This book tells of Christian and Annas coming to America after they joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Norway in the 1850s. These are mostly personal histories about the sacrifices they made to join the church and to come to Zion in the rugged American west of the nineteenth century. It is mainly about how people worked together as families to put down roots in Weston, a small, southern Idaho town.
It was written to remind the 2,000 or so American descendants of the Christian Olsens that they come from tough people who overcame great social and physical obstacles because of their faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We hope this compilation makes us all think of the powerful testimonies our ancestors had which enabled them to face and overcome obstacles we cannot imagine. It should give us a glimpse of possible strengths we can draw on to face our own challenges. It should also make us grateful for the blessings we enjoy in our families as members of the restored gospel and citizens of the United States. For most of us, our church membership and citizenship, after all, go back to the events and people described here.
Christian and Anna were of the first generation, the pioneers, who caused the desert to blossom as a rose. This generation lives in much of our literature and is venerated for its courage and endurance. These are valiant examples for us, but we should not underestimate the contribution of the second generation, their children. This generation grew up with the hardships of their pioneer parents and built the bridges to the modern world with the conveniences of civilization we now enjoy.
This second generation was composed of the grandparents of many of us who are responsible for this book. Some of us have childhood memories of them. Most of the information captured here comes from the writings of the second and third generations, the Olsen children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, we have some differences in our coverage of these folks. Christian and Hyrum, the second and seventh children of Christian and Anna, died in their 30s and they never married or had children. Amelia, the youngest of the Olsen children, died in 1904 when she was only 25. These differences in family circumstances are necessarily reflected in the extent of coverage given to them here.
In addition to the purposes described above, we hope this collection of histories will prompt others in the family to write their stories and their memories of those who came before them. We request that any additional information about the people described here be sent to the Christian Olsen Permanent Family Organization (COPFO) board members for inclusion in future editions. See
DeVon O. Nelson, COPFO President