OTTO ANDERSON. - The Scandinavian nations have contributed to our American republic a most valuable element, and this element has assimilated with the body politic with completeness and rapidity. By as much as they have cherished the best heritages they brought with them from their native lands have our Scandinavian citizens added strong and fine fiber to the cosmopolitan fabric of America, where they have entered into the common heritage of this nation of nations. The fair Norseland has an honored representative in Wyandotte county in the person of Otto Anderson, who has gained through his own efforts and ability a secure vantage ground as a business man and loyal citizen, and who has proved himself altogether worthy of the advantages afforded him in the land of his adoption. Sturdy integrity of purpose, honest industry and marked sagacity have brought to him independence and definite prosperity, and none is more fully in harmony with the spirit and institutions of our republic. He is engaged in the retail grocery trade in Kansas City and has been called upon to serve in various public offices of local trust, including that of city commissioner, in charge of streets and public improvements. He is now incumbent of this office and in connection therewith has given unmistakable evidence of his civic loyalty and progressiveness. At the time of his reelection he received the largest majority on the ticket. His status in the community is such as to entitle him to recognition in this history of Wyandotte county and its people.
Otto Anderson was born in Sweden on the 5th of September, 1869, and is a son of Andrew and Anna (Pearson) Anderson, both of whom were born and reared in that same section of Sweden. Andrew Anderson devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits in his native land until 1884, when he immigrated to America and made Kansas his destination. He secured from the government a homestead claim of one hundred and sixty acres, in Sherman county, and in 1886 his wife and their three younger children joined him in the new home, the three elder children having come to this state somewhat earlier. The parents continued to reside in Sherman county until their death, and there the father, a man of industrious habits and sterling attributes of character, reclaimed his farm and gained a position of independence.
Otto Anderson gained his early education in his native land, where he was graduated in the high school, and he was a lad of sixteen years at the time when he accompanied his mother to America and joined his father on the old homestead farm in Sherman county, Kansas. He could not speak the English language in the least, but his intelligence and former training were such that he soon made good the handicap thus entailed. He finally left the parental home and went to Nebraska, where he secured employment at farm work and where he showed his excellent judgment by attending two terms of winter school, - principally for the purpose of securing a better knowledge of the English language. In 1888, when nineteen years of age, he came to Kansas City, Kansas, and after working for an interval as a railroad section hand he here secured employment in one of the packing houses. Later he applied himself to the work of cleaning Pullman sleeping cars, on the Wabash Railroad, and in 1890, on the basis of his savings from his earnings, he initiated his career as an independent business man. At 340 Minnesota avenue he opened a modest grocery store, and about one year later he removed to his present commodious quarters, at 236-8 South Seventh street, where, through fair and honorable dealings and careful catering to the demands of an appreciative patronage, he has built up a substantial and prosperous business.
Mr. Anderson has shown an intelligent interest in public affairs of a local order and has given his support to the measures and enterprises advanced for the general good of the community. Elected by a gratifying majority, he represented for two years the fifth ward of the city in the city council, and upon his retirement from this position, in which he made an excellent record, he was elected city commissioner, in April, 1910, as candidate on the Republican ticket. His personal popularity insured to him a good majority in this election, and as a commissioner in charge of streets and public improvements he has given zealous attention to the work assigned to him, thus proving a valuable executive in this important office. He is unwavering in his allegiance to the cause of the Republican party, has attained to the thirty-second degree in the Ancient Accepted Rite of the Masonic fraternity, and is also affiliated with the local organizations of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He and his wife hold membership in the Lutheran church, in whose faith they were reared, and in their home city their circle of friends is equal to that of their acquaintances.
The year 1898 witnessed the marriage of Mr. Anderson to Miss Ida Sanders, who was born at Wamego, Pottawatomie county, Kansas, where her parents, natives of Kansas, settled in the pioneer days. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson have four children, - Lee, Clyde, Otto and Vergil.
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