Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Ida Olson Abelset (Newgard), 1871-1951

By Bethany Montgomery, Student: Saint Martin's University, Lacey, WA

Ida Olea M. Olson Abelset was born to Norwegian immigrants John and Anne Marie Olson on March 25, 1871. Ida was the second oldest of five siblings who grew up at the west end of Foot Lake in Willmar, Minnesota. In 1891, Ida married John Andrias Abelset, a fellow Norwegian born in 1865, who immigrated to the United States in 1888. The pair lived in Seattle where John worked as a tailor with his business partner Hana P. Rude at their business Abelset & Rude. A census from the year 1900 indicated that for a short time, the Abelsets lived in their Seattle residence with their three children, Marcus (born March 1893), Alta Jonette (born May 1895), and Ruth E. (born January 1898), along with Ida's parents, siblings and their families—a total of thirteen household members. By 1920, Abelset's extended family moved out, while each of her children lived at home. By 1934, John passed away and Abelset continued to live with her eldest, Marcus. Several years after her husband's death, Abelset remarried to Sam Newgard. In 1938, her oldest daughter, a mother of two, died in Los Angeles. In 1941 at the age of 47, Marcus, who had been a long-time alcoholic, committed suicide. He had previously attended law school, was briefly married then divorced, and remarried to Marie Ladd shortly before his death.

Abelset contributed to the suffrage movement, according to the "History of Woman Suffrage," by working with local Norwegian and Swedish churches. In 1910 Abelset and Mrs. Martha Offerdahl created a campaign leaflet written in Scandinavian for congregations of supporting Norwegian and Swedish ministers. Within the pamphlet were supporting statements by sixteen ministers in the area, so the pamphlet itself proved to be crucial in gaining support from her fellow Norwegians. During this time period, many Seattle ministers allowed key members of the women's suffrage movement to speak to church congregations after leading the congregation in prayer. This included several Norwegian and Swedish churches.

Abelset died in 1951, and is buried next to her first husband, John, in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in a joint grave, next to their son, Marcus.


Bledsoe, J. (n.d.). Bio of NEWGARD, Ida Olea OLSON ABELSET (b.1871 d.1951) Kandiyohi Co., MN (Family Bio). Retrieved December 10, 2017, from

Harper, Ida Husted. The History of Woman Suffrage. Vol VI. (1900-1920). New York. 1922. [LINK]

Ida A. Newgard Abelset (1871-1951) - Find A Grave... (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2017. from

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28 Feb 1906, Page 5 - Willmar Tribune at (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2017, from

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