In a history of those who have attained success and as a result of their activity and energy in former years are now enabled to live retired, mention should be made of Swen Anderson, who was formerly identified with the farming interests of Sullivant township and with mercantile interests in Sibley. His life record began in the southern portion of Sweden, near the town of Lund, January 6, 1844, his parents being Anders and Carrie (Swenson) Olson. The boy pursued his education in the common schools of his native country and in 1864 crossed the Atlantic to America as a young man of twenty years. He had heard favorable reports concerning the new world and its opportunities and resolved that he would try to better his financial condition on this side the Atlantic. He spent most of his time between 1864 and 1868 in Champaign county, Illinois, working as a farm hand, and in the latter year removed to Ford county. Entering the employ of Mr. Sullivant, he continued in his service until 1876, when he rented land of his employer and for six years continued the cultivation of the tract. In the meantime he was making gradual progress in a financial way and at length his industry and perseverance enabled him to engage in business on his own account. Removing to Sibley in 1882, he established a lumber and coal yard, which he conducted until 1905. Since that time he has lived retired, having acquired a capital sufficient to relieve him of the necessity of further labor and yet supply him with all of the comforts that go to make life worth living. As a lumber merchant he built up an excellent trade owing to his fair and honorable dealings, his reasonable prices and his earnest desire to please his patrons. Thus year after year he increased his capital until he is now numbered among the substantial residents of the community.
Mr. Anderson has filled nearly all of the offices in his township to which the people could elect him. He served as justice of the peace for eighteen years and his decisions were strictly fair and impartial, few of his decisions ever being reversed. He is now president of the village and is also serving as notary public and he has had an appointment from every governor from the election of Beveridge to the present time. No public trust reposed in him has ever been betrayed in the slightest degree. On the contrary he is most loyal to the public interests and his labors have been attended with results highly satisfactory to the community.
In 1874 Mr. Anderson was united in marriage to Miss Lotta Swanson, of Fairbury, Illinois, a daughter of August Swanson. They became the parents of seven children but five of the number have passed away. Those still living are Carrie and James L., the latter a resident of this county.
Mr. Anderson was the pioneer among the Swedish people of Sullivant township and is today the oldest citizen of the township. When he came here much of the district was swampy and unfit for cultivation but drainage and persistent labor have transformed it into valuable and productive farms. In the work of general improvement he has borne his part and has been a factor in the agricultural and mercantile progress of the community. In his business affairs he has always been found thoroughly reliable and in all things has been actuated by a spirit of enterprise and progress that have constituted the basis of his success. He has been the champion of many progressive public measures, the cause of education especially finding in him a warm friend. The first schoolhouse in the township was located on the east side of the township, the district being formed from a portion of this and Peach Orchard township. The school, established in 1870, was known as the Bell school. The second school was established at Sibley, in what was known as school district No. 3, and was a very pretentious temple of learning for that time, containing four rooms. The first store in Sibley was erected by Eli Harvey and in it was carried a general line of merchandise owned by Mr. Church. The first postoffice of the locality was at Oak Grove, which was beyond the present corporation limits of the town of Sibley and M. L. Sullivant was appointed the first postmaster in 1872. The first elevator was built by Mr. Sullivant in 1873 at a cost of twenty-five thousand dollars and is still in operation, although some improvements and additions have been made.
Mr. Anderson has always been deeply interested in the work of the development here and has given his aid and cooperation to many movements for the public good. He served as school director and as treasurer of the school board for a number of years and has always given his political allegiance to the republican party. His religious faith is that of the Lutheran denomination and he was one of the founders of the church in the town, being actively associated with its membership since its organization. Coming to America as a young man of twenty years empty-handed and unknown, he faced conditions which would dishearten many a man of less resolute and determined spirit. Mr. Anderson, however, possessed heroic equalities in his determination to win success and as the years have gone by he has not only carved out a comfortable fortune for himself but has also made an honored name, his record winning for him the confidence, good will and admiration of those who know him.

Extracted 16 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 668-674.

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