Anderson Family History

John Anderson Family

John Anderson family

John Anderson family

                                         John Anderson and wife with three children.

John Anderson, or Johan Andersson, as he was known in “the ol country,” was born in the village of Åsjön  in the County of Västerbotten in  Sweden on 7/15/1850, where he lived with his parents and with his brothers Anders, Nils, Karl and sisters. Then in 1873 he moved to Bugdeato, Degerfors Parish (Vindeln), Västerbotten.

Åströms-gården, 1860 mansion. Probably from the book “Spinnel-Anna Slakt,” table 1301.

Åströmska-gården mansion, Degerfors (now Vindeln), 1860. Probably from the book Spinnel-Anna Slakt, table 1301.

There (per the book Spinnel-Anna Släkt (1960), table 1496 John Andersson & Family, pp. 250-252), Johan Andersson met an orphan, Hilma Sophia Sandstrom, who lived with her rich uncle (mom’s brother) in a big house in Degerfors.  She had a miraculous trip following her older siblings from Sjobranet, Vasterbotten to her rich uncle named Anders Astrom in Degerfors, Västerbotten after the sudden death of both Sandstrom parents, Catharina Pehrsdotter (on July 27, 1868) and Emanuel Nilsson Sandstrom (on July 29, 1868). Orphans are left after both parents die within space of days from typhus in the Great Famine Year of 1868. The youngest children–including 6 year old Hilma Sophia Sandstrom are carried by their sister Maria over wet ground and morass to Degerfors village, there she got a foster home at her uncle (her mom’s brother), Anders Åström. The young kids traveled in difficult going some 15 km between Sjobranet and Degerfors with 5 lakes including Stordandsjo.

Johan and Hilma shared with her his vision of life in a new land, America, where free land was available in accordance with the Homestead Act signed by President Abraham Lincoln.  Letters of prior emigrants told in glowing reports how every person could pursue whatever goals they set for themselves in freedom with all concomitant opportunities.  In 1880 they were married in the Degerfors church. As soon as their little girl  Hilma Maria (12/31/1880-12/21/1882 ) was well enough, they emigrated to America in 1882. This is well before brothers Nils and Anders consider the move.  Sadly, their baby barely survived the grueling voyage in the ship’s hold and died on arrival in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The couple looked for a homestead, living in a sod dug-out in Ramsey Township, McCook County, South Dakota, near what would become a village his brother Nils would start called Center, South Dakota.  While looking for a farmplace to settle, John worked  in a rock quarry continuing that while farming, walking with others 50 miles from Ramsey to Sioux Falls, a trip that took 3 days; hence his visits home were once every month.  They filed a homestead and built a wood house NE of Center Lutheran Church, which the Anderson family, the Wicklund family and others helped build.  The family soon grew to 11; John’s two brothers and mother joined them.


But the climate is inhospitable and farming difficult; in short, life is not all that they envisioned and they sold the farm in 1905 and moved to Bayote, Cuba, where a friend, Dr. Lind, was starting a Swedish Colony. (See the article by Marilyn McGriff, “Minnesota Swedes Raising Cane” [in Cuba], Minnesota History (Spring 1999), pp. 286-305). There they cleared land to grow sugar cane, grapefruit, bananas, oranges, lemons next to Swede emigrants Nystroms  & Olsons, who came in 1908.  In 1910, son Vic married Anna Olson; her brother, Oscar Olson married Helen Nystrom.  For a while, life was great and everyone seemed to prosper.   Again misfortune overtakes them:  First, a daughter died of trichinosis and then John died following emergency abdominal surgery. Following the Spanish-American war, the US  didn’t colonize Cuba so when Cuban revolutionists came they drove off the family, who returned to Center, SD, where some descendants still live; others  live in the Seattle, WA area.

  •                  A salute from our generation to our forefathers,Home   . . . from whence we came and to whom we owe so much                                                          …for  inspiring our faith and fortitude

Back row, l to r: Dale Anderson, Joyce Cole, Dick Olson. Front row, l to r: Al Anderson, Ardis Parker, Elaine Leffingwell , Karen Whitt. Washington State.


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