Tuesday, June 23, 2015

She May Have Had Lots of Cats

In a comment to an earlier post about the Deep River general store, a reader mentioned dim memories of a woman who ran a grocery store in Deep River in the early 1960s, whose name was Anna Anders, or Anderson. In asking around, I found some other people who remembered this woman, including one who couldn't recall her name but believed she'd had lots of cats.

Luckily, I was able to find our Deep River grocery lady listed in a 1955 directory:

Anna Anders listing 1955
(Click on image to enlarge)
Telephone Directory for Valparaiso, Chesterton, East Gary, Hobart, Kouts, Ogden Dunes, Wheeler. General Telephone Company of Indiana Inc. February 1955.
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

We learn a little more about her from the "Obituaries" of the Hobart Gazette of Dec. 5, 1963:
Mrs. Anna L. Anders, 77, Deep River, died on December 3 in Porter Memorial Hospital, Valparaiso, following a lengthy illness.

Born in Wheeler, she had lived in Deep River most of her life, and owned and operated a confectionery and grocery store there for 45 years.

She is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Nellie Simpson of LaPorte; one granddaughter and two great granddaughters.

Funeral services will be held Friday at Pflughoeft's Chapel.
Counting back 45 years from 1963 would take us to 1918, and even earlier if Anna had retired from the grocery business some time before her death, and yet I find absolutely nothing in my notes about her. Shame on me! I suppose she could have been unusually quiet about her business.

(To make matters worse, there was an Anna Carstensen Anders in Hobart who also ran a grocery. I believe it was her store that George Sauter bought in 1919. I must try not to confuse the two Annas.)

I believe our Anna was born circa 1886 to Arthur and Elizabeth Brown. I find the Brown family in the 1910 Census farming rented land in Union Township, Porter County. Anna had a younger sister, Ella.

Two years later, Anna had somehow met and fallen in love with a Chicago man, Robert Anders, about 17 years her senior. Robert, an immigrant from England, shows up in Chicago as a schoolboy in the 1880 Census, and then in the 1900 Census and 1910 Census, working as a house painter. He and Anna were married on October 20, 1912 (Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index).

Eight years later, the 1920 Census recorded them living in eastern Ross Township (to judge by their neighbors in the census). Robert was operating his own ice-cream parlor. They had no children of their own, but their household included a 10-year-old orphan, Nellie Chaffin.

By the time of the 1930 Census, Robert and Anna had moved to Union Township, where Robert worked as a "house decorator" — his old trade, I suppose. Nellie was gone, but Anna's widowed mother and unmarried sister were living with them.

According to the family gravestone, Robert died in 1934.

The 1940 Census shows Anna, widowed, back in Ross Township, in the vicinity of Deep River. In the occupation column, the enumerator wrote "attendant," then crossed that out and wrote "proprietor" of a "filling station." Her sister Ella, still unmarried, lived with her.

When Ella died in October 1962, the Vidette Messenger's Union Center correspondent noted that Ella "had made her home with her [sister] for many years."

And that's all I have at the moment about Anna Brown Anders. But at least now I know she existed.

1 comment:

CJ said...

Thank you for digging for further information about Annie Anders. Yes, she did have lots of cats, and yes, she was married to a Robert Anders (only found his name recently). I was only about two and a half years old when she died, but prior to this, I remember going next door to her store with my mom and visiting her. This would have been in 1962, when I was only about one and a half, since my brother wasn't born yet (he was born in January 1963). I don't recollect my mom ever taking the both of us to Annie Anders store for a visit, so I suspect that right around the time my brother was born that she may have taken ill and may have moved into a nursing facility or with a relative to live. Thank you again for this information. If you ever run across any photos of the store I would like very much to see them.