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The History of Renville County, Volume 2
Compiled by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge
Joseph Anderson, deceased, was born in Sweden, near Wenersborg, Dec. 13, 1842. In 1866 he came to the United States on a sailing vessel, the trip taking eighteen days, and landed at New York. He traveled on to Indiana, where he remained for one year, then he went to St. Peter, Minnesota, where there was a Swedish settlement. He worked on the railroad between Mankato and Janesville for two years, being foreman of a crew of men. However, he had always desired to have a farm of his own, and, in 1870, he moved to Beaver Falls, where he secured a homestead. He and his wife drove from St. Peter with an ox team and a covered wagon, and lived in the wagon until he could build a log cabin. After a year they decided to move to Sacred Heart township and located on section 24, where they obtained 80 acres. No improvements had been made on this land and they moved the log cabin up from Beaver Falls. The land was broken with the ox team and all supplies and material had to be hauled from Willmar, which was the nearest market. At first he had only one cow, but as time passed he improved his farm, bought 80 acres more, built good buildings and erected one of the most modern houses in the county. Mr. Anderson never aspired to any township offices. He was a great lover of trees and flowers and became the pioneer horticulturist of the county and of this part of the state. He not only beautified his own home with shrubs, trees and flowers, but inspired others to do likewise. He believed that fruits of many varieties would thrive in Minnesota and propagated a seedling apple called the "Victoria." During the last years of his life he made a specialty of top-working on hardy trees, thereby growing many choice varieties that could not be grown otherwise. During the time of his early plantings of apple trees, neighbors and others told him he never could grow apples in Minnesota, but he lived to see the day when his orchards fruited by the hundreds of bushels, and also to see his neighbors following his example by planting trees. He grew during his time more apples and strawberries for market than any man in Renville county.
Mr. Anderson was a member of the Swedish Lutheran church of Sacred Heart and was its first trustee.
In 1870 he was married at St. Peter to Anna Louise Holmberg, born in Smoland, Sweden, Jan. 20, 1841, and died June 11, 1914. Mrs. Anderson was a kind and loving wife and mother, and, as other pioneers, had to work very hard during early days of the county. Mr. Anderson died Sept. 12, 1914. There were seven children, three deceased: Victoria, a graduate of the Renville high school and also of the University of Washington, at Seattle, Wash.; and now a teacher in high school at Stanwood, Wash.; Bertha, a graduate of the Central high school in Minneapolis, and now a student at the Bellingham State Normal school at Washington; Eva, who is married, and lives at Seattle, Wash., and Gustaf A., who lives on part of the old homestead.
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