Thursday, Feb 02, 2023

A. Mark Andersen

Andrew “Mark” Andersen

Mark Andersen was the third child and second son of one of the earliest homesteaders to Arbon Valley, John Andersen. John had come to view the valley in 1892 with his father Andrew Andersen (also known as Anders Jorgensen, an immigrant from Denmark) and John’s brother Andrew “Otto” Andersen.  The trio returned in 1893, when Otto filed for land. John was underage and had to wait a few years before he could file.

John and DeSena’s son Mark was born in Mendon, Cache, Utah on 15 February 1912.  He was brought out to the Arbon Valley when he was only about a month old, where he lived off and on for the next sixty-two years.

It wasn’t an easy life but Mark remembered it with fondness. He trapped rats and coyotes and made enough money to buy a new saddle that he ordered from the Sears Roebuck catalog. The next year he was able to purchase a rifle with his earnings from the same catalog. He rode to school in the winter on a sleigh pulled by a team which the neighboring adults would take turns driving. He remembers one time when the weather got down to 44 degrees below and stayed there for several days, with the famous Arbon winds making it much worse.

He remembered farming with horses until around 1941 when they bought their first tractor. That was a big improvement over using the old horse-drawn equipment that could take up to twelve horses.

Mark married Delores Lucile Naef on 10 September 1942 in Downey, Bannock, Idaho.  Delores was the daughter of Charles and Alma Scheibel Naef, and was the eighth child of fourteen children. Her family was very musical, and loved playing old time music on guitars and fiddles and singing along. Mark and Delores met when Mark would drive to Downey for dances in the old Marsh Center schoolhouse. He had bought his first car in 1940, making the trip over the mountain to the neighboring valley a lot more feasible. Mark and Delores were a good match, as Mark himself had send away to Sears and Roebuck to buy his first guitar when he was just sixteen. Delores brought three children to the marriage, which Mark adopted in 1943. These were Earl Dean, Lyle, and Lucille. Mark and Delores’ son Reese was born in 1943, making their family complete. All their children brought them much joy. Reese was later tragically killed in an accident in Vietnam in April 1969 when he was just twenty-four years old, when a fellow Marine was cleaning his rifle and it went off, shooting him in the neck. He was buried in Arimo, Bannock, Idaho.

In 1943 Mark and Delores bought a home in Arimo so the children could attend high school. Like most men of that time, Mark was a jack of all trades and would do anything to take care of his family. Mark worked as a carpenter, as a janitor at the church and the school, and also in a spud cellar sorting potatoes for over fifteen years.  In Arbon, he raised wiener pigs which he sold for $12 apiece; the money he made on pigs enabled him to send Reese on a mission. Mark continued to work the farm until he retired at age sixty-two due to health issues. By May 1967, his son Dean and his family had moved back to Arbon to help run the farm, which they purchased in 1975. Mark and Delores later purchased a home in Pocatello. They raised a large garden, and he loved going fishing a few times a week. He and Delores also joined a Fiddler’s Club in 1967, and they enjoyed those musical activities and get-togethers very much, traveling all over Idaho.

One project Mark was very proud of was the restoration of the original Andersen homestead cabin, which his parents John and Sena had moved into after their first home which had been a tent. The cabin had been used for storage for years. “Much of the original furnishings [were] in it, including the iron bed stead which John and Sena bought when they were married, as well as the old wash stand, with towel bar and water pitcher. The old high-topped kitchen cupboard, wardrobe, kitchen stove, cheese press, churns, rocking chair, comb case, silverware, utensils, and picture on the wall are those that were originally there” (Bannock Valley, p. 33).

Mark died on 3 April 1989 in Pocatello, and was buried in Arimo, Idaho.


Call, Laurie Jean; Bannock Valley (Providence, Utah: Keith Watkins and Sons, 1989) – Mark’s autobiographical life story is listed on this site under Memories > Stories.