William Anderson, who is engaged in farming on section 5, Cahokia Township, where he has made his home for seventeen years, has the honor of being one of the pioneer settlers of Macoupin County, where he has resided almost continuously since his early childhood. No one in the community is more deserving of a representation in the county’s history than he, and it is with pleasure that we present his sketch to the readers of the Record.
Mr. Anderson was born in Putnam County, Ind., near Greencastle, February 14, 1832. His father, James Anderson, was a native of Tennessee, of English and Scotch descent, and made farming his life work. He married a Miss Whitehead and they resided in Tennessee until after all of their children were born when they emigrated to Putnam County, Ind., which was then in its infancy, the greater part of the land being still in its primitive condition, while the work of civilization and progress seemed scarcely begun. Upon the farm which he there developed James Anderson and his wife abided until death called the mother to the home beyond. He afterward went to Boone County, where he spent his last days with one of his daughters. He had served as a private in the Black Hawk War and was a man of prominence in the community where he resided. He held membership with the Baptist Church and both he and his wife were highly esteemed people.
Thomas Anderson, the father of our subject, was born in the State of Tennessee where he spent the greater part of his childhood and youth. Soon after removing to Indiana he attained his majority and was joined in wedlock with Miss Mary Scott, a native of North Carolina, who when a young maiden went to Indiana with her parents, Robert and Martha (Proffitt) Scott, the family locating in Putnam County, whence the parents removed in 1831 to Macoupin County, Ill. They became pioneers of this region and here died when well advanced in years. One child was born unto Thomas Anderson and wife in Indiana and they then came in 1834 to Macoupin County, settling in what is now Honey Point Township, where both died in middle life, the mother in 1838, the father in 1843. He was a faithful and consistent member of the Baptist Church, as was also Mrs. Anderson.
The subject of this sketch is the eldest of five children, of whom four sons by a second marriage are yet living. He was left an orphan when only eleven years of age, when he began to make his own way in the world and has since been dependent upon his own resources. He may ruly be called a self-made man and certainly he deserves no little credit for his success in life. He began as a farm hand and for four years was employed in a saw mill by Columbus Corr. He had previously worked for two other farmers in the neighborhood and his fidelity to his employers was such that he never had to seek for work, but on the contrary was sought by those in need of such services. At length by industry and economy he had secured enough money to purchase a small tract of land and began farming for himself. As a helpmate on life’s journey he chose Miss Lydia J. Huddlestun, who was born in this county in 1837, and is the youngest daughter of John and Nancy (Dunn) Huddlestun, who were natives of Tennessee and were married after their emigration to the Hoosier State. At an early day they came to this county, locating in Cahokia Township and afterward made a home in Brushy Mound Township, but in the former they spent their last days. Mr. Huddlestun died before the birth of Mrs. Anderson. The mother long survived him, passing away at a ripe old age. Both were identified with the Methodist Church.
The combined capital of Mr. and Mrs. Anderson on their marriage was little more than $400 but as the result of their labors, their perseverance and enterprise, they acquired a handsome property. The raw prairie which our subject purchased in Brushy Mound Township continued to be their home until their removal to the farm in Cahokia Township some seventeen years ago. He now owns two hundred and forty acres of valuable land, constituting one of the best farms in the county, upon which may be seen substantial improvements in the shape of good buildings and machinery, together with a fine residence. He also raises excellent grades of stock, which like his real estate give evidence of the care of the owner.
After a happy married life of twenty-five years, during which she had proved a true helpmate to her husband, Mrs. Anderson was called to her final rest. She was a faithful member of the Baptist Church, a consistent friend and a loving wife and mother. She died April 9, 1881, at the age of forty-three years, leaving six children to share with the husband in his bereavement. John T., the eldest, wedded Matilda Mitchell, now deceased, and follows farming in Honey Point Township. Samuel F. assists in the operation of the home farm; Clara J. since her mother’s death, has presided over the home and taken charge of the household duties; William Luther who married Cora Winsor, is a farmer living in Clyde; Ida A. is the wife of James McReynolds, an agriculturist of Honey Point Township; and Charles L. is at home. Two children died prior to the mother’s death – Joseph and an infant. Mr. Anderson is a member of the Baptist Church, in which he has served as Deacon for a number of years. He affiliates with the National Greenback party, and has held a number of local offices, the duties of which were very faithfully performed. His example in many respects is well worthy of emulation and should serve to encourage young men who, like himself, who have to start out in life empty handed. His prosperity is not due to good luck but is the result of years of laborious effort, industry, perseverance and good management.
Source: Chapman bros. Portrait and biographical record of Macoupin county, Illinois. Chicago: Biographical publishing company, 1891.