History of Taylor County, Iowa: from the earliest historic times to 1910 by  Frank E. Crosson. Chicago, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910
(transcribed by Linda Kestner: lfkestner3@msn.com)
Page 258
In a history of those men who, through their activity along agricultural lines have contributed in large and substantial measure to the development and improvement of Taylor county, mention should be made of J. E. Anderson, familiarly known as "Uncle Jimmie," a pioneer farmer and stock dealer of this county.  For more than a half century he has been a resident of this community and in the meantime the development of ten or twelve farms may be set down to his credit, while by reason of his extensive realty holdings he became known as one of the large landowners of Taylor county.
Born across the waters, Mr. Anderson's birth occurred in Bergen, Norway, September 5, 1829.  He was reared in that country and there attended the common schools, acquiring a good knowledge of his native language.  In 1851, when twenty-two years of age, he decided to try his fortune in the new world and, leaving home and friends, he embarked for the United States on a sailing vessel, the voyage covering eight weeks.  The vessel was caught in a bad storm while en route, but, successfully weathering this, it cast anchor in New York Harbor in June of the same year.  Mr. Anderson did not tarry in that city, however, but made his way westward to Racine, Wisconsin, where he found employment on a farm, being thus engaged for about six years.  He was greatly handicapped, however, in his inability to speak the English tongue, but with characteristic energy and determination he set himself to master the new language and ere his removal from Wisconsin he had acquired a good practical knowledge of English.  In 1857 he (page 261) came to Taylor county, Iowa, and with the earnings which he had carefully saved during his residence in the Badger state, he purchased two hundred acres of land in Marshall township.  When this property came into his possession it was raw prairie land, but he immediately set about improving and cultivating it.  First came the breaking of the soil and then followed the processes of plowing and planting, while in due course of time rich harvests were gathered.
When he felt that his success justified such a course, Mr. Anderson laid the foundation for a home of his own by his marriage, in January, 1861, to Miss Mary Haun, who was born in Kentucky and when a little maid of ten summers came to Taylor county.  Mr. and Mrs. Anderson began their domestic life on this farm, in a frame house which he had previously built.  He was untiring in his industry and as the years passed and he continued to prosper in his undertakings, he invested in more land, from time to time adding to his property holdings until he became a very extensive landowner, possessing at one time about twenty-one hundred acres located in Taylor and Adams counties, a large portion of which he has since given to his children.  He engaged in general agricultural pursuits and in connection therewith carried on a large and profitable business in raising and feeding, buying and shipping stock.  He purchased stock in Texas and New Mexico and became known throughout the county as a most successful buyer and shipper.  Aside from the land which he owned in Iowa, he also possessed considerable property in Kansas and Missouri and had a half interest in about eleven hundred acres constituting a stock ranch in the former state.  Altogether he has improved about ten or twelve farms, and his entire career, while engaged in agricultural pursuits, was an intensely active one.  Subsequently he retired from farm life and, renting the home farm, he removed to Bedford, where he became identified with mercantile interests, engaging in the dry goods and hardware business in that city for about ten years.  He later came to Conway, where he also engaged in the dry goods, hardware, lumber and grain business for a number of years and was very successful in this line of activity.  He has now, however, given up active labor and is enjoying in well-earned rest the fruits of his former toil.
In 1908 Mr. Anderson was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who passed away on the 27th of March, and her death was the occasion of widespread regret on the part of a large number of warm friends.  In addition to her husband, six children survive her, three sons and three daughters, namely: J. Oscar, a farmer of Mason township, this county; A. A., a partner of J. O. in his farming pursuits; Oliver, a prominent stock raiser, breeder and dealer, making specialty of pure blooded Percheron and Belgian horses, who is also the president of the Conway Savings Bank; Cora, who resides at home with her father; Nora, the wife of Lewis Larson, a resident farmer of Gay township; and Minnie, the wife of Jacob Spring, of Adams county, Iowa.  One son, Thomas, passed away October 29, 1908, after he had reached the age of twenty-eight years.
Mr. Anderson was for many years a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and was formerly superintendent of the Sunday-school for some time.  In politics he is a republican where national issues are concerned, but at local elections he prefers to cast an independent ballot, voting for the men who in his estimation are best fitted to fill the positions.  He has never sought nor desired (page 262) office, but at the solicitation of friends and neighbors he served for some years as road supervisor and also as school director.  He is public spirited in his citizenship, never withholding his cooperation from any measure which has for its object the material, intellectual or moral welfare of the community.  He has never regretted his determination to come to the new world, for in this country where advancement is unhampered by caste or class he has met with most enviable success.  Arriving here without capital, handicapped by his inability to speak the English language, he has steadily worked his way upward in the business world until he ranks among the best known, prominent and prosperous citizens of Taylor county, and he may justly lay claim to the honorable title of a self-made man.  A gentleman of charitable tendencies, he has not only made and given away several fortunes but he has aided materially and substantially in the development of the communities in which he has resided.  He helped to build the first schoolhouse of Bedford and also the first Methodist church of that place.  He also assisted in the erection of the Methodist Episcopal church at Conway, being the principal contributor toward the building funds.  He likewise assisted in the erection of a Methodist church in Ringgold county, Iowa, donating the land upon which it was built, while he has contributed toward building many other churches.  He has now reached the eightieth milestone on life's journey, and his career has ever been such that, now in the evening of life, he can look back upon the past without regret and forward upon the future without fear.