Willard Olin Family

Willard Olin

None of Willard's children are alive, however most of their descendants are. Therefore, I am only using names and no dates for Willard's grandchildren. I would be one of Willard's great-grandchildren.

Willard was born May 7, 1868 in Austin Township, Mecosta Cty, MI to Thomas B. and Mary L.Ellen McGillivray  (Cunningham) Olin. He died December 31, 1946 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MN. Willard's family was living in Staples in 1892 when he and Ellen Jane McGillivray met. She was born on August 10, 1876 in Port Arthur, Canada, and died September 18, 1923 in Duluth, St. Louis Cty, MN. Ellen was the daughter of John McGillivray and Mary Jane Hudson. Willard and Ella were married on October 22, 1893, in Grand Rapids, MN.

What has been passed down orally through the generations is that Ella and Willard loved each other very much and she married him in spite of the objections of her family. My grandmother, Vivian Bailey Olin who was her daughter-in-law (wife of Charles Olin) remembers Ella fondly. She said that she was an exceptionally beautiful woman with long black hair and that her pictures did not do her justice. She was especially sweet and kind and a very hard worker. Unfortunately, she died in her forties, from complications as a result of two miscarriages.Ella Olin Funeral Ellen Olin Funeral

Both of these pictures are from her funeral.

Ellen's son Otto Olin remembered this touching story:

When he was about 10, three or sometimes four times a week his mother would bake bread for the family. The bread would be mixed and set to rise during the early evening hours and would be baked after the family was in bed. The oven was not large enough to hold all the loaves at one time, so when one batch was done another would be placed in the oven. Otto remembered these times fondly as he was the only child allowed to stay up with mother because he was the only one who always got up in the morning without effort from mother. He and mother would sometimes play games. Or sometimes mother had sewing to do. At that time of the night she had patience and in the quietness, she taught Otto how to use the sewing machine. This is how he learned to sew, which later became his lifetime career in furniture upholstering. However, the highlight of the evening was sampling the hot, fragrant loaves as they came out of the oven!

Oral history has it that Willard worked at Kingston's lumber yard as a lad. Though I have found that the Tom Olin family had a homestead in Little Falls for most of Willard's younger years, the information about the lumber yard in Grand Rapids seems to imply that they may have not always stayed on the property there. In fact, some of their children were born at either location during the same span of years.

Willard was a kind gentleman though a strict father and a teetotaler. Not a drop of liquor was allowed in the Olin home. He also possessed so many useful skills. He was able to build a house from the ground up. He was an excellent carpenter and mechanically inclined. He taught many of these skills to his sons and so they were never without the means to make their way in the world. He was also musically talented and taught all of his children to play at least one instrument.

Hunting Party

Willard was an opportunist and bought a lot in Bovey, MN. He was led to believe that a main road would go past this lot and he proceeded, with the help of his father, Tom Olin, his brother-in-law Billy Sandretzky, and others, to build a two-story building. The upper floor was for living quarters and the lower floor for a grocery-drygoods store. This was not to be-the town planners chose a different route and as a result, Willard's grocery store was forced to close. The family lived upstairs of the store and as they owned the building, they soon set up a shop for Ella in the storefront where she did tailoring, laundry and pressing. In the fall and early winter, Willard and his sons Charlie, Otto and Vern would go out in the woods to cut firewood for household use. They had a hand saw or 2-man saw and they would borrow a team of horses and sled. They left in the morning and would first set a dozen snares for rabbits and would clean the rabbits when they got home. At noon they would check to see if there were rabbits in the snares and then reset them. At noon they build a fire and ate their lunch and warmed up. Then they would go back to work, cutting, trimming and hauling wood. At home they had a saw and gasoline engine to cut up the wood. The family ate a lot of rabbit stew and fried the rabbit like chicken. The picture taken in 1908 was in Grand Rapids, Minnesota and consisted of 7 deer, a couple wolves and a moose.

Later, Willard worked in the iron ore mine (1906-07). He earned $1 a day, six days a week to support a family of five children. A lot of foreigners were imported to work in the mines, mostly Austrians and Finns. Willard's job was dumping train loads of dirt brought up from the mines as the earth was scraped and dug out to get to the ore. The loads were dumped sideways and 6 or 7 men were required to push from the opposite side to dump each load. Willard's ingenuity soon prompted him to devise a way where one man could stand on the side and with a lever pull the load towards him and thus tilt the load. Sometime during this period, the family ran a roller-skating rink.

Olin Family

Willard Olin played the violin and was an accomplished fiddle player much in demand at barn dances and other festive occasions for many miles around. (Vivian Bailey Olin, remembers him coming to play at her school in Meadowlands, MN). Willard and Ella McGillivray Olin also owned a dance hall in Bovey. While Ella took tickets at the door, the entire family orchestra played from the stage. Charles Olin played the violin, mandolin, piano, and accordion. Vern Olin played coronet and sax, Camilla Olin and Rena Olin played piano, Otto Olin played sliding trombone and Delma Olin played drums. Little Vivian Olin, just four years old, wore a pretty red dress and matching ribbon in her black hair. She would dance and sing the song, "All Aboard For Blanket Bay" (....won't be back till the break of day.) Camilla won awards on the piano for her flamboyant style, while Rena was more accomplished (she often played the chords her father had taught her, even up to days before her death). As time marched on new technology was hard to avoid and one day the boys went out and traded their instruments for a Victrola. When Willard came home and saw what they had done, he sunk into his chair and cried. It broke his heart that he had spent so many years teaching his children to play music and now they (as was popular at that time) preferred to listen to a record player. Picture on right is of Ella and her daughter, Camilla.

Travel between Grand Rapids and Bovey was by horse and buggy. The buggy had no top and was pulled by two horses. There was the driver's seat and 2 or 3 rows of seats in the back. For heat, stones were heated for a couple of days so that they were warm all the way through. Then they were placed on the floor of the buggy and covered with rugs and blankets to keep the heat in longer. The blankets then would be pulled up over the knees of the passengers. The first car in Bovey was 1912. Otto was approximately 10 years old and remembers clearly the excitement and enthusiasm as the whole town turned out to watch the car as it went up and down Main Street and expertly turned circles in the intersection.

In Autumn several families would pack up wagons with tents, food supplies, jars, oil stoves, and children and then would travel to the Big Woods up North. The men and children would pick blueberries and the women would stay at camp cleaning, cooking and canning the berries. They would stay about a week. There were a lot of berries and the families divided equally. This was a great outing which the families enjoyed and looked forward to each year.

Camilla Olin

In 1916 Willard and family moved to Duluth where he had a job as a carpenter on the railroad (Duluth-Mesabi and Northern Line). He built bridges for the railroad until he was caught picking up the extra coal that had fallen on the tracks. They would rather it was wasted then used to warm a large family of one of their employees! He worked on the railroad in 1918 during the great fire that raged through Northeastern Minnesota. The fire moved so quickly and the people just couldn't get away. The railroad companies did their best to take away as many people as possible. Tragically, Willard witnessed firsthand the bodies of the smoke inhalation victims that lay strewn along the tracks. In 1925 Willard moved to Minneapolis for his remaining years. Willard and Ellen had the following children (bolded):

Camilla Mae Olin born October 2, 1894 in Staples, Todd Cty, MN; died September 15, 1978 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MN, Hennepin Cty, MN.

Charles Olin

Charles Edward Olin b: August 17, 1896 in Grand Rapids, Itasca Cty, MN; d: July 13, 1967 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MN; m: May 14, 1918 Grand Rapids, Itasca Cty, MN to Vivian Frances Bailey. Charles owned the first taxi cab (1914 Ford) in Bovey, was a roofer and a veteran of WWI. This was my maternal grandfather.

Mary Pauline Olin (Paulina) b: September 27, 1898; d: February 7, 1904 of Pneumonia in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.[1]

Rena Olin

Rena Esther Olin was b: June 18, 1900 in Staples, MN. She married Joseph John Andler b: Duluth ca. 1890. She died December 23, 1987 in Mpls, MN. Rena left home when she was 18 and moved to Minneapolis with her brother Charlie and his wife Vivian. She had a job in a candy factory. Through some clever investing she was able to purchase quite a bit of rental property and owned a mansion on Mount Curve in Minneapolis. She was a strong, independent woman. Through her marriage to Joe Andler she had one daughter:

June Alyda May Andler b: April 24, 1920 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MN, deceased.

Otto Olin

Otto Elmer Olin b: April 12, 1902 Grand Rapids, MN, d: August 29, 1985 Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MN, m: Edith Sommers May 25, 1921 Duluth, MN.

Vern Olin

Vern Olin was b: July 29, 1903 in Grand Rapids, MN, d: April 10, 1963 in Mpls, MN and m: Myna E. Skoglund was born in 1900 in Sweden. and they both worked at Land-O-Nod (mattresses) in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MN. They had one son:

   Willard Jack Olin (Jackie) b: March 30, 1928 in Minneapolis, Hennepin, MN,
  d: December 1975 St. Cloud, Stearns County, MN, m: Lois Arlene Wagner. He worked at the St. Cloud Reformatory. Jackie and Lois had the following children:

Baby girl Olin born March 10, 1956 in Hennepin County.

Baby boy Olin born October 6, 1954 in Hennepin County.

 

Vivian Olin

Vivian Ellen Olin was b: January 10, 1906 Grand Rapids, MN. She d: May 9, 1991 Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MN.

Delma Olin

Delma Wayne Olin b: June 15, 1909 in Grand Rapids, MN, died February 23, 1984 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MN. He married Clara Lange/Lang. Clara was born in 1926 and died in 2004. He was a construction contractor having built many fine buildings in Minneapolis including a Bridgeman's Ice Cream Parlor in Richfield, MN. Delma also built apartment buildings for his sister, Rena Olin Andler. They had 4 sons and 2 daughters. One son, Gary Olin was born and died July 28, 1949 in Minneapolis.

Geraldine Olin

Geraldine Marie Olin was b: January 15, 1916 in Bovey, Itasca Cty, MN, d: November 1, 1997 in Slinger, WI. She m. Robert Heyden.



Olin Family Charlie Olin Olin Children

Source:

1900 U.S. Census


Footnotes:

[1] Interestingly, on Pauline's death certificate her parents are recorded as John and Mary McGillivray. Ellen and Willard may have been too distraught to report the death and so Ellen's mother probably did.

"Minnesota Death Index, 1908-2002," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V4ZP-1HV : accessed 7 October 2015), Willard E Olin, 31 Dec 1946; from "Minnesota Death Index, 1908-2002," database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2001); citing Hennepin, Minnesota, record 1025634, certificate number 024065, Minnesota Department of Health, Minneapolis.

"Minnesota Death Index, 1908-2002," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V4C7-KMK : accessed 7 October 2015), Vivian E. Olin, 09 May 1991; from "Minnesota Death Index, 1908-2002," database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2001); citing Anoka, Minnesota, record 2388382, certificate number 011474, Minnesota Department of Health, Minneapolis.

"United States Social Security Death Index," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J1G5-8Z6 : accessed 7 October 2015), Willard Olin, Dec 1975; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).

"Minnesota Death Index, 1908-2002," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V4WP-2V3 : accessed 7 October 2015), Willard J. Olin, 11 Dec 1975; from "Minnesota Death Index, 1908-2002," database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2001); citing Hennepin, Minnesota, record 2619576, certificate number 030596, Minnesota Department of Health, Minneapolis.

"Minnesota Deaths and Burials, 1835-1990," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FD31-2W1 : accessed 7 October 2015), Ellen Olin, 18 Sep 1923; citing Duluth, St. Louis, Minnesota, reference 26801; FHL microfilm 2,218,099.

"United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW16-732 : accessed 7 October 2015), Willard Olin, Duluth, St Louis, Minnesota, United States; citing sheet 11A, family 205, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,820,858.

"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X3ZF-QDP : accessed 7 October 2015), Head Willard Olin, Minneapolis (Districts 1-250), Hennepin, Minnesota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 0106, sheet 4B, family 44, line 94, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1091; FHL microfilm 2,340,826.

"United States Public Records, 1970-2009," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QJWW-LYT2 : accessed 7 October 2015), Willard J Olin, Residence, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, United States; a third party aggregator of publicly available information.

"Minnesota Birth Index, 1935-2002," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VCX5-XJX : accessed 7 October 2015), Willard Jack Olin in entry for Baby Girl Olin, 10 Mar 1956; from "Minnesota Birth Index, 1935-2002," database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2004); citing Hennepin, Minnesota, United States, Minnesota Department of Health, Minneapolis.

"Minnesota Birth Index, 1935-2002," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VCGM-1J4 : accessed 7 October 2015), Willard Jack Olin in entry for Baby Boy Olin, 06 Oct 1954; from "Minnesota Birth Index, 1935-2002," database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2004); citing Hennepin, Minnesota, United States, Minnesota Department of Health, Minneapolis.

"Minnesota State Census, 1895," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MQDV-J43 : accessed 7 October 2015), Willard Olen, Staples village, Todd, Minnesota; citing p. , line 28, State Library and Records Service, St.Paul; FHL microfilm 565,814.

"Minnesota State Census, 1905," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:SP34-DHS : accessed 7 October 2015), Wilard Olin, Grand Rapids, Township 55, Range 25, Itasca, Minnesota; citing p. 103, line 71, State Library and Records Service, St.Paul; FHL microfilm 928,789.

"Minnesota Deaths and Burials, 1835-1990," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FDDS-P1H : accessed 7 October 2015), Delma W Olin in entry for Gary Olin, 28 Jul 1949; citing Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota, reference cn 21823; FHL microfilm 2,139,336.

"United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KSKQ-XJX : accessed 7 October 2015), Delma W Olin, Ward 5, Minneapolis, Minneapolis City, Hennepin, Minnesota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 89-127, sheet 11B, family 268, NARA digital publication T627 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012), roll 1980.

"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X3ZG-G3G : accessed 7 October 2015), Jack W Olin in household of Vern Olin, Minneapolis (Districts 1-250), Hennepin, Minnesota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 0193, sheet 23B, family 548, line 62, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1096; FHL microfilm 2,340,831.

"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M2L8-FYW : accessed 7 October 2015), Mina E Skoglund in household of Jonas Skoglund, Ham Lake, Anoka, Minnesota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 28, sheet 2B, family 37, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,374,702.


Other sites of interest:

Olin Family Society

Olin Family Society Facebook Site

MacGillivray Clan Facebook Site

Spencer Historical and Genealogy Society (SHGS)

SGHS Facebook Site

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