Bystedt, Nels Gustav "Gust"

1867-1944 | Miner, and Section Foreman, Alaskan Engineering Commission

Nels Gustav Bystedt was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1867. He first came to Alaska aboard a whaling ship in 1904 and spent his first winter in the territory on the ship, frozen into the Beaufort Sea ice. He continued sailing off the west coast of North America until he returned to Alaska as a miner. He first worked in Juneau, in 1907 moved to Cordova and went on to Valdez in 1913. In Valdez, he met Anna Othila Johnson, who was born in Amaldasland, Sweden in 1882. They were married in Valdez in 1913, and operated a small dairy farm there.

"Gust," as he was known, moved with Anna up to Cook Inlet in 1916 and they homesteaded in the Eagle River area northeast of Anchorage. Shortly after their arrival, Gust took a job with the Alaskan Engineering Commission at Matanuska as section foreman, and Anna cooked for the section crew. In 1922, they moved to Anchorage and purchased a home on 4th Avenue and B Street. Gust worked his quartz claim and placer claims on Bird Creek, while Anna operated a small hand laundry out of their home.

Nels and Anna Bystedt had four children. Daughter Anna Elizabeth Bystedt Mathewson, born in 1913, had one child, Robert Shernberg. She died in 1975. The oldest son, James A. Bystedt (1915-1984), had four sons: Frederick James, Kenneth Peter, Richard Andrew and Gus Allen. Son Peter N. Bystedt, born in 1916, was killed in an airplane accident in 1939. Theodore G. Bystedt, born in 1922 did not marry, and died in 1947.

Anna Johnson Bystedt died in 1937, and Nels Gustav Bystedt died in 1944. They are buried in Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery, along with sons Peter and Theodore.


This biographical sketch of Nels Gustav "Gus" Bystedt is based on an essay which original appeared in John Bagoy's Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1935 (Anchorage, AK: Publications Consultants, 2001), 91-92. See also the Nels Gustav "Gust" Bystedt file in the Bagoy Family Pioneer Files (2004.11), Box 2, Atwood Resource Center, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Anchorage, AK. Edited by Mina Jacobs, 2012. Note:  slightly edited by Bruce Parham, April 4, 2016.

Preferred citation: Mina Jacobs, ed., “Bystedt, Nels Gustav ‘Gust’,” Cook Inlet Historical Society, Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940,

Major support for Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940, provided by: Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Atwood Foundation, Cook Inlet Historical Society, and the Rasmuson Foundation. This educational resource is provided by the Cook Inlet Historical Society, a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt association. Contact us at the Cook Inlet Historical Society, by mail at Cook Inlet Historical Society, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, 625 C Street, Anchorage, AK 99501, or through the Cook Inlet Historical Society website, Copyright © 2017 by Cook Inlet Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.