Columbia Co., Oregon
The Life of
Olive Jane Malcom
1840 - 1931
Jane Strong was born Sunday, March 15, 1840 in West Mansfield, Logan County,
Ohio, the second child of Samson and Fanny (Keller) Strong. Martin Van Buren was
President of the United States, the country consisted of 29 states with a
population just over 17 million, Texas was a separate country, and slavery was
still practiced in the South.
was named for her grandmother, Olive (Lowell) Strong, who in turn was named for her
mother Olive (Carlton) Lowell. In fact, the Olive name has been used in every
generation, for seven generations, up to the present day: Olive Carlton, born
1755; Olive Lowell, born 1794; Olive Strong, born 1818; Olive Jane Strong, born
1840; Olive E. Strong, born 1867; Olive Vining, born 1887; and Nancy Olive
Crouse, born 1945.
grandparents on her mother’s side were Frederic and Rachel (Skidmore) Keller.
Rachel was born March 10, 1791 in Virginia and Frederic was born in Wurttemberg,
Germany on March 9, 1793. When Frederic was about 5 years old, in 1799, he
immigrated with his family from Germany to America. Frederic would go on to
serve in the War of 1812. In 1815 Frederic married Rachel Skidmore and in 1816
they settled in Garwood's Mill, Logan County, Ohio. Later they moved a mile and
a half southeast to what became known as West Mansfield and established their
homestead. There they became members of the Freewill Baptist church and assisted
in building the church near their home. Frederic read his Bible in German when
giving thanks at the table, which was a source of great amusement for little
a young girl, her grandfather’s home was impressive to visit. It had been hand
built by him and was the first hewn log residence in the area. It was a
two-room, two-story house, the logs well chinked and daubed. It was the center
of wonder for miles around, for in that day the hewn log residence was a beauty
to all dwellers in common log cabins. In this hewn log house reigned genuine
hospitality, good cheer and kindliness.
was only two years old when her grandmother Rachel Keller died and did not grow
up knowing her personally.
mother, Frances “Fanny” Keller, was born on November 6, 1818 in Garwood’s
Mill, Logan County, Ohio, the third of sixteen children (two being half
-siblings). She was named after her aunt on her father’s side. Growing up,
Fanny was raised with extreme loyalty to the Freewill Baptist church and to
America. She also was raised as an Abolitionist.
grandparents on her father’s side were Ezra IV and Olive (Lowell) Strong.
Olive Lowell was born March 7, 1794 in Andover, Windsor County, Vermont, the
ninth of eleven children. Ezra was born June 26, 1788 in Phillipstown, Van
Rensselaer County, New York, the second of ten children.
November 19, 1814 Ezra Strong and Olive Lowell were married. Their first child
was Samson Strong, Olive’s father. He was born on January 6, 1816. The Strongs
were farmers in Erie County, New York between 1814 and 1824. Then the family
moved to Sheldon, Genesee County, New York between 1825 to 1839 and continued
farming. In 1839, Ezra and his wife Olive went west to join the Mormon movement.
Ezra had become a Mormon after being a Methodist minister. In the mid-1840’s
they were part of the early great Mormon migrations to Utah under the leadership
of Brigham Young. Unfortunately, Olive died during their very difficult journey
in 1846, at age 52.
Olive was just 6 years old when her grandmother passed away during her migration
to Utah and probably never met her. Young Olive’s grandfather Ezra was
considered a great traveler and she probably met him when he came for visits.
Ezra really liked to keep moving and was credited for walking over 10,000 miles
during his lifetime.
father, Samson, was a Freewill Baptist. He took being a Christian seriously
since his early 20's. Olive’s mother Fanny got acquainted with Samson through
the local Freewill Baptist church in West Mansfield, Ohio and they were married
July 13, 1837. Samson and Fanny had many values in common: a dedication to their
church, an anti-slavery position, and a devotion to family. Growing up, young
Olive lived in a household where everyone in the family was expected to live a
life of faith, hope and charity - and where there was definitely no drinking of
was the second child of ten. As soon as she was able to walk and talk she was
assisting her mother with the steady stream of newborns, which came every two
years or so, during Olive’s childhood and teenage years. Olive learned all
about midwifery as a girl. This knowledge she carried throughout her life, using
it to help others when the need presented itself. Early on she also knew about
the heartache of losing a child. In the winter of 1846, when Olive was just four
years old, her little brother, Samson, died at only 2½ years of age.
1855, as Olive was turning 15 years old, the decision was made for the family to
pull up stakes and go further west. Iowa had become a state in 1846 and fertile
farm land was available for 22 cents to $1.25 an acre. The family packed their
wagon with their most prized possessions and essentials for their new home.
Families who pioneered their way westward usually left in early spring in order
to get settled in their new home before winter. The family by this time was made
up of seven children: Rachel, Olive, Frederic, James, Mary, Shady, and Barbary,
who was barely two years old. The family traveled maybe 30 miles on good days
and perhaps only 5 miles if the roads were muddy and rough. At night they
usually planned a stop at an inn where they paid between 75 cents to $2.00 for
their family's lodging. Accurate maps were not common so every stranger they met
was a source for the best route information, as well as lodging availability,
provisions, and repairs.
destination was Carleton Township in Tama County, situated in central Iowa. The
trip took them about six weeks. It must have been somewhat of a shock getting
used to the relatively treeless Iowa plains after leaving the heavily wooded
lands they were so used to in Eastern Ohio. Yet it was exciting to see the great
Mississippi River and even with some lack of comfort, it was still an adventure.
Seeing the fertile prairies they stopped near and just north of Montour in Tama
County, not far from the Iowa River. At first they lived in a log cabin they
built and in 1857 they finished a house constructed from limestone, cut from a
1858, Olive was 18 and in love. The man's name was George Parcher. Like so many
of the pioneers in the area he was born elsewhere. His family came from New York
and had themselves recently started their homestead in Iowa. George was about 25
years old. On December 30, 1858 they were married in Tama County.
word came from West Mansfield, Ohio, that Olive’s grandfather Frederic Keller
had passed away on July 22, 1859. As a small girl, Olive had spent plenty of
time playing in that big house of his and the news of his passing was a sad one
Olive was 20 years old, on February 20, 1860, she gave birth to twins, Boyd and
Rodney. The twin boys would be nephews who
were older than one of their uncles for Olive’s mother, Fanny, gave birth
to her tenth and last child after
Olive gave birth to Boyd and Rodney. Olive’s mother gave birth to Olive’s
little brother Charles on June 9, 1861. Fanny was a grandmother when she gave birth to Charles.
of the harshest realities of those days struck the family in January 1862.
Rachel, Olive’s older sister, died in childbirth. Now Olive was the oldest
was an anti-slavery state and by 1861 the nation was in crisis over this issue.
75,000 Iowa men went to fight in the War of the Rebellion. In 1862 the governors
of Iowa and Minnesota asked for volunteers to help fight the Sioux Indians. The
Indians were attacking the forts and settlers in Iowa and Minnesota after the
U.S. Cavalry had left to fight in the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln also
called for 300,000 more volunteers to help bolster the Union cause. Olive’s
parents were strongly in favor of the anti-slavery movement and they believed in
what President Lincoln was trying to accomplish. Samson, at age 46, lied about
his age and enlisted on October 27, 1862, in company F, 6th Regiment of Iowa
Volunteers. The age limit for enlisting was 45 years old. Samson was passionate
about the Northern cause and so at 10:00 am on November 3rd he said goodbye to
Olive and the rest of the family and left to join Captain J. Foster's Company of
the 6th Iowa Cavalry.
was not always popular in the camps because he was very vocal about his
opposition to the drinking and associated misconduct of many of the soldiers.
During his Civil War experience Samson kept a diary. On January 19, 1863 he made
the following entry:
“... Election of noncom officers & I got
recommissioned by being voted out by the liquor influence ...”
January 29, 1863 he also made this entry:
"F.B. Sanborn told me this morning that Sam
Hallet & F. Thompson said last night they hoped we would have to acknowledge
the Southern Confederacy, he would rather have Jeff Davis in the White House
than old Abe. I herd Hallet this morning at the breakfast table uncaled for say
he would sooner vote for J. Davis than old Abe. ... Clear, cool, & pleasant
morning. No snow with my blood in indignant commotion against the toryism of the
soldiers openly expressed by some & secrcetly fostered by others as I am
maintained a steady stream of letters home and received many in return. Just
before a trip home for a 10 day furlough, in February 1863, he made a special
effort to have his photograph taken so he could show Olive and the rest of the
family his “likeness” in a Union uniform. The tintype cost him 75 cents.
next month an army wagon pulled up to Olive’s mother’s home. Nobody knew why
the army wagon was there, including Olive and the rest of the family, until they
learned the army wagon was delivering the lifeless body of Olive's father. He
had passed away March 18, 1863 in Camp Pollock, Scott County, Iowa from
pneumonia, during a severe and prolonged snow storm. Olive was devastated and
her mother was inconsolable. Her father was so healthy and happy to see his
family just a month earlier. His body was laid to rest in nearby Dobson
Cemetery. Olive’s mother received a widow’s pension of $8 a month and $2 a
month for each of her four dependent children.
months later, on the 25th of June 1863, Olive gave birth to Ira Samson. The
following spring Olive’s husband George now felt compelled to join the Union
Army. He said his good-byes to Olive and his young boys and on March 31, 1864 he
enlisted in Company E, of the 24th Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry.
months later in early October a man came calling on Olive with chilling news.
The man told Olive her husband George, while traveling back home from the war on
furlough, died of cholera in Centralia, Illinois on September 29th and that he
was with him when he died. Olive was overwhelmed with grief. Her family and
friends did what they could to comfort her but like the loss of her father the
year before it was so sudden and so devastating. George was buried in Centralia
and Olive was never able to visit his grave site as Centralia was hundreds of
miles away. At age 24, Olive was a widow with two small boys. Boyd had died as
an infant. Rodney was four years old and his baby brother Ira was just 15
months. As a single mother Olive drew a widow's pension to help support her
saw the end of the Civil War and war veteran Lewis Asa Malcom had just arrived
in Tama County. Soon Olive had met the hazel-eyed 30 year old and they fell in
had come out west as a young boy from New York to Michigan. By the time he was
26 years old, he had made his way to Placerville, California, where gold was
discovered a decade earlier. In April 1861 the Civil War broke out. The federal
troops stationed in California were needed to fight the Confederates in the
East. The state could not be left unguarded, however. With its gold mines, good
harbors, and supply of natural resources, California was valuable to both the
Union and the Confederacy. A call went out for volunteers to replace the
departing men. On September 15, 1861, Lewis enlisted in the Union forces at
Placerville in Company I, Second Regiment of Cavalry, California Volunteers.
California Volunteers never saw action on the major battlefields of the war, but
spent their time fighting Indians and small bands of Confederate troops. This
was the case with Lewis. He was first sent to training camp at Camp Latham,
located near present-day Culver City. On March 19, 1862, his company, under
command of Lieutenant Colonel George S. Evans, was sent to quell an Indian
uprising in the Owens River Valley, 302 miles north of Camp Latham.
troops from Texas had overrun the territories of New Mexico and Arizona. It was
rumored that 1,000 rebels were gathering at Tucson and planned to capture Fort
Yuma. To preserve the fort and to regain the Southwest for the Union, the
California troops were sent eastward. In June of 1862, Lewis was placed on
detached service as a vidette (mounted sentinel) on the road to Fort Yuma. He
continued this job until April of 1863, when he was thrown from his horse in the
Colorado Desert "while carrying the mail between San Phillippi and Creasy
Creek." Lewis was sent to the hospital at Drum Barracks (now Wilmington,
California) to recover from his injuries. When he was well, he was sent to Camp
Babbitt, near Visalia, California. He finished out his three-year term of
service there and was mustered out at San Francisco in October of 1864.
returned east. He may have gone first to Michigan, but he soon was in Tama
County, Iowa. Lewis' two uncles, Horatio and George Malcom, had earlier settled
in Tama County, and it is possible that his father, Samuel Malcom, and
grandfather, Charles Malcom, also lived there for a time. By the time Lewis
arrived, about 1865, George had died and Horatio had gone further west. But
Lewis found something very compelling that made him want to stick around, a
young woman named Olive.
happy couple were married in Tama County on March 14, 1866. Now Olive had a
complete family once again. The two young boys had a father that was denied them
by the Civil War. Both boys would continue to receive Civil War pension money
until they were 16 years old and this could easily be the reason they kept the
surname Parcher and didn't change it to Malcom. When their mother married Lewis,
Rodney was 6 years old and Ira was only 2. Rodney was too young to really
remember his biological father and Ira had no recollection of him at all. As
they grew from young children into adulthood Lewis was the only father they ever
knew. Lewis guided and molded Rodney and Ira with his values as any father
September of 1866 Olive and Lewis purchased 40 acres of land in Carlton Township
from Sumner and Mary Etta Dobson for $200. Interestingly, two years later, in
December 1868, Olive bought half of this land, 20 acres, from Lewis for $1.00.
Perhaps this was an 1868 version of estate planning, insuring Rodney and Ira a
property inheritance in case of the untimely death of Olive or Lewis. Besides
farming, Lewis supported the family with his skills as a carpenter and joiner.
April 18, 1867 the family grew to five with the birth of Lewella “Ella”
Jedithia. She was named in honor of her father Lewis, the name Lewella
being used as a female equivalent of Lewis.
Then on March 14, 1869 came Nina Frances, whose middle name was in honor of
Olive’s mother. The family increased to seven on January 24, 1871 with the
arrival of Fred Samuel, whose middle name was in honor of Lewis’ father. One
other child was born to Olive but this child died young.
June 1873, Olive learned of the tragic death of her sister Shady. Like her
sister, Rachel, she died in childbirth. To further the misfortune, Shady’s
daughter, Shady Ann, only survived two months.
Malcoms farmed in Tama County until 1873, when they sold their land to Lucius
Hall for $700. This was a good return for their seven year effort to improve
their farm and their life in Iowa. Now they were seeking to further improve
their fortunes by looking further west to the opportunities they were hearing
about in the Great Pacific Northwest.
important source of information about the opportunities in the Northwest was
from the family of Olive’s uncle Solomon Strong. About 1846, they had traveled
the 2,000 arduous miles over the Oregon Trail in their covered wagon, to
Lancaster, Washington Territory, in the eastern part of the territory. They
farmed there for a few years but by 1860 they had moved west and were
homesteading a large farm in Vancouver, Clark County, Washington Territory. News
about local opportunities from them, and other former Iowans now in the
Northwest, would filter back to Olive and Lewis, cementing their decision to
make the journey.
1862 Congress authorized the construction of two railroads that together would
provide the first railroad link between the Mississippi Valley and the Pacific
coast. One was the Union Pacific, to run westward from Council Bluff, Iowa; the
other was the Central Pacific, to run eastward from Sacramento, California. In
several Iowa cities railroad planning took place which eventually resulted in
the development of the Illinois Central, the Chicago, and North Western
Railroads, each reaching Council Bluffs by 1867. These railroads were all
anticipating the coming link to the new transcontinental railroad. The
transcontinental railroad was completed when the last spike was driven in at
Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10, 1869. Now that there was coast-to-coast
railroad accessibility from Iowa it was even more compelling for Olive and Lewis
to make the decision to journey to the Northwest.
children Rodney, Ira, Lewella, Nina and Fred, Olive and Lewis traveled by steam
locomotive over the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains to Sacramento,
California. From there went to San Francisco where they booked passage on a
steamboat and headed north along the Pacific Coast, then finally up the mighty
Columbia River to Skamokawa, Washington Territory.
five years following 1873 were hard times for the country. There had been a
financial panic and many banks had failed. While the country regained its feet,
Olive and Lewis did what they could to establish themselves. While they were
living in Skamokawa, Olive gave birth to Leon “Len” Asa on February 1, 1875.
received bad news from Iowa. Olive’s brother, James, had been killed by a
falling tree in February 1876. He had only been married eight months. The
following April, in 1877, Olive received news that her grandfather Ezra had died
in Utah. He had lived a long life and was 88 years old when he died.
and Lewis were still seeking ways to improve their life and so they continued
their search for land they could homestead. Finally they found just what they
wanted. It was a government land claim in the Beaver Valley, just west of
Rainier, Oregon in an area called Hudson Community. The property was located in
sparsely populated Columbia County. The whole county had less than 2,500 people.
In the spring of 1877 the family moved, ferrying across the Columbia River in a
skiff to Rainier, Oregon. They maneuvered up the small lagoon (which no longer
exists) at the north end of town. Unloading their possessions they scrambled up
the steep cliff and finally reached their new log home that Lewis, Rodney and
Ira had just completed - their heavily timbered property having supplied the
logs for the cabin’s construction.
property was at the very end of the only path you could call a wagon road
leading out of Rainier to the west. The nearest store was at the west end of
Rainier, known as Cedar Landing. In the winter, most travel was by horseback as
the road was practically impassable for a wagon. When passable, it took all day
to go the 10 miles to town and back, by oxen pulled wagon.
June 11, 1877 Olive gave birth to Victor Lewis. Now Olive and Lewis had quite a
family with Rodney age 17, Ira age 14, Lewella age 10, Nina age 8, Fred age 6,
Len age 2, and newborn Victor. But in 1879 tragedy struck the family just as
they were getting established in their new homestead. Rodney was killed by a
gunshot wound while hunting near home. The tragedy struck the family hard.
Rodney was the first person laid to rest in the Woodbind Cemetery in Hudson
farming, Olive and Lewis derived income from shingle making on their heavily
wooded property. Shingle making was an income producing activity they would
continue, as demand allowed, from at least 1880 to past the turn of the century.
January 1880 hurricane force winds hit the Northwest. Huge trees fell victim and
wagon roads and paths everywhere where blocked by downed timbers. Then snow fell
on the downed trees. Olive’s family was isolated from the outside world for
several weeks, and made due with what provision they had at hand, before the
wagon road to Rainier was finally cleared and reopened.
Ira was 18 years old he became engaged to Alice Smalley. Alice, like Ira, was
also from Tama County, Iowa. As a small child, Alice traveled across the Great
Plains on the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon. Her family settled on a donation
land claim that was later occupied by the city of Portland, Oregon.
Ira was 19 years old in 1882, he built a house approximately 300 feet west of
the log cabin occupied Olive and Lewis. He constructed the house with timber
from their family property. He had the timber cut into rough lumber at the mill
the Meserve family had assembled in an area called Delena a few miles further up
the road, the road to Rainier having been extended that far by then. With mostly
this rough lumber and square nails Ira set to work finishing his new home.
on November 29, 1882 he married his 17 year old sweetheart Alice Smalley. The
Wedding Affidavit information was provided by Lewella Malcom. The marriage took
place at Olive and Lewis’ home. After the wedding the newlyweds moved into
their new home which Ira had completed. One year later Olive, at age 43, became
a grandmother when Minnie Ethel was born to Ira and Alice on November 9, 1883.
This started a steady flow of grandchildren for Olive: Chester (1886), Frank
(1890), Tracy (1892), Donald (1895), Ernest (1902), and Harvey (1904). All the
children except Harvey were born in the house Ira built next door to Olive and
Lewis. Olive would lend her midwifery expertise for each of these births.
next year Lewella married a man named Vining and their son Carl was born in
March 1885, followed by a daughter Olive in 1887. Apparently Vining was
considered a “high stakes gambler” and the marriage soon ended. He must have
been an unsuccessful gambler with probably other character flaws since a
successful “high stakes gambler” might be as fine an occupation as any in
those early days.
brought on some of the most volatile weather Columbia County had ever recorded.
In June, weather conditions caused the Columbia River to flood higher than
anyone could remember and much of Rainier was flooded. Across the river the town
of Kalama was almost entirely under water. Water was forty inches deep on the
St. Helens post office floor. The passenger boats for St. Helens discharged
passengers into the second story windows of Mr. Blakesley’s hotel. A few
months later, in the winter of 1894, a tremendous snow storm hit blanketing the
county with upwards of five feet of snow.
all this weather volatility didn’t stop plans for a wedding. On November 13,
1894 Lewella married Charley F. A. Crouse. Charley ran a logging operation with
his father Abraham in Yankton, Oregon, a small community a few miles up Milton
Creek from St. Helens, Oregon. Charley was born Charles Fitz Abner Crouse on May
9, 1868 the fifth of nineteen children of Abraham Crouse.
1892, Abraham, his second wife Bethiah (Clark), their son Charley, and several
other Crouse children had immigrated to Yankton from Crouseville, Maine. Abraham
had a lot of experience logging in New Brunswick and Maine. In 1891 he came to
Columbia County for a visit to prove to himself that no matter what folks were
saying there were no trees in the world with the possible exception of
California redwoods that grew to ten feet in diameter and from two to three
hundred feet tall. One visit was all it took and plans for selling his farm in
Maine and moving to Oregon were set in motion.
exactly a year after Lewella and Charley’s wedding, they started adding more
grandchildren to Olive’s growing list: Demaris & Wallace (1895), Estes
(1897), Frank & Freda (1901) and Nina (1902). Young Nina was named for her
Grandma Olive’s daughter Nina.
little over a year after Lewella’s marriage, on November 15, 1885, Olive’s
daughter, Nina, married William Snider, a millwright and shingle maker. The
wedding took place in Olive and Lewis’ home. Followed were more grandchildren
for Olive: Roy (1886), George (1889), Herbert (1891), Mabel Lewella (1893), Leon
(1895), Lena (1898), Oscar (1900), and Etta (1901).
March of 1895, Olive received news from Iowa that her sister Mary had passed
away at age 45. Olive now had outlived five of her nine siblings.
McKinley was elected into office in 1896 and with him he brought what became
known as the “McKinley Prosperity”. Ever since the financial panic of 1893
times had been tough in Columbia County. Now optimism was in the air and the
demand for timber products was rising. Around 1900 the Malcoms, Crouses,
Parchers and probably the Sniders were all working for the Malcom Brothers Shake
Mill in Clatskanie, Oregon. It was a real family endeavor which involved three
son Fred married Jennie King on October 7, 1900. Jennie was from the town of
What Cheer, Iowa. The Wedding Affidavit information was provided by Charley
Crouse and the marriage was performed by the Justice of the Peace, who just
happened to be Ira Parcher. This union added seven more grandchildren for Olive:
Ralph (1901), Ira (1903), Leora (1904), Silas (190?), Floyde & Lloyde
(1911), and Virginia (1913).
couple weeks after Fred’s wedding Olive received news from Iowa that her
mother, Fanny, had passed away on October 20th. Fanny had lived a long life and
was 81 years old when she died. She was laid to rest next to her husband Samson
in Dobson Cemetery, Carlton Township, Tama County, Iowa.
next year on November 18, 1901, Olive’s son Len married Grace Bee.
Grandchildren that followed were Clarence (1903), Lawrence (1905), Calvin
(1912), and Allen (1916). Len was a logger and went on to work for the
Birkenfeld Logging Company in Hood River, Oregon.
December 2, 1902, Olive’s uncle Solomon Strong passed away. Uncle Solomon’s
family had been key to Olive and Lewis’ decision to make the long journey from
Iowa to the Northwest. Even after Solomon’s death, Olive often took her
children and grandchildren on the ferry from Goble, Oregon, across the Columbia
River to Kalama, Washington, and then over to Clark County to visit uncle
day 1904 was an especially happy occasion for Olive. Next door, in her son’s
Ira’s home, Olive witnessed the first wedding of a grandchild. Ira’s
daughter Minnie was marrying Andrew Heman. This would be the start of a cascade
of grandchildren’s weddings Olive would attend. The next year, Minnie and
Andrew made Olive a great-grandmother for the first time with the birth of their
daughter Alice. Olive was 65 years old.
the first half of 1914 Olive’s daughter Lewella fell ill and in July she had a
massive stroke. She died August 1, 1914. She was buried in the Crouse family
plot at Bayview Cemetery in Warren, Oregon. Olive had outlived another one of
1914 Olive and Lewis retired to the town of Clatskanie in Columbia County.
Lewis' health began to fail in 1917, and in 1918 he entered the Soldiers Home in
Roseburg, Oregon. He passed away November 24, 1918. It had been a tough year for
Olive. There was the general stress of living in a country embroiled in World
War I and seeing the many young men of the area going off to uncertain fates.
Also, her son Victor had died in February at age 40. Both Victor and Lewis were
buried in the Malcom family plot at Maplewood Cemetery in Clatskanie, Oregon.
She now had outlived two husbands and five of her children.
pioneer life taught her frontier nursing skills. During her lifetime she was a
midwife among her friends and neighbors, and she nursed many during the flu
epidemic of 1918.
to live in Clatskanie, Olive belonged to the Church of God where she met and
chatted with friends. She had a little garden plot by her house which she
maintained in the warmer months. Sometimes in the winter the house was so cold
in the morning that ice formed on the floor in the kitchen. She took in boarders
to help make ends meet. Esther West, while going to high school in Clatskanie,
was a boarder in the home of Olive. She remembered Olive as an “awful nice
her later years some people were saying that they thought for sure Olive was
going to poison herself because she'd leave food in the refrigerator and it
would get mold on it. And she'd say, "Oh well, if you boiled it, it won't
hurt ya. Just boil it good."
1924 Olive went to Houlton, Oregon, now St. Helens, to visit relatives. She
visited the home of her granddaughter Freda (Crouse) Conner where granddaughter
Demaris (Crouse) Danielson and granddaughter Nina (Crouse) Dubois had also
plan was to parade all the great-grandchildren they could corral past Olive as
she was interested in seeing them. This very elderly woman in her black dress
and cane was unintentionally a frightful sight to these very young children.
Marge (Billeter) Mendenhall recalled:
"I did have a chance to meet great-grandmother
Olive Malcom. She was visiting at Freda and Herb's home for the day. All the
little kids had to line up and march past her while my mother, Demaris, called
out the name of each kid and who they belonged to. I was scared of her. She was
very small and dressed in the Victorian style dress complete with brooch at the
neckline. She folded her hands on her cane as she sat glaring at each of us. We
all ran out to play as soon as we possibly could."
granddaughter Alice Heman married Samuel Trotter in 1923. On Independence Day
1924 Alice and Sam made 84 year old Olive a great-great- grandmother for the
first time with the birth of their daughter Thelma.
August 1924 Olive received the unwelcome news from Iowa that her sister Barbary
had passed away at age 70.
continued to reside in Clatskanie until January 1926, when she moved to Carlton,
Oregon, to live with her daughter, Nina. Carlton is in Yamhill County about 20
miles southeast of Portland. Nina was widowed in 1923 and subsequently moved to
Carlton to be near the family of her daughter Mabel (Snider) Harper. While in
Carlton, Olive enjoyed her four Harper grandchildren, Melvin (1919), Lucielle
(1921), Kenneth (1927) and Ellen (1930), two of them born while she was there.
received the sad news from Iowa that in August 1927 her brother Charles had
died. Charles was the youngest of Olive’s siblings. He was only two years
older than Olive’s son Ira.
hard news for Olive was the passing of her brother Frederic on February 23, 1928
in Anacortes, Washington. Frederic had been named for their grandfather Frederic
Keller. Olive had named one of her sons Fred. Olive was very close to her
brother Frederic. He was the next child born after her and was less than two
years younger. His family had come out to the Northwest and were in Skamokawa at
the same time Olive’s family had been. It was natural for their families to be
close since most of the rest the clan was in Iowa.
passed away in Carlton, Oregon on Friday, April 3, 1931. She was over 91 years
old and was survived at the time by 4 children, 31 grandchildren, at least 40
great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great grandchildren. She was laid to rest three
days later at the beautiful Maplewood Cemetery in Clatskanie, Oregon, next to
Lewis and her son Victor.
my research over the years I have come to realize that to understand family
history the job is not finished when blood relationships are determined. What is
passed on from generation to generation is much more important than just that.
Each generation influences the next through their values and personalities. By
all accounts Olive’s influences on the succeeding generations were positive.
Her descendants have a common thread that ties them together and we are
fortunate that this common thread is Olive.