Ole and Maren Andersen

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Ole Andersen, christened Anton Christian Ole, was born February 22, 1871 in Jesmark, Denmark. He and his brother Andrew Holm (not remembering their father) lived with their mother Cecelia and step father Christian Nelson and brothers Gust, Louie, Christ, Eric and sister Christena, in a house and barn under the same roof where storks nested.


He met and courted Maren Andersen of Jesmark, Denmark born March 27, 1873 who was the daughter of James and Matilda Andersen. Their greatest entertainment was skating on the ice with skates clamped on their wooden shoes. Not changing her last name, Maren married Ole on October 30, 1892 in the same church that Ole had been baptized and confirmed.


Leaving his bride and coming to the United States of America that same year, he came to Lake Norden in Hamlin County South Dakota. There he had to work two years to pay for his ticket and another two years to get the money for Maren to come to America. His boss, having a big heart, gave him the money to bring his bride here in 1893.


On March 15, 1894, they had their first child naming her Cecelia Meta Kristin. Around 1895, they had a little girl they named Anna. She died around the age of two. On December 16, 1897, they had their third daughter, giving her the same name of Anna. On December 28, 1899, they had their fourth girl, naming her Mattie Marie and calling her Marie. By now, Ole was thinking he was only going to have girls.


Their real joy came when on October 30, 1901, Maren and Ole had their first son naming him Jens Christ. They called him Bita Jens which means little Jens as Maren's brother, Jens Andersen, was staying with them. Later Jens was changed to James as they thought that was the American way to say it. Not long after this, Ole heard he could homestead in North Dakota. So, off he went to Stutsman County where he homesteaded seven miles north of Medina, North Dakota. There he built a sod house.


His brother, Louie, from Denmark who was now residing in South Dakota accompanied Maren and the children to North Dakota by train. They went too far (due to their lack of English) and had a hard time getting back to Medina. Ole met them with the horses and wagon.


There they started their own home. Soon more people came from Denmark and settled in

Medina.  Neighbors, Chris and Katie Fisher and children Jens, Olga and Walter; Hans and Bertha Christenson and their children Ellen, Clifford and Eva; along with other friends went into partnership to buy farm machinery. They farmed sections of what land they could and pastured the rest.


Things went fine until the fall of 1904, when lightning hit and started a prairie fire. Ole and the others plowed around the buildings to protect them from the fire. Everyone pitched in to fight the fire. Due to the immense smoke, the sun couldn't shine through and lamps had to be lit. By now, some of Ole's brothers and his sister had come over from Denmark: brother Gust and Emilie Nelson and children Arthur, Dagny, Murtle, Swen, Emma, Clarence, Ervin, Alice and Norma; brother Louie Nelson; sister Christena (Nelson) and Martin Christenson and their daughter Alma; brother Eric and Stena Nelson; and brother Christ and Laura Nelson and their children Annie, Ruby, Christ Jr. and Harvey. Laura Nelson's brother, Tony Fisher lived near Woodworth, North Dakota with his wife, Annie and their children Violet, Laura Mae, Margaret and Denzel. Annie Fisher's brother Carl Challman married Olea. Annie Fisher also had a cousin, Oscar Challman that married Gertie Erickson. They had one daughter named Evelyn. Gertie Challman's brother Bert Erickson married Maren and Ole's daughter, Anna. Soon it seemed that everyone in the little community North of Medina were all related!


On April 18, 1906, Maren and Ole had their first child to be born in North Dakota, a son that they named Andrew Christian. Things were going great! The neighbors would go together and have parties and dances in their home and also in the school houses. They put blankets in the lumber wagons and took all the kids along. In those days, there was no such thing as a babysitter. The kids were taught to dance at an early age. The women brought things to eat. Even though the parties would go on until early morning hours, they never stayed over night, anywhere; there were always cows to get home to that had to be milked. By now, everyone had telephones with different rings for each house. Maren and Ole's ring was 2 short and 2 long rings. The crank had to be turned by hand to ring and everyone listened in when they heard a ring.


On May 13, 1909, Maren and Ole had a son which they named George Martinus (the blonde of the family). Ole was real proud to have three girls and three boys! Now they could get a minister out from Medina to preach in the school house. Maren would invite the whole congregation to their home for dinner including Pastor Odelund. She baked all her own bread, had a big garden, canned vegetables, sewed for all the children and even had time to help shock grain and milk the cows.


Things were getting better now as the older children got big enough to help. Then lightning struck their barn, which housed many cattle and horses. Maren being with child, lost her baby. This had happened before because the doctors were seven miles away by way of horse and buggy. Two of the children lived a day or so and were buried in a grove of trees on the homestead.

After the fire and with a lot of hard work and management, Ole bought a Model T car. He drove it in the summer time only and put it up on blocks in the winter time - back to the horses and buggy again!


Maren and Ole's first child, Cecelia, married Senius Gade from Denmark on October 30, 1912 (Ole and Maren's 20th wedding anniversary). The next year, Ole and Maren became the proud grandparents of a boy Cecelia and Senius named Arnold. On November 16, 1912, Maren had another girl which they named Margaret Decine. Decine means number 12 in Danish and she was the twelfth child. Then on July 18, 1914 another girl was born they named Oda Frances but was called Frances by everyone except Ole who called her "Pepa." Frances always said she was the unlucky one because she was the thirteenth child. On August 2, 1915 Maren had her last baby, a girl named Ruby Viola Katherine, who received her name from her older sisters.


The water supply was limited where the house was built originally, and there was a spring about a mile east, so they moved the house onto a full basement and built other buildings. This location was closer to the road that went between Medina and Woodworth, and was also closer to the school house, where Ole was on the school board. In the fall, Ole would take a load of wheat to town in the lumber wagon. For that he got a load of coal which they burned in the furnace for heat. He would also bring home 100 pounds of flour and sugar, boxes of apples, kegs of herring and bags of candy. He kept the candy in the pocket of his jacket which hung by the chimney. Every afternoon, he would treat the family to a piece of candy. Maren also canned meat and salted and smoked pork, raised chickens, sold eggs and churned her own butter which she sold to friends in Medina. The family never went

hungry! The year of 1918 was the year of the flu! It hit the Andersen's as well as other families. Anna, now married, lived in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was pregnant and became very ill, so Maren went to be with her. She had a baby boy named Kenneth on March 15, 1918, but having a difficult time while giving birth, passed away. Maren, Bert Erickson, Anna's husband, and the baby accompanied the body to Medina, North Dakota where Anna was buried. Maren kept the baby and raised him. He became a "brother" to the family! All the Andersen kids really enjoyed it when Bert would send Kenneth toys such as tinker toys, erector set, wagons, sleds and a bike - things which Ole and Maren couldn't afford.


In 1919 when Andrew, who was 13 years old, broke his arm while grinding feed. He turned off the engine and was trying to remove a belt when he got caught in the machinery. He had to be taken to Jamestown Hospital which was thirty mile away. His arm was not set right so he was left with a stiff arm. His sister Marie drove the Model T and took many trips to Jamestown. Ole also made trips to Jamestown, once serving on a jury.


Ole was an ambitious man, so he thought he would try something different to better himself. In the fall of 1920, he auctioned his fall crop and went to Oregon. The banker kept putting Ole off while getting things in order, so it was left for Maren to do. As it was, the banks went broke and Ole and Maren lost everything. Being very upset, Ole came back to Medina and then moved his family to Fargo, North Dakota where all his married children were living. He got a job delivering coal.


Ole's brother, Gust Nelson, who had been running a creamery in Medina, passed away. Ole and the family moved back to Medina renting part of Emilie's (Gust's widow) house and took over the creamery. The farmers brought in their cream, Ole would test it and then send it by rail to Bridgeman Russel Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Soon the business wasn't going too good and the old farm was up for rent, so he moved his family back to the farm. It never seemed the same. In 1927, Ole was offered a winter job at the North Dakota Agriculture College (now N.D.S.U.) in Fargo, North Dakota as a fireman at the Central Heating System for the college. He rented a farm near Argusville, North Dakota. He still wasn't satisfied, but kept his job at Agriculture College and rented a farm near Mora, Minnesota. From Mora, the family moved back to Fargo, North Dakota. In 1929, they moved to Sandstone, Minnesota where they rented a farm by Grindstone Lake. In 1933, they moved to Little Falls, Minnesota and then back to Fargo, North Dakota in 1936, where they retired.


Maren died February 18, 1951. Due to the closeness they shared, Ole followed her in death on July 23, 1952.

Both missed by all who knew and loved them!


Compiled by Ruby Anderson

August 1979

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