IAGenWeb Project

Audubon County


1915 Bios Index


The road to success is for most of us long, steep and rocky. There are many little by-paths which seem so much easier to climb, and so much more alluring that it is difficult for all but the most resolute to continue to the end. It requires skill, constant labor, personal sacrifice and steadfastness of purpose for the average person to succeed, and at best, the attainment of prosperity, when accomplished by our own unaided efforts, is not easy. What shall we say, then, of a man who has left his home, his country and his parents to come to a foreign land, and has carved out of this new, untried environment, home, happiness, and that much coveted thing we call success? This has been the achievement of Jens C. Andersen, whose life history we are to consider.

Jens C. Anderson, one of the leading farmers of Leroy township, Audubon county, Iowa, was born on July 26, 1855, in Sailing, Denmark.

His father, Andrus Andersen, was a blacksmith by trade. He and his wife, who was Dorathea Christensen, spent all of their lives in the country which was the birthplace of their children. They were members of the Lutheran church. Their eldest daughter, Christina, who is now dead, and whose given name was Mattie, married Chris Jensen of Sharon township, Audubon county, Iowa, and the children born of this marriage were Nels, Carl, Olga, Hulga, Maria, Oscar and Alfred. The second child born to Mr. and Mrs. Andersen was Jens C., the subject of this biography. Later came a sister whose name was Elsie, and two brothers, Chris, a farmer living east of this county, and Nels, also a farmer whose home is in Northern Canada.

The childhood of Jens C. Andersen was spent in Denmark, and there it was that he attended school. In the home of a blacksmith where there were five children to be cared for and educated, life became more or less of a struggle against conditions, and it is not surprising, therefore, that of twenty-six, the young man, Jens, should decide to seek his fortune in newer fields. It was in 1881 that he severed home ties, bade farewell to his parents and sailed for America. Coming West, he first located at Kimballton, Iowa, where, for a brief time, he engaged in farming. He then worked on the North Western and St. Paul railroads, which enabled him to save enough money to buy eighty acres of land in Sharon township. When this purchase was made, the land was wild, but the young man went to work with a will, and cleared and cultivated the entire tract.

Maria Karen Jensen became the wife of this young pioneer on July 6, 1889, and for nine years, they continued to live in this township. Mrs. Andersen, who was born in Logstor, Denmark, August 28, 1863, was the daughter of Hans Peter, and Karen (Madsatter) Jensen who lived and died in that country. The father was a farmer. The brothers and sisters of Mrs. Andersen were as follow: Jens, who lives in Denmark; Johann, who came to this county, in which he still lives; Regborg, living in Denmark; Johannah, who married Peter Rasmussen of this county; Hilga, of Denmark; Dagmar who became the wife of Jens Petersen, merchant and blacksmith of Sharon township.

After moving from Sharon township to Elkhorn, Iowa, Mr. and Mrs. Andersen lived in the latter place until 1890, when they returned to their farm in Sharon township where they lived for six years. In 1906, they moved to their present farm in Leroy township. He at once set to work to remodel the house and barn, and to improve the land. His possessions now consist of two hundred and forty acres of improved land comprising the tract on which he lives, and also a similar number of acres in Sharon township. Eighty-five acres are planted in corn at the home place, the average yield being forty-five bushels to the acre. Besides giving his attention to agriculture, Mr. Andersen raises mixed cattle, draft horses, and Duroc-Jersey hogs.

Another business enterprise in which Mr. Andersen has been interested is the Sharon creamery which he helped to organize, and of which he has been the treasurer for the past seven years.

Eight children have made the home life of Mr. and Mrs. Andersen happy. Carrie, the eldest daughter, died in 1890, at the age of five months. Hans, who is a farmer in Sharon township, married Matilda Steffensen, and their only child is a daughter named Irma. The third child of the family is Carrie, the wife of Peter H. Smith, a farmer of Leroy township. Dagmar lives at home. Olga is deceased. The three youngest children, Samuel, Dorcas and Theodore are living at home with their parents.

Mr. and Mrs. Andersen have always made their influence felt as church workers, being members of the Danish Lutheran church. Mr. Andersen was for some time president and secretary of the Batavia church at Kimballton, and was president of the Sunday school of the church at Audubon, Iowa. He is now president of the church at Audubon, Iowa. Mrs. Andersen is a leader among women church workers, and has been president of the Ladies' Aid Society for the past seven years.

Their prominence and popularity in the neighborhood in which they live is shown by the fact that on July 6, 1914, when they held their marriage anniversary, having been married twenty-five years, there were between two and three hundred friends and relatives in attendance.

Mr. Andersen's political convictions are expressed by the platform of the Republican party.

The lives of Mr. and Mrs. Andersen have been lives of usefulness and service. While deeply interested in the rearing and education of their children, who occupy prominent places in the communities in which they live, the parents have found time to engage in social and church activities, and have given of their time and means to the causes which make for better and good citizenship. Willing to begin life in a small way, and to work and trust for results which must inevitably reward industry, these people have become well-known in their county. Few men in Audubon county are more prominent or more admired than Jens C. Andersen.

Transcribed from History of Audubon County, Iowa Its People, Industries and Institutions With Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many of the Old Families, by H. F. Andrews, editor, Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1915, pp. 628-630.