Story of Andrew and Anna Johanna Anderson

As Posted on Ancestry 08 Jun 2014 by L_Hookom

and edited January 17 2017

Andrew (Anders) and Anna Johanna Anderson

Andrew was born 21 March, 1847 on the farm Svartnes, the birthplace of his mother Beata Hemmingsdatter.  His father Elias Andersen lived across Balsjford at Tennes.  Sponsors for Andrew’s baptism were Hans P. Hansen, J. Weeding, A. Andersen and Elen Lavine Andersdatter.  Andrew grew up at the farm Gammelgård, Tennes, Balsjford, Troms, Norway. His father Elias decided to leave Balsjford with the other group who were going to Minnesota.  

Andrew was 16 when his family arrived in America in 1863.  He was 6 feet 5 inches tall with red hair like his parents. In Norway he helped his father on their farm and went fishing.

Andrew Eliassen Anderson enlisted in November 1863 in Co. B of the 2nd Minnesota Cavalry.  They didn’t question his young age because of his height. He was mustered in at Fort Snelling and trained at Fort Ripley. In the spring he was sent to Fort Ridgely. He fought the Indians at Redwood Falls, Minnesota driving the Indians westward. In 1864 a big expedition was made against the Indians under Col. Thompson.  During that summer the troops marched fighting the Indians in South Dakota. They went as far as the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, and made camp there. A four-day battle was fought near the Missouri River.  Co. B lost many men. 5000 Indians were battled during that summer which greatly outnumbered the Union soldiers. Tepees and property of the Indians found were burned. Troops arrived at Fort Rice on the Yellowstone River during the later part of 1864.  In general, this military action was actually much safer than fighting the Rebels.  Many of the men who went to fight the South never came back. However, Andrew did have one episode of real danger.  In Kandiyohi County, he was separated from his company. There were Sioux in the area, looking for horses, who would have killed him if they found him. He hid in a muskrat swamp, west of Kandiyohi Lake, for two days and nights.  He cautiously waded in water, sometimes up to his neck. Sometimes he had to submerge himself using a reed to breathe until it was safe to come up. Hiding behind a muskrat mound, he watched a group of about twenty Indians. Finally they left and he was able to return to his company.   Even though he had fought the Indians, he said, "It was a mistake to kill Indians, we should have done right by them."    In July 1865 the troops returned to Camp Wadsworth and then to Ft. Ripley and to Ft. Snelling in September 1865.  Andrew Eliassen Anderson returned from his military service in 1865. After the uprising he worked in St. Peter before moving to Lake Lillian.  

Andrew was 6 feet 5 inches tall with red hair like his parents. Like his father, he was progressive and ambitious.  After the war Andrew worked with his father. When he finally got some land he married Anna Johanna Hansdatter on October 17, 1868. The Justice of the Peace, A.M. Eklane, married them. Witnesses were Elias Anderson and Laline Lindquist. Anna was tall, strong and well formed, with long brown hair. She was also from one of the many families that emigrated from Tromsø, Troms, Norway.  Anna Johanna was born 15 March, 1853 the daughter of Hans Henrick Johanesen from Holmenes, Troms, Norway and Christine Nilsdatter from Storsteinnes, Troms, Norway. The family lived at Sagelv at Balsfjord, Troms, Norway. They left on May 13, 1867 to immigrate to America. They came on board the boat “Victor” bound for Quebec.    

Anna's parents lived at Lake Lillian until sometime around 1871. They moved to a farm on the northeast side of Artichoke Lake in Big Stone County, Minnesota. Christine was short, an experienced midwife and weaver with tremendous drive. She also was adept at crocheting. Their son Niels was the postmaster for the hamlet of Artichoke. In 1898 they moved to the state of Washington to live near their son, Hans E. Johnson. They raised peaches and loved to fish. They continued this until their old age. They both lived to be in their late 90's. Anna's great-grandfathers, Elias Nilsen Sten and Hans Nilsen, were well known in Balsfjord as farmers, cargo boat builders, fishermen, lumberjacks, and smiths.  One was a boat skipper who hauled fish to Bergen and returned with rye and wheat for flour.

Andrew and Anna bought George Hart's farm on the southwest shore of Lake Lillian, 17640 County Road #8.  This farm had unique buildings, a large white house constructed of concrete made from limestone and buffalo bones and an eight-sided barn. Andrew and Anna's large farming operation consisted of land in Lake Lillian Township, Fahlun Township, and East Lake Lillian Township. They raised Norman, Belgian and Clydesdale horses, Registered Shorthorn cattle, Poland China and Berkshire hogs and Shropshire sheep.



Andrew and Anna raised ten children on this farm. They were Bernt, Ella, Andy, Chris, Rachel, Hannah, Lillie, Josie, Knute and Arthur. Three children died as infants and are buried at the East Lake Lillian Cemetery in unmarked graves.

After Elias' death, Andrew and Anna were concerned about the welfare of Elias' second wife Gjøyda and daughter Annie. They provided a small one and a half story house for them, set at the northwest corner of the "Big White House". They spent the summers in the house called "Gjøyda's Huset".  In the winter months they lived with George and Hannah Mace in Mankato.  Gjøyda was a stalwart and talented lady in crafts and handwork. She and Mary Solomonson were known as cloth and rug weavers. They would card and spin wool yarn from the wool, sheared from the numerous sheep raised by Andrew. She knitted socks and other garments. Gjøyda made candles from tallow and made personal and laundry soap from goose and beef fat.  She dried wild currants and chokecherries to make medicine and sauces. She was an expert Bobbin Lace maker for the fish net makers. She also helped cook meals and bake lefse and flatbread in large quantities in the Big House. In 1914 her house was emptied. The stairs, beds, looms, spinning wheels and the large copper kettles were taken out. After that the house was used as an icehouse.

 Before the Lake Lillian Community had regular stores a few of the pioneers, Andrew Anderson, Sedevard Nelson and L.P. Owre would keep a small supply of salt, sugar and molasses to sell to their neighbors. Often they would walk to St. Peter to get their supplies and carry them back.   

Andrew and Anna's oldest son, Bernt Anderson and Peter Westling built the first store in this little hamlet in 1891. A creamery was built near the Anderson farm on the shores of Lake Lillian in 1893.  There were other stores, a blacksmith and post office.

Their oldest son, Bernt (Bennie) Anderson was also the local Justice of the Peace.  About ten weddings were performed at the "Big White House".  The Rasmussens were the first couple to be married there. The funeral for Andrew's father Elias Anderson was held at the house in 1873.

Feeding the family, the hired hands and daily visitors was a mammoth task. Almost all of the food came from the farm. Early every morning one man would go out fishing in the lake. For meat there was butchering every day, done on a large smooth stone in the cellar. The only refrigeration was from ice, which was cut from the lake in winter and stored in the icehouse with sawdust as insulation. In the fall they could shoot migratory geese and ducks and occasionally a deer.  Anna and her daughters, Josie and Lillie were in charge of cooking. The dining room table could seat 24 people. The hired men were served before anyone else. Everybody had to work hard, and each child was responsible for several chores. Anna, who was the peacemaker and the organizer, settled the inevitable frictions that arose in the community.

There was still time for play, however.  Andrew's favorite sport was ice sailing on the lake. His son, Ben built several boats, made to glide on the ice using a sail to pick up the wind.  They went unbelievably fast.  In an era of horse drawn buggies, ice sailing was an unforgettable and unmatchable thrill, especially since the boat had no brakes.  Ben also made cross-country skis for the adults.  The children used skis made of barrel staves.  All the men played musical instruments, and the men and women sang in choir in church at weddings and funerals.

Methodist church in East Lake Lillian

The community was like a village, with visitors coming and going.  Hundreds of relatives, politicians and ministers were visitors at the "Big White House".  Politicians from Hutchinson, Minnesota came out for duck hunting.  Relatives from Norway, the Fremstad family stayed here.  Their daughter, Olive, became a fine opera singer.  While at Lake Lillian the three of them sang for Bible Revivals at Grove Meeting Week.  

 Andrew and Anna were charter members of Lake Lillian Scandinavian Methodist Episcopal Church. They donated a house from one of their farm places to be used as the parsonage.  The house was loaded on two bob sleighs and moved across the lake in the winter on the ice. Some favorite hymns were: "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God', "Den Store Hvite Flok" (Behold a Host Arrayed in White), and “Jesus Mine" a Moravian song.  They liked to read Psalm 21 from the Bible.  Andrew loved to hear his son-in-law, Magnus Olson sing to him at the breakfast table.  The Norwegian table grace was used in their home.

 The children attended elementary school at the "Flann" School nearby.

 They suffered through the days of grasshopper attacks in 1876-77.  Andrew was known as the “Wheat King" from 1900-1906. They worked hard on this large farm and were active in church and community affairs.                                                                                 

Some of the children stayed in the community and raised their own families there.  Before the creamery burned down, Ben lived there in a house with his wife, Abbie and their first two children, Ina and Drew. When Ben was around thirty, he and his brother Chris were stricken with smallpox.  Anna isolated them in one room of the house, and brought them food, not allowing anyone else to contact them.  It worked, they both recovered and the disease did not spread.  Perhaps Anna was protected because Captain Waage, of the Sleipner had required smallpox vaccinations of everybody who came over on his ship.   

In 1900 the creamery was destroyed by fire believed to be set by an arsonist. Without the creamery everything changed for the businesses in the little hamlet. Bernt felt defeated and he soon moved his family to Elbow Lake, Minnesota to start a new life. Hannah, who married Magnus Olson, raised some of her eleven children there living on her parent’s farm. They moved to McGrath, Minnesota.

More sadness would fall.  Andrew’s sister Adrianna Bomstad died from cancer in September.  

On November 13, 1905, Anna was killed in an accident on the Anderson farm.  Andrew had hitched a team of horses to a load of straw, as preparations were being made to do some corn shredding at Ninus Nelson's place. Anna was standing in front of the team holding the reins, while Andrew was climbing up onto the load.  Something startled the horses and before Andrew could reach the lines they plunged forward and ran down Anna. She was picked up in an unconscious condition and died forty minutes later, without regaining consciousness.  Andrew tried to save her and was dragged by the runaway horse injuring his right hip, which left him a semi-invalid.  A large number of mourners gathered at the "Big White House" before they went to the Methodist church for her funeral and burial. Rev. A. Gulbrandson from Milan, Minnesota conducted the services.  



   Wednesday November 15, 1905 


K I L L E D   B Y   A C C I D E N T

Mrs. A. E. Anderson of Lake Lillian is Run Over by Team and

Fatally Injured

             Mrs. Anna Anderson, wife of A.E. Anderson at Lake Lillian, was killed in an accident last Monday morning.  The accident happened near the Anderson home.  Mr.Anderson had hitched a span of horses to a load of straw, as preparations were being made to do some corn shredding at Ninus Nelson's place.  Mrs. Anderson was standing in front of the team, while Mr.Anderson was climbing up onto the load.  Without warning the horses started, before Mr.Anderson could reach the lines.  They plunged forward and ran down Mrs. Anderson.  She was picked up in an unconscious condition and died forty minutes later or at 9:10 o'clock, without having gained consciousness.

             The deceased was born in northern Norway March 15, 1853.  Her maiden name was Anna Johnson.  She was married to Andrew E. Anderson October 17, 1868.  She became the mother of thirteen children, ten of which survive her, and bitterly mourn the loss of a good mother, viz: Mrs. Ella Sorenson, of Roseau county, Minn.; B.E. Anderson of Elbow Lake; Mrs.Magnus Olson, of East Lake Lillian; Andy Anderson, of Lake Lillian; Chris, Rachel, Lillie, Josie, Knute, and Arthur who live at   home.  The surviving husband, who was so cruelly bereft of his lifelong companion, is one of the early settlers of Lake Lillian and a soldier of the Indian and Civil wars.  Besides her immediate family, the deceased leaves sisters and other relatives to mourn her sudden death.

           The funeral occurs Thursday (tomorrow) morning, the services at the house to begin at ten o'clock.  The interment will take place in the cemetery of the Norwegian M.E. Church of East Lake Lillian of which the deceased was a devoted member.  Rev.A.Gulbrandson of Milan, Minn will conduct the services.

The accident was the beginning of the end for the community. Andrew could not run the farm effectively, and Anna was no longer there to keep the place running smoothly. 

Andrew with pipe

In 1917 Andrew moved to Willmar, Minnesota, to live with his daughter, Josie Mattson.   Andrew spent his last years, a broken-hearted man who said, "I just sit and remember."  She cared for him until his death August 21, 1923. Andrew was bedridden for several years and died of a lingering illness.  Funeral services were held in Willmar at the Andrew Peterson Funeral Parlor and at the Lake Lillian Methodist Church. Rev. Alfred Anderson and Rev. Luther Benson conducted the services. It was a military funeral with veterans of three wars accompanying the body to its final resting place next to his wife's grave in the Methodist Cemetery at East Lake Lillian, Minnesota.

Nothing remains today of the windmill, the eight-sided barn, or the unique and historic house.  A modern home and farm buildings now sit on the land beside the lake.  


Children of Andrew and Anna


Bernt              1869 – 1927         married Abbie Hanson

Ella                1874 – 1916         married Evan Sorenson

Andy              1877 – 1963         married Helen Flann

Chris             1879 – 1953         married Fannie Westover

Rachel           1881 - 1958         married Fred Tower

Hannah          1883 – 1963         married Magnus Olson

Lillie             1885 – 1966         married George Halverson

Josephine       1890 – 1944         married Lewis Mattson

Knute             1892 – 1947         married Mamie Dahlstrom

Arthur            1895 – 1935         married Ebba Peterson


Information for this story was gathered from Tromsø and Balsjford Parish records, Balsfjord and Malangen History, the Balsfjord Bygdebok, the 1905 History of Kandiyohi County, newspaper clippings, my mother Eleanor Halverson Bomsta, my uncle Wes Halverson and my cousin Margarethe Buxton.

 Andrew & Anna Family 1891 Lake Lillian, Minnesota

Andrew & Anna Family

Andrew and Anna Anderson Family
Back row - Andy, Ella, Chris -- Center row - Ben, Lillie, Andrew, Hannah, Anna, Rachel
-- Front - Josie on Andrew's lap. Knute and Arthur were born after this photo was taken.

Andrew Anderson - WILLMAR TRIBUNE, MAY 24, 1922

As Posted on Ancestry 26 jul 2012 by L_Hookom

A.E. Anderson was born in Norway on March 25, 1847.  Up to the age of sixteen years he was brought up as a fisherman.  School was not thought of.  There were none for youngsters like Anders. The family left their native land in 1863 and came to Montreal as the first settlement.  On July 4, 1863 the family came to Chicago and continued on to St. Peter in Nicollet County in this state.  The family moved to Lake Lillian in Kandiyohi County in 1864.

Mr. Anderson enlisted in November 1863 in Co. B of the 2nd Minnesota Cavalry.  He was mustered in at Fort Snelling and trained at Fort. Ripley.  In the spring he was sent to Fort Ridgely.  In 1864 a big expedition was made against the Indians under Col. Thompson.  During that summer the troops marched fighting the Indians in South Dakota. A four-day battle was fought near the Missouri River.  Co. B. lost many men.  5,000 Indians battled during the summer, which greatly outnumbered the Union soldiers. Tepees and property of the Indians found were burned.  Troops arrived at Fort Rice on the Yellowstone River during the latter part of 1864.  In July 1865 the troops returned to camp Wadsworth and then to Fort Ripley and to Fort Snelling in September 1865.

After the rebellion Mr. Anderson went to St. Peter and was employed there one year.  Then he came to Lake Lillian to live with his parents.  He was married in October 1868.  Nine children are living and four are dead.  His wife passed away in 1905.  He is a charter member of the M.E. church in Lake Lillian.   He came to Willmar in the year 1917 in October. He joined the Col. Heg Post, G.A.R., of this city April 5, 1889.

Funeral Notice and Obituary for Andrew Anderson

Posted 26 jul 2012 by L_Hookom


Andrew E. Anderson, veteran of the Civil and Indian wars, passed away very suddenly at the home of his youngest daughter, Mrs. Louis Mattson, in First ward, yesterday afternoon at 1 o'clock.  He formerly resided at Lake Lillian but the last few years lived in this city.   The funeral will take place Friday at 12 o'clock from the Andrew Peterson undertaking parlors, and at two o'clock from the Lake Lillian M.E. church.  Rev. Alfred Anderson will officiate.  The Spanish-American war veterans will act as pallbearers.          

His wife was accidentally killed in a runaway in November 1905.  There were thirteen children born of  whom nine survive.  There are four daughters:  Rachel, Hannah, Lillie and Josie and five sons:  Ben, Andy, Chris, Knute and Arthur.

August 29, 1923 Another G.A.R. Veteran Put Away

Andrew E. Anderson, veteran of the Civil and Indian wars, who passed away on Tuesday, August 21, was born at Balsfjord, Norway, on March 25, 1847.  During his boyhood up to the age of 16 years, he lived the life of a fisherman. School was not thought of. There was none for youngsters like Andrew. The family left  their native land in 1863 and came to Montreal as the first settlement. On July 4, 1863, the family came to Chicago, but continued on to St. Peter in Nicollet County in this state. Three months was the duration of residence  and then the family came to Lake Lillian in this county.    

Mr. Anderson enlisted in November 1863 in Co.B, of the 2nd Minnesota Cavalry. He was mustered in at Fort Snelling and trained at Fort Ripley.  In the spring he was sent to Fort Ridgely. In 1864 a big expedition was made against the Indians under Colonel Thompson. During that summer the troops marched fighting the Indians in South Dakota. A four-day battle was fought near the Missouri River.   Co. B lost many men.  Five thousand Indians were battled during the summer, which greatly out-numbered the Union soldiers. Teepees and property of the Indians found were burned. Troops arrive at Fort Rice on the Yellowstone  during the latter part of 1864. In July 1865, the troops returned to Camp Wadsworth and then to Ft. Ripley and to Fort Snelling in September 1865.    

After the rebellion Mr. Anderson went to St.Peter and was employed there one year. Then he came to Lake Lillian to live with his parents. He was married to Anna Johnson in October 1868. She passed away Nov. 13, 1905. Their union was blessed with thirteen children of whom nine survive. They are B.E. Anderson, Elbow Lake; Andy H. Anderson, Markville, Minnesota; A.C. Anderson, Michigan, N.Dak.; Mrs. Fred  Tower, Seattle, Wash.; Mrs. Magnus Olson, McGrath, Minn.; Mrs. George Halvorson, Cosmos; Mrs. Louis T. Mattson, Willmar; K.W. Anderson of Gloves, N.D.; and Arthur Anderson of Antelope, Mont. Three children died in infancy. They are Elias, Hannah, and Josephine. Mrs. Evan Sorenson passed away at Knappa, Oregon in 1916.

The children present at the funeral were K.W. and B.E. Anderson, Mrs. Louis Mattson, Mrs. Magnus Olson and Mrs. Geo. Halverson.   John S. Anderson of Atwater was the only brother present at the funeral.  Other brothers and sisters are Peter Anderson, Howard, Mont.; Mrs. Geo. Mace and Mrs. Annie Lewis of Howard, Mont. and Mrs. Lena Kraft of Minneapolis.    

Andrew E. Anderson resided at Lake Lillian where he operated a large farm, which is located close to the Lake Lillian station. He moved to Willmar in October 1917, where he has resided with his daughter, Mrs.Louis Mattson until his death.  He was a charter member of the M.E. church in Lake Lillian. Mr. Anderson has been bedridden for several years and passed away after a lingering illness.    

Services at Willmar took place on last Friday at the Andrew Peterson parlors at 12 o'clock, Rev. Luther C. Benson speaking. It was a military funeral and veterans of the three wars accompanied the body to the last resting place in Lake Lillian. Services were held at the Lake Lillian M.E. church.     At the church Rev. Benson and Rev. Alfred Anderson led the procession.   They were followed by four  veterans of the World War, namely, Paul A. Anderson, A.A.C. Blomquist, Edward E. Olson and Sgt. R.A.  Coursen.  O.Z.Johnston, Christ Henning and Andrew Larson of the G.A.R. of which Mr. Anderson was a member followed the World War veterans.     The pallbearers were Wm. O. Johnson, Carl Freeberg, Oscar Sattergren, Fred Bellefuil, Charles Ruh and Frank A. Holmberg, all veterans of the Spanish-American War.  Geo. Wacker sounded taps.     Rev.Benson of Willmar and Rev.Alfred Anderson of Lake Lillian conducted the services at the church. Two solos and a duet were rendered. The remains were laid to rest in the church cemetery adjoining the grave of his wife.

Death Record

Posted 30 jul 2012 by L_Hookom

Minnesota Deaths and Burials, 1835-1990 for Andrew E Anderson

name:Andrew E Anderson gender:Male burial date: burial place: death date:21 Aug 1923 death place:Willmar, Kandiyohi, Minnesota age:76 birth date:1847 birthplace: occupation: race: marital status: Married spouse's name:Jessie Anderson father's name:Elias Anderson father's birthplace: mother's name: mother's birthplace: indexing project (batch) number:B02476-3 system origin:Minnesota-EASysource film number:2218087 reference number:1685