Submitted by Henry Hanson
The history of our grandfather was relatively unknown until 1994. He
had shared some of his story, but the details were few. Then I
discovered some documents in a safety deposit box, and was able to
compose this interpretation of his adventure.
Anton Hansen, one of seven children belonging to Frederik and
Hansine Dorthea (Andersen) Hansen, was born December 6, 1875, in
Hojen, Denmark. Since he was the youngest son, his chances of
gaining any inheritance were slim to none. Anton was given the
opportunity to move to America by an uncle who had emigrated before
Anton left Copenhagen in July 1892 on the SS Norge, a steamship
owned by the Thingvalla Line. The trip took about 14 days and ended
in New York. His passage papers indicate that he was enroute to
Montague, Michigan. Anton lived and worked for his aunt and uncle,
Niels and Petrina Mikkelsen to repay the 168.05 krone they loaned
him for his passage.
By 1900 Anton was in Monmouth, Warren County, Illinois. He had
fulfilled the requirements of naturalization and became a U.S.
citizen. He also joined the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and
completed the degree of Encampment at Pickerin, Missouri.
In 1901 Anton bought a farm in Nodaway County, Missouri. He farmed
here for 6 years before deciding to move to the warm climate of
Texas and farm rice. He sold his farm in 1907, loaded his mules and
equipment on a railcar, and rode with his animals all the way to
Matagorda County, Texas.
After arriving in Bay City, Anton leased 200 acres of land from
the Colonial Land and Development Company. His first crop of rice
was a disaster because he couldn’t get enough water on it. The next
year the crop was ruined by a tropical depression that flooded the
field with too much salt water.
In 1910 Anton was working in Houston for the Telephone Company when
he met Mittie Dillard Chastun. Mittie was working for a Milliery
Company. On August the 5th they married in Bay City and moved to
Ashwood, where Anton became the Section Foreman for the Southern
Pacific and Mittie became the first postmistress in a new store
built by J. Fisher Smith.
It was here that Anton and Mittie D. raised a family of seven. Anton
retired from the railroad and returned to farming until the outbreak
Pritchard Construction Company was contracted by the U.S. Government
to build an aviation gasoline refinery in neighboring Brazoria
County. With two sons and a son-in-law fighting in World War, Anton
thought he could best serve his country by working on this
The construction job also enabled Anton to buy his first John Deere
tractor and retire his mules. He continued to farm until his death
on March 21, 1956. He died of heart failure following surgery to
remove his gall bladder. He was buried in Cedarvale Cemetery in Bay
City, Texas. Mittie died of heart failure after cancer surgery 6
December 1961. She is buried at Cedarvale in Bay City, Texas.