|The Struthers Library Building in Warren,|
soon after its completion.
Image courtesy of the
Warren Library Association.
I wanted to learn more about Anderson. From Our Scandinavian Heritage, a recent book by Barbara Ann Hillman Jones, I learned that there was a Swedish "enclave" in Warren County which extended north to Chattauqua County, New York. A search of the 1880 U.S. Census via Heritage Quest showed there were at least 3 men named John Anderson who were born in Sweden and living in Warren County in the 1880s -- never mind additional men with variant spellings of the surname! Comparing their home addresses to an 1878 map of Warren County, the likeliest was a John Anderson who lived in Conewago Township, which at that time included North Warren, where "my" John Anderson was residing when he died in 1883. Other bits from this census record matched the obituary: John Anderson of Conewago Township was born in Sweden, a laborer, and married to a woman named "Sharlott." Also, an Erick Anderson (possibly the brother mentioned in the obituary?), also born in Sweden, a laborer, married, and in his 30s, lived next door. Given how common the name is, however, I can't be sure.
It isn't my task to uncover every detail of such men's lives. Hopefully a descendant or local historian will find this post and figure it out. But I think it's important for people in Warren and beyond to know the bodily sacrifices some families made in building the institutions we enjoy today.