John Anderson 1780-1873
A Biographical Sketch
written and contributed by Patrick J. Anderson
was born May 10, 1780 on the Little Marrowbone Creek in Henry County,
Virginia, and died March 19, 1873 in Hamilton County, Illinois.
His birth date is recorded in the bible of his youngest sister
Urshula Keif nee Anderson now held by the Anderson family of
John Andersonís father
was Armstead Anderson. Armstead
Anderson was descended from a line of carpenters of the name Anderson,
beginning with a ship carpenter who came to Virginia in 1636 and who is
believed descended from those who worked on the defense to the Spanish Armada. If
his Anderson roots can be traced back to Scotland it probably predates
1588. Armsteadís maternal lines trace back to early Virginia colonial
Council members and from them, back to Charlemagne. Armstead Anderson
was born near current Blackstone, Virginia in 1756 and upon reaching
adulthood had enlisted in the Revolutionary Militia in the Campaign
against the Cherokee Indians in southwestern Virginia and the Tennessee
River Valley. Upon
returning from his militia duties he settled with his fellow militiamen
in Henry County, Virginia along Little Marrowbone Creek. A record of the
survey of land in the headwaters of Little Marrowbone Creek was prepared
for transfer for Armstead Anderson and was entered in the Henry County
surveyors book on 16 May 1780 only six days after the birth of his son
John Andersonís mother
was Urshula Farris. Urshula Farris was descended from a Scottish family
that settled along Albemarle Sound in North Carolina in the 1680ís and
had come from Rutherglen, Scotland.
She had been born in Halifax County, Virginia and had come with
her father Charles Farris when he settled along Little Marrowbone Creek
in what became Henry County, Virginia.
Some time about 1779 she and Armstead Anderson being neighbors,
met and married but in those early days of southwest Virginia no
government record or ministers return was made of the marriage.
Soon after their marriage and while Armstead was still engaged in
summertime militia activity of the Revolutionary War, John Anderson was
John was still a very young
child of 4 Ĺ years old
when the first crisis of his life occurred.
His father Armstead Anderson was indicted for suspicion of a
felony at a Court held at Henry Courthouse the 30th day of October 1784.
Just exactly what his father had done is lost to a fire in the
judges home, but he is one of two suspects and the sheriff was paid for
transporting him to jail and attending his trial.
Henry County had no criminal court judge at the time of his
indictment in October, but the County Court appointed Judge Hairston in
November 1784. Judge Hairston went on to become a well beloved county
judge in the decades following. However
on 25 March 1785 one of his very earliest court orders was the
garnishment of Armstead Andersonís personal properties including his
wifeís feather bed and spinning wheel.
Armstead never perfected the title to his land along Little
Marrowbone Creek and it is likely that the notoriety over his felony
indictment made it judicious to move. Armstead Anderson appears back in
his birth County of Amelia once in 1786 where he witnesses his
fatherís acquisition of 30 acres of land and he shortly thereafter
closed his affairs in Virginia.
Perhaps the young John
Anderson sheltered with the Farris family during the felony affair.
Before 1789 John Anderson began his trek westward with his fatherís
family. It is unlikely that
the family had much livestock or those too would have been garnisheed.
Oxen and a cart may have been borrowed or bought of Johnís
grandfather, but the younger children, Sarah, William, Polly and James
would have rode and John may have walked his way to Tennessee. His
father took him along the route that he had already traveled once before
while in the militia and followed the many settlers passing through the
Cumberland Gap into Tennessee.
James Maulding and his son
Ambrose had attempted to settle in current Logan County, Kentucky along
the Red River in 1780 but had been driven out by hostile Indians in 1782
and had sheltered back in eastern Tennessee.
Here James Maulding helped write the constitution of Franklin
when it supplicated for admission to the union.
The complexity of familial relationships at this place and time
can be shown by the fact that Ambrose Maulding planted a corn crop in
1787 in Hawkins County, Tennessee and the following spring, Armsteadís
first cousin Ann Gibbons planted corn in the same field.
In those days everyone was a neighbor and cousin.
By 1792 Johnís father had
accompanied the Mauldings and acquired land in Logan County, Kentucky
near the Red River at Sinking Spring along the road to Adairville,
Kentucky. By this time
there were 8 Anderson children; John, Sarah, William, Polly, James,
Harry, Elizabeth and Allen. John was now 12 years old and of age to
assist in the development of a farm.
He would have developed physically as a young teenager engaged in
clearing the forest from his fatherís lands. His entertainments must
have come from the company of his many brothers and sisters on the
frontier of America. Most
of the serious Indian trouble was over in Kentucky but keeping a close
watch would have been habit by then.
Here at the age of 23 John acquired 400 acres of land next to his father's patent. In Logan County, Kentucky Survey Book "B" on page 382 is a drawing of the property "Surveyed for John Anderson 400 acres of Land in the Pond Timber by virtue of a certificate from the County Court of Logan; Beginning on a post oak in a line of Armstead Anderson thence west 200 poles to 3 black jacks thence S 260 poles to a black oak in Johnstonís line, thence on his line N 80 E 24 poles to his corner Black oak thence S 12 E 150 poles to a stake thence N 65 E 170 poles to two black oaks thence N 7 E 185 poles to a post oak corner to Armstead Andersons 100 acre survey, thence on that line to the beginning N5 135 poles October 2d 1803.Ē The chain carriers during the survey were Wm. Anderson (his younger brother) and Armstead Anderson (his father). It is unlikely that he had much opportunity to do much with this land, beyond perfecting the title, because family affairs drew him westward shortly thereafter.
In September of 1803,
possibly as a result of childbirth of Johnís youngest sister Urshula
and at the age of 44, Johnís mother Urshula died.
It is likely she is buried near Sinking Spring east of the road
from Adairville to Russellville, Kentucky. At about this same time the
wife of Ambrose Maulding died as well.
John Andersonís father
remarried to the widow Sarah Langston Smith Dodd who had survived two
prior husbands. She had as one of her attractions the fact that she held
bounty land warrants in the name of her first husband, Aaron Smith, who
was one of the 13 men killed in action at the battle of Cowpens in the
Revolutionary War. John
Anderson and his brothers, father and father-in-law Ambrose Maulding
ventured northwest to the area of present Union County, Kentucky.
John last appears in the Logan County tax records for 1802.
John appears in the
1803-1815 Henderson and Union County tax records, however he is not
recorded as a landowner having sold off his Logan County lands to
relatives of his stepmother. Throughout
the period 1803-1806 he and his family were probably wintering in Logan
County on their old lands and developing new lands in the area of Union
County, Kentucky. This
activity provided many opportunities for him to impress the daughter of
He married Morning
Maulding, daughter of the Logan County Judge Ambrose Maulding and his
first wife Peggy, on May 23, 1806 as recorded in Logan County, Kentucky.
Morning was born October 05, 1784 in Logan County, Kentucky at
Mauldingís Station deep in Indian territory at the time. Her name was
spelled, ďMourningĒ by court clerks, however as her tombstone was
engraved by her family with ďMorningĒ I prefer that spelling.
From 1806 on John is
co-located with Ambrose Maulding and it is likely that he resided with
his wifeís family. His brothers soon thereafter began to develop their own farms
in Union County. I have
found no record that John served in the Black Hawk War, although his
father in law is listed as a member of a Hamilton County militia unit.
Likely John remained on whatever Union County lands were
controlled by the Maulding family and cared for the affairs of the
Here John began his own
family with Morning having children, Permelia, September 28, 1807;
Gabriel Anderson, December 25, 1810; and Edmund Anderson, March 15,
1813. These children were
born east of Boxville, Kentucky along Anderson Creek. In 1813 John would
have attended the marriages of his sisters Catherine and Elizabeth to
the Garrison brothers and then shortly thereafter moved across the Ohio
to rejoin Ambrose Maulding. John
last appears in Union County tax records in 1815.
After settling on lands to
the west of McLeansboro, obtained by a warrant of his wifeís
brotherís service in the Black Hawk war, John had two more children;
Eliza Anderson, February 9, 1816 and Thomas Anderson, February 18, 1818.
From many branches of the
family, the story of young Eliza has survived to tell us that Morning
Anderson while on a visit to her fatherís home was returning home on
horseback carrying a young Eliza and some venison when she was trailed
and chased by a pack of wolves. She delayed their progress by cutting pieces of the venison
and dropping it behind her for the wolves to quarrel over.
Upon arriving at the cabin the wolves where put to flight by John
Anderson who poured a trace of gunpowder along the doorstep and lit it
to frighten off the wolves. Unfortunately he also singed off his eyebrows.
John Anderson had continued
in the tradition of his carpenter ancestors because by 1821 he had built
a creditable home on land now the fairgrounds west of McLeansboro.
His home near the current spillway of the old town reservoir was
chosen to host the first Hamilton County, Illinois court meeting.
The secretary's desk used to sign the court papers is now in the
McCoy Library in McLeansboro.
Shortly after this John and
Morning had the last of their brood; Mahala Anderson, February 18, 1921;
Warner Anderson, July 13, 1822; and Julia Anderson, July 6, 1824. The
family notes of Flossie Anderson say there were two other children who
died young by the name of Carmi and Martha which she documented in the
source "John Anderson 1780-1873 and Morning Maulding
1784-1846"; Manuscript of Flossie Gibbs Anderson, McLeansboro,
The most reliable source of
Johnís children comes from the flyleaf of the Constitution of the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church, last seen on July 1, 1915 in the
possession of Frances Anderson nee Hines, the last wife of Thomas
Anderson, John's son.
John Anderson. Born May 10, 1780
John continued his involvement
in the affairs of the County as on November 1, 1823, Judge Wilson
convened court at 7:00 oíclock a.m. to try Jacob Coffman and William
Hungate for murder. This
was the first murder trial in Hamilton County.
Defendants Coffman and Hungate put themselves upon their county,
whereupon a jury was called, composed of the following men: Mastin Bond,
Henry Krisell, John Anderson, Adam Crouch, Nicholas Tramell,
Lawrence Stull, Jarrett Garner, Gilbert Griswold, John Richy, Anthony
Richy, Daniel Benbrooks, and Ambrose Maulding, who heard the evidence,
and returned a verdict finding Jacob Coffman and William Hungate not
guilty of murder; and they were promptly discharged.
Johnís eldest daughter
found an excellent match in the new young surgeon who had arrived from
the east and she married Lorenzo Rathbone July 20, 1824 only shortly
after the birth of her youngest sister.
Johnís first granddaughter Celia Jane Rathbone was born
September 27, 1825.
John and his family are recorded in the 1830 census of Hamilton County, Illinois on page 238. In the decade following John added to his land acquisitions in Hamilton County in section 16 and 21 of township 5 south range 6 east as can be found in the Illinois Public Land Sales records. Johnís son Edmund Anderson also found a fine match as he married February 20, 1834 Nancy Turrentine who had come north from Alabama and had graduated from a female Academy at Athens Georgia. She was the first collegiate educated teacher in Hamilton County, Illinois. In 1835, John was now 55 years old and began disposing of his properties among his children granting on 8th November to Lorenzo Rathbone and Permelia his land in section 21. This same year his daughter Eliza married Alexander Trousdale Sullenger on December 10, 1835.
All would not be peaceful amongst his children though because in 1838 his son Gabriel Anderson became the source of a scandal in which he ran off with Keziah White nee Barnes, the wife of Preston White. Only now, a century and a half later, do we know that they eloped to Jefferson County, Missouri and married there on 1 March 1841. Johnís son Thomas Anderson also had his sorrows as his wife Sarah Dale to whom he married on February 07, 1839 died shortly after giving birth to another of Johnís grandsons, Wilburn Marion Anderson in November of 1839. Thomas remarried shortly thereafter to Martha Ann Sturman March 29, 1840
John Anderson appears in the 1840 census of Hamilton County, Illinois on page 142. John witnessed the marriage of his daughter Mahala to the Irish stonecutter James M. McGilley on September 13, 1843. This decade would not be kind to John as his youngest daughter Julia Anderson died unmarried as a young woman. Then Johnís greatest sorrow must have occurred as his beloved wife Morning died September 13, 1846. Both women were buried in the family cemetery of the Rathbone family in section 21 and were under the care of Dr. Lorenzo Rathbone at their decease. Truly these events must have provoked great family mourning. His wife's tombstone in Rathbone Cemetery is headed with the notation "Morning wife of John Anderson. That portion of the headstone containing the "Morning wife of" has been broken off. It was found upon clearing the cemetery in the 1970's. Unfortunately, this circumstance had led many who made cemetery notations before this clearance of the cemetery to improperly record this site and date as that of John Anderson.
The Rathbone Cemetery can
be reached by taking Route 14 west from McLeansboro and turning left at
the fairground road, go 1.25 miles south and turn left on the section
road, proceed .25 miles east stopping past the equipment building and
trailer at the fence line on your left. Drive up the left side of the
fence line through the field .125 miles to the tree line and graveyard
gate. The Rathbone Cemetery
was hidden in a wood copse in 1998.
By 1850 John was now 70
years old and had witnessed the enormous growth of the nation that his
father had helped to found. In
the 1850 Hamilton County census John is in residence 37/37 of his son
Thomas Anderson listed as a 70 year old male born in Virginia.
He had survived to witness the marriage of his youngest son
Warner Anderson to Matilda J. Harper January 18, 1852.
In the last part of this decade he had the opportunity to provide
his aged wisdom about the issues of national union and slavery to his
John Anderson survived to
witness the enlistment of several of his grandsons in the Union Army and
to share the concern over their welfare as word came home by news
carrier and letter of the battles in the south along the Mississippi
River. But unexpectedly his
only family loss in the Civil War was the death of his son Edmund
Anderson who died at home August 11, 1864 of quick tuberculosis.
John Anderson even survived
to see the darkness of civil war pass from the nation and the rebirth of
nation building after the war as he had the opportunity to see great
grandsons off on their migration to Montana.
John Anderson died on March
19, 1873. He had outlived
the availability of the old family cemetery on section 21 and was
therefore buried in "Union
Hall" / "Shed" Cemetery found west of McLeansboro,
Illinois by taking 142 to the Golf Course Road, turn left then a mile
and a half to the cemetery on the left at the road side.
His is a white stone, well weathered and barley legible in 1998.
John Anderson's obituary was published on 21 March 1873 in the
"Golden Era" Hamilton County, Illinois. His photograph was published 20 Oct 1955 in the Times Leader.
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