Biography of Sigurd Anderson
Houston County, MN Biographies

Sigurd Anderson, one of the few original pioneers of Houston county who are yet living, and who in his day has been an active factor in the growth and development of the county, was born near Christiania, Norway, Oct. 15, 1833, son of Andrew Skar and his wife, Serena Swenson. The parents were farmers who died in their native land, the father being a man of some importance in the township or village of Marydahien, where for many years he served frequently in public office. Sigurd, who was the second born in a family of six children, attended school both in Marydahien and Christiania. In 1853, a young man of 20 years, he resolved to seek his fortune in the United States, and even at that early day, realizing that the West or Northwest presented the 'best fields of opportunity for those who sought to gain a living from the soil, he made his way directly to Chicago, where he stopped for a while to seek work and earn a little money. For a few months he worked for the city tending the Lake street bridge. He was the better able to find employment as he had some knowledge of English, which he had acquired in Norway. In 1854 he joined two other men who were bound as homeseekers to the Northwest. Heading straight for Dubuque, they reached that place after a journey accomplished partly by stage and partly on foot. Then they took boat to La Crosse, and after reaching that village crossed over the Mississippi river in a canoe and, as night came on, found shelter in the attic of a log house. It was cold weather in early March and in the morning they found themselves covered with snow which, had sifted through the chinks. Thence they walked to Houston, the walking being bad, as the ground was covered with snow and water. On his arrival at Houston Mr. Anderson claimed 160 acres of land in section 36 west, which was the nucleus of his present farm. To secure the land he had to borrow money at forty per cent interest, and also had to sign a petition circulated by the settlers, promising to aid in throwing into the river any speculators who tried to outbid them for their lands, which were sold by auction. When the auction started a speculator began bidding, but was promptly seized and dragged to the river, when he agreed to bid no more, and soon after a boat pulled out with all the speculators on board. On reaching his land Mr. Anderson found it occupied by a camp of 300 Indians, who, however, gave him no trouble, as both then and subsequently they proved peaceable. The woods abounded with various sorts of game, including deer, partridges and turkeys, with wild geese near the river and sloughs. For eight or ten years he resided in a loh house, after which he built a frame structure. For a number of years he worked hard in breaking and developing his land, adding to its original amount until he owned 425 acres; and besides this he developed a considerable amount of land for other settlers, operating a breaking team. He also for a while in those early days conducted a general store and trading post and was a well known and popular character in the northern part of the county. In later years he became one of the first stockholders of the local creamery. He is still engaged in the management of his farm in section 36 west; it now containing 240 acres, and is also the owner of a resort at Long Lake, Wis., where he spends his summers. For over forty years he took an active part in the management of town affairs, first becoming a town official at the age of 21, soon after his arrival in the township. At the time the court house was built he was a county commissioner, serving one term. He is a member of the Lutheran church and, politically, of the Republican party. Mr. Anderson was first married in 1856 to Christina Hendrickson, who bore him five children: Eliza (deceased); Henry, now residing in Canada; Mary (deceased); Barnhard, iiow living in Alaska; and Martha (deceased). Mrs. Christina (Hendrickson) Anderson died in 1868. In 1869, Mr. Anderson married Jorene Egland, and this union resulted in eight children: Serena, at home; Adolph, a farmer of Houston township; Clare, wife of Prof. Theodore Running, of Ann Arbor, Mich.; Dr. William, of Grand Forks; Bertha (deceased), and Evelyn, now Mrs. Ole Tonning, of Moorhead, Minn. Mrs. Jorene (Egland) Anderson died Sept. 13, 1914.

The History of Houston County, Minnesota
Edited by: Franklyn Curtis-Wedge.
H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co.
Winona, Minn. 1919


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