Brandon woman on quest to name a creek
September 12. 2013 10:40AM
Lois Hansen never knew Annie Anderson.
Her only connection to the local pioneer woman was from the story her father, Gust Joneson, told her time and time again.
Now, she’s sharing that story with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to have the unnamed tributary named “Annie Anderson Creek.”
“I’m very interested because I’m very familiar with the creek, although I didn’t know it didn’t have a name. I grew up in Red Rock Township and lived there all my life,” she said. “A lot of the times when we cross that creek, something was mentioned about it.”
Hansen, who now lives in Brandon, says she’s called the waterway “Lone Creek” for as long as she can remember. However, after reading a news brief in the Argus Leader recently about the unnamed creek and a proposal to name it in honor of John R. Manning, one of the state’s first representatives, Hansen decided to submit a name for the creek, too.
Brookings resident Max Johnson has proposed naming the creek in honor of Manning, who homesteaded along the banks and served in local government during the late 1800s. He was a member of the Legislature when South Dakota was organizing for statehood and was elected to the first state Legislature in 1889.
That proposal is before the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.
“I almost gave up because I thought politics was more worthy,” Hansen said. “But then I thought, poor Anie, she’s a woman and couldn’t be involved in politics back then.”
Hansen’s proposal tells of the hard life of Annie Anderson. One of those hardships – the story Hansen’s father repeated over the years – occurred June 10, 1914. That day proved to be a fateful day for Anderson, a widow, and her young brood. On that day, she and two of her five children were en route aboard their pony-pulled buggy to Valley Springs to do some shopping at Olson’s General Store. Anderson, a widow and mother of five small children, lived on a farm west of the Beaver Valley Church. Her husband had died of a heart attack a year earlier when an automobile driven by Dr. Bliss frightened the team of horses pulling his wagon.
“He had died suddenly right there,” Hansen writes in her documented research.
A year later, tragedy was about to strike the Anderson family again. Following her shopping in Valley Springs, she was anxious to return home as there had been a severe rainstorm. “Minutes after she left the store, word came via that famous country party telephone line from the little town of Booge to the north to be on the watch for the four foot of water that was coming down Lone Creek. Mr. Olson ran in vain to warn her but when he reached the edge of town, he could see the water approaching the small wooden bridge, and exclaimed, ‘We’ll never see her again.’ ”
Miraculously so, Anderson did survive the water washing out the wooden bridge, which in turn, tipped her buggy and the precious cargo aboard it, 5-year-old Arvid and one and a half year old Julius.
“Later she told of approaching the bridge and seeing the water coming,” Hansen writes. “She urged her horse on thinking it could make it. He hesitated and they were caught on the bridge, which was washed away by the force of the water. The buggy tipped and Mrs. Anderson grabbed for both of the children. She could only hold onto one, Arvid. … The force of the water held Mrs. Anderson and her year-old son against the willow hedge that grew a short distance back from the road. She was able to secure herself on a branch or a fork in the tree, where she sat partially in the water holding little Julius on her lap for two hours waiting for help to reach her.”
“ … Nearby farmers responded with great ingenuity, loading a wooden stock tank into the back of a wagon. They drove it to the swollen creek, unloaded it and put into the water. They headed the tank to the hedge and the water held it. It was then worked around the trees to make the rescue. … Two days later, when the water had receded, the body of little Arvid was found downstream.”
Hansen goes on to tell that this was not the end of a tragic life for Anderson. She lived to see all five of her children die suddenly. A daughter died while at a church service.
A son died while attending country school, and another on a streetcar in Minneapolis.
“Mrs. Anderson, described as a lovely, God-fearing woman and faithful Sunday school teacher, lived her last days at Bethany Home in Sioux Falls.” She died in October 1953 at the age of 76.
To support her proposal to name the creek “Annie Anderson Creek,” Hansen has garnered letters of support from the Valley Springs City Commission and the Valley Springs and Red Rock township boards.
“All were very supportive,” Hansen said.
Hansen also needs to secure written documentation of the story. “That’s where I’m at right now,” she said. “To see if there’s any written evidence or it’s just oral history.”
Hansen is looking for that documentation in memorabilia on display at the Valley Springs Museum and from newspapers on microfiche at the library.
“It’s been quite interesting and I’ve of had a call to do something about it,” Hansen said. “It’s oral history is what I call it.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
If you have any written documentation that can help Lois Hansen in her research, please call 582-8872.
The Minnehaha County Commissioners office is taking comments. Reach the office at 367-4206 or 415 N. Dakota Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57104. An informational packet is available for download on the county’s website, www.minnehahacounty.org under the notices menu.