William J. Anderson

W. J. Anderson

W. J. Anderson, president of the Red River Valley Old Settlers’ association, and the subject of the accompanying cut came to Grand Forks in 1875 as agent for the Red River Transportation company.  Shortly afterwards he was elected justice of the peace and subsequently appointed receiver of the land office under President Hayes, which position he held for two terms.  Subsequently he was elected auditor of Grand Forks county and two years later re-elected to the same office.  Mr. Anderson has been one of the pioneers of North Dakota and has always played a prominent part in both political and business circles.  (Grand Forks Herald, Tuesday Morning, June 27, 1899, Volume 18, Number 205, Page 38)

 

WILLIAM J. ANDERSON, ex-receiver of United States land office, of Grand Forks, is now engaged in the practice of law in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and is one of the able and well-known attorneys of the state.  He is a native of Canada and was born in Elgin county, May 20, 1854.

The parents of our subject, William and Jane (Plowman) Anderson, were both natives of Canada and the father was a shoe dealer and maker and died in Ontario.

Our subject is the only son and was reared and educated in Le Sueur county, Minnesota, going there with his mother, and in 1862, on account of the Indian troubles in Minnesota, they removed to St. Paul, where Mr. Anderson attended the public schools.  He followed various callings until 1875, when he came to Grand Forks, North Dakota, as agent for the Red River Transportation Company and the following year was elected justice of the peace and continued with the transportation company until 1879 and the following year was appointed receiver of the land office.  He opened the office April 20, 1880, and worked in that capacity eight years and then began the study of law and was admitted to the bar about 1887.  He was elected county auditor in 1888 and served four years and was an efficient and popular public official.  He was elected mayor of Grand Forks in 1890, and served two years and he always proved himself worthy the confidence placed in him by the people.  He has a good business in the practice of his profession and his integrity and knowledge of his calling entitle him to a high station as a professional man and citizen.

Our subject was married, in 1879, to Josephine Russell, a native of Wisconsin. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, named Raymond G. and Virginia E.  Mr. Anderson is a member of the Masonic fraternity, being a Knight Templar, and he also holds membership in the Knights of Pythias, of which order he is deputy grand chancellor.  Politically, he is a Republican and has been identified with the movements of that party during his entire career.  He has been president of the Old Settlers’ Association of the Red river valley, and is one of the best known citizens of the state.

Source:
Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota
Geo. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1900
Page 394

 

Page 671
WILLIAM J. ANDERSON, the present incumbent of the office of county auditor of Grand Forks county, North Dakota, is a resident of the city of Grand Forks, where he is engaged in his official duties.  He is a native of the Dominion of Canada, born in Vienna, Elgin county, Ontario, on the 20th day of May, 1854, and is the son of William and Jane (Plowman) Anderson, natives also of the Dominion.  The father died when our subject was a small child, and in 1858 the mother removed to Le Sueur county, Minnesota.

Mr. Anderson, the subject of this article, remained with his mother in Le Sueur county, Minnesota, until 1862.  Then on account of the Indian trouble they were forced to leave the country, and removed to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he attended the public schools until 1868, when he graduated with high honors from the grammar school.  He then went to Toronto, where he attended a private school for one year, and again went to St. Paul.  For the succeeding three years he was cabin boy on steamboats on the Mississippi river, and for the two or three years following was a newsboy on the steamer “Key City,” and other steamers.  At various times he worked as a farm laborer, quite a period for Pendegast & Carter in the flax culture,  In the spring of 1875 he removed to Grand Forks, North Dakota, where he clerked on a steamboat for one summer, and then was employed by the Red River Transportation Company as general and purchasing agent, which position he held for three years, attending to the company’s affairs, receiving and paying out all the company’s money at Grand Forks.  His first public office was that of justice of the peace, to which he was elected in 1876, in Grand Forks.  He then formed a partnership with Messrs. Budge and Eshelman, the style of the firm being Budge, Eshelman & Co., in the general merchandising business in Acton, Pembina county, North Dakota.  A portion of their trade was with the Indians, north as far as the Turtle mountains and including that tribe.  While there Mr. Anderson received the mail contract from the Government, and his route was from Acton to a place called Sweden, passing through the spot where Grafton now stands.  In 1880 he was appointed receiver of the land office by President Hayes, and on the 20th of April, 1880, the first papers were filed in the district.  He was re-appointed by President Arthur and held the office until September, 1888, during which time he did an immense amount of business, over $3,500,000 passing through his hands and about 100,000 different entries.  In October, 1888, he was nominated by the republicans for county auditor of Grand Forks county, and after one of the hardest political struggles the county ever had was elected by 370 majority, 4,160 votes being polled.  He has since held the office, and in the discharge of the duties which devolve upon the position has given satisfaction to all parties.

Mr. Anderson was united in marriage in November, 1879, in Grand Forks, to Miss Josephine R. Russell, the daughter of Martin and Belle (Gassman) Russell, natives of Denmark and Norway, respectively.  The union has been blessed with two children – Virginia Edith and Raymond Gassman.  Our subject is a member of the A. F. & A. M., Acasia Lodge, No. 15, and a member of the Commandery.  He has also taken fourteen degrees in Scottish Rite Masonry, and is a

Page 672
member of the Knights of Pythias.  He is one of the most prominent and leading citizens in the county as well as in North Dakota, and his name has been prominently identified with the history of this region.  Whatever success he has attained in life is wholly due to his indomitable energy and will, as he was thrown entirely upon his own resources to carve his own way, receiving neither aid nor money from any one.  One of the events of his life that he is particularly proud of, and which he now recalls with pleasure, is the fact that he was one of the carriers or newsboys for the old St. Paul Press, doing this while attending school.  Mr. Anderson is a republican in political matters and is one of the leading members of that party in the locality in which he lives.  A man of the strictest integrity and honor, his word is recognized as being as good as a bond, and he is highly esteemed wherever known, both as a business man and an exemplary citizen.  Active, enterprising and energetic, he takes an active interest in all matters effecting home interests, and every laudable enterprise receives his support and encouragement.

Source:
Illustrated Album of Biography of the Famous Valley of the Red River of the North and the Park Regions
Alden, Ogle & Company, Chicago, 1889

 

Page 173
William J. Anderson was born in Elgin county, Canada, May 20, 1854.  He was reared and educated in Le Sueur county, Minn., going there with his mother, and in 1862, on account of the Indian troubles in Minnesota, they moved to St. Paul, where Mr. Anderson attended the public schools.  He followed various callings until 1875, when he came to Grand Forks as the agent for the Red River Transportation Company, and the following year was elected justice of the peace.  He continued with the transportation company until 1879, and the following year was appointed receiver of the Grand Forks land office.  He opened the office April 20, 1880, and worked in that capacity eight years.  He then began the study of law and was admitted to the bar in 1887.

He was elected county auditor in 1888 and served four years.  He was an efficient and popular public official.  He was elected mayor of Grand Forks in 1890 and served two years, and he always proved himself worthy of the confidence placed in him by the people.  He was one of the judges at the World’s Fair Columbian Exposition in 1893, in the agricultural department.

Page 174
He was married in 1879 to Josephine Russell, a native of Wisconsin.  Two children were born, Raymond G. and Virginia E.

About a year before his death Mr. Anderson was appointed deputy auditor in the postoffice department and took up his residence in Washington, D. C., where he died suddenly on February 9, 1906.  He left a widow and one daughter, Mrs. Fred I. Lyons, of Bowbells, N. D., and a son in Washington.

Mr. Anderson was a member of the Masonic fraternity, being a Knight Templar, and he also held membership in the Knights of Pythias, of which order he was deputy grand chancellor at one time.

Politically he was a Republican, and had been identified with the movements of that party during his entire career.  He had been president of the Old Settlers’ Association of the Red River Valley, and was one of the best known citizens of the state.

Source:
History of The Red River Valley Past and Present
Volume I
C. F. Cooper & Company, Chicago, 1909

 

ANDERSON GETS IN

Grand Forks Man Succeeds Gen. Harrison Allen

WASHINGTON, D. C., Jan. 5. – Senator Hansbrough has recommended William J. Anderson of Grand Forks, N. D., as deputy auditor of the post-office department, to succeed Gen. Harrison Allen.  Secretary Shaw has assured the senator that the appointment will be made.  Anderson was for many years auditor of Grand Forks county and was receiver for the land office at Grand Forks.

Source:
The Saint Paul Globe
Friday Morning, January 6, 1905
Volume XXVIII, Number 6, Page 1

 

DIES IN ARMS OF WIFE, IN A CAR

North Dakotan, High in Government Service at Washington, Suddenly Stricken.

Washington, Feb. 10. – William J. Anderson of Grand Forks, N. D., deputy auditor for the postoffice, dropped dead in a streetcar last night while returning home with his wife from a social call.  Mr. and Mrs. Anderson went to visit friends at Takoma Park, a suburban town, yesterday evening.  Beginning the journey homeward, they got aboard the car and as the conductor gave the signal to start, Mr. Anderson, who was standing, fell backward into the arms of his wife.

Mr. Anderson for some time had been an invalid, and his wife, realizing the situation, commanded the conductor to proceed with all possible speed to the house of the nearest physician.  The motorman put on top speed and rushed his car half a mile.  There Dr. A. V. Parsons was summoned from his home, entered the car and made an examination of Mr. Anderson, whom he pronounced dead.

Mr. Anderson was a victim of fainting spells and only recently had undergone an operation from which he was slowly recovering.

When the physician announced Mr. Anderson was dead there was much excitement among the dozen or more men and women aboard the car, and Mrs. Anderson became hysterical.  The car proceeded on its journey to the tenth precinct police station, to which the body was taken.  Later it was placed in charge of an undertaker.

Mr. Anderson’s remains will be deposited tomorrow in a vault in a local cemetery.  Next week they will be sent to Grand Forks for interment.

Source:
The Minneapolis Journal
Saturday Evening, February 10, 1906
Page 1

 

W. J. ANDERSON STICKEN IN A STREET CAR

Grand Forks Man Connected with Postoffice Department Expires.
Pioneer Resident of Grand Forks
Deceased Came to the City When Red River Valley was a Wilderness
Agent of the Red River Transporation Company in 1875 and Was the First Receiver of the Land Office – Practiced Law in City – Numerous Friends Mourn His Death.

William J. Anderson, for many years a prominent resident of Grand Forks, who about a year ago was appointed deputy auditor of the postoffice department, dropped dead in a street car in Washington last night.

The first news of the death reached Grand Forks this morning at 3 o’clock through an Associated Press dispatch to The Herald, and the news of the death of Mr. Anderson will cause a general sadness throughout the city and state. 

Mr. Anderson held several positions of trust while a resident of Grand Forks, and was the first receiver of the Grand Forks land office.  He served as mayor for two years, and there was probably not a better known man in the city than Mr. Anderson, and his friends could only be measured by the number of his acquaintances.

Mr. Anderson is survived by a widow and one daughter, Mrs. Fred I. Lyons, living at Bowbells, this state, and one son, living in Washington.

Was Born in Canada.

William J. Anderson was born in Elgin county, Canada, May 20, 1854.  He was reared and educated in Le Sueur county, Minn., going there with his mother, and in 1862, on account of the Indian troubles in Minnesota, they moved to St. Paul, where Mr. Anderson attended the public schools.  He followed various callings until 1875, when he came to Grand Forks as the agent for the Red River Transportation company, and the following year was elected justice of the peace.  He continued with the transportation company until 1879, and the following year was appointed receiver of the Grand Forks land office.  He opened the office April 20, 1880, and worked in that capacity eight years.  He then began the study of law and was admitted to the bar in 1887.

He was elected county auditor in 1888, and served four years.  He was an efficient and popular public official.  He was elected mayor of Grand Forks in 1890 and served two years, and he always proved himself worthy of the confidence placed in him by the people.  He was married in 1879 to Josephine Russell, a native of Wisconsin.  Two children were born, Raymond G., and Virginia E.

Source:
Grand Forks Daily Herald
Saturday Morning, February 10, 1906
Volume 25, Number 90, Page 1

 

FUNERAL IS TODAY

Body of W. J. Anderson Will Be Brought to Grand Forks for Burial
Services in Washington Today Will Be Held at Wright’s Undertaking Rooms and the body Will Be Temporarily Placed in Vault and Brought to Grand Forks in a Week For Burial.

The funeral of W. J. Anderson, deputy auditor of the postoffice department, will be held from Wright’s undertaking establishment in Washington City today.  The remains will be placed temporarily in a vault, and in a week or ten days will be brought to Grand Forks for interment at Memorial Park.

This was the information sent from Washington last night by T. O. Monk, The Herald representative, who said of the sudden death of Mr. Anderson Friday night:

“The death of Mr. Anderson was sudden and unexpected.  With Mrs. Anderson he visited a friend in a distant part of the city Friday night.  They boarded a car on their return and as it was about to start Mr. Anderson fell in the arms of his wife.  He had for some time been in failing health, and his wife, realizing the situation, commanded the motorman to proceed with all possible speed to the nearest physician.  When a physician had been summoned he pronounced Mr. Anderson dead.”

The first news of the sudden death of Mr. Anderson came through The Herald yesterday morning, and it was received with genuine and general regret the city over.

Mr. Anderson visited Grand Forks less than two months ago and at that time he appeared the picture of health.  Since an operation several years ago, however, he had had trouble with his heart, and to intimate friends he had often expressed the belief that he would die just as he did – without warning.

During his long residence in the city and state Mr. Anderson had made many warm friends, and the sympathy of the entire commonwealth will be extended to Mrs. Anderson and the children in their bereavement.

In politics Mr. Anderson was what might be termed a reformer, and he won the reputation of being a fighter and was generally admired by even his political enemies for the gallant campaigns that he waged on numerous occasions.

In his death Grand Forks and North Dakota loses one of the pioneer settlers, whose voice was always uplifted in all efforts to benefit the state and community, and he must be given credit for doing his full share towards the uplifting of a state to which he came when its population beyond the Indians consisted of a few scattering villages or settlements.

Source:
Grand Forks Daily Herald
Sunday Morning, February 11, 1906
Volume 25, Number 91, Page 8 

 

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