A Guide to the Papers of the Anderson Family, 1824-1924 Anderson Family, Papers 12553

A Guide to the Papers of the Anderson Family, 1824-1924

A Collection in
Special Collections
The University of Virginia Library
Accession Number 12553


Special Collections, University of Virginia Library

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
University of Virginia
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Processed by: Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, University of Virginia Library
Accession number
Papers of the Anderson Family 1824-1924
Physical Characteristics
Ca. 240 items.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

See the University of Virginia Library’s use policy.

Preferred Citation

Papers of the Anderson Family, Accession #12553, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

Acquisition Information

This collection was purchased by the Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library, from Second Story Bookshop, Lexington, Virginia, on July 8, 2003.

Biographical/Historical Information

The 1848 will of Christian Anderson lists the following children of Christian Anderson: Robert Blain Anderson, James Anderson, and Christiana McCroskey, Nelson Anderson, Samuel Anderson and Thomas Anderson. Half brothers and sisters are also listed and include: William Lockridge, Andrew Lockridge and Elizabeth McCutcheon.

The correspondence of James Anderson includes letters about the death of his son Joseph M. Anderson. Joseph Anderson died in Macon, Georgia on June 29, 1865, due to dysentery while serving in the Confederate Army.

Some of Robert Blain Anderson's children also fought in the Civil War. Robert Blain Anderson married Mary Horn in 1833 and they had nine children, including Elizabeth Anderson, James Anderson, B. Anderson, John Anderson, Virginia Anderson (died in childhood), Christian, Jacob, Rebecca and Robert ("Bess") Anderson. James, Jacob and John Anderson fought for the Confederacy and Jacob died of a fever while in service.

Mary Brown Anderson is the only daughter of his son Andrew Moore Anderson and Bettie Brown (Walker) Anderson. Mary Brown corresponds with William Walker Anderson, born 1836 in Athens, Georgia. His father married Elizabeth McChesney of Rockbridge next hit previous hitCounty next hit, Virginia and they moved to Maryville, Tennessee around 1822 and later moved to Athens, where his father ran a general merchandise business and drove horses through the Cherokee Nation to Georgia and Alabama. In an attempt to improve his mother's health, his father moved the family from Athens to Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1840 and his mother died there on September 12, 1840. William Walker Anderson lists his siblings as James McChesney (born August 19, 1826 in Maryville, Tennessee), Hestaline and Cornelia, both born in Athens.

William Walker Anderson married Lydia Cravens in September 1859 and she died April 6, 1863. He mentions his son Charles Cravens Anderson, who married Mary M. Backman, and their oldest son John Waverly Anderson, who graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, made a voyage around the world, and then joined the U.S. regular army. William Walker Anderson notes that John Waverly Anderson was sent to the Philippines for two years under General Pershing, and to France. Another son of Charles Cravens Anderson, William Delany Anderson, graduated from the University of Virginia, with degrees in law and medicine and moved to Chattanooga. William Walker Anderson then married L.E. Sharp of Forsyth Georgia (born May 16, 1848) on September 13, 1866. She died December 18, 1918 and their children were: William Clifford, Lydia Reynolds, Edward McChesney, Henry Anderson, Crawford Anderson, Louis Westbrook, Louise Anderson, James McChesney, Mae Anderson, Roland Anderson, and Annie Williams.

William Walker Anderson also mentions his uncle, Isaac Anderson, who lived near Rome Georgia. Like William Walker Anderson's father, he left Virginia for Maryville, Tennessee, where he married Julia Foute in 1820. He moved to Arkansas in the 1850s and settled in Pine Bluff. Isaac Anderson's children are Adolphus, James, Oliver, Thomas, Robert, Jacob, Margaret, Lizzie, Jane, and Anne. Oliver Davis Anderson is the grandfather of Bessie Anderson Evans of Adairsville, Georgia, who corresponds with Mary Brown Anderson about the Anderson family genealogy. In May 1921, Mary Brown Anderson writes to Samuel Wilson, the president of Maryville College in Tennessee, inquiring about the Anderson relatives who lived in Maryville.

Scope and Content

The Papers of the Anderson family of Cedar Grove, previous hitRockbridge next hit previous hitCounty next hit, Virginia, ca. 240 items, include letters, social invitations, financial documents, and a will. The letters span over a century of correspondence among the Anderson family members and their relatives, from 1824 to 1924. Cedar Grove is described as an important shipping point to Richmond via the James River prior to the Civil War and before the railroad became the primary form of transportation.

The majority of the papers consist of the correspondence of Robert Blain Anderson, a general merchant and farmer in previous hitRockbridge next hit, and his granddaughter, Mary Brown Anderson. A large portion of the collection consists of letters to Robert Blain Anderson from his siblings, especially his brother, Thomas Anderson, who lived near Rome, Georgia. Brothers Samuel Anderson and James Anderson lived on farms near Robert Blain Anderson in previous hitRockbridge next hit previous hitCounty next hit. The correspondence of James Anderson includes a log of letters he received and a record of when he answered them, as well as a notebook containing financial expenditures for building a house in previous hitRockbridge next hit previous hitCounty next hit.

The correspondence of several Anderson family members describes the impact of the Civil War. The correspondence of Elizabeth Anderson includes letters from her uncles Thomas Anderson and Nelson Anderson. In addition, her papers include a poem that admonishes those men who claimed various physical ailments in order to escape from fighting in the Civil War. The final lines are: "You would not go to fight for me, Therefore I pray you let me be, And to your love I'll never yield, My volunteer is in the field." There are also invitations addressed to Elizabeth Anderson for military celebrations and social parties at the Brownsburg Academy. In an invitation dated September 17, 1849, the Sons of Temperance solicit the ladies of the neighborhood to make the regalia for the local division. Another item of note is a valentine poem composed in 1852.

Andrew Lockridge, a half brother of James Anderson and pastor of Chickamonga church in Georgia, writes in February 28, 1868 that "We like the Virginians, are under military despotism." He also describes the conflicting views of the whites and freed Negroes and the strong feelings that whites in Georgia have against the participation of Negroes in the new government, claiming that the constitution being drafted "will never be adopted in this state."

Mary Brown Anderson, the granddaughter of Robert Blain Anderson, also corresponds with William Walker Anderson, born 1836 in Athens, Georgia. In a June 24, 1920, letter to Mary Brown Anderson, William Walker Anderson says: "My people were heart and sole [sic] for the Confederate Cause, which has cost us dearly in property and relations. I served in the Lookout Artillery as first sergeant and in other departments to the close. When I got back home, I found forty thousands of troops, and twenty thousand of them Negroes. My home occupied by the enemy was returned, but everything else that could be was destroyed, and my father's home disappeared save the earth it occupied. This was too much for me when I saw strapping big Negroes guarding honorable white men."

Papers of other previous hitRockbridge next hit previous hitCounty next hit families, the Currys and the Sniders, are also included, as well as letters to William Patton related to business conducted with Robert Blain Anderson. Additional letters from cousins and relatives are included in the collection, including letters addressed to Robert "Bess" Anderson and Thomas Walker, and a letter signed by Harriet Morrison. Miscellaneous materials in the collection include a fragment of a document signed by William H. Bell, a legal notice of an estate sale in previous hitRockbridge next hit previous hitCounty and payment to Andrew Lockridge, a copy of a sermon, and an oath signed by Mary Eversole regarding the estate of Jacob Judy, requesting additional money for services she provided for Mr. Judy that caused her to miss school.

In addition, the collection includes the will and estate papers of Christian Anderson, the father of Robert Blain Anderson. Of particular note in the 1848 will of Christian Anderson is the bequeathal of slaves to his sons. Estate appraisals, a bill of sale for personal property and executor's accounts are also included.

The letters of Mary Brown Anderson, the granddaughter of Robert Blain Anderson, focus on the collection of genealogical information about the Anderson family of Scotland and the McChesney and Hall families of Ireland. She corresponds with William M. Anderson, whose father William James Anderson came through Virginia to Tennessee. William M. Anderson and his eldest son William M. Anderson, Jr. were co-pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, Texas. A biography of William M. Anderson, Jr. is included in the Dallas Automobile Club's newsletter, "Auto Sparks." The other children of William M. Anderson are identified as Samuel Anderson, Holmes Anderson, Granger Anderson, John Anderson, James Anderson and Robert Anderson.

In addition, the collection includes the correspondence of family members who emigrated to California after the Civil War. The correspondence of Anderson cousins and related families is also included in the collection. The correspondence of Mary Brown Anderson's father, Andrew Moore Anderson, consists of letters from him to his wife Bettie Brown (Walker) Anderson that relate the details of his trip with their daughter Mary Brown Anderson to California in 1915 to visit relatives, including his brother John Anderson, who settled in Anaheim, California after the Civil War. Letters from John Anderson to his mother and siblings are included in the collection.


This collection is organized in alphabetical order by the title of the folder and name of the letter writer. Within each folder, the letters or papers are organized chronologically.

Contents List

Box-folder 1:1
Correspondence of Andrew Moore Anderson 1915
Box-folder 1:2
Correspondence of Elizabeth Anderson 1849-1868
Box-folder 1:3
Correspondence of James Anderson 1850-1870
Box-folder 1:4
Correspondence of Kittie Anderson 1869-1909
Box-folder 1:5
Correspondence of Mary Brown Anderson 1896-1915
Folder 1/2
Box-folder 1:6
Correspondence of Mary Brown Anderson 1919-1924
Folder 2/2
Box-folder 1:7
Correspondence of Robert Anderson 1824-1834
Folder 1/4
Box-folder 1:8
Correspondence of Robert Anderson 1836-1841
Folder 2/4
Box-folder 1:9
Correspondence of Robert Anderson 1842-1846
Folder 3/4
Box-folder 1:10
Correspondence of Robert Anderson 1847-1857
Folder 4/4
Box-folder 1:11
Estate Papers and Will of Christian Anderson 1835-1848
Box-folder 1:12
Letters of Robert ("Bess") Anderson 1855, 1856, 1870
Box-folder 1:13
Letters from John Anderson 1869-1871
Box-folder 1:14
Letters to Beccie Anderson 1870
Box-folder 1:15
Letters to William Patton 1853
Box-folder 1:16
Miscellaneous n.d.
Box-folder 1:17
Papers of the Curry and Snider Families 1850, 1857-58