Jean Anderson has been a part of Balsam Lake, Wisconsin for all of her life. She has recently made a move to Rice Lake, Wisconsin to be closer to her son and daughter-in-law.

Jean was born in St. Croix Township, Polk County to John Henry and Edith Christine (Rasmussen) Towers at her grandparent’s farm. Jean’s grandfather left Denmark to avoid the draft and her grandmother left Sweden to get away from her stepmother. They met in southern Minnesota. After spending a short time living in the in twin cities and working as a butcher, they moved out to the farm just east of the railroad bridge in rural St, Croix Falls where Jean was born.

Jean’s father, John was from Scotch Irish stock by way of British Columbia and settled on a farm south of the St. Croix Falls Cemetery. In 1912 he ran for Register of Deeds for the county and won.

Jean attended school in Balsam Lake in the two story building that housed all 12 grades, grades 1 thru 8 on the first floor and the high school on the second. Later a new 7th and 8th grade school was built north of that building to relieve the crowded high school.

Jean recalls several teachers: Mrs. Grubb (1st thru 3rd), Alno Simonson from Milltown, Mr. Lewis (7th & 8th), Raymond Johnson and Sherman Crane (high school). Jeans says she hated English and that’s probably why she “misspeaks all the time”. Jean graduated from high school as salutatorian, her friend, Janet was valedictorian. I will quote what she said about her childhood:

“I had a wonderful childhood, skiing, skating and swimming. I was an outdoors person - sliding, a wonderful sliding hill at Lundmarks on the bay in Balsam Lake. [This] was later called Husband’s Point. The sliding hills were at ‘Banks’, east on the bay in Balsam Lake and on my back hill where I live now. Out by Pinecrest where you went down hill, and half way up the opposite hill, then walk up half of that hill and go down and up the hill you had just come down on. That was almost a mile out of Balsam Lake, south of Pinecrest.

We played tennis at the spot just west of Stop-A-Sec… There was another tennis court where the Post Office now sets. There was a three story hotel where the vacated center building now is. We ran around with Donnie McDonald (he was killed in World War two), when we were kids. He lived with his grandmother who ran the hotel... We were over a lot. I ran around with the boys. I was an outdoor person…

They didn’t have many sports for girls in the B. L. School. We went to basketball games in the old Town Hall, where the S & C is now located. They used to have dances there also. Janet Blattner and I were good friends. I hung around at their house. She lived with her grandmother, where Helen Clark now lives. They used to have free movies in the lot where the Post Office is now. We were active kids, like I said, skiing, skating, tennis, sliding, etc.”


She must have inherited her father’s intellect, she says “Dad was brilliant”. He started the “Tract Index system” still in use in the Register of Deeds Office. Jean started young helping her father in the office, working a total of 14 years in the Register of Deeds Office. She also worked for E. E. Husband. Mr. Husband owned the Ledger Office for many, many years.


Jean talks about her husband, Jim: “Jim and I married in Wichita… My brother was in service at that time, and was stationed in Wichita. He lined up the priest and Lee Towers and Keith Outcalt were our witnesses. Jim was 4-F in the army so never lost his job in the filling station (where Stop O Sec is now located). Us kids used to hang around down there as there was a ping pong table down there… One night when we were there, Jim asked me for a date, so we went out on a date that Friday night. The next day four of us girls, Janet and Eleanor (?0) Hoey, myself and Eloise Bergren left for the Black Hills and Yellowstone Park for a two week vacation. So when we came back I didn’t know if Jim was still interested in me. He was, so we went together for the next three and one-half years. I finally asked him to marry me. A few years before he died, he said if I hadn’t asked him him to marry me, he would still be single.