Wahoo Newspaper Historical Articles
The Anderson Family of Mead Boasted of Seventeen
By Mrs. A. V. Lund, Mead, Nebr.
Grandfather John F. Anderson, one
of a family of nine children came to Illinois from Sweden in
1869. His brother August, who had come here earlier
and who was a Civil War veteran no doubt encouraged him to
file for an 80 acre homestead right next to him. This he did.
His wife and four children came to Council
Bluffs in 1870 and grandfather met her there. She had lost her
trunk by a trickster in Chicago. He brought the family out to
the homestead where a sod house was provided; one of those
that were partial1y under ground and had sort of a thatched
roof over it and was none too waterproof. How glad and
thankful they were to come to a place they could call their
The first two years grandmother and the
children planted corn by taking a stick (even they were
scarce) and making bales and planting the corn. Grandfather
was employed at Ashland and Louisville on the railroad and at
the stone quarry. Then they had 10 acres plowed under at $3 an
At first grandmother walked 1½ or 2 miles to a
stream to wash her clothes. This was not new to her as that
was custom in the old country. She once remarked how glad she
was when she got a wash board. She told of finding a large
bull snake coiled under the bed. They lived there seven years
when they built a frame house where the Arnold Langemeier home
is now located.
Necessity was mother of many inventions as
they got along with the most meager equipment. Heard them
mention when they needed a vegetable grater they simply took a
tin can and pounded nail holes into the tin. Later on
grandfather bought 80 acres more for $500 and paid $30.90
They had a large family (perhaps the largest)
for they had 17 children and never had a doctor. Among them
was one set of twins. Only 10 grew up. They loved them all. It
is told when one of the older girls worked in Omaha and heard
a baby was born she immediately bought a gift and walked out
to their home to see and welcome it.
With all due respect to grandfather he didn't
believe in education, so the children only got to go to school
when there was no work to do. They had to work when very
young. His philosophy was "Teach them to work" and that they
did. They took active part in helping to establish the Alma
Lutheran Church at Mead. They had a strong faith in God.
Guests were always welcome in their home. Many
and many a newcomer from Sweden made their headquarters there.
Poor as they were, dear grandmother was such a good cook. They
said and I know she could put up a good meal out of
practically nothing and never used a recipe.
I think they were happier, more thankful and
appreciative and more peaceful and content than the world is
today. Grandfather died at age of 87 and grandmother was 75.
Mrs. Anna Swanson, 82, of Ceresco is a daughter of