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Olaf and Caroline Anderson

Husband's Full Name: Olaf Albert Anderson

Husband's Place of Birth: Lærdal, Sogn og Fjordane Norway

Husband's Father's Name: Andreas Nilsen Bøe

Husband's Mother's Name: Kristine Knutsdatter Røsholt

Husband's Siblings' Names: Nils, Mathilde, Olaf, Inga, Gustav, Bertine, Anna, Magna, Hans

Wife's Full Name: Caroline (Lena) Knutsdotter Melby Anderson

Wife's Place of Birth: Blooming Prairie, Griggs Co., ND

Wife's Father's Name: Knut Olsen Rudi

Wife's Mother's Name: Guri Kristensdotter Rogne/Melby

Wife's Siblings' Names: Guri, Ole, Christen, Knute, Ragnhild, Gulbrand, Marit, Martin, Oscar

Children's Names: Clayton, Gordon, Alice Smith and Orvin

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Caroline Anderson (1884-1971)

by Sennev Nertrost Whipple


One of ten children, three sisters and six brothers is Caroline Anderson, born in Blooming Prairie, near Cooperstown, Griggs County, North Dakota.


Her parents, Knut and Guri Melby immigrated from Valdres, Norway, in 1880 and settled in the neighborhood of Kenyon, Minnesota, remaining there several years. 


In the early eighties the family moved to what was known as Paradise Township in Foster County, North Dakota, where the father had previously filed on Preemption, consisting of one hundred sixty acres of land.  After several years of crop failures they decided to go farther west where the soil was suited to the raising of wheat and small grains.


They established their new home on a homestead, consisting of one-quarter section, which Mr. Melby acquired in 1893.


In company with relatives and friends, the Melby family came by caravan to Wells County, ND.  Situated in a very fine farming community four miles northwest of Manfred, and with good crops generally, they prospered through the years and converted their pioneer holdings into a fine well-improved farmstead.


Here the children grew to men and women, eventually married and established homes of their own.


The parents continued to live here for several decades when they retired from active farming and later moved to Manfred, to live an easier mode of existence. 


Caroline, or Lena as her friends called her, took her share of early hardships.  In those days, a three- month term of school was considered enough for the entire year, for the country child.  Lena attended the rural schools in Foster County, later moving to town where she attended the grade school in Cooperstown, ND.  After coming to Wells County she attended school in Manfred and in Harvey.


In the course of a few years, she taught school in her community and she was well liked by pupils and patrons.


In 1900, romance came into her life when she met Mr. Olaf Anderson at a social gathering at the home of her brother O. K. Melby.  On December 10, 1903, three months later, she was married to Mr. Anderson. 


They started housekeeping in Manfred and Mrs. Anderson, later widowed, continued to live here for a period of forty-nine years. 


Three boys and a girl were born to the Andersons, namely Clayton of Riverdale, Gordon of Harvey, Orvin of Hillsboro, and Alice (Mrs. William B. Smith) of Minneapolis. 


Mr. Anderson died in 1931.  Through the years Mrs. Anderson has taken much interest in the activities of the Vang Church and Aid, holding the offices of president, secretary and treasurer at different times.  Both the Church and the Ladies Aid recognize her as one of their faithful workers.


Mrs. Anderson related many interesting episodes of pioneer days.


One, a most tragic one, in Foster County, concerned Mrs. Tollef Roble, who lived with her husband and young son on their claim in the very late eighties.  She had contracted tuberculosis and suffered for years without treatment or medical care.  Living thirty miles from the nearest town this was out of the question in those early years.  Mrs. Roble died one day in early winter.  A coffin was constructed out of boards by kindly neighbors and the ladies of the community prepared the dead woman for burial.  Since the ground was frozen, the rude coffin holding the remains was placed outside on the north side of the claim shanty until spring when interment could be made.  Since there were no ministers in the community, her brother-in-law, Mr. Tosten O. Roble, officiated at the last rites of Jessie Roble.  The old Norwegian funeral hymns were sung at the grave to their good friend and neighbor.  The mound that once marked her grave has long since been leveled by the elements and her dust has returned to dust somewhere on the lone prairie of Paradise Township.


Another interesting experience is told by Mrs. Anderson, namely that of Indians making calls to the early settlers. In driving from one reservation to the other, the Red men would invade the premises and demand food such as bread, for example.  Their requests were quickly granted as fear struck the hearts of the settlers as they had read of massacres in other parts of the country.


Invariably the Indians made their night camps close to the farmers’ herd of cattle. After their departure either a calf or a cow was missing.


More interesting experiences of half a century ago on the frontier could be told, but as space and time do not permit, we shall close this little sketch of the eventful years of the life of Caroline Anderson. 


Olaf Anderson

Caroline’s future husband, Olaf Anderson was born in Lærdal, Sogn og Fjordand, Norway in 1877. His last name there was Bøe. His father's first was Anders, so Olaf took the name Anderson.  In 1897, he had settled in Hillsdale Township located in the northwest corner of Wells County. Manfred was a booming town with much railroad traffic, and an ideal place to start a livery.


In 1900 Olaf Anderson moved to Manfred.  As a result of living in the same community, Caroline and Olaf had the opportunity to meet.  They were then married at Vang Lutheran Church in 1903. Four children were born to them: Clayton 1904, Gordon 1907, Alice 1912, Orvin 1917.


Olaf built a large barn to establish a livery and feed stable and started up a dray service to haul goods to and from the railroad. He also started up an ice business in the winter with a crew of several men, cutting ice from the James River and shipping the ice by train. For Olaf, a natural addition to his dray service was to sell automobiles when they first became available.  He also sold other farm equipment.


Caroline was active in the Vang Ladies Aid, cooked in the cookcars for threshing.  She was well known for her yard filled with beautiful flowers.


Olaf died suddenly of a heart attack in 1931, and Caroline continued to live in her home in Manfred until the last year or so, when she moved with her daughter Alice in Minneapolis. She died in 1971, and both Olaf and Caroline are buried at Vang Cemetery near Manfred ND.

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Orvin, Caroline, Clayton, Alice, Gordon - in 1956

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