Elvira Anderson Egeland

Elvira Anderson in 1914

This winter, we’ve spent some time working on exhibits in the Anderson Store Museum, including adding a new story to the Ladies’ Wing.

Lydia Elvira Anderson, known to family and friends as Elvira, was born February 25, 1879, the tenth of Aslag and Greta Anderson’s thirteen children.  She was very close with her sister Agnes, who was only eighteen months older than Elvira, and the two often wore the same clothes and hairstyles.

On April 18, 1906, Elvira married Dr. Gustof Egeland, known as Gussie or Gus, in the Ephraim Moravian Church.  Gus was a Norwegian immigrant who had come to Ephraim to practice medicine.

The couple’s marriage was a series of ups and downs.  Gus was treated for alcoholism in 1910 and struggled with the disease for much of his life.  Gus and Elvira first lived in Ephraim, just south of the Anderson family home, before moving to Sturgeon Bay in the early 1910s, where he established Egeland Hospital.

Rita

In 1914, the couple began the process of adopting a three-year-old girl named Rita.  Her mother had died earlier that year, and her father was unable to care for Rita and her seven siblings.  We have letters about Rita in the EHF Archives, written by several of Elvira’s siblings, and it is clear that she was very much loved by the Andersons.  In 1916, during a visit to finalize her adoption, Rita became ill and was taken to her father’s hospital for treatment, but on July 23, 1916, Rita passed away from tubercular meningitis.

Elvira and Gus divorced in 1919 after nearly thirteen years of marriage.  Elvira, who had been treated for tuberculosis in 1915, suffered a relapse in 1924 and died on July 11, 1924, at the age of 45.  She is buried near her daughter Rita in the Ephraim Moravian Cemetery.

Elvira’s story, photographs, and several artifacts related to her life are now part of the Anderson Store Museum exhibit.  Visit the museum when it opens for the season on Friday, June 14, to learn more about Elvira Anderson.

-Guest Blogger Emily Irwin

3 thoughts on “Elvira Anderson Egeland”

  1. Elvira is my Great Aunt by marriage . Her best friend was Grace Sporland who married Olaf Egeland who at that time was the Commander of this Lighthouse District ( Lifesaving Service into the USCG ) . Gus was a brilliant Physician , his addiction was treated with Heroin , what was the acceptable method by Universities of Medicine at the time . My Granma Grace still talked very dearly of Elvira through my early life . They were voracious readers and shared a love for ‘ pop up books ‘ that were read to me all those years later . Gus even though with his addiction still was a compassionate , caring and selfless when it came to his Practice as a Physician .

  2. My mother and grandmother often remarked on the tradgedy of Rita’s death. Evidently, It left a hole in a lot of hearts in Ephraim, not just the Anderson family members. That’s one of the beautiful things about this little town of Ephraim… everyone cares about everyone else.

  3. Jean Norton Eckrich

    Enjoy reading these old Ephraim stories being that my grandparents Luella (Louie) and George H Norton Sr. started coming to Ephraim from Berwyn. IL in about 1910 and built the property still standing on N Dane. Thanks for sharing these Ephraim stories!

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