|Birth: ||Jan. 29, 1831, Norway|
|Death: ||Feb. 24, 1870|
Blue Earth County
Sergeant, 2nd Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery.
Carl Martin Olson
Carl was a man who left almost no records behind to tell of his life,
including how to spell his name. On some records, his name is "Oleson"
while on others it is "Olson." It is not known which is correct.
Carl was born in Christiana, Norway, about 1831. By 1861, he was living in
Freeborn County, Minnesota. He was married to Sarah and they had two
children when Carl enlisted in the Second Battery on December 10, 1861. The
Battery was just in its earliest stages of forming up and Carl would have
been a valuable addition. His occupation as he reported it on his
enlistment papers was that of artillerist. Where or how this might have
become his occupation in rural Minnesota is one of the many mysteries Carl
A description of Carl on his enlistment papers said he was 30 years old
with dark hair, blue eyes, and a sandy complexion. He was 5' 8" tall.
The experience Carl had with artillery probably helped bring him a
promotion to sergeant on May 3, 1862. The Battery was on its way south and
were at Benton Barracks, Missouri, when Carl received his promotion. It
didn't last long. Carl was returned to the rank of private on July 1, 1862.
This probably had more to do with his health than his actions.
Carl was sick and by the 20th of September, he was discharged for
disability. The formal discharge said Carl had been unfit for duty for over
60 days. Comments made by the surgeon on the bottom of the page went on to
state that Carl had done no duty since March and had been in the hospital
since July 22. The reasons for Carl's discharge were that he had a
"deranged action of heart, indication endocarditis and disease of the
valves. Chronic hepatitis and jaundice with General Debility." An
affidavit provided by another man who served in the Battery with Carl said
Carl had caught "a heavy cold in camp before Corinth, Miss., about May 27,
1862. Said cold seemed to settle on his lungs and he had a light cough and
raised considerable phlegm. I have no doubt but that his sickness was lung
disease." How this may have related to the heart problems or the
consumption is unknown.
Going home from St. Louis where Carl had been sent to the hospital would
have been easy. The river boats could have taken him right back to
The next record Carl left was a notice in the Mankato Weekly newspaper in
the March 1, 1870, issue. It read, "Died in Mankato of consumption on
Thursday morning, the 24th, Carl M. Oleson, age 38. He leaves a wife and
two young children."
The Masonic Lodge in Mankato stepped in to help the family in Carl's last
illness. They provided some money to Sarah and the children and made the
arrangements for Carl to be buried. It is believed Carl was buried in the
Masonic Cemetery in Mankato, but no records exist to prove this beyond
doubt. Carl was not carried on the Masonic membership rolls, so it is
believed the Masons simply stepped in to help. Carl's grave was not marked,
something Sarah probably had little ability to do.
Money was not the only thing hampering Sarah at the time of Carl's death.
She was nearly seven months pregnant with their third child. Their first
child, Bertha Maria, was four years old, and Ingebor Caroline was two. Carl
Martin, Junior, was born two and a half months after his father died.
Sarah applied for a pension for herself and the children and it was
granted. On all of the pension papers, Carl was noted as holding the rank
of sergeant. This was the highest rank he held.
Sarah remarried in 1872 and was dropped form the pension rolls, though the
children collected their father's pension until they were each 16 years old.
It was the last record of Carl's life.
In 2004, members of the Second Battery of Light Artillery Reenactors began
searching for Carl's grave. While it is believed he was buried in the Old
Masonic Cemetery in Mankato, Minnesota, no records exist to tell where. The
cemetery had fallen on hard times and few stones remain. A memorial marker
was installed for Carl and dedicated on May 21, 2005, in what is now called
the Pioneer Memorial Park.
Pioneer Memorial Park Cemetery
Blue Earth County
Created by: cw
Record added: Aug 23, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 41033955