Aanon (Onen) Jensen

Aanon (Onen) Jensen (1846-1941) was born on April 22, 1846, in Řyestad, Aust-Agder, Norway, home to his Jensen ancestors since at the early 1700s. He was the eleventh of thirteen children born to Jens and Mette Christense Nybroe Jensen. Aanon along with his family immigrated to America after a ten week sea voyage, entering through Quebec, Canada, in either 1862 or 1863.

Onen enlisted in Co. I, Illinois 7th Mounted Infantry in February 1863, shortly after the family arrived in Menard County near Indian Point. The 7th Regiment consisting of ten companies, was mustered into the United States service at Camp Yates April 25, 1861, and, under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant, had already seized Fort Donelson in Tennessee, and fought battles at Shiloh and Corinth. This was the only regiment in the entire army that purchased its own guns. Onen was honorably discharged as a private July 9, 1865 at Louisville, Kentucky, after serving in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. He was with Sherman on his infamous “March to the Sea.”

By 1870 Onen had moved in with his sister Martha and John Fortman in Logan County, Illinois, where his brothers Christian, Jacob, Newt, and Cal all lived at that time. Onen married Osa Nybroe Meidell, his first cousin and widow of Frithjof Axel Meidell, on November 3, 1875, in Menard County where her parents lived. Osa's first husband died of cholera in St. Louis. Onen had moved back to the Logan County area after the birth of his son, Charles Oscar (1876) and the death of Osa three months later in 1877.

Aanon was listed as "Owen", with his second wife Hannah Peterson (whom he married in 1878 in Springfield, Illinois) his son Charles, age four, and his step-son Fred Meidell, age 14, in the 1880 Logan County, Illinois Census. In 1894, and for some years after that, Onen lived near Cambridge, Furnas County, Nebraska, on a homestead purchased with a government land grant. Onen leased a farm to his nephew Emery Chris Jensen from March 1909 to March 1910. In 1920, he was living in Ridge Township, Carroll County, Missouri. Onen moved to Athens before 1930. He was often recognized as the oldest Civil War veteran in the Athens area. His wife, Hannah, died in July 1936. Onen died on December 27, 1941, and is buried in the Indian Point Cemetery, Menard County, Illinois.

Submitted by Barbara Shannon Cox

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