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A Swedish Family Comes To America in 1869

The S.S. Santiago de Cuba, steamship, upon which Nils Andersson and family travelled from Copenhagen to New York City.


Nils Peter Andersson was born 15 Mar., 1842 at Lilla Örnshult at Norrhult's land holdings, Hjorted Parish, Kalmar, Sweden. His wife, Maria CharlottaHouse that Nelson Peter Anderson built in Shelbyville, MO. Persdotter, was born 21 Sep., 1844 at Bjurhiet, Misterhult Parish, Kalmar, Sweden. They married 12 Oct., 1866 in Misterhult Parish, Kalmar, Sweden, having one child, Augusta Emilia (b. 15 Apr., 1867 in Misterhult), before immigrating to America. Upon their arrival, they used Americanized equivalents of their names, abandoning the Swedish alternating spellings and the patronymics and becoming the Anderson family. Thus Nils became Nelson Peter Anderson, his wife became Mary Lottie Anderson, and their daughter Amelia Anderson.

In the U.S., Nelson settled his family in Chautauqua County, New York and Warren County, Pennsylvania, which border each other. In 1870 they are in Chautauqua Co., NY, and in 1872, Nelson completed his naturalization to the United States in Chautauqua County, thereby making all three emigrant family members U.S. citizens.

Barely arriving in time for a very preegnant Mary to deliver, they expanded their family, 3 days after disembarking with Ella Josephine Anderson 22 Aug., 1869 in New York City. Their first and only son, Charles Peter Anderson, was born 30 Jul., 1871 in Chautauqua Co., NY, and their final child, Mary S. Anderson, was born 4 Jun., 1874, in Chautauqua County. The 1880 Census shows them back over the border in Warren Co., PA.

Swedish families tended to migrate together and into areas in which there were large groups of their countrymen. There was indeed a large Swedish community in Chautauqua and Warren Counties, but I have no information as to any other relations of this family in the area.

Amelia Anderson married John Berg in about 1907. Amelia's husband died, leaving her a childless widow, and she worked as a maid and housekeeper in Kansas City and other western Missouri locations.

Ella married James Absalom Waller Smith in about 1887 and raised a large family in Westmoreland Co., VA, where she lived out her life.

Charles Peter Anderson, son Wayne, daughter Mary and wife Ada. Circa 1919.Nelson and probably all of his children except Ella moved to Shelby Co., MO, around 1888-1895. Amelia somehow ended up in western Missouri at various locations as mentioned above, but Mary and Charles stayed in the area with their parents. Charles married Viola B. Carter in 1897, probably in Shelby Co., MO, and had three sons with her before Viola died. He then married Ada Marian Winn 22 Feb., 1905 and had one child, my grandmother Mary Louise Anderson, 20 Aug., 1912. Nelson's daughter Mary married William M. Wright about 1901 and had a daughter Ada F. Wright about 1910.The Andersons around Nelson's grave, probably at or right after his funeral in Sep., 1917.

Nelson died 25 Sep., 1917 in Shelby Co., MO. His wife then lived with her daughter Mary and died 24 Nov., 1926 at home in Shelby Co., MO. The couple are buried at Shelbyville I.O.O.F. Cemetery, Shelbyville, MO.  (Here is my best guess as to the identities of the Andersons in the photo to the right. Left to right: William Wright, Mary Anderson Wright, Charles Peter Anderson, Ella Anderson Smith, James Absalom Waller Smith, and Mary L. Carlsdotter Anderson. Ada Winn Anderson took this photograph.)

Charles and Mary spoke fluent Swedish with both of their parents throughout their life, as Nelson and wife Mary never spoke much English.