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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1052~


Gus Gunderson


"Whether the elements of success in life are innate attributes of the individual or whether they are quickened by a process of circumstantial development, it is impossible to clearly determine. Yet the study of a successful life, whatever the field of endeavor, is none the less interesting and profitable by reason of the existence of this same uncertainty. So much in excess of those of successes are the records of failure or semi-failures, that one is constrained to attempt an analysis in either case and to determine the measure of causation in an approximate way. But in studying the life history of the well known resident and popular citizen of Elgin, Fayette county, whose name forms the caption of this article, we find many qualities in his makeup that always gain done, which has resulted in a life of good to others as well as large success and definite success in any career if properly directed, as his has evidently been a comfortable competence for himself. Gus Gunderson, president of the Elgin Savings Bank, at Elgin, Iowa, and one of the most substantial and influential business men in the northern part of Fayette county, is a descendant of a Norwegian family, as his name would indicate, though he is a native of the locality which he now honors with his citizenship, having been born in Fayette county on August 31, 1859.

He is the son of Eliff and Johanna Gunderson, both born in Norway, where they grew to maturity and were educated and where they were married. They came to America in 1858, and after a long and tedious voyage across the great ocean between these two countries and scarcely less prolix journey across half of our continent, finally landed in Fayette county, Iowa, locating at Clermont, in the northeastern part of the county. There the father became well established, being a business man of more than ordinary ability, especially able in the management of a farm. He accumulated here between four and five hundred acres of valuable land and became a man of influence in his community, of which he was regarded as one of the leading general farmers for many years, and he was a man whom his neighbors held in the highest respect owing to his life of industry, honesty and sobriety. There were ten children in his family. Gus Gunderson, of this review, was educated in the common schools of his native community and assisted with the work on the home farm during the crop seasons and he began life as a farmer, but ascertaining that his true bent lay along business lines, he entered the mercantile field at Elgin, which he followed until 1899 with very gratifying success from the first, having enjoyed a very liberal patronage during that period and establishing a lasting reputation for keen discernment in business, fairness in all his dealings with his fellow men and a desire to see others prosper at the same time he was advancing his own interests.

This, of course, inspired the confidence and good will of the people of this community, and when he entered the implement business in the year mentioned above his old customers proved their loyalty and friendship by turning their trade and their influence to him, and he prospered in this line of endeavor, which he followed until 1907. Then, realizing the long existent need of a banking institution in this thriving vicinity, he set about organizing the Elgin Savings Bank and became its president, which responsible position he still worthily retains to the entire satisfaction of his patrons and all concerned, having built up one of the most popular and soundest banking institutions in the county, which is rapidly growing in prestige and importance.


Having long taken an abiding interest in the upbuilding of the village of Elgin and the general advancement of this community, Mr. Gunderson has aided very materially in all movements calculated to be of general interest and for the uplift of this vicinity, sparing neither means nor time in his efforts to foster movements having for their object the general good. He has held all the offices of the village and is now one of the county supervisors, very faithfully discharging his duties in all positions of public trust.


Politically, he is a Republican and in religious matters is a Lutheran, being a liberal supporter of the local church. The domestic life of Mr. Gunderson dates from 1892, when he was united in marriage with Lizzie Kittelson, a lady of education and culture and the representative of an excellent family. Mr. and Mrs. Gunderson are popular with the best social circles of the county."

~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Nancy Schroeder


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