John AndersonX

Born: September 15, 1894

Location: Gay, Michigan

My name is John Anderson. I was born in Finland on September 15, 1894. I came from Finland with my mother and brother when I was 12 years old. My mother worked for fishermen in Calumet Water Works and then in Small Traverse. At 14, I learned shoemaking and walked from Ahmeek to Calumet everyday for work. At 17, I moved to Small Traverse. My brother and I got jobs at the Gay Mill. We skied in the winter, and we rode my Harley in the summer. We moved to Gay in 1916 or 1917. I married Ellen Lyytikainen in 1918. Our first child was born in 1920, so I had to buy a side car for the Harley. When there were too many kids to fit in the side car, we got a Model T. The mill closed in 1932. I opened a gas/service station, continued my shoe making, and my photography. Nine children grew up in the family home in Gay. The house still stands on the corner of Second Street and Main. I volunteered in World War I even though I was not a U.S citizen. I liked to hunt, fish, and trap. I always helped people out. I taught my kids to work hard, finish the job, and then have fun.

Contributed by: Eli Harmala, Calumet Elementary School