By Elsie Anderson-Braddock
An Official North Dakota Centennial Project, 1989
Bowman County, ND Historical Society
Library of Congress Card #89-60523
Contributed to this site by Bill Pull

Webmaster's Comments: Justus' wife, Ellen Frederika Holmquist, is mentioned on the Esther Holmquist tree. Even though this prairie tale doesn't apply directly to Aitkin County, the stories gathered here would apply to every pioneer family of the time. I am most struck by the pioneers' need for cooperative effort and for helping others. Justus and Ellen were kind, industrious and imaginative settlers of the new land.

Justus Edward Anderson was born Oct. 28, 1867, in Bolmos Ljungby, Kronoberg, Småland, Sweden to Anders Magnus Emannelsson and his wife Britta Stine. Justus left home at age 17 and went to Denmark where he worked for two years. Then he sailed for the U.S., landing in New York after a three-week trip. His cousin found him work in a laundry in St. Cloud, MN, driving horses and a wagon. He collected clothes from homes for the laundry and then returned them after cleaning.

He met Ellen Frederika Holmquist at the laundry. She did the ironing. They worked in the laundry for seven years. On Dec. 22, 1897, they were married in Triumph (now Trimont) MN. Then they worked on a farm near Worthington, MN for some time.

I, Elsie, was born near what is now Trimont, MN. My parents bought 80 acres, a mile and one-half southwest of Aldrich, MN, which was all woods and stone. Dad worked in the woods near Emily, MN in the winter to make money. Lloyd and Milton were born there.

Dad helped build the railroad west of Wadena, MN. Mother did the cooking for the crew one summer. The winter of 1906, they went to Trimont where Hazel was born on Dec. 16. They heard of free land in North Dakota, so in January 1907, Dad and his brother-in-law, Frank Holmquist took the train to Dickinson. There a locater took them down to what is now Amor Township where dad filed on the SE quarter of Section 4, Township 130, 160 acres. He got an emigrant car in the spring of 1907, on the Great Northern (the Milwaukee wasn't built this far yet) to Dickinson with four horses, two cows, machinery and household goods. We lived in a tent until he got the house and barn built, both made of sod.

Dad broke several ten acres of land for people, so they could prove up on their claims, so they could call it their own. Many people sold out for little or nothing to return home or move on further west. Dad made seven trips to Dickinson for lumber and other supplies. He hauled part of, if not all, the lumber for First National Bank in Bowman. On one trip, the horses made such a fuss, when he got them settled down he saw there was a rattlesnake the size of the wagon pole. He took the neck yoke from the wagon and killed it. It had 21 rattles and a button, making it almost 22 years old. He also made trips to the Long and Short Pines, in southeastern Montana for rough lumber.

In March 1908, mother and I, plus Lloyd, Milton, Hazel and mother's brother, Emil Holmquist arrived in Bowman in late evening. We stayed in the hotel, dad came to get us the next morning. I heard mother say many times that if she had the money, she would have taken the next train back to Minnesota. On May 22, 1908, there was blizzard, with banks almost as high as the house. Every fall the folks would order dried fruit, crackers, etc. from Savage catalog which would last us a few months. We picked chokecherries, plums and buffalo berries in the fall, mostly at the Irons Ranch.

Mother baked bread three or four times a week. Several bachelors would buy the bread. Some came from Bowman, getting to our place about supper time. They would stop, get warm and have supper. The kerosene lamp sat on the table in front of the east window so people could see the light for several miles, and would drive to it if they were lost.

Dad built a small house over the well so it wouldn't be so cold to pump water during the winter. He also built a grainery to store the grain.

There was a petrified tree stump about three feet tall on the hill where they moved the house. Dad knocked the stump down; in later years he wished he hadn't. They planted trees on the west and south of the buildings.

In 1914, they built a large barn with horses on one side and cows on the other, with a driveway between them. After it was built, they held a 4th of July celebration in the trees and a dance in the evening. Lightning struck the barn in June of 1918 and it burned to the ground. Two men who were building a bridge over the creek west of the house were sleeping in the driveway where we unloaded hay into the haymow; their four horses and dad's stallion were in the barn when it was struck by lightning. All got out except one horse which was badly burned and was found north of the place a few days later. It had to be killed.

Jessie, Wesley and Chester were born in the sod house with Mrs. Hetland delivering them. In 1924, they remodeled the house which had been moved to the hill west of the sod house. This is the only building standing now on the home place. It looks desolate with all windows and doors gone.

We children all attended Gross School. Hazel and Jessie were the only ones who attended high school in Bowman, and then went on to college in Dickinson. Hazel taught for a few years; Jessie taught for 25 years in schools in the state.

Now we are getting to the end of 1987. Lloyd, his wife, Edna and their children have passed away, as has Milton. Wesley and I are residents of Sunset Home; Jessie lives at Pleasant Manor and Hazel is in Sunny Apartments. Chester and his wife Berdelle live in Plevna, MT.