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August 29: Frank L. Anders

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August 29 PHOTO Frank Anders
Frank Anders is pictured in the back row, fourth from the left.

Frank LaFayette Anders was born in 1875 at Fort Abraham Lincoln where his father was stationed. When his father died in 1890, Frank, age 15, quit school to help support the family. In 1894 he enlisted in the National Guard and served as a member of the Young’s Scouts in the Philippines during the Spanish American War and the Philippine American War.

Frank received a Medal of Honor for his actions in the Philippines. The citation reads, “With 11 other scouts, without waiting for the supporting battalion to aid them … [they] charged over a distance of about 150 yards and completely routed about 300 of the enemy…”

After his service, and despite the absence of a high school diploma, Frank was able to earn an engineering degree from Ripon College in Wisconsin. He become a city engineer in Fargo, married and had two children. He thought his military service was behind him, but that changed when the United States entered World War I. With his engineering education and his military experience, Frank thought he could be valuable to the Army. He tried to enlist, but at the age of 42, he was considered too old.

Anders was disappointed but determined. He tried to enlist several more times. When the age for enlistment was raised to 44, he tried yet again, and on this date in 1918, the Special War Board informed him that he would receive a commission. He served as captain of engineers at Fort Dodge, Kansas, and after the war was over, he was discharged in October 21, 1919.

Anders became a well-known figure in North Dakota. He was the general manager of the Lucky Strike Coal Company in Zap. He also served as engineering consultant for many projects including Camp Grafton and the Mayville Light and Water Plant. His biggest project was the North Dakota State Capitol Building in Bismarck. But of all his accomplishments, he was the proudest of the time in the military. The Medal of Honor hero died in 1966 after a lifetime of service to his country and his state.

Dakota Datebook by Carole Butcher

Wahpeton Times. “Anders Offered United States Captaincy.” Wahpeton ND. 29 August 1918. Page 1.
Congressional Medal of Honor Society. “Frank L. Anders.” https://www.cmohs.org/recipients/frank-l-anders Accessed 7/24/2022.
University of North Dakota. Department of Special Collections Finding Aids: Frank L. Anders. https://apps.library.und.edu/archon?p=collections/findingaid&id=587&q=&rootcontentid=73580 Accessed 7/24/2022.

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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