Charles and Gertrude Christina Andersson
Charles and Gertrude Christina Andersson were our Grandmother Christina Fredrickson’s aunt and uncle. Gertrude, always known, as ‘Auntie Andersson’ was a younger sister of Christina Fredrickson’s father and Charles Andersson was a younger brother of her mother. They were both born on the Isle of Gottland and became members of the Baptist movement there. She is recorded as having been baptized in 1858.
We do not know whether they were acquainted before coming to this country, but it would seem by the circumstances that they almost certainly were. They did not marry, however, until after having arrived in Kansas. Charles Andersson and another Gottlander, Jacob Alquist, came to Kansas in 1869 in advance of the main body of those who settled in New Gottland in Cloud County. They staked their first land claims and made arrangements for the arrival of the others.
Gertrude and her father, Tomas Tomasson, also left Gottland in 1869, but we do not know if they and Charles actually came together. They were married in Junction City shortly after her arrival there. They established residence in Cloud County either in 1869 or 1870 and were among the earliest settlers in the area. Their first home was almost certainly a sod house.
Tomas Tomasson is also identified in the Swedish records as having been a Baptist. He had been widowed for a number of years when he left Gottland for America at the age of 63. He was one of the original members of the Swedish Baptist Church organized in 1877. The place and date of his death are unknown, but he is not buried in the Gottland Cemetery. His death very likely preceded the establishment of the cemetery.
According to the oral history in the family, Charles and Gertrude had four children, none of whom lived past early childhood. The first two were buried along the creek bank in unmarked graves to minimize the possibility of the graves being disturbed. The latter two died a week apart at ages seven and four. Their deaths were almost certainly caused by one of the epidemics which took such a cruel of children in those days. What the exact cause was is no longer known, but diphtheria or scarlet fever, both now eliminated, are good possibilities. They are buried between their parents in Gottland Cemetery as shown in the pictures.
Charles, Gertrude, and her father, Tomas Tomasson, were among the nine original members of the Swedish Baptist Church that was organized in 1877 in a meeting in their home, and they were members all of their lives. No one reading the inscription on the children’s headstone could ever doubt their faith. Charles served the church as its Sunday school superintendent for a number of years. Gertrude lived to see the merger of the Swedish and American Baptist churches, a development she apparently welcomed with enthusiasm.
The picture of Charles and Gertrude included on this page is the only one of the two of them known to exist. We do not know when or the circumstances in which it was made, but a reasonable guess would be about 1890 when he would have been 48 and she 55.
Gertrude went to live in Sunset Home in Concordia in 1912 several years following the death of her husband and spent her remaining 16 years there. Our cousins Millard, George, and Keith remember her with great affection recalling that she always had either candy or a coin when they came to visit. She lived into her 94 year.
Charles died in 1903 at the age of 61. There was apparently no obituary, but the news item published in the Concordia Kansan follows in the entirety. The obituary of ‘Auntie’ Andersson is also included below.
Concordia Kansan, November 19, 1903
Charles Anderson died at his home in this township on Friday, Nov. 5. He was born in the province of Gottland, Sweden on March 15, 1842 and was among the earliest settlers of Cloud County. Mr. Anderson was an earnest and active member of the Swedish Baptist Church. Funeral services were held at the house on Sunday, November 7 at 2 p.m., after which the remains were interred in the Gottland Cemetery. Deceased leaves a wife and some other relatives to mourn his departure. The entire community sympathizes with the bereaved ones.
Concordia Kansan, February 7,1929
Mrs. Christine G. Anderson was born in Gottland, Sweden, July 10, 1835, the daughter of Tomas Tomasson and wife, and was translated from this life at Concordia, Kansas, and January 31, 1929, being at her death 93 years, 6 months, 21 days old.
She was converted and baptized and united with the Baptist Church while yet in Sweden, the records show that she was baptized in 1858, at the age of 23 years, being among the first on the island of Gottland to become identified with the Baptist movement.
She came to America in March 1869, settling first in Junction City, Kansas. Shortly after her arrival at Junction City, she was united in marriage with Charles Anderson, and they lived in happy companionship together until 1903, when Mr. Anderson passed away. To their union four children were born, all of who passed away in early childhood. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson moved from Junction City to the Gottland District, northeast of Concordia, in 1869, joining a group of friends from Gottland who had settled in this locality. They became immediately identified with the life of the community, especially in the spiritual activities and were among the leaders in the organization of the Swedish Baptist Church. In fact, the meeting for the organization was held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Anderson on Saturday, May 13, 1877. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson were among the charter members of the church and both of them continued until their death as most faithful and devoted members. The church shortly established itself in Concordia where it since carried on its work. Mrs. Anderson lived to see the day when the First and Swedish churches were merged and followed with the keenest interest the development of the work.
In 1912, she entered Sunset Home to spend the declining years of her life, thus living there over a period of sixteen years. A woman of firm convictions, simple and child-like faith, a whole-hearted devotion and consecration to God, she leaves a most beautiful example for generations to come. Though reaching into the nineties and most of her acquaintances of youth having passed on, she constantly gained new friends, many of who mourn her departure today. Only one immediate relative now survives, Mrs. Charles Fredrickson, of Concordia, a niece.