|Death: ||Feb. 12, 1893|
August Olsen, called "Gus," was born about 1851 in Sweden and was one of the earliest settlers in the Siuslaw country, having moved there about 1888. He was unmarried. He owned about 172 acres along the Siuslaw River, said to be a "good farm," about where the settlement of Tiernan is located. He lived in a one-room house. Olsen was involved in the Odd Fellows lodge and was well respected in the community; he was naturalized in the Lane County Circuit Court in 1889.
An article in 1892 mentioned Olsen's involvement with the Odd Fellows:
"Johnny Mason, August Olson, and J. H. Bomar know more about Odd Fellowship now than they did last week at this time, but not as much as they will know when they shall have run the gauntlet and passed all the "watches." They all took the initiatory degree in the Florence lodge last Wednesday night."(1)
Olsen disappeared on Sunday, February 12, 1893. There was some concern that he might have met with foul play. The initial story in The West was headlined "Murdered or Drowned."
"He came to town a few days before the date mentioned and went to Gardiner for the purpose of securing money to make final proof on his homestead, and returned the following Saturday. While here he became intoxicated and while in this condition probably met his fate. A suspicious character of the tramp genus has made Florence his headquarters for several weeks past, but since Olson's disappearance has made himself scarce, leaving about 12 days ago. While here he lived on the scow of "Uncle Dick" leaving this place in the night for Gardiner, staying at that place but a short time. His name was given as Jasper Deemer, and he had the letters "W.D." branded on his left forearm, and was about 38 years of age. A few days after his disappearance, Olson's boat was found on the beach opposite Florence, with one oar and an oarlock missing. Did he lose an oar, become overbalanced while reaching for it and fell overboard? Or was he murdered and the above means used to cover any suspicion of foul play? Heceta Lodge No. 111 will give $25, and Wm. Kyle $25, making a total of $50, for the recovery of Olson's body, or any information concerning his whereabouts."(2)
It wasn't until almost a month later that his body was discovered:
"While Mrs. M. F. Parker was waiting on Mr. Kyle's wharf for the landing of the tug Roberts, Thursday afternoon, and just as the boat came to the wharf, she discovered the body of August Olson rise to the top of the water. The body was soon after taken from the bay by A. E. Pickle, acting Coroner, in the presence of a jury composed of J. E. Meyer, C. C. Behnke, Drew Severy, Geo. Anderson, O. B. Jacobson and Henry Gates, who found that the deceased came to his death by accidental drowning. The facts all pointed to this decision, as $55.20 was found in Olson's pocket together with valuable papers. There is little doubt that August Olson stepped from the wharf at Kyle's cannery, into his boat, and in some accidental way fell into the water, and perhaps, in the fall might have been so placed beneath some obstruction that he never rose to the surface until found yesterday."(3)
There is a receipt in his estate file for $50.00 being paid to Mrs. Parker for finding the body. There is also a mention of "1 Bath tub bought of Jas. Morris & used to bury body in at time of its discovery." $1.75 was charged for "painting Head board & Hauling body" and $28.60 for "Trimming for Coffin" and "Tin Box for inside of Coffin."
For some reason, Olsen was temporarily buried in Florence and was then moved to the Odd Fellows cemetery in Glenada on August 13, 1893. There were additional receipts in his probate file for a new coffin to rebury the body, for moving the body to the new coffin, and $1.00 was paid for digging the grave. The lodge announced that all members were requested to attend his interment. Olsen is buried, unmarked, in the eastern section of the cemetery.
August Olsen has a huge file of estate papers at the State Archives. So many papers were presented for probate that George O. Knowles, the administrator, had special stationary printed for the occasion.
His inventory and property appraisal came up with $1464.30 worth of property, including his land.
There was an interesting situation with this estate, as it was claimed that Olsen's neighbor, Fred Mason (husband of Hulda Mason), had taken and secreted a trunk belonging to Olsen, which contained papers, pictures, and other things of value. A number of depositions were taken from witnesses who had been in Olsen's one-room house and they all stated they never saw any trunk and that Mason was not known as a dishonest or dishonorable man.
At the time of his death it was believed that August Olsen's only relatives, his parents and a brother, were in Sweden. Therefore, upon the final settlement of the estate, the Swedish Vice Consul in Portland, Arthur Wilson, was "authorized and entitled" to "receive and receipt" for the property belonging to the estate on behalf of the foreign heirs.
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(1) "Westlings," The West, Fri., Nov. 11, 1892, p. 8, col. 2.
(2) "Murdered or drowned," The West, Fri., Mar. 3, 1893, p. 8, col. 3.
(3) "Olson's body found," The West, Fri., Mar. 10, 1893, p. 8, col. 3.
Glenada-Odd Fellows Cemetery
Plot: Block 122, Lot 1 (UNMARKED)
Created by: Kevin Mittge
Record added: Jun 04, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27340546
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