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Ingerval M. Olsen, Associate Justice 1930-1936

Ingerval M. Olsen

Portrait of Ingerval M. Olsen, approx. 1935

Born in Norway, January 4, 1861, Ingerval M. Olsen came to the United States with his parents in 1865.


Born in Lillehammer, Norway, January 4, 1861, Ingerval M. Olsen came to the United States with his parents in 1865. His family settled in St. Peter, Minnesota until in 1871, when they moved onto a farm in Nicollet County, where Olsen would spend the remainder of his childhood. Olsen graduated from University of Minnesota in 1887, and then studied law and clerked at the law office of Ueland, Shores & Holt in Minneapolis. Olsen relocated to Duluth, briefly, to work in an abstract office and then moved to New Ulm where he worked at the firm of Lind and Hagberg. He was admitted to the bar in 1893 and moved to Sleepy Eye, Minnesota where he was a member of the firm, Sommerville and Olsen. He also served two years as mayor and one year as city attorney in Sleepy Eye. He married Lida Catherine McBain on June 11, 1896. They had two children: Harald M. and Ruth.

In 1906, to fill a vacancy, Governor John A. Johnson appointed Olsen to the district bench in the Ninth Judicial District. That same year when his seat was up for election, Olsen was successful in securing his place on the bench for  a six year term. He was reelected 1912, but opted not to run for re-election in 1918, deciding instead to return to private practice. He formed the law firm Olsen and Mueller with A. W. Mueller in New Ulm. However, after a vacancy occurred in his district, he again accepted appointment to the court in February 1920. He remained on the court until  October 1, 1927, when the Minnesota Supreme Court appointed him as their Commissioner, a position he held until he was appointed Associate Justice by Governor Theodore Christensen on November 20, 1930. Citing ill health, Justice Olsen stepped down from the Court on December 15, 1936.  On June 26, 1943, Justice Olsen died after being hospitalized in Saint Paul. 

You may read more about the life and work of Justice Olsen in the memorial, linked below, and in the book Testimony: Remember Minnesota's Supreme Court Justices, which is the source of this brief biography.

Signature of Ingerval Olsen

Image Credit: Ingerval M. Olsen, courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society, por 14751 r1, Olsen's signature from the Minnesota Supreme Court's Roll of Attorneys,1858-1970, p 32 (December 22, 1893), available online at: 

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