The Story of a Kansas Pioneer, by Melissa Genett Anderson


     The Anderson family is traced back to John Anderson, born December 22, 1759. His birthplace is unknown, but from his youth he lived near Greenville, North Carolina. He was married to a young lady whose Christian name was Tarley, but whose family name has been lost. He enlisted on May 7, 1776, at Martinboro (afterwards Greenville), North Carolina, and served three years for the cause of American Independence. Part of this time he was in Captain Euloe's company, under Colonel Edward Buncombe of the Fifth North Carolina, Continental Line, and part of the time with Captain Armstrong under Colonel Patton, of the Second North Carolina. He engaged in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth.

     For many of the facts concerning his later life, we are dependent upon the Pension Bureau. He first applied for a pension on June 16, 1819, and was allowed $8.00 a month. Evidently pensions were considered in those days as a form of charity, for only one payment was made when his name was stricken off the list on account of property. In 1832, at the age of 73, he again applied, being in "reduced circumstances." Several of his neighbors made affidavits at that time that he did serve in the war, and that he needed the pension. (Copies of these affidavits are now in the possession of Mrs. Agnes Anderson Murray, a great great granddaughter.) This time he was granted $80.00 a year, which was paid until his death, September 20, 1842. He was then 83 years old. According to the pension record, he left no widow, but was survived by the following children: Allen Anderson, Asa Anderson, Charlotte (Mrs. John Evans), and Elizabeth (Mrs. Adey Slaughter). Benjamin T. Smith, who married Nancy Evans, a granddaughter of Charlotte Anderson, states that Tarley Anderson died in 1846; but if the pension record is correct, this statement is in error.

     We obtain some further information from Moses Slaughter, the son of Elizabeth Anderson. John Anderson was a slave holder, and owned a good-sized plantation in Pitt County, North Carolina. (Part of this land is still owned by a descendant.) He conducted a school on his plantation, taught by himself, for his numerous grandchildren. The only textbooks were the New Testament and Noah Webster's spelling book, but arithmetic and geography were taught orally. His wife, Tarley, had a rose garden of more than usual size. And, true to the custom of the times, there was a decanter of whiskey on the sideboard, which was always offered to company as soon as they arrived.

     There was also a Colonel Ruel Anderson, a cousin of Elizabeth, and thus evidently the son of a brother of John Anderson. He also owned a large estate, and used to preside on "Training Day" in Pitt County in a uniform trimmed with gold lace. It is to be hoped that more can be found in regard to this colonel, for possibly he is the best starting point for further genealogical research. One great obstacle today is the fact that after the Civil War the Court House of Pitt County burned, so no Revolutionary records are available from that source.

     Of the four children of John Anderson, two remained near the old home place and two left. Most of the descendants of Allen Anderson and of Charlotte Anderson Evans still live within the boundaries of North Carolina. The descendants of the other two are scattered over almost the entire United States.

     Elizabeth Anderson Slaughter was married in North Carolina. It is said her father never forgave her for marrying an Abolitionist. Later left a widow with six children, she walked to Wayne County, Indiana, to a "free" state. Still later, she moved to Dallas County, Iowa, where she died at the age of 84. Most of her descendants are living in either Indiana or Iowa. This information we owe to Mrs. Julia Lunn, a granddaughter of Elizabeth. Mrs. Lunn also remembers that her father's cousin "Watt" (Watson Gates Anderson, son of Asa Anderson) visited them at Winchester, Indiana, and called her grandmother "Aunt Betty." Mrs. Lunn visited Pitt County in 1914, and saw the graves of John and Tarley Anderson. The graves are fenced off in a woodlot on the old home place, but there is no monument.

     Asa Anderson was born in 1777. His wife's name was Rachel, but here again the family name has been lost. There were five children, Susan (Mrs. Silas Turner), Watson Gates Anderson, Allen Anderson, James Anderson, and Grace Anderson.

     This Allen Anderson, named evidently for his uncle, died young, and there is no further information concerning him. James Anderson was born in 1808. His niece, Mrs. Harriet Anderson Reagan, is authority for the statement that he was a veteran of the Mexican War. He went to California in 1849 in company with his brother-in-law, Silas Turner. Silas returned, but James disappeared, and was never heard of again.

     Susan Anderson Turner was married in North Carolina and later moved with her husband to Windsor, Henry County, Missouri, where Silas Turner died about 1869. There were four children, Abraham, Sally, Joseph, and James. Mrs. Turner later came to Kansas, and lived for a while near Neosho Falls. Her son Joseph met his death in a runaway at this place. After the death of her brother, Watson Gates Anderson, she moved back to Windsor, Missouri, where she died.

     The succeeding chapters deal with Watson Gates Anderson and his family.


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