Pueblo County, Colorado
Fred E. Olin
Contributed by Jean Griesen.
Fred E. Olin was born on November 22, 1861 in Canton, St. Lawrence County, New York. He was the youngest child of eight children born to William M. Olin and Charlotte (Smith) Olin, he having been born late in life to his parents. Fred had three older brothers and four older sisters. Fred’s father, William, was a farmer in earlier years, and in later years, worked at a cheese factory. It is believed that the family moved several times within the same locality, for Fred appears with his family in the censuses in the nearby communities of Potsdam and also Madrid. Fred had every advantage in attending school. Not only was he able to attend school for many years, he also had the advantage of having had an older sister who was a teacher, and another older sister who was a music teacher. He was able to attend high school in Madrid, New York.
In 1880, at the age of 19, Fred was living with his older brother, Edgar, and his family. Edgar, his wife, and their three children had a woman and a man living with them as hired help. Additionally, they had a boarder with them named Emma “Ettie” Gates, a young woman from New York. Fred was listed as a brick maker in the 1880 census. Edgar’s three children had all been born in Colorado, and it’s likely that Edgar passed on many stories to his younger brother, Fred, of his life in wild Colorado. On March 30, 1882, Fred married the boarder, Ettie Gates, in Herman, Saint Lawrence County, New York. She was the daughter of Arba and Minerva Gates, and was born in the neighboring town of Fowler in St. Lawrence County. She was the oldest child of at least six born to her father, Alba Gates. Her mother is thought to have died in the early 1870s. Ettie was born in April 1859 and was two years older than Fred.
Fred and Ettie left New York and headed west for Pueblo, Colorado, arriving in Pueblo on March 1, 1884. They were attracted by the opportunities of the growing west. After arriving in Pueblo, they set up a home, and Fred took up the dairy business. While growing up, his father and older brother had worked in the cheese making business, and this was probably natural with his experience and profitable in the community. He successfully worked in this field for twelve years and was well-respected. At length, however, he disposed of his dairy and turned his attention to the undertaking and livery business, which he also later sold. He then opened a grocery store in the Grove District of Pueblo. He later moved the store to 503 West Abriendo Avenue, where he had his store many years. The store did very well, and his reputation was one of being straightforward, honorable, and progressive in this business. The Olin family lived nearby at 507 West Abriendo Avenue. His son, Howard, later joined Fred in the grocery business.
Fred and Ettie had three children, all born in Colorado. Mabel L. Olin was born on April 8, 1893; Fred E. G. Olin was born on April 17, 1895; and Ceylon Howard Olin was born on August 27, 1897. Ceylon was an Olin family name, having been the name of one of Fred’s older brothers.
Fred E. G. Olin, the second born child, died at the age of 19 on June 21, 1914 and was buried in Roselawn Cemetery in Pueblo. He had attended college at University of Colorado in Boulder as a freshman and came home for summer break. He had been home only a few days when he went in for surgery for appendicitis. He died after the operation, surely breaking the hearts of many family members and friends in Pueblo. His obituary in the newspaper was as follows:
“Fred E. Olin Is Suddenly Stricken After An Operation – Well Known and Popular – Pueblo Boy Died Yesterday Afternoon – Had Just Returned From College to Spend His Vacation With His Parents.
Fred E. G. Olin, son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred E. Olin of 507 west Abriendo avenue died at a local hospital in the city yesterday afternoon June 21, 1914, following an operation for appendicitis.
The young man was born April 17, 1895 in Pueblo where he has resided continuously and was one of the most popular young men of the city.
He is survived by his father and mother and sister Mabel and brother Howard. He was a student of Carlile grade school and graduated from Central high school with honor in the class of 1913. He had just completed his first year at the University of Colorado at Boulder, having returned from that institution but a few days since expecting to spend his vacation period with his family and friends in Pueblo.
He was a member of the First Congregational church of this city, and of Alpha-Tau-Omega fraternity at Boulder. While attending the university he was chosen assistant manager of the U. of C. foot ball team and was much interested in athletics and was exceedingly popular with his class-mates and acquaintances being a young man of high attainments and exemplary habits.
He was taken ill at his home late Tuesday and was removed to the hospital and operated on Thursday, but failed to rally. Every means known to medical science was applied and everything possible done to aid his recovery, but the hand of death held in its grasp the young life of hope and promise and surrounded by his immediate family he quietly parted away. The funeral will be held from the family home, 507 west Abriendo Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 o’clock.”
Pueblo Chieftain June 22, 1914
Fred Olin, the father, made a good life for the Olin family in Pueblo. Not only did he do well in the dairy and grocery businesses, he also was the director of the Bank of Pueblo in the late 1910s. He allied himself with the Republican Party. In the fall of 1915, Fred ran for public office, as a city council member. It was a very close race, but, in the end, Fred won. He served on the Pueblo City Council for three terms, from 1915 through 1919, from 1921 through 1925, and 1925 through 1929. During this term of service to the community, he also served as the commissioner of parks and highways.
The Olins were active members of the First Congregational church, and for many years, Fred had served as a member of the board of trustees of the church. He was also a life member of the Knights of Pythias, Lodge No. 52. Fred was very prominent in the order, having held the offices of Grand Inner Guard and Master of Arms of the Grand Lodge of the state. At one time, he was Chancellor of Pueblo Lodge No. 52, and at the time of his death, Fred was Keeper of Records and Seals for the order. Ettie was also active with Knights of Pythias, as a Pythian Sister.
By 1918, Fred was a prominent and well-known citizen of Pueblo. His biography appeared in “History of Colorado,” written by Wilbur F. Stone in 1918. His biography appears below.
“Fred E. Olin, president of the board of city commissioners, is numbered among that class of office holders who strongly promote public stability and uphold the legal status by their endorsement of every plan and measure that seeks the upbuilding of the community along lines of permanent worth and value. Pueblo classes him among its foremost representatives and honors him as a public-spirited man. Mr. Olin is a native of the state of New York, his birth having occurred in Canton, St. Lawrence county, on the 22d of November, 1861. He is a son of William M. and Charlotte (Smith) Olin. The father was a farmer by occupation and was descended from one of the old Puritan families of New England, established in that section of the country in pioneer times.
Fred E. Olin is the youngest in a family of eight children. The Empire state afforded him his educational privileges, for he attended the public schools until he had mastered the branches of learning taught in the high school of Madrid, New York. He was a young man of twenty-three years when in 1884 he severed home ties that bound him to New York and made his way to the west, attracted by the opportunities offered in this great and growing section of the country. He took up his abode in Pueblo and for twelve years was engaged in the dairy business, which he successfully and intelligently handled, gaining a liberal patronage in that connection. At length, however, he disposed of his dairy and turned his attention to the undertaking and livery business, which he later also sold. He then became connected with the grocery trade at No. 503 Abriendo avenue, where he has been located for the past sixteen years. In the meantime he has built up a trade of large and extensive proportions. He has ever been straightforward, honorable and progressive in his dealings and his earnest desire to please his patrons has brought to him a patronage which is well deserved. His business is now managed by his son, C. Howard Olin.
In 1882 Mr. Olin was united in marriage to Miss Ettie E. Gates, a daughter of Arba Gates, and to them have been born three children, but Fred B., the second child, passed away at the age of nineteen years, his death being the occasion of deep and widespread regret to his youthful friends and to all who knew him. The others are Mabel L. and C. Howard.
Mr. Olin has made for himself a favorable place in public regard during the long years of his residence in Pueblo. Aside from his connection with the grocery trade he is known in business circles as a director of the Bank of Pueblo and is a self-made man who deserves much credit for what he has accomplished. He has never allowed obstacles or difficulties to bar his path, but has regarded them rather as an impetus for renewed effort on his part, and by reason of close application and earnest purpose has won a substantial measure of prosperity. Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Pythias and is very prominent in the order, having held the office of grand inner guard and master of arms of the grand lodge of the state. He is now a past chancellor of Pueblo Lodge, No. 52. His religious faith is that of the Congregational church, to the teachings of which he has been most loyal, and for several years he has served as one of the trustees of the church. His political allegiance has always been given to the republican party and in the fall of 1915 he was elected to the office of city commissioner for a four years' term and is serving as president of the board. In this connection he is endeavoring to save all needless expenditure to the taxpayers by a businesslike administration and at the same time his official service is marked by a progressiveness that accomplishes results beneficial to all. For more than a third of a century he has been a resident of Pueblo, during which time he has witnessed a remarkable growth and development and at all times has borne his part in the work of general improvement and progress. His memory forms a connecting link between the primitive past and the progressive present and the worth of his work as a business man and as a citizen is widely acknowledged. He has never made the attainment of wealth the sole end and aim of his life, but has ever found time for cooperation in those interests which affect the general welfare and which promote individual uplift.”
Between 1920 and 1930, the Olins moved to 1901 Lake Avenue. Fred died at the age of 75 on January 19, 1937. He had been in particularly good health for his age, but died suddenly from a heart attack as he was getting ready to leave for a Knights of Pythias meeting. He was buried in Roselawn Cemetery in Pueblo. An article from the Pueblo Chieftain newspaper chronicles his life and death.
“Fred E. Olin, Former City Commissioner, Dies.
Former City Commissioner Fred E. Olin, who served three complete terms as a member of the city council, died suddenly at his home at 1901 Lake avenue early Tuesday evening. He was 75 years old.
In particularly good health in view of his advanced age, Mr. Olin was stricken suddenly about 5:30 p.m. in the kitchen of the family home, just as he was preparing to leave to attend a Knights of Pythias meeting. Death was attributed to a heart attack.
Mr. Olin, who was 75 years old on Nov. 2, first was elected to the city council in the fall of 1915, defeating Thomas A. Duke, the incumbent, in one of the closest races ever produced by a Pueblo municipal election.
The unofficial tabulation gave Mr. Olin a margin of 12 votes and this was reduced to a lead of six votes in the official count. Serving as city commissioner in 1916, 1917, 1918 and 1919, Mr. Olin retired from the council at the completion of his term, but was reelected for another four-year term in 1921, and for a third term in 1925.
He completed his third term as a member of the city council Dec. 31, 1929.
During his entire tenure of office, Mr. Olin served as commissioner of parks and highways.
Mr. Olin came to Pueblo from the state of New York on March 1, 1884. He had resided here ever since. Engaging in various businesses, he finally established a grocery business in the Grove district then transferred it to a store on West Abriendo avenue which he operated for many years.
He was a member of the First Congregational church and for many years had served as a member of the board of trustees of the church. He was a life member of the Knights of Pythias, lodge No. 52, and at the time of his death was keeper of records and seals for the order.
Surviving him are his widow, Mrs. Ettie E. Olin; a daughter, Mrs. Mabel Olin Swain, both of the family home; a son, C. Howard Olin, 1126 East Fourth street, and a grandson, Frederick O. Swain.
Funeral arrangements, which are to be made by the Davis mortuary, had not been completed Tuesday night.”
Pueblo Chieftain, Wednesday, January 20, 1937
After Fred’s death, Ettie’s health began to decline. Ettie Olin died on July 19, 1940 at the age of 81. She was buried between her husband, Fred, and her son, Fred E. G. Olin, in Roselawn Cemetery in Pueblo. Her obituary provides a little more information about her life and death.
“Mrs. Fred Olin Taken By Death; Services Today.
Funeral services for Mrs. Fred Olin, who died early Friday at her home, 1901 Lake avenue, following a long illness, will be held today at 3:30 p.m. in the Davies chapel.
Mrs. Olin, a resident of Pueblo since March 1, 1884, had been practically an invalid for several years and had been bed-ridden eight weeks. Her husband died here Jan. 19, 1937. They were married March 30, 1882, in Lawrence county, New York.
Mrs. Olin was the mother of Mrs. Mabel Swain, an employe of the city health department, and of Howard Olin, formerly of Pueblo, now of Oklahoma City, Okla. She is survived also by one grandson, Frederick Olin Swain, Pueblo, and a brother, A. F. Gates of Philadelphia, N. Y.
She was a member of the First Congregational church; of Pythian Sisters, temple No. 52 and of Banner circle No. 4, Neighbors of Woodcraft.”
Pueblo Chieftain, July 20, 1940
1. Federal census records from 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 from St. Lawrence County, New York.
2. Federal census records from 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 from Pueblo County, Colorado.
3. Marriage announcement in Gouverneur, New York Herald, St. Lawrence County, New York, March 15, 1882.
4. “Fred E. Olin,” “History of Colorado,” Volume II, pages 444 - 446, edited by Wilbur Fisk Stone, published by the S. J. Clarke Publishing Company in 1918.
5. “Fred E. Olin Is Suddenly Stricken After An Operation,” obituary for Fred E. G. Olin, Pueblo Chieftain, June 22, 1914.
6. World War I draft registration card for Ceylon Howard Olin, son of Fred E. Olin, provided online at www.ancestry.com.
7. Burial records from Roselawn Cemetery, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado, provided online at www.roselawnpueblo.com/genealogy/.
8. Obituary index provided by Pueblo City-County Library District, provided online at http://opac.pueblolibrary.org/uhtbin/cgisirsi.exe/x/RAWLINGS/x/55/1183/X.
9. Social Security Death Index (SSDI) entry for Mabel Swain, daughter of Fred E. Olin, provided online at http://ssdi.rootsweb.com/.
10. California Death Index (CADI) listing for Mabel Olin Swain, daughter of Fred E. Olin, provided online at http://www.vitalsearch-ca.com/gen/ca/_vitals/cadeathm.htm.
11. “Fred E. Olin, Former City Commissioner, Dies,” Pueblo Chieftain, Wednesday, January 20, 1937.
12. Obituary for Mrs. Fred Olin (Ettie Olin), Pueblo Chieftain, July 20, 1940.
to the Pueblo County Index Page.
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