Biography of Ole Anderson

Ole Anderson, born in Norway in 1850, migrated to the United States in 1880, joining the influx of Scandinavian immigrants to the Northwest. Settling in South Dakota, he established himself as a respected farmer in Charles Mix County. Through diligent cultivation and the application of modern farming methods, Anderson transformed his raw land into a thriving estate. He raised livestock, including Poland China hogs and Durham cattle, and cultivated various crops. Anderson’s success exemplified the contribution of hardworking immigrants from northern Europe to the rapid development of the Northwest. He was regarded as a model farmer and a commendable citizen in his community.

Ole Anderson. — Owing to its climatic conditions and geographical situation, the great Northwest has secured the great bulk of the immigration coming to this country from the Scandinavian peninsula. In obedience to a natural law, the movement of nations en-masse is apt to be along isothermal lines, and hence we find the Swedes and Norwegians instinctively gravitating towards Iowa, Minnesota, and the Dakotas, where they find congenial surroundings and conditions somewhat similar to those in their native country. It is a very desirable population, being frugal, industrious, law-abiding, and quick to assimilate themselves to American institutions. In fact, all the states of the Northwest are much indebted for their rapid development to the sturdy sons of Sweden and Norway.

Ole Anderson, who was born in the last-mentioned country in 1850, spent the first thirty years of his life amid the rugged scenery of his native land but eventually decided to follow the host of his compatriots who had come to the new world. Crossing the ocean in 1880, he made his way directly to South Dakota and for a while was located in Yankton County, but soon removed to Charles Mix, of which county he was one of the early settlers. In 1883, he bought one hundred and sixty acres of land which, by subsequent additions, has been increased to two hundred and twenty acres, and this estate is cultivated by Mr. Anderson in accordance with the most improved modern methods. He raises Poland China hogs, Durham cattle, and other fine stock, besides all the cereals appropriate to South Dakota, such as wheat, corn, oats, and hay. In addition to his own raising, he also buys and feeds some stock for the market and during his residence of twenty years at Geddes has been quite successful in his undertakings. In fact, he is regarded as one of the model farmers of Charles Mix County and a fine sample of the kind of men sent from the best countries of northern Europe to enrich the population of the parallel section in the United States. His land, when first entered, was raw and wild, but Mr. Anderson has greatly improved it by setting out trees, erecting suitable buildings, and tidying things up generally. He soon found that the true secret of profitable farming was to feed the output of the land to stock and thus return the fertilizing elements to the soil to enrich it, instead of selling the crops and thus impoverishing the land from year to year.

In 1878, Mr. Anderson was married to Elina Paulson and has four children: Paul, Anna, Clara, and Agnes. He is a member of the Lutheran church at Bloomington, of which he has been a trustee for three years. A self-made man in every respect, industrious and honorable, Charles Mix County contains no better example of good citizenship than Ole Anderson.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

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