“You know, there aren’t exactly classes in the country…” Andy in an interview with the Saturday Evening Post
Andrew “Andy” Olson was born near White City, Kansas on April 28, 1912 to Ole and Katharine Amthauer Olson. Helen Ebbutt Olson was born on January 19, 1914 to William and Margaret Ebbutt on the family farm north of Dwight, Kansas. Helen attended school at Ebbutt Grade School and graduated from Halfacre School after her parents purchased a ranch north of Skiddy. In 1932, she graduated from Xavier High School in Junction City. Helen had two sisters, Edith and Bessie with whom she helped her parents farm and ranch. Her and sister Bessie where especially adept at riding and handling horses. Helen married Andrew Olson, who grew up east of Skiddy on February 15, 1933. They rented a farm four miles north of Helen’s parents while Andy worked for the Geary County Extension-Farm Bureau office in Junction City. Andy was more of farmer than a rancher, but excelled in ranching after learning the ropes from Helen and his father-in-law, William Ebbutt. In May 1935, their daughter Lois “Elaine” was born. In 1938, they bought their ranch on Four-Mile Creek about seven miles southwest of Council Grove. Their nationally recognized herd originated from a highly bred Angus heifer which Helen won by guessing closest to her weight at Geary County Better Live-Stock Days. The Olson’s were instrumental in starting the 4-H program along Four-Mile Creek in 1945, which every eligible child joined. Their 4-H activities gave them national attention when an article in the November 30, 1946 Saturday Evening Post about 4-H in the U.S. featured Andy Olson. As the herd grew, the Olson’s purchased both farm and pasture which extended into Chase County. The Olson Ranch grew further when Elaine and husband, Norval Deschner, with twin daughters, Kim and Sue, returned from Japan in 1958 after the Korean Conflict. The Deschner’s bought 400 acres up the Creek, which made the ranch over 2,000 acres, most of it being pasture. A short bout of cancer took Helen’s life on August 10, 1962, when she was only 48. Andy died on March 23, 2004. Both are buried at Four Mile Cemetery near Council Grove.
Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame connection: Helen’s father William F. Ebbutt was inducted into the 2012 Hall of Fame as Rancher/Cattleman.