Tuesday, July 14, 2009


ANDERSON Family Archive

~An Introduction~


In the summer of 1969, William Earl Anderson, then 16 years old, met his Great Aunt Pauline Anderson Yates on a family visit to Georgia. Born in Charleston, SC and raised in Erie Co., PA, "Earl" won the trust of Aunt Pauline with his keen interest in the family heritage and his ambition to write an historical novel based on a southwest Georgia family at the turn of the century. As her health failed, Aunt Pauline decided to entrust Billy, as he was later known, with the care and keeping of the Civil War era correspondence of her late father William Richardson Anderson, who was conscripted into the Confederate cavalry, and his first wife, Frances Lumpkin Anderson. Also included in the packet she sent to him were notes from her grandfather and family patriarch, John "Jack" Richardson Anderson, and her uncle John R Anderson who died in the first battle of Gaines Mill.

"Jack" [who married Mary Susan Carter in 1833 and relocated to Chambers Co, Alabama/Troup Co, Georgia from Pittsylvania Co., Virginia in 1842] was a planter and horse breeder, and like all Southern families, the Andersons suffered extreme hardship and deep personal sorrow during the War Between the States. But [they] survived into old age… and were buried in the family cemetery, in a peaceful grove of trees a few hundred yards northwest of their home.

"The heavy toll exacted from the South during the Civil War can be seen in microcosm in the lives of Jack and Mary Susan's four eldest children [the oldest of 10 children in total], who were born in Virginia and traveled to Georgia with their mother in 1842. Martha, the eldest, married a Mr. Fears, settled in Mississippi and had two daughters, Lucy and Martha. Both she and her husband died during the War, and Jack brought his two orphaned granddaughters home from Mississippi to rear.

"The next two, John R. and James M., enlisted in local volunteer companies in July 1861 and served in the army of Northern Virginia, C.S.A. John R., a private in the "Ben Hill Infantry", Co. F, 21st Regt., Ga. Vol. Inf., was wounded during the Seven Days' Battle at Cold Harbor, near Richmond, Va., on June 27, 1862 and died two days later, while James, a member of the "West Point Guards", Co. D, 4th Regt., Ga. Vol. Inf., promoted to 3rd Sergeant in April 1862, was killed in the Battle of the Wilderness on May 5, 1864.

"Finally, William Richardson ("Will") Anderson, [NOTE: author of most of these letters] born April 7, 1867, settled down before the War, buying some land from his father, building a house in Chambers Co. about a half-mile west of his parents and marrying Frances J. ("Fannie") Lumpkin of Oglethorpe Co. Ga., all in 1858, but he, too, saw action, possibly at the Battle of Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., April 6, 1962) as a member or major Bell's Battalion, Ala. Cavalry and/or Capt. Pinkard's Co., Brewer's Regt., 2nd Ala. & Miss. Cavalry…

"…Will was discharged at the beginning of 1863; 11 months later, his wife died after giving birth to their daughter, Fannie Alice, who in turn died aged nine months, in July 1864. After being discharged from the cavalry, in 1863, Will Anderson came home and resumed his life as a farmer, schoolteacher and sometime judge. Widowed later that year, he married three more times … "

Aunt Pauline letters also mention two more delightful family anecdotes involving younger brothers Nicholas and "Major" Anderson [the youngest commissioned officer of the Confederate Army at 9 years of age] which can be read in her letters and enclosures at this link… click here.

This website is devoted to making the background and contents of these letters available to members of the Anderson family and to others who might find this time in history and the lives of its unwitting participants of interest.

[Quotes taken from Descendants of William Henry Anderson, Sr. and Ruth McGinty Anderson: Family History and Genealogical Charts compiled by William Earl Anderson, July 1985; presented at the Anderson Family Reunion in Lexington, KY - July 12-14, 1985]

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