Ole and Maren Andersen
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
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
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
There they started their own home. Soon more people came
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
(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.
missed by all who knew and loved them!
by Ruby Anderson
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