excerpted from 'my grandparents' by pauline anderson
gibbs for carrie m. stonley's composition class at the
university of iowa in 1938-39
> JOHN S. ANDERSON was a typical lumberjack of jonskaping province in sweden. his father's name being anders, his last name developed into anderson. he was a silent man but liked his ale. at twenty three he married emma elizabeth lundgren. finding it hard to support his family in sweden, he did what many others were doing and emigrated to the u.s. he left behind his wife and two children, charles and anna. he arrived in the u.s. in june 1869. (he came to the u.s. with a friend from sweden.)
in the united states he started working for the northwestern railroad building roads from illinois to iowa. after seven weeks he was section boss and after six months he was division foreman. he helped lay the northwestern mainline from des moines to omaha. after a couple of years, he earned enough to send for his wife and children. (his wife's parents, johannes and lena lundgren and emma's younger sisters anna and jenny came at this time also.) he went to chicago to meet them when they arrived from sweden.
he quit the railroad then and worked on farms around cambridge, illinois to get enough to buy his own farm. finally he saved a sufficient sum to buy eighty acres in clay township, webster county, iowa. the grant was signed by president buchanan and came under the old homestead law. the land had been initially given to a soldier for his service in the war of 1812.
he bought an old ax, a horse, several cows and a covered wagon and set out from cambridge. his boy charlie trudged barefoot all the way to the grant, driving the cow. emma and anna with the new baby amanda (daughter of john and emma) came by train.
the prairie was unbroken and a great deal of it was swamp land, but these swedish pioneers were used to hard work and the children were not spared. the community gradually grew. emma's two sisters, anna carlon and jennie telleen, settled near and many people from jonskoping arrived. the swedish lutheran church, with services and singing in swedish, was founded and attended as assiduously as in sweden. the school at the northeast corner of the anderson farm was attended by all.
the anderson's, from the largest to the smallest, worked hard. their home was known for hard work and frugality. hard work however was repaid for as they worked, their land holdings grew. twelve children were born to john and emma, but like so many children in those times, four died in infancy. eight however grew to maturity.
john was a friend to every one. hundreds owe their start in life to him. he was an excellent rifle shot, horseman and cattleman.
when their youngest son paul started farming the old folks had retired to gowrie. they died in 1930 at 82 and 85 within six months of each other. hard work had made them sound and healthy and able to give to the world eight sturdy children. 1200 acres of land were the result of hard work. j.s. anderson was one of the largest landowners in the country.