Andersons Were Pioneer East Tennessee Settlers

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - by John Wilson

The Andersons were pioneer settlers of Western Virginia and East Tennessee, and they helped secure the Revolutionary War victory over the British. Col. John Anderson was marching with the forces of Andrew Jackson when he died in Alabama in 1814. His sons, Josiah McNair Anderson and John Anderson, sent sons to different armies during the Civil War.

Of Scotch-Irish background, the Andersons were in Northern Ireland then went to Augusta County, Va. John Anderson was born there in 1750, the son of William Anderson and Elizabeth Campbell. William Anderson, who was born about 1718, was the son of immigrants John and Margaret Anderson. John Anderson apparently died in Pennsylvania about 1740 prior to his widow moving the family to the western portion of Virginia. Margaret Anderson lived until 1764. 

Their sons, in addition to William, were George, John and James. William's first wife, Margaret, died in 1743 at the birth of a daughter, Margaret. William Anderson had then married Elizabeth Campbell, who survived until 1804. William Anderson lived until 1794. Their children also included Mary who married William Skillern, Rebecca who married Samuel Wallace and then James Grigsby, Elizabeth who married Samuel Anderson, William, George who married Mary
Breedon, Robert who married Margaret Young, Alexander who married Esther Kirkland and then Esther Crosby, and Jean.</P> John Anderson in 1775 married Rebecca Maxwell, whose brothers were Revolutionary soldiers and early Tennessee settlers. John Anderson settled on the Clinch River in the section that became Washington County, Va. His large holdings were centered around the "Block House,'' which was a much-frequented stop along the Wilderness Road that led to Kentucky.

Located by a spring, it was the last station prior to a gap leading to the wilderness. Here the Andersons were hosts to hundreds of travelers headed for Kentucky. The Anderson family twice had to flee the Block House due to Indian attacks. The Block House was two stories and had portholes in the upper portion. After the danger of Indian attack was passed, the Andersons converted the Block House to a loomhouse. Nearby for their residence they constructed a larger, two-story building as well as a log kitchen. John Anderson and a brother-in-law were given $200 by the Virginia General Assembly to cut a wagon road from Moccasin Gap, Va., to Cumberland Gap, Tenn., which were over a hundred miles apart. They worked for two years on this project and got as far as Rye Cove before running out of money. John Anderson was one of the justices for the new county of Washington, and he was named captain of the militia. He served with a militia company during the Revolutionary War and was at King's Mountain. He took part in the Indian campaign under Col. John Sevier that ended with a battle on the side of Lookout Mountain on Sept. 20, 1782. Later, he was a commissioner at the county seat (Blountville) of Sullivan County, where he and his
brother-in-law, William Skillern, each received grants of 630 acres for their revolutionary service. John Anderson was also sheriff of Scott County, Va. He died at the Block House on Oct. 13, 1817.

His children were William who married Rebecca Skillern, Mary who married John Skillern, Elizabeth who married William Christian, Audley who married Elizabeth Rhea, Sarah who married the Rev. Andrew Galbreath, Isaac Campbell who married Margaret Rhea, and Jane who married the Rev. John Heninger.

Another son, John, was born in 1778 at Knox County. He married Elizabeth McNair in 1805, and they were among the earliest settlers at Bledsoe County. Their first daughter, Louisa Maxwell Anderson, is said to be the first white child born in the Sequatchie Valley. She was born Sept. 8, 1806. She later married Allen Kirklen. John Anderson was a lieutenant-colonel in the Third East Tennessee Regiment in the War of 1812, and his death occurred at Fort Strother, Ala., in October of 1814. His widow stayed on in Bledsoe County and was said by historian Penelope Allen to be "the most outstanding woman of her time in the Sequatchie Valley. She possessed to a remarkable degree the pioneer virtues of strength and fortitude and had a wide reputation for her keen wit.'' She later married James Thurman, and they had a daughter, Sophia. After his death, she married James
Lloyd and had four children by him. Elizabeth McNair Anderson Thurman Lloyd died in 1859.

Several of the children of Col. John Anderson married into the family of Alexander Lamb. Josiah McNair Anderson married Nancy Lamb. James Madison Anderson married Jane Lamb. Elizabeth Ann Anderson married Hugh Lamb.</P> Josiah McNair Anderson was an attorney who went into politics and became speaker of both the state House and Senate. He had a large estate in Bledsoe County and was a "keeper of fine horses and dogs.'' He was one of those involved in construction of the Anderson Pike over Walden's Ridge. Josiah Anderson went on to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 1849-1851. He was a delegate to the Peace Convention in Washington in 1861, but when this failed he came out strongly for the Confederacy. He was killed by a Union fanatic while making a secession speech at Looney's Creek near Whitwell in November 1861.

One of his sons, James Madison Anderson, was slain while serving with the Confederate forces in 1865. Another son, William Eggleston Anderson, survived his Confederate service and served in the Tennessee House. He married Isabella McRee, daughter of Robert Clark McRee of Soddy. The other children of Josiah McNair Anderson were Elizabeth Ann who married Thomas Gordon McFarland, Martha Jane who married Peter T. Rankin, Alexander Lamb who married Elizabeth Pope and then Esther Shelton, Mary Ann who married Robert Clark McRee Jr., Catherine Keith who married Iltid W. Thomas, and Josiah Jr. who married Laura Mitchell. The McFarlands lived at Rossville, Ga, and had property on Lookout Mountain. Elizabeth Ann Anderson McFarland died of typhoid fever in 1863.

John Anderson, son of Col. John Anderson, was born near Pikeville on Dec. 2, 1814, five weeks after the death of his father. He moved to Hamilton County in time to assist in the Indian removal. He obtained a large tract at Anderson Spring near Long Savannah. His first wife was Jemima Allen and they had two children before she died in 1838. In 1840, he married Perlemia Luttrell, daughter of the Baptist minister George Luttrell. John Anderson set a record with the Postal Service by serving as postmaster at Long Savannah for 50 years. John Anderson went into the state House in 1866, replacing James R. Hood who was disqualified. Afterwards, he was in the state Senate. He is said to have opened the first store at Georgetown. In contrast to his brother, he was a staunch Union man. Five of his sons fought with the Federal forces and one of them, James Madison Anderson, was killed in the fighting at Pulaski in December 1864. The other children of John Anderson included Eliza, William Franklin who married Mary A. Runyon, Jane who married Robert
Smith, Elizabeth who married Peter Lewis, George W., Caswell, Margaret who married George Eldridge, and Charles who married Lillie Farris. George W. Anderson married Mary Williamson and lived on the road between Birchwood and Georgetown. Caswell Anderson married Mary Isabel Smith, daughter of Peyton Smith. They moved to South Pittsburg.

James Madison Anderson, brother of Josiah and John Anderson, also lived in Hamilton County. After the death of his first wife, he married Sarah Hixson. His children included Richard, Joseph, Thomas and Frances. James Madison Anderson died in 1851 at the age of 42.

The Block House remained in the Anderson family, but it burned in September 1876. The loss included family heirlooms as well as a number of Indian relics that had been found in the meadow in front of the house. The Block House was rebuilt, but it burned again in 1946 and was not reconstructed. A townhouse that was built on Main Street at Blountville by John Anderson,
George Maxwell and Richard Gammon survived and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was used by the first Blountville town commissioners and was owned by the Sullivan County Library before being designated as a museum. A number of Anderson family relics
were placed in the townhouse museum.

ANOTHER early Anderson settler in Hamilton County was William Walker Anderson, who was from Rockbridge County, Va. When he was 18, he left his plow in the field at noon and embarked on an adventure in the Tennessee frontier. He became one of the first settlers of Chattanooga and a founder of its Presbyterian church.

Anderson was born June 10, 1804, near the old Rock Church six miles from Lexington. That day
in 1822 he found his uncle stopping at his home and he decided to go with him to Maryville,
where the uncle had a store. W.W. Anderson returned to Virginia long enough to marry his
sweetheart, Elizabeth McChesney, then they set up housekeeping at Maryville. Anderson began
driving horses through the Indian nation, selling them in Alabama and Mississippi. On one of
these trips, his horse became entangled in vines while trying to swim Chickamauga Creek. Anderson lost his saddle bags full of papers and clothing. An Indian witnessed the accident, and
a few years later when he spotted W.W. Anderson he returned the bags to him. Anderson, who
was over six feet tall and was called "Skygusty'' by the Indians, moved to Athens after two years
at Maryville. For his general merchandise store there, he would annually load up his four-horse
wagons with bacon and exchange it for dry goods at Baltimore. This was a two-month trip, but a set of cups and saucers would fetch $5 on the frontier and a lady's Leghorn bonnet was worth $25.

W.W. Anderson was "an unusually fine looking man'' and was "strictly temperate in all things.'' He was made colonel of the militia at Athens and "with cocked hat on horseback made a striking appearance.'' Three of the five Anderson children died at a young age, leaving James and William Jr. In hopes of benefiting the family's health, W.W. Anderson in 1840 pushed on to Chattanooga. The family occupied a frame dwelling on the southeast corner of Fourth and Walnut. The Andersons were joined by James Berry, who had married Rebecca McChesney, a sister of Mrs. Anderson. However, Mrs. Anderson became ill and died Sept. 12, 1840. Two years later, Anderson married Louisa Penelope Campbell Smith, widow of James Woods Smith. Her sister, Mary, was married to the Chattanooga merchant D.C. McMillin. W.W. Anderson was clerk of the Presbyterian congregation and would regularly lead the hymn singing. The visiting ministers would often stay in the Anderson home. Anderson started a Sunday School for blacks. He owned several slaves "and always treated them kindly. He would not sell or separate them.''

The children of W.W. Anderson by his second wife included Jefferson Campbell who married Mary Ellen Burton, Sarah Anne who married Thomas Rowland, Milo Smith who married Mary Bush, and Mary Louisa who married George Vinson. His eldest son, James, married Mary Morrow, daughter of the Indian agent Dr. William Morrow. James Anderson became a physician and went to California in 1850. Two years later he started home for his family on the steamer Philadelphia. But the cholera broke out off the coast of Havana and he died at sea. The other son, William Jr., attended Burritt College and in 1857 he was returning on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. There he renewed his acquaintance with Lydia Cravens, daughter of the ironmaster Robert Cravens. They were married in 1859 and set up housekeeping at the old Anderson place at Fourth and Walnut. However, the health of Lydia Cravens Anderson became bad and they moved to the side of Lookout
Mountain to the cabin that Robert Cravens had first occupied. A son, Charles Cravens Anderson, was born there, and a second son, William Franklin Anderson, came along in 1862.

W.W. Anderson Sr. was "a decided Whig and thought it best for the South to make the fight in the Union, but when his state seceded he went with it in good will.'' He was too old to fight, but he "took great interest in the Southern cause.'' Following a skirmish on Citico Creek, he found a Confederate soldier badly wounded and hid him upstairs until he recovered. The Yankees later found revenge by filling his well with rocks and tearing down his house.

W.W. Anderson Jr. in the early part of the war manufactured saltpeter with Robert Cravens in a furnace at the mouth of a cave near Moccasin Bend. Then he joined the Lookout Artillery and
was made first sergeant. When his wife's health worsened, he took a leave of absence and found
his wife had hired a substitute for him. He then shipped coal and coke to Confederate authorities in Memphis. Just before the Battle Above the Clouds, the Andersons fled the mountain, hauling their goods in wagons to Chickamauga Station and taking the train to Dawson, Ga. W.W. Anderson Sr. went with them and the following January his second wife died at Dawson. Three months later, Lydia Cravens Anderson died also. Then two-year-old Frank became sick and died. He had been given a "repugnant'' black medicine and the doctor said it was "pure ink.'' W.W. Anderson Jr. later surmised the doctor may have been "merely experimenting.''

After the war, W.W. Anderson Jr. made his home at Forsyth, Ga. He had a number of children by his second wife, Louisa Estelle Sharp. His son, Charles Cravens Anderson, moved to Chattanooga and in 1888 married Mary Bachman, daughter of the Presbyterian minister Dr. Jonathan Bachman. After her death, he was a widower about seven years before marrying Julia Leach in 1901. C.C. Anderson resided just below the old Cravens property on the mountainside, and he discovered "Mystery Falls,'' an underground waterfall. This was developed as a water source for St. Elmo. Anderson was also an investor in oil well drilling, but his syndicate was unsuccessful in a project at Franklin County, Tenn., and he was forced to declare bankruptcy. He was so distraught that he shot himself with a revolver on Nov. 20, 1902 - hours before his creditors were set to meet. This occurred in front of his house on Old Wauhatchie Pike. His children included Margaret who married Charles Coffey, Col. Jonathan Waverly Anderson and Dr. William Dulaney Anderson. A descendant was nationally known newspaperman Shelby Coffey.

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