You Asked About Olga

May 13, 2010

Swedish Covenant Church, Grovertown, Ind, circa 1916. The church was later moved to Donaldson. Photo provided by Larry Newburg.

I’ve always had a sentimental fascination with Olga.

It’s not like I knew her or anything. But I’d grown up hearing her story and seeing her picture. Olga was my grandfather George Larson’s sister and she died when she was only 32.

“My sis, Olga, got sick in Chicago,” wrote their brother, Arthur Larson, in a letter to me. Like George, Olga had moved to Chicago as a young adult and found a job. For many years, she and George lived together with a maternal aunt.

“A tumor had set in on her brain,” wrote Arthur. “At that time doctors claimed it couldn’t be operated on, fearing damage to her brain. She came back home and passed away. She died in 1927.”

My grandmother Ruth (George’s wife) never knew Olga. Olga died two years before she and George met. But I do remember Ruth saying she knew it was a very hard time for George and his family.

Lately, my fascination with Olga has magnified. As I learn of the Larsons, the Newburgs and the Carlsons—three extended families who lived in northern Indiana and together shared the joys and sorrows of life—I can imagine that Olga’s death touched not only her parents and siblings, but also a whole community of aunts, uncles and cousins.

And then there are these new pictures.

Thanks to my recently discovered cousin Larry Newburg, I have several new pictures of Olga. They’re beautiful.

I think she was beautiful.

Don’t you agree?

Swedish Covenant Confirmation Class of 1910.

Olga is sitting to our right of the pastor. Note her Newburg and Carlson cousins, particularly Edna (Newburg) Peterson, seated in back, second from our left.

Olga and her sister Esther, who was born in 1909

My sister Rebecca and I share an age difference similar to Olga and Esther’s. I remember Rebecca cried when I got married and moved away from home.

Olga Larson

Does her hair look bobbed? Do you think she was a free-spirited, bold, young woman, as described in this website?

Olga Larson

Beautiful dress. Beautiful pearls. Beautiful woman.