Gretta Anderson

Gretta Anderson

1882 - 1972

Gretta Peltoniemi was born in the region of Oulu Lanni, Finland in 1882 and later immigrated to Copper Cliff, Ontario. She began working in her sister’s boarding house where she met Frank Anderson, another Finnish immigrant who was working in the mines in the area. The two developed a relationship, and in 1901 Frank analyzed all his worldly possessions and came to the conclusion that with a pair of work clothes, a suit for formal occasions, and seven dollars cash he could afford to get married. The couple were 21 and 19 when they wed.

The young couple spent many years moving throughout the area as Frank received promotions, and eventually became mine foreman. In that time Gretta gave birth to seven children, with two dying in infancy. Around 1914 Frank bought a plot of land with the intention of taking a break from mining and starting a dairy farm with his family. The Anderson’s built a two-story house with modern luxuries which included electric lights and running water. Later, with the help of their neighbours, they erected a barn.

Gretta Anderson successfully ran the farm, at a time when women were not legally considered persons. Her husband, who had never taken an interest in farming, returned to work in 1926. Gretta was considered to be a shrewd and capable business woman who helped grow the Anderson farm to one of the largest dairy farms in Northern Ontario. However, this was not the only business venture of Gretta’s as she also owned a boardinghouse. She managed the boardinghouse with the same dedication and no-nonsense attitude she did the farm, even firing a gun at the ceiling to break up a fight.

As she aged Gretta sold of portions of the land on which the farm sat while working the remaining land with her sons Jack and John. The farm still stands to this day in Lively, which is part of Greater Sudbury, and is open to visitors.

Special thanks to the Greater Sudbury Museums for their significant contributions to this Lives Lived. If you would like more information on the Anderson Farm Museum and other museums in the area visit:

Celebrating 150 Years of Canadian Agriculture