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Soren Peter Anderson and Wife
Kristina Marie Thies

by Verda Dudley

Pinepound Reflections - A History of
Spring Coulee and District pages 200 - 201

Soren Peter Anderson was born in Denmark in 1875. He was the sixth child of Peter Jensen and Johanna Marie Larsen. There were twelve children in all. Soren was 17 years old when he arrived in the United States and moved around a lot. He had no formal education in English schools but had a sharp mathematical mind. Taught by his father, Soren became a full fledged carpenter by the age of 14. He became a naturalized American citizen in 1898 and then came to Lethbridge. He was employed by the Great Northern Railway and helped build the famous High Level Bridge in Lethbridge. He became a naturalized citizen in Canada in 1908.

Kristina Marie Thies Anderson was born April 20, 1887 in Denmark. She was the oldest child of Christian W. Thiesen and Stena Marie Neilson. There were three children in the family, Kristina, Alma and Tinous. The family arrived in the United States in 1898 and lived in North and South Dakota. Stena died during childbirth leaving three children, Kristina was 12 years old and took over. She was a very dependable and sweet child, worked hard doing her household chores. She was very supportive of Alma and Tinous. Her father remarried and had a daughter named Ingrid. He also had a stepdaughter named Jenny Paulsen.

Kristina married Soren Peter Anderson in 1905 in Bowbells, North Dakota. They moved to Lethbridge in 1908.

Mother, Kristina, was an exceptional person and kept the family organized. She did all the cooking, sewing and washing and it was done her way. Regardless of the weather, Thursday was wash day. The soft water was hauled in buckets from the well and heated on the stove. She washed the clothes using home made soap on a scrub board. White clothes were always boiled and all the clothes had to be hung outside to dry. When a wind came up all of us children would be out picking up clothes from all over the yard. Ironing was a real pain because of all the starch used. Kristina was a wonderful cook and could make a meal with very little effort or expense.

When mother found the time, she loved to sew. She made many patch work quilts. The mending and darning for such a large family was a never ending job. She sat by the kerosene lamp for hours in the evening sewing. When we bought our first gas lamp she was thrilled because the light was so much better.

Mother always had a a large garden and every year we went berry picking by Steels Crossing. Of course, the canning was endless, but we always enjoyed the fruits of her labour. Mother could milk a cow better than anyone. As children, we bottled the milk and went to town to sell it at 10 cents a quart.

Mother loved to read the news and waited for the Greyhound bus to pass because the drivers would throw the newspaper out the window at different farm houses. Her social life was centered around family and the community. She was a member of the Women's Institute for 40 years (first original member)and belonged to the Ladies Aid. She participated in all the church and school activities. They always attended the Whist Drives at other homes.

Soren and Kristina Anderson - Their life together

When they moved to Lethbridge in 1908, they already had two children. With all the love they had to share, a large family was in order and they had eleven.

When they first arrived in Lethbridge, the Andersons lived in a small house at the River Bottom. They considered themselves very fortunate, as many families were living in tents. It wasn't long before Soren took out a homestead in Iron springs. The homestead was hard work and not very profitable. The family struggled to survive, but had more than most families because Soren worked as a carpenter. He spent three months of the year on the farm. He was employed as a foreman by the A.R.& I. between Lethbridge and Cardston. He also worked as a carpenter for Smith Bros. and Wilson Matson & Sons

In 1914 Soren and Kristina moved to Spring Coulee with their five children. They rented land from Clara C Thompson and proceeded to raise a healthy, happy family.

Dad never liked farm work and taught the boys to work in the fields when they were very young. Dad's niche was carpentry and he built many homes and barns for family and friends. He also taught many men the carpentry trade. In 1924 he built a home for Herman Johnson Sr. The fourth generation still lives in the home. He made all the furniture in our home. It wasn't very fancy but it was sturdy. He was also a good blacksmith and mended many a harness and repaired shoes for family and neighbours.

Soren was an honest, generous man and loved inviting people to come for dinner. His door was always open for the man who had no where to go. He loved music and played the mouth organ. He wanted all his girls to learn to dance and taught them all the old time dances. Soren loved his beer, much to the dislike of our mother, and reportedly could drink a quart of beer faster than anyone. He chewed snoose, which didn't appeal to any of the family because his favorite spitting place was the coal bucket. Anyone of us could be called upon to get the next piece of coal for the fire. He loved listening to the radio.

Farm life was tough in those days and though the Anderson's were not wealthy, they were rich in happiness, love and health. Our childhoods were filled with hard work and good times. The first farm was Section 34 Township 4 Range 23. The farm most remembered was one and one half miles east of Spring Coulee (Section 3 Township 5 Range 23 ). Dad always got up first and started the fires. All the children rushed to get dressed by the stove. Often in the winter we would wake up to frost on our quilts and frozen buckets of water in the kitchen. Dad would try to insulate the house in the fall by banking manure and straw around the house. The smell was terrible until it froze. In the spring we would haul it away. The worst part of winter was going outside to the privy. In cold weather you made fast work of your job.

Other special occasions were July Ist, when all the girls would get new dresses and shoes. There would be races for the children, a ball game and a dance in the evening. Our father insisted on dancing with all of us girls at the dance, which we found very embarrassing. The school fairs were also a big event. Our family always entered many items into the competition and usually came away with many ribbons. Pa always spent many hours making baskets for his girls for the basket social. We usually always got first prize. Christmas was always an exciting time in our house. The tree was decorated with popcorn strings and homemade decorations. Candles were hooked on the tree with great care because of the fire hazard. Each child received one gift which we thought was the greatest. The gifts were opened Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we always had a big dinner.

Summers were spent playing ball with the neighbors and riding horse back. We never did have bikes. Winters were long and cold, but we could go skating on the pond. Our skates were blades strapped to our shoes or old discarded skates. Sometimes we would hitch the horses to a bobsleigh and go to town and pick up our friends. We would then race the horses down the street and turn the horses so we'd all tumble off the sleigh. We all went to a one room school with grades I to 8. Our teachers were wonderful, although it must have been hard for them to cope under the circumstances.

Harvesting was always a busy and exciting time. Dad always hired extra help to do the stooking and three of the children ran the Binder which seemed to break down quite often. They had to go to town for parts to fix the binders. We never had a threshing machine but we used our Uncle's and the neighbor's. The girls had to help in the cook house. Most of the time we were busy trying to keep the flies down. Dad usually hired Danes as hired help because he wanted his girls to marry Danish men.

Our barn burned down and our dad built another one. He decided to have a dance in the loft first with an orchestra, etc.. Mother and the neighbors served a lunch. A great time was had by all and was the topic of conversation for a very long time.

In 1937 our parents bought a new Hudson Terraplane and took the twins and went on a trip south with it. We visited every relative and friend from Spring Coulee to San Diego, California which were many. Our dad was not the best driver and consequently we had many scares along the way. The good Lord looked over us and we arrived home safely.

In 1938 our parents moved to Magrath and bought a brick home one half a block from the Trading Company. What an improvement over what we were used to living in. We had running water and sewer, living room, dining room, kitchen, five bedrooms, bathroom and a garage. The home had to be completely redecorated. After living there for a while, Pa built another house across from the High School. They always looked forward to the family coming home to visit them. Our dad died in 1949 after having a stroke. Mother lived here a short time with her grand daughter Betty Beimler. She moved to Lethbridge and bought a home at 1249 4th Ave. South. Mother did a lot of travelling and visiting and was always remodeling her home. She had an enlarged heart and died November 1960 at the age of 74. Our parents are both buried in Spring Coulee. They left 8 children and 36 grandchildren.

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Mary Tollestrup