The Roundup -

The Sanders Family will be Honored Sept. 3rd During Old Settler's Day


Pictured from left to right are Edwin and Edith Sanders' children, Clara Louise, Shirley Jean, and Roger at the 2013 Arnegard Independence Day parade. Photo courtesy of Joan Axdal

Albert Sanders settled in North Dakota in 1906, and in 1910 his brother Edwin followed suit, buying land just north of Albert's. The brothers were third generation Norwegian-Americans which had been born and raised in Dane County, WI, and moved to North Dakota to farm; although it was hard work to break the prairie sod with their horse-drawn plows, it still proved easier than clearing trees from Wisconsin land.

Edwin hired Martin Feiring to build his home in 1916, and in 1929 MDU ran an electrical line through his land and Edwin had electricity installed in the home. In 1929 Albert's home was constructed, complete with a modern bathroom and running water.

Edith Swenson was a schoolteacher from Dane County, and in 1923 she and Edwin were married. Edith's wedding dress, along with other family memorabilia are on display at the Lewis and Clark Museum in Alexander.

Edwin and Edith's children, Shirley Jean, Roger, and Clara Lois were all born in Williston, as Edwin was insistent that Edith give birth in a hospital.

Community involvement was important to Edwin and Edith; Edwin was an Election Judge on the Arnegard School board for many years and served on the Arnegard Township Board. Edith was the Sunday Superintendent of the Rawson Lutheran Church, where they were both long-time members. Edith often drove neighbors to church and community events, as she was one of few women who knew how to drive a car.

The couple persevered and prospered even during the difficult drought of the 1930s. The couple determined that they would only buy what they could when they had the cash in hand to pay for it. They relied on a large garden, a spring for water, and a nearby coal seam for fuel in addition to their common-sense money management to make it through the trying times.

In 1961, Edith and Edwin Sanders were honored during Old Settler's Day, and in 1974 Edwin was an honorary marshal in the reviewing stand at the Arnegard Fourth of July parade and festivities.

Albert Sanders was a life-long bachelor and passed away in 1959; both Edwin and Edith Sanders passed away in 1976 and are buried at the Rawson Community Cemetery.

Their children all graduated from the Alexander High School and went on to graduate from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. Jean became a Registered Nurse, Clara Louise worked as a Dietician, and Roger farmed with his father. All three have children and grandchildren and in 2009 Albert, Edwin, and Edith were honored at the Arnegard Independence Day celebration.

Roger Sanders was active in the community; he served on the Alexander School Board, as well as being involved with state and national Soil Conservation Programs. Roger and his wife Betty were married in 1957 and had three children; their son Gordon Sanders currently lives on the homestead farm. Betty Sanders passed away in 1989, and Roger later remarried Eunice Clouse. Roger Sanders passed away in 2014.

The Sanders family will be honored during this year's Old Settler's Day celebration, at 1:30pm central time on Sept. 3rd at the Alexander High School football field.


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