Anderson Family Serves Hospitality With Nostalgia
A stay at Tree’s House, located at 1410 Peck Settlement Road in Jamestown, combines a view of the history of the house and just enough new adaptations to make it very comfortable, yet nostalgic.
Magnus Anderson, who was born in 1857, came to Jamestown from Sweden when he was 22 years old. He became a cattle and horse dealer and a dairy farmer. He had four children with his first wife, Christina. After her passing, he married Jennie Marie Nelson, who was twenty years his junior.
In his earlier years, Magnus had purchased three properties to make his farm. They were the Peck and Fish farms on Peck Settlement Road and the Eaton farm on Kiantone Road. He built a new house in 1912 on the former Fish Farm to replace a house he had moved across the road.
Grandson Kevin Anderson tells a story his father Richard told many times. The story goes that when Shorty, which was Magnus’ nickname, was setting out to go to California on a cattle-buying trip, he was without funds to buy a train ticket. It happened that he found 20 dollars on the ground and then was able to continue on his way. While in California, he contacted a bank in Jamestown where he had hoped to get a loan to purchase the animals. The bank’s wired response was “Give the little Swede whatever he wants.”
Jennie Nelson, who was working as a maid in Chicago, met her future husband on a return trip from Sweden, after they had both gone back to their homeland to visit family. Their friendship began on the ship when Magnus helped Jennie locate her trunk. The couple married in 1905 and had three children. Magnus passed in 1934 at the age of 77. By now Margaret, Dick and Bill, the children he shared with Jennie, were young adults. Since it was in the midst of the Great Depression, the young men had to work very hard to keep the farm going. They came up with many creative ways to make money. Among them was the start of an excavation business and a milk route into the city of Jamestown, which they did by horse and buggy. They also hauled WCA Hospital’s garbage and sold several plots of land along Route 60 (Foote Avenue Extension) where several small businesses are located today.
Jennie’s sister Ellen and her son, Dickie, moved into the home with Jennie. Magnus and Jennie had donated the Peck Settlement Road property on which Stillwater United Brethren Church was built. A large painting of Jesus which was given in remembrance of Dickie, who was killed in 1945 in the Battle of the Bulge and is buried in France, still hangs in the church. The church is now the home of Koinonia Christian Fellowship.
All three of Jennie’s children remained in their parents’ home well into their adult years. Margaret was a guidance counselor at Jamestown High School and later became the Dean of Women at Otterbein College. She returned to Jamestown to care for her mother while serving on the Advisory Board of the new Jamestown Community College.
Dick studied agriculture at Cornell. He had an appendectomy at WCA Hospital a few years later. His nurse Teresa, a 1944 graduate of WCA’s School of Nursing three-year program was from Cornell. The couple married on Christmas Eve 1949, after which they honeymooned in Florida and Cuba. They had three sons, Richard (Rick), Jr, Don and Kevin.
Rick was an engineer and Christmas tree farmer before his passing. Don was a dairy farmer on the home farm and worked at Carborundum Corporation. Kevin also stayed on the farm and expanded the vegetable business their dad and Bill had begun in the 1940s with the sale of sweet corn.
Dick and Bill’s, Anderson Brother’s Farm, was well-known in the area for their registered Holstein cows.
“The brothers had much influence on the many neighborhood boys and girls who workaed on the farm,” says Nancy Anderson. “Bill never married. His total devotion was to the cows.”
The family still possesses a note Teresa received from a friend at the time of Dick’s death stating how hard the brothers worked to save the property. One of the writer’s lines reads “They saved the farm through guts and hard work.”
Kevin Anderson and his wife Nancy, still use Magnus’ yellow barn for their Anderson Produce business. The well-known landmark on the corner of Route 60 and Peck Settlement Road is passed by thousands of vehicles every day as they travel to Jamestown, Frewsburg, Falconer, Busti and the many small businesses along the way. And who hasn’t parked near it when they have stopped to buy produce or freshly-baked pies or biscuits from the Anderson’s roadside stand?
“A customer, an old-timer, stopped at the stand,” shares Kevin. “He said ‘all of the neighborhood kids had bikes, but me, because we didn’t have the money. Your dad (Dick) gave me the money for a bike and said I could work it off.'”
Because Teresa’s six siblings lived away, it was common for her to host houseguests. A few years after her death, following in her tradition of hospitality, Kevin and Nancy opened the house for guests. It got off to a slow start due to the beginning of COVID-19, but became the meeting place for several families to reconnect after things opened up. Guests have likened it to ‘staying at Grandma’s house.’
“It is set up and ideal for whole house rental,” says Dave Williams, brother-in-law of the Andersons and host/property manager.
It is an ideal spot for lodging when families come to the area for weddings, funerals, vacations and reunions. Breakfast can be offered, if requested, but families and groups who rent the home tend to want to prepare their own meals.
“We’ve found a niche market with families,” Nancy adds.
Williams handles bookings and any physical property needs. Mrs. Anderson does the cleaning during the produce business’ off-season. House cleaners are hired from strawberry season through pumpkin season, when the stand is open.
“There have been so many others who have jumped in to help,” Williams states.
As an architect, he has an interest in doing remodeling and upgrade projects, therefore he did much of the work, including a beautiful bathroom remodel.
“We’ve tried to keep the house pretty much the way Teresa had it and it’s worked, because guests enjoy it the way it is,” he says.
“And we have this wonderful home to use when our own family comes home,” his sister-in-law pipes in. “Which was one of the reasons we did this.”
Guests have requested the owners not change the character of the home, especially the cozy kitchen with the large corner booth where family meals were enjoyed for several decades.
The house has many large windows to let in natural light from outdoors. Aside from the private areas, there are many spaces that can accommodate all of the occupants to gather.
There are five bedrooms upstairs and one down. They have been named after some of the family members and each is decorated with a theme. There are two bathrooms with thought of adding more.
At the end of the day, an outdoor seating area with a firepit and barbecue await guests who wish to roast hot dogs, make s’mores, observe fireflies, stargaze or just enjoy watching the fire. A few lawn games are provided, as well as Lego and puzzles.
The trunk which bears Jennie Nelson’s nameplate, still remains in the attic of the home.
“Although the house has Swedish roots, Teresa had Armenian heritage, so I have submitted recipes she and her siblings would sometimes prepare together,” says Nancy Anderson.
Parties interested in booking information for Tree’s House Guest Accommodations can go to www.treeshousebnb.com or call 716-450-9251.
12 sheets phyllo pastry dough
2 c chopped almonds
2 c chopped walnuts
1 c sesame seeds
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
3 Tbsp honey
1 c extra virgin olive oil(for brushing dough)
2 c water
1 c honey
2 c sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 peel of lemon
1 lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, cinnamon, ground cloves and honey in a bowl. Brush olive oil on both sides of 4 sheets of phyllo dough and place in baking pan. Spread 1/3 of nut mixture evenly on the phyllo. Repeat twice, ending with nut mixture. Cut into squares. Place one whole clove on center of each piece. Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown. Prepare syrup while Baklava is baking.
Combine water, honey, sugar, cinnamon stick and lemon peel in saucepan. Bring to boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool until warm. Remove lemon peel and cinnamon stick. Add lemon juice. Pour over baklava when removed from oven. Let cool before serving.
ARMENIAN MEAT DOLMA
(OR STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES)
Meat Mixture Ingredients
2 1/2 lbs ground meat, beef and lamb preferable
1 lg diced yellow onion
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
2 T tomato paste
1 T smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Combine all of the above ingredients in large bowl.
2 T olive oil
1 lg diced onion
1 diced shallot
3 c cooked rice
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 c chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 16 oz jar grape leaves
1 24 oz can tomato sauce
Saute onion and shallot in olive oil until translucent. Combine prepared meat mixture, sauteed onion and shallot, rice, allspice, parsley, salt and pepper. Coat stockpot or large Dutch oven with olive oil. Use any imperfect grape leaves to double layer the pot bottom.
Begin filling leaves, using about 1 tablespoon of filling in the widest part of leaf. Fold in sides and roll up from base, saving enough leaves for a top layer to be placed over dolma. Layer in pot, packing loosely. Squeeze lemon juice over dolma. Cover with tomato sauce and then remaining grape leaves. Cover with an inverted plate resting directly on dolma and then cover with lid.
Begin cooking over medium heat, tipping lid to release steam as needed. As liquid bubbles around plate edge, reduce heat to low. Cover fully and cook for 1 1/2 hours, checking occasionally to ensure there is an adequate amount of liquid.