The following article is part of the Diamond Club Member group that began in the January 7, 1943, issue of the Rock County Star Herald. Members of this group consist of persons of age 75 and older.
The following appeared in The Rock County Herald on Nov. 18, 1943.
A resident in this part of Minnesota for over 60 years, Mrs. Carolene Anderson, Kenneth, can truly be classed as one of the pioneer women of this community.
Now living with her son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Vande Velde in Kenneth, she is in good health, although her eyesight is failing. Her one big regret is that she can’t work as much as she’d like to. “I do a little housework,” she said, “but I wish I could work in the store where they need help, and it’s so hard to get.”
Mrs. Anderson was born at Konsmosogn, Norway, June 7, 1857, the daughter of Ole and Seerie Torkelsdatter Olson. Her father was killed in an accident when she was eight years old, and after his death, her grandfather operated their farm. She helped contribute to the upkeep of the home by herding and helping to care for cattle and sheep, as there were no sons in the family. She earned $5 from spring until fall.
Her father met his death, she explained, when he was on his way home from town where he had gone to buy rye, fish and leather for the family’s supply of food and shoes. He was driving homeward with his team, one of which was a horse he had recently bought, when the tragedy occurred. In some manner, the strange horse shied away at a bridge, and the other horse followed him down a steep embankment. When her father was found some time later, he was dead.
Mrs. Anderson tells about how a traveling shoemaker came to their home every year and made their year’s supply of shoes. And another thing about Norway at the time she lived there, she says, was that women did all the dairying. “As long as I was in Norway, I never saw a man milk a cow,” she said.
Mrs. Anderson remained at home with her mother until she was 15 years old, and they began working for the neighbors in the community when she had the chance. At the age of 18, she went to the town of Grimstad where she did housework in various homes. She was thus employed when her cousin, Gaar Aanenson, who had come to Luverne, wrote to her and told her to come to America. His description of the country and its opportunities appealed to her so she made arrangements to make the trip. Mr. Aanenson sent her enough money for her passage, as she was unable to save enough out of her own earnings.
She left Christiansand, Norway, July 16, 1881, going from there to Liverpool, England, and thence to the United States. She suffered so much from seasickness that the ship’s doctor had engaged a place in a hospital in Boston for her where they planned to take her after they landed. She vowed, she said, that once her foot ever touched ground again, she would never travel in another ship as long as she lived. She recovered sufficiently after reaching shore to continue the remaining part of the journey, and on August 5 she arrived at the depot here.
As her train came in to Luverne, she anxiously looked around for someone she knew, but no one was there. “What shall I do now?” she thought as she stepped onto the platform. Nels Nelson, pioneer Luverne merchant, happened to be at the depot, and it was he who consoled her with the statement that her relatives would soon come to get her, which they eventually did.
She had a chance to go to a show the second night she was in Rock county, she recalls, but refused to do so on the grounds that she had no decent hat to wear. “I had a real pretty hat,” she said, “I had used it for a pillow on the train, so it really wasn’t the thing to be wearing to a show.”
She attended school the following winter where her teacher was Dan Matthews, son of a Congregational minister. Through the school and through her five cousins who were about her age, she learned to speak English well enough to carry on a conversation. She then secured work in Luverne, and was employed at the Dr. Spaulding and the J.A. Harroun homes until her marriage. Her salary was $2.00 per week.
Her marriage to Ole M. Anderson of Luverne took place at the Gaar Aanenson home, August 29, 1889, Rev. Thurmo performing the ceremony. They spent the first few years of their married life in Luverne, and Mrs. Anderson recalls that her husband on many occasions drove a team for Charles Lamb and Jack Perser, Englishmen, who had come to Rock county, and who were ardent wild game hunters.
One of the thrills she experienced some years later was seeing President Theodore Roosevelt who stopped here while making a tour on a special train.
They rented a farm six and one-half miles northeast of Luverne where they lived 20 years before moving into Nobles county, where they bought a farm, and which was their home until they retired and moved to Kenneth in 1935. Mr. Anderson died there in 1940.
Mr. and Mrs. Anderson became the parents of six children, all of whom are living. They are John O. Anderson, Vienna township; Carl H. Anderson, Luverne; Mildred S. Anderson, Chicago; Lillian R. Anderson, Kenneth; Mrs. Henry Vande Velde, Kenneth, and Elmer M. Anderson, Hardwick. She also has 11 grandchildren.
Mrs. Anderson has no living brothers or sisters. She, herself, was a twin, but her twin sister died at birth.
Mrs. Anderson is a member of the Kenneth Lutheran church, but belongs to no other congregations. She attributes her long life to the will of God, stating that “each and every man has an allotted time to live, and that time will not be changed, regardless of how hard he has worked, or of anything else that he might have done.”
Mrs. Anderson reads well enough yet to keep abreast of the days’ happenings. She also can see well enough to do mending and other similar needlework for short periods of time.
Donations to the Rock County Historical Society can be sent to the Rock County Historical Society, 312 E. Main Street, Luverne, MN 56156.
Mann welcomes correspondence sent to email@example.com.