Bev & Merle Olson - Thanksgiving 2001
The Evans and Olson Farm
in Blue Earth, Minnesota
Saturday, January 20, 1996
Lewis Evans was born January 30 in 1879 to Erick and Maria Evans on the farm in Roland, Iowa. He was the youngest of the 5 surviving children. His sister and brothers never married and lived out their lives there as industrious farmers. However, Lewis did not stay in Iowa as in his early thirties he went to Minnesota and bought a farm near Blue Earth just before WWI. When he was 41 years old he took Bertha Selgelid from Illinois as his bride on March 30, 1920. Lewis was a hard working, dedicated farmer, but he had a sense of humor and liked to joke so he was comical and always had a smile. Bertha was a true and proper lady and very fashionable and she was a delightful charming person. On May 21, 1927 when Lewis was 48 and Bertha was 41, they became the proud parents of Beverly Lorraine.
Beverly attended school in Blue Earth and graduated from high school in 1944. She went to St. Olaf College and Fairview Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota where she completed nurses training in 1948. Lewis and Bertha would visit the family in Iowa and Beverly met Merle Olson who lived on a neighboring farm to her relative, Alvina Thorson Owenson, near Story City. Romance bloomed and Beverly and Merle were married September 12, 1948 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Earth. Lewis was 69 years old by this time so it was time for him to retire so he must have welcomed Merle to come and step into the farm scene. The two families lived in the stately large farm house over the years. Merle and Beverly were blessed with a large family. Over a twenty year span there was always a little one in the house as they raised their 9 children - Karen Marie, Marlene Anne, Leslie Gene, Beverly Louise, Merna LaRayne, Lewis Evans, Leo Davis, Bertha Karolyn, Merle Amund, Jr. There was much to do and learn from the farm chores, gardening, cooking, baking, canning to sewing for this large household. In 1970 they built a much larger ranch style house to accommodate the large family. Lewis had already died in March 1962 from heart trouble at the age of 83, but Bertha was an important part of the Olson family and helped with the household chores and young ones long as she was able. She was a proud gramdma. Arthritis and old age made it necessary for her to go into a nursing home in Blue earth where she died in 1980 at the age of 94.
This Olson family had an active household and the nine youngsters participated in all phases of 4H. The musical talents of the children varied from Leslie with the tuba, Merna with the French horn, Lewis on baritone, Beverly and Merna on piano, Karen with the trumpet, Marlene on the saxophone, Beverly the cornet and Bertha the French horn. They are a faithful and active family in worship at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Earth and related church activities. Merle is know as a good and inspiring speaker. He also is a Gideon. Over the years their home has been open to boat people from Vietnam as well as numerous foreign exchange students from France, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, Iceland, England, Chek Republic, Chili and New Zealand. In 1993 Beverly and Merle were honored with Good People Award by KEYC TV (Mankato).
When Merle took over the farm operation he developed an aggressive dairy business and continued to expand the farming to 700 acres by 1979. Part of this was rented land. Over the years sons, Leslie, Lewis, Leo and Merle Jr. have helped operate the farm in partnership with their father. Corn, soybeans, oats, alfalfa, and hay are raised. There are 8 silos to store feed for the dairy herd- the highest one is 90 feet high. Many modern buildings for this dairy operation have been built. The large cattle shed has 150 free stalls for the cows and has automatic feeding system and scraper to utilize manure which goes into slurry. This liquid manure is spread on farm land. electric milk9ing machines are in operation twice daily to extract milk from up to as many as 200 cows sometimes. There is a constant supply of calves being raised also. Milking sometimes can take 8 hours of the day as start to milk in the wee hours of the morning and into the evening hours and this is every day of the week to service the cows for their twice daily milking. Merle knows what long hours are to work. He also is at the whims of nature, economics of the times as well as the unending government regulations and policies. Merle fell in 1981 and came down with Poly Myalgia Rhematica and has suffered with arthritis, but he continues to tend to his ongoing chores. Beverly keeps the book work and cooks for everyone. She has arthritis and in 1993 she broke her ankle which slowed her down for a time. She has a wonderful memory and keeps track of all her family with great interest. She worked for a time in a Baptist nursing home in Winnebago, Minnesota.