 and is buried with her parents in the Silver Creek Cemetery in Clearbrook.

On Jan. 1, 1942, Bennie married Ellen Jarland. She was born at Epping, N.D. Her parents were Lewis and Lisa (Grindeland) Jarland, both born in Highland Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa.

Lewis Jarland and his brother, Henry, were carpenters and built several homes in Spring Grove and in Highland Township.

In 1911, they moved to northwestern North Dakota where Lewis continued in the carpentry trade, later going into partnership with his son, Myron.

Bennie and Ellen Olson had three children. Ellen was Spring Grove's City Clerk for 18 years. Bennie died June 2, 1961, but Ellen just passed away in 2012 at Prairie du Chien, Wis., having reached the age of 97.

So Bennie and Ellen represent two cases of descendants of parents or grandparents who once lived in this area, moved away and then their descendants returned to live in Spring Grove.

Additions and corrections to these columns are welcome: Apologies to Paul Larson in regards to C.C. Allen article. Paul is the descendant of Haldor Narveson (Halbert Harvey) and not of Narve Narveson (Henry Harvey). Haldor is the older brother of Narve.

We have several books at our library at Giants of the Earth, which gives a tremendous amount of history about these early settlers of this area.

Also check our website at www.sgheritage.org for information. Contact us at the Heritage Center (507) 498-5070 or email rosefarm@springgrove.coop.