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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - John Anderson

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887

SURNAMES: ANDERSON


JOHN ANDERSON. Many of the most thrifty and intelligent agriculturists of this section of Illinois were born and reared on the other side of the Atlantic, and to Scandinavia especially is Illinois largely indebted for some of her most enterprising and valued citizens. As a splendid example of what may be accomplished by energy and determination, amid strangers in a strange land, and upon the soil of a new country, we point to Mr. Anderson, who is now a resident of Ludlow Township, and owns one of the finest farms in Champaign County. This is embellished with every comfort, and invariable attracts the eye of the passing traveler as a model country estate under the supervisition of a proprietor more than ordinarily intelligent and progressive. Mr. Anderson has been uniformly prosperous in his business and farming operations, and is now in possession of a valuable landed estate, located on section 6, and embracing 360 acres of finely cultivated land, which he improved from wild prairie, and which now yields in abundance the richest praoducts of the Prairie State. The family residence is an elegant and commodius structure, finished and furnished in modern style. The other farm buildings correspond fully with the dwelling. Mr. Anderson came to this county in the pioneer days, and after having a desperate struggle with the ills of life. He possessed, however, that firm and undaunted spirit for which the pioneer element was so eminently distinguished, and which was so necessary to success, and settling down in the midst of others, who were striving, like himself, to establish a home upon an uncultivated soil, proceeded with courage to redeem the land from its original condition. Time has proved that he was equal to the task. Considering what his course has been since a resident of this locality, and what he has been able to accomplish, the reader cannot help being desirous of becoming acquainted with his early history. Mr. Anderson first opened his eyes to the light in the Kingdom of Sweden, four miles from the city of Gothenberg, Oct. 14, 1816, on the farm owned and occupied by his father, and which continued his home for the following twenty-five years. Then, with his newly wedded wife, he departed from the home roof, and located on a farm belonging to her father. This containied but twenty-five acres, ten of which were tillable, and the remainder devoted to pasture. He kept one horse and five cows, remaining upon the place until 1854, and then, despairing of getting on in the world as he wished, set sail for this country, which promised to the hand of industry greater results than any he had realized in the country of his birth. The voyage commenced on the 24th of June, and he landed in the city of Boston on the 10th of August. His destination from the first had been the West, and he proceeded directly to Chicago, going thence, a week later, to La Salle, in this State. Our subject had been obliged to borrow money to pay his passage to America, and on his arrival in La Salle was $139 in debt. For seven months afterward he worked on the farm for $18 per month and boarded himself. Later he removed to Princeton, and worked by the day or month as he could obtain employment, and for more than two years applied all his spare earnings to the payment of his indebtedness. Afterward he commencd to save his money, with the intention of buying land. After a residence in Princeton of one and a half years, he purchased forty acres of stump land four miles south of the city. He cleared a part of this, and prepared it for cultivation, but sold out in 1864 and came into this county. By this time his fortunes had mended considerably, and in 1864 he purchased 160 acres of wild prairie, at $9 per acre, which is now included in his present farm. This, at the time of pur;chase, was neither fenced nor supplied with a building. He first erected a shanty 8x16 feet, into which the family moved and lived for a time until he was enabled to erect a more commodious structure. Prosperity now began to reward his efforts, and the seasons in their turn smiled upon his husbandry, and he realized from the products of the soil a handsome income. He then added to his real estate, and at one time was the possessor of 360 acreas of land, all of which he improved from the wild prairie. In 1842 our subject was married, in his native country, to Miss Ann B. ANDERSON, who was born near the birthplace of her husband in Sweden, Dec. 5, 1811. They became the parents of six children before coming to the United States. The wife and mother departed this life Jan. 8, 1881, and her remains were laid to rest in the Swedish churchyard near Farmersville, Ford County, this State. The record of the children is as follows: Lottie died at Princeton when an interesting child of ten years old; Anna, the wife of Henry Godey, lives in Chicago; August is farming in Ludlow Township; John B. remains on the homestead; Hannah, Mrs. John W. Stillman, is a resident of Barton County, Mo.; Andrew died at La Salle, this State, when eight months old. The family attends the Lutheran Church, and politically our subject is a stanch supporter of the Greenback party. His sons are wide-awake, energetic young men, who have inherited the reliable and substantial qualities of their father, and bid fair to occupy the same enviable position in the community, respected by their fellow-citizens, and performing their part as honest men and valued members of society.


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