This country takes great pride in the citizens of other lands who have come to these shores and who, with rare energy, industry and management have built up profitable and popular businesses in the various communities. The career of Chris Olsen, a well-known general merchant of Audubon, this county, is worthy of being heralded to the native-born sons of this land. The story of his life is more like a romance than a statement of real fact, since he has been able since coming to America, at the age of sixteen, to build up one of the most prosperous and flourishing enterprises in Audubon county. Mr. Olsen's success is not a matter of accident. He has given his labor ungrudgingly and deserves the large success which he has attained.|
Chris Olsen, a well-known merchant of Audubon, Iowa, was born in Denmark on October 31, 1872, the son of Peter P. and Anna (Christensen) Olsen, farmers in their native land. His father, who served in the Danish-Prussian War of 1864, died unexpectedly in 1895. The mother, who has had ten children, six of whom are still living, is still living in her native land. Chris Olsen is the only member of this family living in this country. He was educated in his native land and after leaving school clerked in a store for two and one-half years. Coming to America in 1888, he located at Harlan, in Shelby county, Iowa, and for two years worked out as a farm hand, attending school in the winter. Coming to Audubon county at the end of that period he worked as a farm hand in Cameron township for a short period and then went to Audubon, where he clerked in the general mercantile store of E. Bilhars & Sons for some years. About 1895 Mr. Olsen started in business in a small way for himself. He established a general mercantile store on a small scale, and has increased his stock from time to time as his patronage has grown, until he now has one of the best stores and perhaps as good a stock of general merchandise as is to be found anywhere in Audubon county. Mr. Olsen handles a complete line and today his trade is larger and more profitable than ever before.
In 1902 Chris Olsen was married to Marie Mathisen, daughter of Peter and Sophia Mathisen, and to this happy marriage have been born four children, Peter P., Anna Marie, George and Carl, all of whom are living at home.
Mr. Olsen affiliates with the Danish Lutheran church and is foremost in every worthy movement in this county. In his toil and struggle for success he has not overlooked the larger and greater purposes of life, but has given the attention of a loving father to his children and has always been and is regarded as a good citizen, keen and alert.
Transcribed from History of Audubon County, Iowa Its People, Industries and Institutions With Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many of the Old Families, by H. F. Andrews, editor, Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1915, pp. 327-328.