Survivor! Anna (Korstad) Iverson

Anna was only nine days old on the day of the fire. She was born in Peshtigo on Sept. 29, 1871, and was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lars Korstad.

Her father came from Norway in 1864 and worked for the next three years to save enough money for his wife’s passage to the States. When she joined him in 1867, they moved to Peshtigo.

Anna, the couple’s first child, was born at night while Lars was at work. Their home was a one-room shanty with a sawdust floor. Sawdust was also the foundation for any bedding in the Korstad house. Her father was a millwright for the Ogden and Gardner lumber camps and mills.

The family was fortunate enough to reach the river when the fire struck.

“We sat on a raft covered with a feather bed, my mother holding me and my father spilling water over the three of us as fast as he could so our clothing would not catch fire—but mother’s clothing burned nearly off her back,” said Iverson.

“Help came from the south and even from Europe. Each family was given $50 and free passage to any point in the U.S. Father thought of going to California, but he chose LaCrosse,” she recalled.

Story courtesy Peshtigo Times