John Anderson was the father of Mary Jane Anderson, who married Moses Stewart, one of my paternal great-great-grandfathers. The death certificate of one of Moses Stewart’s children, Ida Mae Stewart, lists her parents as Moses Stewart and Mary Jane Anderson. It is clear from other records that they are the same couple who married near Dayton in Montgomery County, Ohio on 26 October 1845.1
The 1850 census of Dayton appears to identify Mary Jane Stewart’s father as John Anderson. The household of John Anderson, age 54 and a Justice of the Peace in Dayton’s Ward 6, included both Moses and Mary Jane “Stuart” along with several Stewart children in addition to John Anderson’s own children.2 John Anderson’s birthplace is listed as Pennsylvania and his wife Rachel’s as Kentucky.
We know very little of John Anderson’s ancestry beyond the fact that his cemetery burial record indicates a birth about 1795 in Philadelphia.
Arrives in Chillicothe, Ohio in 1814
He seems to have arrived in Ohio as a 19-year old without family. The first sighting of him is his arrival in Chillicothe, Ross County, Ohio “sometime in the fall or winter of 1814” according to a letter he wrote in 1836 to the editor of the Dayton Herald newspaper.3 The letter is reproduced on this page.
In that letter he referred to “the father and mother of my wife, Mr. John Munday and Mrs. Mary Munday, now dead…” calling them early settlers of Chillicothe. His letter was accompanied by a statement by the editor of the Chillicothe Advertiser that John Anderson Esq. “is a highly respectable man – was last year the mayor of the town of Dayton and is now a Justice of the Peace in that place.”4
John Anderson wrote in the same letter that he boarded in a local tavern and was employed in Chillicothe “for some length of time as a bookbinder” for a Mr. James Foster. James Foster had started a bookbinding business in Chillicothe in 1809 and was for a time editor of the local newspaper, the Scioto Gazette. His business was short-lived, as in 1817 Foster established a newspaper in Pickaway County called The Olive Branch which, after several name changes, eventually became the modern-day Union Herald. Debts caused Foster to leave that business after just a year.5 Whether John Anderson was already interested in newspapers when he went to work for Mr. Foster is uncertain.
I have found no other record of John Anderson in or around Chillicothe other than the marriage record below and the 1820 census. He did not own land, does not appear in the 1815-1821 property tax records, and is not mentioned in such surviving newspaper records. Nor does he seem to be related to any of the other Anderson families in the county.6 (I note that in 1820 there were fourteen Anderson heads of households in Ross County, four of them named John Anderson, but no indication that any of them were related to “our” John Anderson.) It seems significant that he arrived in Chillicothe while still a minor and lived in a boarding house, implying the absence of family nearby.
Marries Rachel Munday 1817
John Anderson married Rachel Munday in Ross County, Ohio on 20 March 1817.7 He appears in the 1820 census of Huntington Township, Ross County — just south of Chillicothe — aged 18-26 with a household that exactly matches his household ten years later in the 1830 census of Dayton, Montgomery County.8 9
He moves to Dayton, Ohio
By 1822 he was living in Dayton, Montgomery County, where he started a newspaper.
On August 29, 1822, the first number of the periodical Gridiron appeared, with the motto: Burn, roast meat, burn; Boil o’er, ye pots; ye spits, forget to turn. It was the first newspaper published in Dayton, though actually more like a very small magazine. The paper was published weekly, at a cost of one dollar a year by John Anderson, who endeavored by “roasting” people to correct manners and customs that he thought defective and to promote Democratic candidates for office. But the paper was not a success, and in eighteen months was discontinued. Only a few issues survive in the Dayton Public Library.10
The 1830 census enumerated John Anderson, now aged 30-40, as head of household in Dayton’s Ward 2 with Rachel, aged 20-30, and four young males and two young females in the household.
Elected Mayor of Dayton
In March 1835 John Anderson was elected mayor of Dayton, and served for two years. He was enumerated in Dayton, Montgomery County in the 1840 census with a total of six sons and three daughters.11 In 1850, he was listed as a Justice of the Peace (age 54), with Rachael (50), Jackson (18), Thomas (10), Lewis (23), and Martin (14) in the household along with his daughter Mary Jane Stewart and her husband, Moses Stewart, and her Stewart children.
Cholera Epidemics and Family Deaths
Census records and burials in the Woodland Cemetery suggest that some of their children died in childhood. Perhaps others died but were not buried there. An “infant of John Anderson” died on 20 May 1843 and is buried in the same section of Woodland Cemetery as John and Rachel and their son Henry. A cholera epidemic swept through Dayton in 1833, taking the lives of Rachael Anderson’s parents and another thirty-odd city residents. A more virulent cholera epidemic visited the city in 1849, and Rachel’s nephew William Munday was its first victim. No cemetery records exist for them in Dayton; it is possible that cholera victims were buried in a separate location.
John Anderson himself died intestate on 4 August 1858. His widow Rachel was granted administration of the estate on 21 October 1858; the inventory of his estate was taken on 10 November 1858 and recorded on 1 December 1858 by Rachel Anderson.12 Unfortunately, the estate records that still exist do not identify the children. Rachel was enumerated in 1860 in the household of her son Henry Anderson. I did not find her in the 1870 census, but she was listed in the 1871 through 1877 Dayton city directories as a widow residing in different locations near the intersection of Clay and Van Buren streets.
John Anderson’s death was reported in the Dayton Daily Journal:13
Died. Yesterday, August 4th, John Anderson, Esq. in the 65th year of his age. The funeral take place from his late residence on Van Buren Street, near Jackson, this afternoon at 3 o’clock. Interment at Woodland.
The records of the Woodland Cemetery in Dayton match this, giving his age as 64 and his birthplace as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rachel is buried in the same section of the cemetery, her date of death given as 13 November 1877 at age 78. Her birthplace is given as Ross County, Ohio (although it was not yet Ohio when she was born). The deaths of several infant children are also listed in the same section.
Rachael Anderson’s Will
Although John Anderson did not leave a will, his widow Rachel did. Rachel’s will was dated 5 September 1877 and proved on 20 November 1877, seven days after her death.14 She instructed that “my beloved sister Emily Lozier shall be paid a just compensation for taking care of me”, and that one of her executors, Henry H. Laubach, place $100 in trust with the Woodland Cemetery Association, the interest of which was to be used for “the expenses of taking care of my plot”. She also gave her bed and bedding to “my grandson William Anderson”. The remaining estate was given “to my dear son Thomas B. F. Anderson in trust for the benefit of my three little grandchildren, the children of Thomas B. F. Anderson and his present wife Maggie”. Thomas was to have the use of the money until the grandchildren (whose names were not mentioned) reached the age of eighteen. Executors were “my brother Benjamin Munday and my nephew-in-law Henry H. Laubach”. Rachel signed by her mark.
The 1840 census suggests that there were six sons and three daughters, but only six children were in the 1850 household.
Unfortunately, probate records identify only one child: the son Thomas. Thus we can prove only two children who were alive when Rachel died: Thomas who lived nearby and Mary Jane, wife of the peripatetic Moses Stewart, who was in Tennessee when Rachel wrote her will.
We can infer other children who predeceased Rachael. A number of them died in childhood, as they all appear in the records of Woodland Cemetery on 25 March 1854 as buried in the same section and lot as John and Rachel, with a variety of death dates. Whether there were other children alive at her death is unknown. There may have been another daughter who had married prior to 1850.
- Jane Anderson (1818 – 19 October 1819) She died in infancy. Records of Woodland Cemetery show that she died in 1819 at the age of one year. She was buried many years later on the same day and in the same section and lot as John and Rachel and their other family members.
- Henry Anderson (c1820 – 20 December 1868) In 1850 he was enumerated in Dayton as a tobacconist (age 31) with a wife named Mary A. (32) and a son Daniel W. Anderson (4). She may have been a second wife, as local marriage records show that he had married Mary Ann Van Fleet just a year earlier on 2 May 1849. Two unidentified women, Nancy A. Cross (23) and her daughter Mary M. Cross (2), were also in the household. In 1860 he was enumerated as a carriage maker (41) with a wife named Margaret (32), Daniel Anderson (14) and Emma (10 months) in the household along with his mother Rachel Anderson (60). He is also buried in the Woodland Cemetery, whose records give his age at death as 49 (sic).
- William Anderson (c1825 – 20 October 1856) He was probably a son, as he is buried in the same section and lot of the Woodland Cemetery as John and Rachel and their infant children. His age in cemetery records was 31. He was evidently unmarried.
- Lewis Anderson (c1827 – 29 January 1863) He enlisted at Dayton in the army for the Mexican campaign on 5 April 1847, giving his occupation as tobacconist, and was discharged a year later. He was in his parent’s 1850 census household, age 23, though he had claimed to be 25 when enlisting. He went to California and appears to be the “Louis” Anderson listed as a miner in El Dorado County, California. A few years later he was one of about a dozen Californians killed at the Bear Creek Massacre in what is now Idaho.15 Lewis Anderson was a private in Company K of the 2nd Cavalry and one of 200-odd California volunteers that attacked a large Shoshone encampment and perpetrated what is thought to have been the largest Indian massacre in the West.16 His death was reported in the Dayton newspaper: Killed in the recent severe battle between three hundred frontiersmen and a superior force of Indians on Bear River, Utah Territory, Lewis Anderson of this city is reported among the killed. If we are not mistaken he was a son of the late Esquire John Anderson. He was through the Mexican War, then returned home and about a dozen years ago he again left here for California.17 He was evidently unmarried.
- Martha H. Anderson (c1830 – 16 April 1838) She was (re) buried on the same day and in the same section and lot as John and Rachel Anderson, her age at death given as 8 years.
- Mary Jane Anderson (c1832 – c1910) See Moses Stewart paper.
- Jackson Anderson (c1832 – ?) He was in the 1850 household, age 18, but was not found in later records.
- Martin Anderson (c1835 – 18 October 1857) He was in John Anderson’s 1850 household, age 14. He is buried in Woodland Cemetery in the same section and lot as John and Rachel and their infant children. He was evidently unmarried.
- Martha H. Anderson (c1837 – 29 Aug 1841) Her given name must have been significant to either John or Rachael, as she was the second child to be given the name. Note that her name must have been changed after her sister died when she was an infant. She was (re) buried on the same day and in the same section and lot as John and Rachel Anderson, her age at death given as 4 years.
Thomas B. F. Anderson (c1839 – 9 November 1912) His middle initials appeared in a variety of records as Thomas “B. F.” or “Thomas B.” He married Henrietta Hadder on 1 December 1858 in Montgomery County, Ohio.18 Although the license clearly identifies her surname as “Hadder”, the marriage return inexplicably spells it “Carroll”. I’m not sure where they were for the 1860 census but they were back in Dayton in 1865 when Thomas filed for divorce, charging her with adultery and requesting custody of their unnamed child.19
He moved to Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee in time to be listed in the 1870 census as a 26-year old sawyer living in a boardinghouse along with a widow named Sarah Hale and her four children — one of whom was his future wife, 15-year old Margaret A. Hale. They married the following year. The 1880 census of Chattanooga found him listed as a 39-year old sawyer with Margaret (22) and four daughters named Rachel Anderson (4 June 1871 – 14 March 1952), Mary Jane Anderson (7), Henrietta Anderson (4), and Emma Anderson (1). (Note that the youngest daughter was born after Rachel Anderson wrote her will establishing a trust fund for her three granddaughters.) His mother-in-law (now called Hannah) Hale was also in the household. The 1900 and 1910 censuses listed him and Margaret living alone; in the 1900 census his birth month was written as November 1840 (probably a year off) and hers as August 1855; the censuses indicated they had been married about 1871 and had six children, five of whom were living. Thomas B. F. Anderson had served in 1865 as a private in the 18th Ohio Infantry Regiment and received an invalid pension for that service in 190720. His widow received a widow’s pension after his death which occurred in Chattanooga according to the pension record.21
Rachael Anderson’s estate records show that Thomas Anderson’s daughter Rachael Anderson was born on 4 June 1871 and Mary Jane Anderson was born 22 March 1873.22
- Infant (1843 – 20 May 1843) An “infant of John Anderson”, gender not identified, age zero, was (re) buried on the same day and in the same section and lot as John and Rachel Anderson.
- John S. Anderson (1844 – 5 August 1845) It isn’t completely clear whether he was a son or grandson of John Anderson. He was buried on the same day and in the same section and lot as John and Rachel Anderson, his age given as 1 year.
- Montgomery County, Ohio, Marriage Register. Also abstracted in Montgomery County, Ohio Marriages 1803 – 1851, Lindsay M. Brien (Typewritten manuscript, 1940), page 120. [↩]
- 1850 census, Dayton Ward 6, household 3543: John Anderson 54, Rachael (sic) Anderson 50, Jackson Anderson 18, Moses Stuart 24, Mary J. Stuart 23, John Stewart 4, Zacharia (sic) Stuart 2, Thos. Anderson 10, Amelia Stewart 1, Mary J. Stewart 5/12, Lewis Anderson 28, Martin Anderson 14. “Stuart” appears to be written as “Stout” and that is how the name is indexed in online census records. [↩]
- The Extra Globe, Francis Preston Blair & Amos Kendall, Volume 6, No. 5 (8 July 1840), page 69. [↩]
- The Extra Globe, Francis Preston Blair & Amos Kendall, Volume 6, No. 5 (8 July 1840), page 69. [↩]
- The Circleville Herald (Circleville, Ohio) issue of 23 May 1955, Page 3, an article about the history of the newspaper. [↩]
- There was a John Anderson who lived in Chillicothe in 1814 who had a son named John Anderson, but his will and subsequent deed records establish that they were different persons. [↩]
- Ross County, Ohio Marriage Register, Volume B, page 269. Also abstracted in several online databases. [↩]
- 1820 Ross County (page 1 of 5 for Huntington): John Anderson 3000100-10100 [↩]
- 1830 Montgomery County, Dayton: John Anderson 121001-10101 [↩]
- Early Printing in Dayton, Ohio, Douglas C. McMurtrie (1935) and History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio, Augustus Waldo Drury (1899), Vol. 1, page 407. [↩]
- 1840 Montgomery County: John Anderson 0212101-1110001 [↩]
- Montgomery County, Ohio, Probate Records B-1, page 316. [↩]
- Dayton Daily Journal, issue of 5 August 1858, page 2. [↩]
- Montgomery County, Ohio, Will Book J, page 201. [↩]
- New York Times issue of 8 March 1863, reproducing a dispatch from Camp Douglas, Utah Territory listing the 14 dead and 49 wounded. [↩]
- Estimates of Shoshone dead vary but most agree it was the largest of the 19th century Indian massacres, overshadowed at the time by the Civil War further east. [↩]
- Dayton Daily Empire, issue of 6 March 1863, page 2. [↩]
- The license says he was over 19 and she over 18. [↩]
- Notice posted in the Dayton Daily Empire newspaper in several editions starting with the edition of 5 July 1865, page 3. [↩]
- Certificate #901774 [↩]
- Certificate #778580 [↩]
- They were paid their share of their grandmother’s estate when they turned 18. [↩]