|My grandma Sylvia Ronan|
and her Aunty Olson
by her home in Duluth
It all started when I was looking through my mom's pictures. She told me the story of how Aunty (her grandpa's sister) and Uncle Olson put her mom through college in Superior. It distressed me that I did not know their first names, but mom did know that Uncle Olson was a police chief, she figured probably in Duluth. Having a little bit of knowledge, I set out to find out their names if possible to honor them for the help they had directly lent to my grandma and her family. I imagine they wanted to help the family after her brother died. It was the Great Depression and without the main wage earner to support the family they would need some way to get through.
After looking through some pictures and articles online, I decided that his uniform matched the look of the other uniforms that I saw on Duluth's website .
|Superior Police Captain Ole T Olson|
Before I got to his name though I found out about the 1920 Duluth lynchings. I had no idea that they happened, nor did my mom. I was so excited when I read about Oscar Olson the jailer trying to protect the prisoners from a mob of 10,000 people only using a fire hose because they were ordered to holster their guns so they wouldn't hurt any white people. I wasn't 100% sure that he was the police chief I was looking for, but I was captivated by his heroism. I have always believed in doing the right thing even if it isn't the most popular choice. You can read about the event here.
The third page of the article said the police chief's name was O.G. Olson. I sent a link to contact the city of Duluth to find out if the museum curator may be able to add any more to the stories that I had already discovered.
Just to try my curiosity, I clicked on a link to find out which police officers in Duluth died in the line of duty.
Sadly, I discovered that he was among the 8 who have died on the job. He was shot by a suspect who had holed himself up in his home that he was trying to arrest peacefully. Here is a short excerpt tribute .
Sadly, his death was also unknown to my mom as was the fact that they had children. I was able, through finding his death record, to then find census records that contained both his wife's and child's names. Through his tragedy, I was able to pin a name on someone who was my hero before I even knew he was also anyone else's hero. Hopefully I will yet be able to find someone of his lineage remaining whom I can thank for his bravery and sacrifice.
Thank you for stopping by to chat with me. Please leave me a message. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Cindy
Update 6/22/2015: Upon further exploration, Oscar Olson is not related to me, but he is still a wonderful hero. I saw that he (or another man the same age and name) lived with Ole Olson in Superior in 1910, so I am wondering if he is possibly related that way? The man in this picture is Ole T Olson who was a police captain in Superior, WI. Many thanks to the people in Duluth public library who helped me find out the true identity of the man and woman in the photos.
I have also since been able to find his census records and found that his wife's name was Selena. I found the census record in which my grandmother lived with her in Superior as well. I went there this spring and found out both of their parents' names thanks to their marriage records I found there. I also saw that they had no children of their own, but adopted one that I am still hoping to find though I do not know what became of him. I have found where they were laid to rest, when they died, and have created find a grave memorials for them so others may find the story of the quiet heroes who are buried there.