Sunday, March 1, 2009

LeGrand McKay Anderson

My maternal grandfather wrote of his birth, "I LeGrand McKay Anderson was born October 27, 1910 to Andrew and Emma Martinsen Anderson. They named me LeGrand McKay after President David O. McKay [shown at right] who was then an assistant to the twelve apostles and staying at our house on a tour for the Church in southern Utah, while my father was the ward bishop. My mother told me President McKay held me on his knee at that time. I actually felt that I remembered this, but of course, it's a little far-fetched."

Growing up LeGrand worked what he termed "the good but rugged life on a ranch." He was a dark-haired, blue-eyed, big, strong, barrel-chested man who prided himself in his strength. LeGrand enjoyed as a youth: boxing, wrestling, playing the saxophone and other musical instruments and an occasional game of cards with a group of local Indians. LeGrand said, "I went through grade school and two years of high school in Koosharem--then went away to Sanpete County for two more years of high school." He had to quit high school and return home when the Depression hit in 1929.

He courted and married Vera Anderson of Burrville on February 11, 1932 with the Depression still raging. He was 21 and she was 18 years old. There were no jobs then to support families, but he earned a small amount playing in orchestras for dances. Here is a taste of the music of his time.

After a few years without a pe
rmanent job and almost no income, he joined his brother LaRell and family in Twin Falls, Idaho working at a meat packing plant. But once World War II began, the plant shut down and LeGrand and Vera returned to the family ranch in Koosharem. He is shown below [right] with his brother R.D. Anderson.

One of LeGrand's jobs during this time period was helping to build the barracks for the interned Japanese in Topaz, Utah. While he was gone, Vera use to sing to her children a popular song of the time called Sleepy Lagoon. Instead of singing "A sleepy lagoon and two hearts in tune in some lullabyland," she would sing, "A sleepy lagoon and two hearts in June and Daddy in Topaz."

If you are interesting in listening to this tune from 1942, log on to:

LeGrand loved reading the newspaper cover to cover especially any article referring to something scientific. Most knew he disliked farming and would have favored a job in biology, pharmacology or medicine. But his circumstances would not allow for this type of education.

The family enjoyed listening to the radio in the evenings especially Inner Sanctum and Lone Ranger. For an idea of what the family was hearing log on to:

In 1955 LeGrand was made Koosharem ward bishop. It is interesting to note that President David O. McKay's signature was on his bishop's certificate.

In the mid 1950s LeGrand made some poor financial decisions in his turkey business and lost them. He got work in Richfield, Utah leaving his share of the ranch to his brother R.D. This choice required a move. His wife, Vera, remembered, "LeGrand told me that if we had to move, he would buy me a place in Annabella where my sisters were living. We wanted to buy an old place and remodel it. He kept his promise by transforming a small, rock house in Annabella, Utah into a beautiful dwelling.

LeGrand and Vera lived comfortably in that home until his death of a cerebral hemorrhage due to a blood clot on February 13, 1973.

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