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Eric Peter Dalander

Among the many people who contributed to the growth and progress of Madrid while it was still very young was Mr. Eric Peter Dalander, a grandson of Mrs. Anna Dalander. He was born July, 1864, on a farm which is now the townsite of Madrid, to Eric Dalander and his wife, the former Miss Eva Swanson, who came from Sweden in 1846, on the ship "Augustus," with the Anna Dalander party, searching for a new home. Eric Peter's parents moved to a farm west of town after having successfully engaged in a saw and grist mill where they produced lumber and flour.

Eric Peter, or Peter, as he was known by his family and friends, received his early education in the Elk Rapids School, and in the Swede Point School. He received a teacher's certificate from Boone County, and taught in the Elk Rapids School, having his younger brothers and sisters among his pupils. He then went to Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, graduating with a degree in Pharmacy. Returning to Madrid, he purchased the Madrid Drug Store, and became the sole proprietor in 1883. He carried not only a good stock of drugs and medical supplies, but also paint, wallpaper, china dishes, school supplies, and other sundries. A delight to both young and old was the popular ice cream and soda fountain near the front entrance of the store. Mr. Dalander being a practical pharmacist, with his knowledge of the business combined with his earnest desire to please his customers, won him very desirable success. It was during this time that he worked with Mr. F. W. Fitch and Mr. William Heath, who were later to become world famous for their shampoo, hair tonic, soaps, and perfumes.

In 1892, Eric Peter was married to Miss Alma Louise Anderson, daughter of Mr. John Anderson, who had come with the original Anna Dalander party which had settled in this area in 1846. Mr. Anderson was a prominent man in this locality, serving as the first president of the Madrid State Bank and holding that office for 16 years. He also was a co-founder of the Swedish Mutual Insurance Company, in which he was secretary and treasurer. He was Boone County Supervisor for two terms, and Assessor for Douglas Township for 20 years.

Mrs. Alma Dalander was born to Mr. John Anderson and his wife, the former Miss Caroline Nelson, in 1866. After attending the Elk Rapids and local schools, she furthered her education in piano, organ, and voice, in Denver, Colorado, Shenandoah, Iowa, and Lindsborg College in Lindsborg, Kansas. After returning to Madrid, she gave music lessons to the young people and children in the surrounding community, traveling from farm to farm by horse and buggy. She was an artist, and did painting as well as being an accomplished musician.

In 1902, Mr. Dalander was appointed Postmaster of the Madrid Post Office, and served for more than 14 years. At this period of time, the four coal mines in the community were very busy, and he was always a friend, and alert to the needs of these hard-working men and of their families.

He was a member of the Madrid School Board for 18 years, and always encouraged the young people to take advantage of an education. He inspired and helped many who became Madrid's foremost business people in the early part of the 20th century. In 1916, he became manager and secretary of the People's Telephone Company in Madrid, and also manager of the Madrid Ice Company. During this time, he worked as secretary of the Swedish Mutual Insurance Company.

In 1918, it was necessary for him to move to California with his family to take over the business interests, when his son, who had established his home in the west, was drafted into the army in World War I. Both Mr. and Mrs. Dalander had been members of the Lutheran Church in Madrid, as their parents had all been charter members. Both Eric Peter and Alma Louise had been baptised and confirmed and had served faithfully in the Madrid Lutheran Church until their move to California. They transferred their membership to the Lutheran Church of Turlock, California, and lived in that city the remaining days of their lives.

At present, there are members of five generations living and enjoying the wonderful memories and Chrisitan heritage of Eric Peter and Alma Louise Dalander.

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