Sunday, January 4, 2015

Death Comes for the Groom-to-Be

At Melins'
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Let us go back for a moment to a couple of those wonderful old glass-plate negatives — specifically, the two that include William Olson, Andrew Melin, Tekla Anderson, and a young woman whose identity we don't know. In the photo above, William is standing at left, Tekla is standing at right, and Andrew is seated at right. The young woman seated at center, wearing a high-necked white blouse and an amused expression, is unidentified. They are all together again in the photo below, a trick shot that makes William (standing) appear twice.

Train of Thought

CK Melin has furnished me with William Olson's obituary from the Hobart News of October 6, 1910, and pointed out that it may contain a clue as to the possible identity of that mysterious young woman in the images.

2015-1-4. Wm. Olson obituary
(Click on image to enlarge)

That article is largely reprinted from the Hammond Times. The Hobart Gazette followed the next day with its own article, which included a few more details:
Wm. A. Olson who formerly lived in Hobart was found dead in his room last week Thursday, Sept. 29, at the home of Mrs. W.H. Rifenburg at Hammond where he had roomed several years. Mr. Olson had passed the evening before at the home of his aunt, Mrs. Eric Melin, in Chicago, and was in his usual good spirits and health. He did not arise at his usual hour the next morning and after forcing in the door to his room his body was found upon the floor, face downward, and it was evident that he had died in an epileptic paroxysm, of which he had been afflicted from youth although of late years he was much improved. The remains were shipped to Hobart via the Nickel Plate Friday afternoon and conveyed to the home of his cousin, Andrew Melin, on Michigan avenue. The funeral in charge of Rev. Otto A. Johnson was held at 10:30 last Sunday forenoon at the Swedish M.E. church, but the sermon was preached by Presiding Elder Anderson of Chicago. The burial was in the Hobart cemetery.

Mr. Olson was thirty-two years old. He was born in Sweden and came to this country when a youth of ten years and had made his home at the Melin residence. He learned the tinner's trade when a young man and was employed by his cousin, Andrew Melin, when he conducted a hardware store in Hobart some years ago and then by A.J. Swanson the hardware dealer but for the past five years he was employed by P.H. Mueller at Hammond. He was a young man of excellent habits and was an expert tinner and plumber. At the time of his death he was secretary of the Tinner's union at Hammond and a social member of the Maccabees in Hobart. He was engaged to be married to Miss Theresa Lindgren, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Lindgren of Lake street and the ceremony was set for Saturday of this week. His death is very regrettable. He is survived by a mother, a sister and a brother in Sweden.
Well, after reading all that, one can't help but jump to the conclusion that the lovely young woman in the photos is the fiancée, Theresa Lindgren. It's such a cozy and intimate little group there, and in the first photo William is resting his elbow on her chair in an almost proprietary gesture. Knowing what we know now, we see the poignancy in these playful images, as they capture the happiness of young lovers spending a perfect summer afternoon together, never suspecting how close they are to death and heartbreak.

Officially, however, I still have to consider her unidentified.

There are a few more photos in which I believe she appears …

I think she is seated at the far right in this one (while William Olson is standing at the far left) (original post here):

Young Peoples Meeting  No. 39

In this one, she's second from the top (original post here):

Just Us Girls 3

Here she's at left (original post here):

Just Us Girls 2

At left again (original post here):

Just Us Girls 1

And again (original post here):


I'm not 100% sure, but that might be her standing second from the right in this one (original post here):

Odd Man Out

In the choir photos, I think the young woman at right in the middle row might be her (and William Olson is at right in the last row) (original post here):

Choir 1

1 comment:

Suzi E. said...

That first pic is so sweet and touching...sad to know what is in store for them...I wonder what happened to Theresa.