Alfred Olson

Glen Leslie Church and Cemetery

On November 21, 1914, a meeting was held to consider building a church at Glen Leslie. A subscription list was drawn up with cash donations and volunteer labor promised. Alfred Olson was hired as the carpenter for $4.00 per day. The 20’ x 30’ log church was built on ten acres allotted for a church and cemetery on SW 6 72 3 W6. By March 1915, the logs were hauled and construction began after spring work. Total cost of the Church was $468.00. The first church service was held on October 30, 1915 and continued until 1964.

· Born: 28 Dec 1886, Wåmhus, Kopparberg, Sweden

· Baptized: 30 May 1887

· Marriage: Inga Mathilda Bredeson on 7 Oct 1916 in Grande Praire, Alberta, Canada

· Died: 28 Apr 1966, QEll Hospital, Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada aged 79

· Buried: Glen Leslie Presbyterian Cemetery, Glen Leslie, Alberta, Canada

Alfred Olson

The house where Alfred grew up

In Wåmhus, Sweden

Alfred Olson the home where Alfred grew up

Picture from Carol Sorensen

of Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada

Alfred’s Grand Daughter 

Picture from Catherine Tillas

of Leksand, Sweden

Alfred’s Grand Niece 

Alfred's immigration.

We are still trying to justify and find solid information about the first part of his trip.


(the following note from Wikipedia - the links in this section will take you to their information)

Crossing the Atlantic

The first European emigrants travelled in the holds of sailing cargo ships. With the advent of the age of steam, an efficient transatlantic passenger transport mechanism was established at the end of the 1860s. It was based on huge ocean liners run by international shipping lines, most prominently Cunard, White Star, and Inman. The speed and capacity of the large steamships meant that tickets became cheaper. From the Swedish port towns of Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg, transport companies operated various routes, some of them with complex early stages and consequently a long and trying journey on the road and at sea. Thus North German transport agencies relied on the regular Stockholm–Lübeck steamship service to bring Swedish emigrants to Lübeck, and from there on German train services to take them to Hamburg or Bremen. There they would board ships to the British ports of Southampton and Liverpool and change to one of the great transatlantic liners bound for New York. The majority of Swedish emigrants, however, travelled from Gothenburg to Hull, UK, on dedicated boats run by the Wilson Line, then by train across Britain to Liverpool and the big ships.


Alfred left Sweden on the Tasso, from Gothenberg, Sweden to Grimsby, England

The passenger list from Alfred's trip on the Tasso  


Took the train to Liverpool.


Then the RMS Mauretania from Liverpool to New York, United States of America


The passenger list from Alfred's trip on the Mauretania

19 November 1910


Our understanding is that somehow he got to the west coast to work, and met up with Nels Meyers.

The storey goes that the 2 young men threw a boot in the air and decided to head in the direction it pointed on landing.

A lot of Nels and Alfred's descendants are still in the area.



Alfred at different stages and ages of life



Noted events in his life were:

• Home Stead, 11 Mar 1920, Glen Leslie, Alberta, Canada. Application for title approved
NE 33 - 071 - 03 - W6
Applied 1914

• Build Glen Leslie Church, 1915. In November, 1914, a meeting was held to consider building a church at Glen Leslie. A subscription list was drawn up with donations of labor and cash promised. A similar meeting was held in December at Bezanson with similar commitments called for. The logs were to be cut and hauled out during the winter. Two 20'x30' log buildings were built the following spring with volunteer help and one carpenter, Mr. A Olson. Both churches were used as schools for many years.

• Story: From the book "Smoky River to Grande Prairie", 1978, ISBN 0-88925-036-7. Page 49-51
ALFRED OLSON FAMILY STORY - by Carol (Waldner) Adams - March, 1977

Born in Wamhus, Sweden, Alfred Olson left his home in 1910 to come to the U.S.A. While he was working in the Los Angeles area, he met and worked with Nels Meyers. Unable to make up their mind about which way to go, Alfred decided to throw his boot in the air and follow the direction the toe pointed. The shoe landed pointing north east. The two young men arrived in the Bezanson district via the Grouard Trail in the spring of 1912.

Alfred's carpenter skills were put to use that year building the main part of his first home, the shell of which is still standing. As more people came into the area, Mr. Olson was often a willing volunteer helping his new neighbours to build their homes. He was also part of the work force who constructed gathering places, such as the original hall, which burned down in 1949, and the Glen Leslie Church, which is a standing monument to the fine workmanship of the community members. In later years, he built the Ben Foster residence in Sexsmith (1926-27) and helped with the present Bezanson Community Hall, built in 1950.

In the early part of 1916, Alfred attended a dance in Grande Prairie where he met Miss Inga Bredeson. Inga had come from Minnesota by train to Edson and by sleigh, over the Edson Trail to Grande Prairie in early 1915. The Bredeson family were living in Sexsmith.

They were married later in 1916 by Rev. Forbes at his private residence in Grande Prairie. The young couple set up housekeeping in the log house at Bezanson. They were to eventually raise 7 children in the 3 room log house - Edna, Elsie, Violet, Angie, Don, Gordon and Alice.

Tragedy struck the Olson household when Edna, Elsie and their first son, baby Edwin came down with Whooping cough. The 6 week old baby succumbed to the dreaded disease and was buried in the Glen Leslie cemetery in June, 1927.

Life on the farm meant much hard work, but the family recalls many good times. Mr. Olson was a carpenter by trade, but he also trapped and hunted. Alice recalls having to share the house with skins hanging to dry. Alfred brushed the land by hand and broke the fertile ground with oxen. Entertainment was not lavish or extravagant, but nobody minded. Mrs. Olson recalls going to dances where Mr. Olson played the accordion, and her not missing a dance. 'Everybody danced with Everybody'. Edna recalls herself and Elsie singing during supper breaks. There was also much visiting among neighbours.

The Olson house was the scene of many dances and, in fact, 3 of the Olson girls; Edna, Violet and Angie, held their wedding receptions at home. In the early days, Inga recalls making frequent trips to the old Bezanson Townsite for supplies with a single horse buggy. Later, in the 30's they had a team of sorrel horses, Johnny and Lady, who acquired a reputation for pulling out stuck vehicles, in particular, the mail truck.

Edna, the oldest of the children, married Carl Flohr and resided in several Peace country towns in the early part of their marriage. When Carl's work took him up the Alaska Highway, Edna lived back on the farm with her young family. The Flohrs raised 5 children; Alvin, Eddie, Larry, Ivan and Marlene. Edna's gift is cake decorating. Her talent is well known and her wedding cakes have gone as far as England and Hawaii.
The Flohrs presently live in Grande Prairie.

The second eldest, Elsie worked for the Rays in Beaverlodge. It was here she met Bob Ray, who enlisted in the Army. They were married in Nanaimo, B.C., where Bob was stationed. Elsie did her part for the war effort by going to work in an aeroplane factory as a riveter. Bob and Elsie have 2 sons, Lyle and Barry.

Violet married Bill Griffiths, a mechanic from Grande Prairie. The Olson girls recall Vi making all their clothes, and Violet is still satisfying customers with her fine workmanship. Bill's work has taken them to many places in Alberta and B.C. They now live in Nanaimo, B.C. They have 4 daughters; Gayle, Judy, Cindy and Bonnie.

Angie married Walter Waldner, a young horseman from Clairmont. They were married in Grande Prairie and have lived and worked in the area ever since. In 1957 they purchased the family farm, where they still reside. Walter has always enjoyed working with horses and now enjoys something he has always wanted to do -own harness horses. Walter has travelled all over Alberta with his 2 registered pacers to drive in races. Angie enjoys the horses with her husband and also sews for her family. They have 2 children - Carol and Darrel.

Don was the last one to marry. He married Maxine McColm, a teacher whom he met while she was instructing at the Bezanson school. They now reside in Grande Prairie, where he has followed in his father's footsteps and to become a successful self-employed carpenter. Many people Don grew up with will remember him as being an excellent taxidermist. He still has some of his trophies. Don and Maxine have 3 children; Tammy, Trent and Terrill.

Gordon married Glenda Franks, a young girl from Goodwin. Gordon's brothers and sisters remember him best having his hand under the hood of the family vehicle. At the age of 16 he went to SAIT to study for his mechanic certificate. He received it when he was 19. All his hard work has paid off, as he has a partner and they have a thriving service station business. He and Glenda have 5 children - Janice, Karen, Darlene, Brian and Rhonda.

Alice married a local guy, Tyke Ames. Tyke is a welder by trade and is an avid horseshoe pitcher, a hobby that has given him several trophies. Allie's gaining an excellent reputation as a seamstress. They have lived in Bezanson all their lives and have raised 4 daughters - Louise, Beverly, Irene and Colleen.

Christmas, 1952 Inga and Alfred moved to a new 5 bedroom home, just east of the original building site. In 1957 they moved to Grande Prairie, where Alfred worked with Don building houses. Alfred also enjoyed river boating with his sons, making several trips up the Smoky River, during this time in his life. Inga who had always sewed for her own family, then started sewing for others. Her work included complete wedding ensembles, square dance outfits and she also altered clothes for clothing stores. Mr. and Mrs. Olson's natural talent of making something from nothing has passed on to all their children, who are all very good with their hands.

In 1962, Alfred again built Inga a home. It was at this modern house in Grande Prairie where Alfred passed away. He was 79 years of age and is remembered by family and friends as a very private person, but always a good neighbor. Mrs. Alfred Olson enjoys a very active and independent life in her home to this day.

Today, one of Inga's most vivid memories of this area opening up, was the driving of the Golden Spike, bringing the rest of the country to Grande Prairie. 

The following and some pictures above are from Catherine Tillas in Sweden

Alfred to the left and his brother ( Immanuel?)

Alfred's brother Immanuel "Manne" also called Jack

Aunt Mable
Alfred to the right and his brother Immanuel

Immanuels wife "aunt Mable"

Alfred to the right and his sister and her husband
No description
The backside from a post card to my Grandmother
Aunt Mable
No description
Letter from "uncle" Alfred to my grandmother
Letter from "uncle" Alfred to my grandmother

John Olson - Våmhus  (By: Cathrine Tillas)

My great grandfather was John Olson. He left Wåmhus Sweden in 1904. Behind he left his wife dying in TBC and his daughter Anna - my grandmother (two children had already died). His first letter is dated 17 may 1904 posted in Williams Arizona (camp). There is a pictures of him as a railroad worker - in Canada or Alaska? He was home once in 1913 and then he promised my grandmother he was going to send for her so that she could come to Amerika. Something must have happened because he didn´t keep in touch until 1922 from Seward Alaska. He lived most of his life in the Mcgrath area in Alaska were he was mining for gold. It´s seems that he was at one place during the summer and another during the winter - probably because it was too cold in the winter? He sent about 50 letter home. He mostly talks about the weather, shooting bears, fishing, cooking and working. The only relatives he mentions is his brother Manne (Immanuel) that he probably visited and got to send coffee home to my grandmother during the war. In 1954 he mentions that his other brother Alfred and his two boys (Gordon and Donald) came up to Anchorage and visited for a couple of days. He is buried at Anchorage memorial cemetery.

Memorial Cemetery Anchorage Memorial Park (

2015 Olson Reunion Pictures

Inga and Alfred's grave site at Glen Leslie

This is a work in progress, information is being added regularly.

Produced by Sorensen Ventures