David & Dora Anderson of Merrick County, Nebraska

Mr. and Mrs. David Anderson
Mr. and Mrs. David Anderson

Dora Breyer, the third of ten children born to William and Dorthea Niedfelt Breyer, was born in West Salem, Wisconsin, on October 31, 1887. When she was three years old, the family moved to a farm at Ceresco, Nebraska.

David Anderson, the oldest of four children born to Andrew and Betty Olson Anderson, was born in Mead, Nebraska, on September 18, 1891. Later, the family moved to a farm across the road from the Breyer farm at Ceresco. David and Dora attended different grade schools but became good friends, and on February 18, 1914, they were married at Wahoo, Nebraska. In 1911, David’s father purchased 160 acres of land in Merrick County from the T.B Hord Land and Cattle Company for $10,400. This was to be David and Dora’s new home. They came to Clarks by train. After unloading their wagon, buggy, some household furnishings, horses and cattle, they drove west for five miles until they crossed Silver Creek and came to the place David’s father had described as having a small house, barn, and tall cottonwood trees. That first night they found the house to be already well occupied by mice and bed bugs. They lived on this place all their married life.

In 1915, David and Dora’s only child, Myrtle, was born. She attended school at District #21 where her father was school board treasurer for many years. She graduated from Clarks High School in 1934.

In 1916, the family purchased their first Ford touring car.

It was a happy time for the family when they moved into their new house in 1918.

David’s main occupation was farming, feeding cattle, and raising hogs. During each harvest season, he tended the separator of the large steam engine threshing rig in his community. It was an exciting day when we heard the steam whistle and saw the big engine, separator, and water wagon pull into the yard. This reminded the housewife there was a lot of bread to bake, pies to make, and lots of cooking to be done, using the wood range. Two or more neighbor ladies helped prepare the dinner and lunch for the 18 to 20 hungry workers.

David enjoyed baseball games, hunting, and fishing. There was always a large garden and flowers to tend. Dora raised chickens, ducks, and geese. She made many feather pillows and feather ticks. She enjoyed sewing, embroidery, crocheting, and other hobbies. She was a charter member of the C.S.C. (Community Sewing Circle), a Nebraska federated club which was organized in 1916. She was a member until the club disbanded after 52 years of service to the community.

Their daughter, Myrtle, and Hans Holtorf were married at the farm home on February 18, 1939, the Silver Wedding Anniversary of David and Dora.

In February 1964, David and Dora and Hans and Myrtle celebrated their 50th and 25th Anniversaries with an open house at the Grace Lutheran Church in Central City.

David and Dora have six grandchildren, and in 1981 there are eighteen great-grandchildren.

On February 1, 1965, David died, leaving Dora alone on the farm for seven years. Dora died in June of 1975, after being in a care home for three years. Their granddaughter, Marilyn and Edward Kyes and family took over the farming operation in 1973.

Submitted by Myrtle Holtorf


Merrick County Historical Society, History of Merrick County, Nebraska (1981), Volume I, Dallas, Texas : Taylor Publishing Company, 1981.

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