Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 514-15.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Marten Ankersen

Marten Ankersen, who follows farming and stock-raising on two hundred and sixty acres situated on section 20, Nokomis township, is one of the worthy citizens of foreign birth that have come to Buena Vista county empty-handed and in this rich agricultural district have accumulated good farms.  Mr. Ankerson [sic] was born in Denmark, March 21, 1841, a son of Louis Hansen and Anna (Thompson) Ankerson.  The father was a cooper by trade and followed that calling throughout his entire life.  His family numbered two sons and one daughter, the other members of the family being:  Hans L., who spent his entire life in Denmark; and Mary, the wife of Nels Christensen, a resident of Denmark.


Marten Ankerson was reared on a farm in his native country and there remained until he had reached the age of twenty-seven years when, in 1868, believing that the new world offered better business advantages to the ambitious young man, he emigrated to the new world.  Seventeen days were spent on the ocean, during five or six days of which they encountered very rough weather.  He landed in New York in June of the above year and from that city went direct to Moweaqua, Shelby county, Illinois, and from that place he continued his journey to Christian county, that state, where he was employed at farm labor for six or seven years, receiving for the first year's work the meager sum of nine dollars per month.  He soon demonstrated his ability and willingness to work, however, so that his salary was increased from year to year until he received a wage of thirty-two dollars per month.  On the expiration of that period he felt justified in establishing a home of his own and in Christian county invested in eighty acres of land, which he cultivated for five years, when he disposed of it and removed to Buena Vista county, purchasing his present farm of one hundred and sixty acres, for which lie paid nineteen dollars and sixty cents per acre.  The land bad been broken and a little shanty stood on the place.  He lived in that pioneer home for some ten or twelve years, when this shanty was replaced by a nice residence.  He also built a good barn, fenced his land with barbed and woven wire fencing, set out a grove and made the place attractive as well as valuable.  He later added an additional one hundred acres, paying for this sixty dollars per acre.  He raises and feeds cattle and hogs, shipping to the city markets each year.  He is also a stockholder in the elevator and creamery at Alta and has become a very successful man.


It was during his residence in Christian county, Illinois, that Mr. Ankerson was first married, the lady of his choice being Miss Mary Byer, whom he wedded in November, 1869.  This union was blessed with two children but they were called upon to mourn the loss of their first-born; and Anna, the second, also died at the age of eight years.  After the death of the wife and mother, Mr. Ankerson was again married in 1885 to Anna Marie Johnson, who was born in Sweden.  This union has been blessed with eight children:  Albert, Kaiser, Elmer, Clara, Segard, Ross, Anna and Lillie.


Politically Mr. Ankerson is a republican but has never sought nor desired public office, although for the past two years he has served as road supervisor and he is also a school director.  His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Danish Lutheran church at Alta.  Few American-born men fully realize the opportunities and advantages that are to be enjoyed in this country, but the foreign-born citizens upon coming here appreciate this fact and utilizing the opportunities that come to them, gradually work their way upward to a place among the substantial residents of their adopted country and this is what Mr. Ankerson has done.