John Anderson 1780-1873

A Biographical Sketch
written and contributed by Patrick J. Anderson

        John 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 Morgansfield, Kentucky.

        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 Anderson..

        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 born.

        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 Ambrose Maulding.

        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 estate.

        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.

The History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin, and Williamson Counties, Illinois (Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1887) pgs 258-259.


     An act forming a separate county out of the county of White, was approved February 8, 1821, as follows:

     SECTION 1.  Be it enacted, etc., That all that tract of country within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at the southern line of Wayne County, on the line dividing Ranges 7 and 8 east, thence south with said range line to Gallatin County line; thence due west with said line eighteen miles to the eastern boundary of Franklin County; thence north to the Wayne County line, and thence east to the beginning, shall constitute a separate county to be called Hamilton; and for the purpose of fixing the permanent seat of justice therein the following persons are appointed commissioners, to wit: James Ratcliff, Thomas F. Vaught, Joel Pace, Jesse B. Browne and Samuel Leach, which said commissioners, or a majority of them (being duly sworn before some judge or justice of the peace in this State to faithfully take into view the convenience of the people and the eligibility of the place), shall meet on the first Tuesday in April next at the house of John Anderson, in said county, and proceed to examine and determine on the place for the permanent seat of justice, and designate the same.

     Provided, the proprietor or proprietors of the land will give to the county, for the purpose of erecting public buildings, a quantity of land not less than twenty acres, to be laid out in lots and sold for that purpose, which place, fixed and determined upon, the said commissioners shall certify under their hands and seals and return the same to the next commissioners' court, in the county aforesaid, which court shall cause an entry thereof to be made thereof in their books of record, and until the public buildings shall be erected, the courts shall be held at the house of John Anderson in said county.

     By the same act Hamilton County became a part of the Second Judicial Circuit.

       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, Illinois, 1966.

        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
      I    Permelia Anderson, Born, September 28, 1807.
     II   Gabriel Anderson, Born, December 25, 1810. Moved to Missouri.
    III   Edmund Anderson , Born, March 15, 1813.
IV   Eliza Anderson, Born, February 9, 1816.
     V   Thomas Anderson, Born, February 18, 1818.
    VI   Mahala Anderson, Born, February 18, 1921.
   VII   Warner Anderson, Born, July 13, 1822.
   VIII  Julia Anderson, Born, July 6, 1824.

        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 grandsons.

        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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