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Andy (Anders) Olson


Posted By: Ruth Tower (email)
Date: 8/26/2005 at 12:48:22

Oldest Man Recalls Bode--Andy OLSON is the oldest man in Bode (1981) and the last living World War I veteran in the area. He was born Jan. 29, 1890, five and a half miles southwest of Bode on the farm where Janssens now live. His parents were Ole M. and Maline OLSON. He had six brothers and four sisters: Olaf, Amanda, Ludwig, Oscar, Henry, (Andy), Olga, twins Alma and Mathilda, Melvin and Rudy. Most of his family lived to be at least 80 and Melvin, Rudy and Mathilda are still living.

Andy didn't move to town until 1929, so he has many memories of living on a farm and attending a country school near his home. He started farming when he was 17 years old. He always had his own horse and rig before he got his first car, a Maxwell, when he was 16. Andy remembers the four horses he had to do the farm work and even had a picture of them in one of his photo albums. He quickly recalled their names as "Frank," "Ted," "Toad," and "Dandy." Those horses were an important part of tending 100 head of cattle and 500 acres of land.

Andy and Amanda SIME, from Forest City, were married in February, 1919. He met Amanda when she was visiting in Bode and they went together for seven years before they were married. They celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in 1959. Amanda died in May 1960. They had two sons, Roger, who lives in Minnesota, and Stanton, in California.

Andy OLSON has been a member of the American Legion for over 61 years. He served in France in World War I. He joined the service in September 1917 at Camp Dodge, then went to Camp Pike, Arkansas. He was transferred from there in June for Camp Dix, and left by ship in August to go across. The 13th day out on the ocean his ship was torpedoed, but Andy landed safely in Portsmouth, France. He was sent to Winchester, England, for a month before being sent back across to France. At this time Andy's detail work was everything from cutting wood to loading horses for the front.

On Christmas Eve 1918, Andy got on the ship to come home, and landed in New York on the 30th. He was sent back to Camp Pike for 10 days. The Army didn't seem to be in any hurry about getting his group discharged, and one of the soldiers sent a telegram to the Governor of Iowa. The next morning they had orders to leave for Camp Dodge, where Andy was discharged on his birthday, Jan. 29, 1919.

When Andy was in the service, he spent quite a little time in Philadelphia and became part of the advertising for the 4th Liberty Loan Drive. He still has the picture from a 1918 Philadelphia paper showing 25,000 Camp Dix soldiers standing to form the Liberty Bell, complete with the crack in the bell. The picture was taken on a hot day and it took two hours, from four to six in the afternoon to get the soldiers together. As some of them fainted from the heat, they were replaced by others. The "soldier bell" was 580 feet long and 368 feet across. The picture was taken from a 75 foot observation tower and Andy has marked the place where he was standing.

Today Andy lives in the house that he built in 1948 and walks to town each morning for his mail. He is a member of St. Olaf Lutheran Church, the Bode American Legion Post 524 and the Senior Citizens.

From The Bode Bugle, Centennial Edition, Volume 100, Number 9, Saturday, June 13, 1981 (The Humboldt Independent)


Humboldt Biographies maintained by Karen De Groote.
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