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Below is a family biography included in History of Union County, Iowa published by S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., in 1908.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Numbered among the old settlers of Union county, John A. Anderson is deserving of mention in this volume, for through a long period he has been actively identified with the agricultural development of the state. He is a native of Sweden, his birth having occurred May 25, 1855. He was a little lad of three years when, in 1858, he was brought by his parents, Andrew A. and Catherine Anderson, to the new world, the family home being established in Jefferson county, Iowa. There the father passed away on the 9th of July in the year of his arrival, and thus the mother was left with the care of three sons, of whom our subject is the youngest, while one child was born shortly after the father’s death.

On account of his father’s death John A. Anderson was early thrown upon his own resources and not only had to provide for his own support but assisted m the care of his widowed mother and other members of the family. His advantages for an education were very limited, so that he is largely a self-educated man. At the age of five years he left home and has since been dependent entirely upon his own resources. He was reared in Jefferson county to the age of eight years and then went to Illinois In 1869 he came to Union county, Iowa, his mother having married a second time and purchased land in Sand Creek township. Here he was employed at farm labor for several years.

Mr. Anderson established a home of his own by his marriage on the 8th of January, 1878, to Miss Elizabeth Salisbury, who was born in Lancashire England, a daughter of Thomas Salisbury, a tailor by trade. On coming to the United States, her father located in Davenport, Iowa, where he worked at his trade. Later he came to Afton, where he continued business for some years but he is now deceased, his death having occurred in Oklahoma.

Following his marriage Mr. Anderson carried on farming in Sand Creek township having purchased a tract of eighty acres, which he cultivated and improved. When the place came into his possession it had a small house which contained but one room. Mr. Anderson, however, erected a good residence and outbuildings, and thereon made his home for twenty-three years, having in the meantime added to his original purchase until his place embraced one hundred and seventy-three acres. He carried on general farming and stock-raising, making a specialty of the raising of hogs. He eventually disposed of the original eighty acres and purchased another tract of one hundred and twenty acres, having one farm which embraced two hundred acres, and later he disposed of that and traded for ninety-three acres of land and residence property in Creston. He next traded that property for a farm of eighty acres three miles south of Creston and now owns one hundred and eighty acres of land besides town property and is living retired in Afton. Throughout a long period he was an industrious, active man, closely identified with the agricultural life of this section of the state, having during his residence here improved some eight different farms. He has through the purchase and sale of his farm lands greatly added to his financial income, so that he is now enabled to spend the evening of his days in honorable retirement, deriving a good income from the farm property which is still in his possession.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Anderson has been blessed with four children but one son, William H., is now deceased, his death having resulted from an accident on July 4, 1903, when in his twelfth year. The living members of the family are: Frank B., who is a student in the Iowa Dental College at Iowa City; Lillian M., the wife of Homer England, a farmer of Union township, by whom she has a son, Lawrence B., and Walter A., who married Alberta Weidner and resides on one of his father’s farms.

Mr. Anderson is independent in his political views. He served as road supervisor for three years and has also served as school director. He and his wife are members of the United Evangelical church and his fraternal relations are with the Yeoman. He has led an honest and industrious life and deserves much praise for what he has accomplished in the business world, for from a tender age he has had to face the responsibilities of life, so that he may well be called a self-made man.

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This family biography is one of 247 biographies included in The History of Union County, Iowa published in 1908.  For the complete description, click here: Union County, Iowa History and Genealogy

View additional Union County, Iowa family biographies: Union County, Iowa Biographies

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