19. Esther Anderson and the Wheeler Family Farm
Born in Concord in 1891, Esther Wheeler Anderson could undoubtedly be called a renaissance woman. When her father Frank Wheeler died in 1919, Esther took over running the family's successful Nine Acre Corner farm, a truck farm with eight greenhouses. With the help of foreman Mike Burke, Irish and Nova Scotian farm workers, and with her uncle William Wheeler assisting with the finances, the farm thrived.
In 1920, Esther married Leslie O. Anderson, owner of Anderson's Market. The couple had a daughter and two sons. Because the Wheeler Farm provided fresh produce to sell at Anderson's Market, their marriage also linked two successful Concord enterprises.
In addition to her work on the farm, in the store, and with her family, Esther belonged to many local organizations. She was particularly active in the First Parish Church and was a founding member of the Thoreau Society. She was an accomplished horsewoman, and beginning in the 1930s, took up photography. Much of her energy as a photographer was spent in capturing images of Thoreau Country, as had her predecessor, Herbert Wendell Gleason. But instead of Gleason's large format black and white images, Esther's were created as 35mm color slides, a collection of which has been recently purchased by the Concord Free Public Library. Like Gleason, she gave illustrated lectures using the images she had created, but as a native Concordian her point of view was uniquely her own.
When Leslie Anderson died in 1957, their son David "Andy" Anderson continued running the store business. Esther died in 1985 at the age of 93, having lived a full life and earning a place in Concord's history as one of its more accomplished women.