Oscar Olsen and the Spencer Sisters

14 Apr

Lovina Arsula Spencer – was one of my great grand aunts of the Spencer line – and one of the daughters of Richard Henry Spencer and Lucy Lodica Elmer who was born in Payson, Utah County, Utah on 25 Aug 1879. While still an infant, Lovina’s father relocated the family to Sanpete County where she spent the remainder of her childhood.

Lovina Arsula Spencer Olsen - from the collection of Blaine Spencer

On 15 Mar 1899, at the age of 20 years, Lovina married Oscar Eli Olsen in Mount Pleasant, Sanpete County, Utah. Oscar, the son of Swedish immigrants, was born to James (or Jons) Peter Olsen and Margaret Christina Caroline Miller on 17 Aug 1873 in Utah. He was also the older brother of Henry Peter Olsen who married Lovina’s older sister, Lucy Ann Spencer.

Oscar Eli Olsen

To complicate the marriage triangle a little further – Oscar had previously been married to Lovina’s half-sister Martha Jane Spencer (1870-1895), the daughter of Jerusha Elmer and Richard Henry Spencer. I know – it’s hard to keep up with these large extended Mormon families! 

Martha Jane Spencer

Lovina and Oscar spent the first twenty or so years raising their family in Sanpete County, Utah. The census records are confusing to interpret, but it is believed that Lovina may have helped raised her husband’s son Earl (from his first marriage); Lovina and Oscar appear to have had at least four children of their own: Vernon born in 1901; Alvin Leo born in 1904; William O. born in 1907 and Dean born in 1911. (The records conflict as to whether Dean is a male or a female.) The family owned a home, which was free and clear of a mortgage by 1910. Oscar always lists himself as “farmer” in the census records.

When Oscar filled out his World War I Draft Registration Card on 12 Sept 1918 the family was still living in Mt. Pleasant, Utah.  Oscar stated that he was 45 years old and confirmed his birthdate of 17 Aug 1873; he lists himself as a self-employed farmer; his wife “Levina Olsen” is next of kin.  Oscar goes on to describe himself as being of medium height, stout, blue eyes and light hair.  Under disabilities, he states that he has an “ulcer of the stomach.” 

By the time that the 1930 census was taken in April of that year, the Olsen family had relocated to Northwest Jerome, Jerome County, Idaho. Oscar is 56 years old and Lovina is 50. They own their own home, but no occupation is listed for either of them. Three of their adult children are still in the home with them: Alvin L., 25, farmer; William O., 22, mechanic; and Deane McK, 19, salesman at grocery store. Vernon cannot be found in this census period. 

Idaho Map highlighting Jerome County

By all accounts, Lovina and Oscar lived out their lives in Jerome, Idaho. Nothing is known to me after the 1930 census. Lovina lived a long life – dying at the age of 101 – on 4 Jan 1981. According to the Social Security Death Index, Lovina’s last place of residence was Jerome, Jerome County, Idaho. She was returned home to Mount Pleasant in Sanpete County, Utah, where she was laid to rest two days later on 6 Jan 1981. Her husband Oscar Olsen, who died many years before her in 1933, is buried at Mount Pleasant with her.

I know virtually nothing about the Olsen children. I would love to hear from any of you that are researching this particular branch of the family.  After I finished writing the synopsis for Lovina and Oscar – I was thinking to myself, “well how boring is this?” “I have nothing but names and dates.” “Who wants to read this?” Nonetheless, every life and family matters, and I am hopeful that sometime in the future a family member may stumble upon this post and learn new things about their Olsen ancestors.

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Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Spencer


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