Bert Bidlack Anderson

Bert Bidlak Anderson, a prosperous merchant and grain and stock dealer of Inwood, was born in Wyoming County, New York, October 2, 1859. His father, George J. Anderson, was a wealthy farmer, who, during the latter years of his life, became noted as a politician. It may be said of him that none of his ancestors were more conspicuous or prominent in their day than he in his. His mother, Nancy Lamkin Anderson, was a direct descendant from John Alden, who came over in the Mayflower. She was closely related to the famous Bidlack family, which left its name stamped upon the history of this country.

The Bidlacks served under Washington during the entire period of the Revolutionary War. They were at Boston when Washington took charge of the patriot army to oppose General Gage; at Trenton when the Hessians were taken; at Yorktown when Cornwallis surrendered, and at Newburg when the army was finally disbanded. It was a Bidlack who, as captain of a company of volunteers in the Indian war, fell while leading his men in a desperate charge. They assisted in building the "Temple of Liberty," which they regarded with almost superstitious veneration. It was there the Armstrong Letters, which so sorely tried General Washington, originated.

They took part in the Pennanite and Yankee war, and were many times captured and imprisoned by the Pennsylvanians. Many stories of that war are still recounted in the old Quaker state, and particularly one wherein is related how "Ben Bidlack sang himself out of jail." Following the close of the struggle, however, the brave Ben, like many another patriotic fellow, had a hard struggle with poverty and his weakness for drink. He made no progress or improvement either in his habits or fortune, and his case was looked upon as a hopeless one by his friends. But he finally awakened through the instrumentality of the pioneers of Methodism, and so rapid and so complete was his reformation that he entered the ministry, where he remained until the termination of a protracted and useful life. He had wonderful power in the pulpit, and was as great a singer of the "Songs of Zion" as he had been of the old patriotic ballads. He was the great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch.

Bert Bidlack Anderson received no education except that obtained in the district school. He came to Iowa in 1873, when fourteen years of age, and settled in Winneshiek County, where he worked on his father's farm for several years. During the time he bought a farm for himself. He cultivated this land one year, and then removed to Inwood and engaged in the hardware business in partnership with his brother.

Shortly thereafter they began buying grain and stock. Later Mr. Anderson erected an elevator, which was made necessary by the increasing volume of their business. They dealt in dry goods and groceries for two or three years, but they abandoned those branches of mercantile business. At present Mr. Anderson is in partnership with his brother in the hardware, grain, implement and stock business. He is also engaged in the furniture business on his own account. He is a republican and has held the office of mayor of Inwood at the hands of that party. He is a member of the Odd Fellows, being N.G. of the lodge in his town, and is also a leading elder in the Presbyterian church, a position he has filled for thirteen years. On March 16, 1886, he was married to Miss Lydia J. Harrington of Farmington, Illinois. They have been blessed with three sons, two of whom are now living. They are George H., born November 24, 1888, and Charles Morton, born May 14, 1890.

Index   |   Home

Webization by Kermit Kittleson, Sept. 2006